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Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken

A close up of a sandwich on a plate, with Chicken and Slow cooker
A simple recipe with just bbq sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and spices, slow cooker pulled BBQ chicken is a family favorite for summer dinners on the deck or melt in your mouth pulled chicken sandwiches any time of year!
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Table of Contents
  1. SLOW COOKER PULLED BBQ CHICKEN INGREDIENTS
  2. SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS
  3. HOW TO MAKE THIS SLOW COOKER PULLED BBQ CHICKEN RECIPE
  4. HOW TO SERVE
  5. STORAGE
  6. FAQ
  7. JUMP TO RECIPE

This slow cooker pulled BBQ chicken is incredibly easy to make. You just throw chicken breasts, barbecue sauce and spices into the Crock-Pot and wait until the chicken becomes fall-apart tender and juicy. Once added to buttered hamburger rolls, it becomes a mouth-watering pulled BBQ chicken sandwich.

Great for an easy meal any night, or for a backyard picnic, serve this crockpot barbecue chicken recipe with sides like cauliflower mac and cheese or a simple cucumber salad for a classic summer meal.

A close up of a sandwich on a plate, with Slow cooker and Barbecue

MORE SLOW COOKER RECIPES
Crockpot Orange Chicken | Crockpot Ranch Pork Chops


SLOW COOKER PULLED BBQ CHICKEN INGREDIENTS

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You will need:

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 18 ounces Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory & Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

PRO TIP: If your chicken breasts are on the smaller side, use four instead of three for this recipe.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

BARBECUE SAUCE: There are so many great BBQ sauces to choose from. We also love Sweet Baby Bay’s Honey Barbecue Sauce, or you can use your own favorite brand or even a homemade BBQ sauce.

GROUND WHITE PEPPER: Ground black pepper will also work as an alternative to white pepper if needed.

CHIPOTLE CHILI POWDER: Regular chili powder is fine to use as a substitute if you don’t have the chipotle variety

SLOW COOKER: This pulled BBQ chicken recipe uses a slow cooker. You can use any size of Crock Pot, Instant Pot or any other slow cooker brand.

CHICKEN: Boneless skinless chicken thighs in place of the boneless chicken breasts would also work well for this recipe.

HOW TO MAKE THIS SLOW COOKER PULLED BBQ CHICKEN RECIPE

STEP ONE: Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker and turn the heat to low.

PRO TIP: Don’t cook the chicken from frozen. Make sure that the chicken is fully thawed before placing it in the Crock-Pot.

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STEP TWO: In a bowl, combine the barbecue sauce, light brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder and ground white pepper. Stir well with a whisk.

STEP THREE: Pour the barbecue sauce mixture into the slow with the chicken breasts. Use a spoon to stir and coat all chicken with the barbecue sauce mixture.

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STEP FOUR: Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low heat for six to seven hours, or on high for three to four hours.

PRO TIP: Make sure your chicken’s internal temperature reaches 165°F

STEP FIVE: When the chicken is tender and pulls apart easily with a fork, it’s ready to be shredded. Use two forks to shred chicken while still in the slow cooker. Mix the shredded chicken and barbecue sauce together until it’s well coated.

PRO TIP: Don’t overcook the chicken. If your slow cooker has a ‘warm’ setting, switch to this once it’s done to prevent it from continuing to cook in the sauce.

A bowl of food

STEP SIX: Serve on buttered and toasted hamburger buns.

HOW TO SERVE

A pulled BBQ chicken sandwich is a great alternative to a burger. Just add the BBQ chicken to a toasted and buttered hamburger bun. I also suggest topping your BBQ chicken with homemade coleslaw to add a nice crunch to an already delicious sandwich.

Sides that go great with pulled chicken sandwiches include Baked Mac and Cheese, Pasta Salad or Potato Salad.

STORAGE

IN THE FRIDGE: Leftover cooked BBQ pulled chicken can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight for up to three days. When reheating, make sure it’s piping hot throughout.

IN THE FREEZER: Slow cooker BBQ chicken can be frozen for up to three months in an airtight container.

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This easy pulled BBQ chicken slow cooker recipe is a great go-to for busy weeknights when you don’t have time to cook. You can just put the chicken, barbecue sauce and spices in the slow cooker in the morning and by dinner time it’ll take just a few minutes to shred the tender chicken and pop it onto a bun. You can batch cook this dish and keep it in the fridge or freezer to make a quick lunch to take to work or reheat for lazy weeknight dinners. Either way it is delicious!

FAQ

Can I use a different bbq sauce than the one listed in the recipe?

You can use your favorite BBQ sauce in this recipe. The brand or flavor doesn’t matter, as long as it is a yummy flavor that your family loves!

How do I shred chicken?

To shred chicken, use two forks. Holding one in each hand, use them to pull the chicken apart.

What can I use pulled chicken for?

Pulled chicken can be used for so many different meals. Try chicken sandwiches, chicken tacos or even chicken sliders.

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A close up of a sandwich on a plate, with Chicken and Slow cooker

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken

5 from 4 votes
A simple recipe with just bbq sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and spices, slow cooker pulled BBQ chicken is a family favorite for summer dinners on the deck or melt in your mouth pulled chicken sandwiches any time of year!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 (18-ounce) bottle Sweet Baby Ray's Hickory & Brown Sugar Barbeque Sauce
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

Instructions
 

  • Place chicken breasts in the Crock-Pot. Turn heat to low.
  • In a separate bowl combine Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce, light brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder, and ground white pepper. Use a whisk to stir and combine.
  • Pour the barbecue sauce mixture into the slow with the chicken breasts. Use a spoon to stir and coat all chicken with the barbecue sauce mixture.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or high for 3-4.
  • When chicken is tender and pulls apart easily with a fork it is ready to be shredded.
  • Using two forks, shred chicken while still in the Crock-Pot. Mix chicken and barbecue sauce together until well coated.
  • Serve on buttered and toasted hamburger buns.

Notes

TIP: If your chicken breasts are on the smaller side, use four instead of three for this recipe.
TIP: Do not cook chicken from frozen. Make sure the chicken is fully thawed before adding to Crockpot.
TIP: Make sure your chicken’s internal temperature reaches 165°F.
TIP: Don’t overcook the chicken. If your slow cooker has a ‘warm’ setting, switch to this once it’s done to prevent it from continuing to cook in the sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 1999kcal | Carbohydrates: 285g | Protein: 149g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 434mg | Sodium: 6064mg | Potassium: 3827mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 241g | Vitamin A: 1793IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 263mg | Iron: 6mg
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Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

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  1. Dawn Kritsiotis says

    Is the chicken cooked on its own? No liquid required. I am new to crock pots . I really want to try this recipe so need to make sure I don’t mess up.

  2. Riley says

    5 stars
    Wonderfully easy and delicious recipe! I didn’t have apple cider vinegar, so I used lemon juice to give it the same citrus aspect and it turned out great!

  3. Christa says

    I tried it yesterday and loved it! I’m planning on making it for 4th of July and need to triple the chicken breasts. Do I triple all ingredients for the sauce? I know with some recipes you can’t just double or triple all ingredients? Thank you 😊

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