Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

Super Easy 2 Ingredient Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken. Chicken breasts are slow-cooked until tender and juicy in a tangy barbecue sauce. Serve warm on a brioche bun! This easy make-ahead meal is perfect for Memorial Day, summer barbecues or parties! It’s my go to meal whenever I am feeding a crowd!

If you love homemade BBQ, try my fall-off-the-bone Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs and my Honey BBQ Boneless Chicken Wings are perfect for entertaining!

BBQ chicken in a crockpot with tongs picking up some chicken.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken

I love dinners that are quick and easy and only require a couple of minutes of prep time. This slow cooker barbecue chicken is always a staple in my house. It’s super easy to make, only has two ingredients, and always turns out incredibly juicy and tender without a lot of effort. This pulled barbecue chicken is perfect for picnics, barbecues, or parties!

For this Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken recipe, you can use either homemade barbecue sauce or store-bought (I’ve used Sweet Baby Ray’s before and it’s always delicious.) You could also make this with my Homemade Bourbon Barbecue Sauce. It’s so good and easy to throw together. You can also store leftover homemade barbecue sauce in the fridge for up to two weeks!

BBQ chicken in a crockpot with tongs picking up some chicken.

Ingredients for Crockpot BBQ Chicken

  • Chicken: I used boneless skinless chicken breasts, however, boneless skinless chicken thighs would be great as well, and super juicy!
  • BBQ Sauce: I love making my own Homemade BBQ Sauce for this recipe, but when I’m pressed for time I just use store-bought for convenience. If using store bought barbecue sauce I like to add some onion powder, garlic powder and pepper to enhance the flavors! You can also add some tabasco for a kick of heat.

How to make BBQ Chicken in the Slow Cooker

  1. This shredded bbq chicken couldn’t be easier to make. Simply add the chicken breasts (or thighs) to the crockpot along with your barbecue sauce (homemade or store-bought). Toss to coat the chicken in the barbecue sauce and cover.
  2. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours or until fully cooked and the chicken shreds easily. Keep in mind that thinner chicken breasts won’t take as long to cook and thicker thicken breasts may need a little longer.
  3. Shred the chicken using two forks in the slow cooker. Place slow cooker on the keep warm setting until you are ready to serve.

How to make your own BBQ Sauce

Making your own Barbecue Sauce at home is super simple. I love making this crockpot barbecue chicken recipe with my Bourbon Barbecue Sauce. This barbecue sauce has the perfect amount of heat and sweetness with a bit of tang. I like to double the recipe and store leftovers in the fridge for up to a month or freeze them for up to 6 months. To make this barbecue sauce:

  • Start by heating oil in a medium saucepan. Next, add onion and saute until tender and golden brown. Add in garlic and cook for an additional minute.

  • Next stir in ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, bourbon (you can omit this if you prefer), brown sugar, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Simmer for 15 minutes or longer to let the flavors develop!

What to serve with this Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

I love serving this Barbecue Chicken on a Brioche Bun. It’s also really good with coleslaw on top! Here are some easy side dish recipes that would go great with this pulled chicken:

A hand holding Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken on a brioche bun above a white plate.

Storage & Reheating Instructions

  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat in the oven or microwave until heated through.
  • Freeze in an airtight container or zip-top bag for up to 3 months. Thaw completely before reheating.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I put frozen chicken in the slow cooker? No! Frozen chicken should never be added to the crockpot. Always make sure to defrost your chicken first before adding it to the slow cooker. Cooking frozen chicken in the slow cooker will put the chicken in the danger zone during cooking and could potentially cause a food borne illness.
  • How long does it take to cook chicken in the slow cooker? For this slow cooker BBQ chicken recipe it’s 3-4 hours on high and 6-7 hours on low. I would also keep in mind that thicker cuts of chicken will take longer to cook. Test your chicken half way through to see if it easily shreds.
  • How do I keep chicken from drying out in the crockpot? To keep the chicken from drying out, make sure you don’t overcook it. You can also use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. They’re fattier and always a little juicier.
  • Do I need to add liquid to the chicken in the slow cooker? No. The chicken itself gives off liquid as it cooks so all you need is the BBQ sauce. Adding extra liquid will make this Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken recipe very watery.

BBQ chicken in a crockpot with tongs picking up some chicken.

Here are more Easy Slow Cooker Recipes to try!

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Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 4 -6
Super Easy Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken. Chicken breasts cooked until tender and juicy in a tangy barbecue sauce.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place chicken in the slow cooker and pour the barbecue sauce on top. Toss to coat the chicken in the sauce.
  • Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours or until fully cooked and the chicken shreds easily.
  • Using two forks shred the chicken in the slow cooker.
  • Serve on sandwiches will extra barbecue sauce from the slow cooker if desired.
Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 443.02 Calories from Fat 59
% Daily Value*
Fat 6.55g10%
Saturated Fat 1.33g8%
Cholesterol 145.15mg48%
Sodium 1364.54mg59%
Potassium 1087.96mg31%
Carbohydrates 43.73g15%
Fiber 0.96g4%
Sugar 35.65g40%
Protein 49.03g98%
Vitamin A 308.28IU6%
Vitamin C 3.37mg4%
Calcium 46.73mg5%
Iron 1.53mg9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Barbecue Chicken, Chicken Breast, Easy Slow Cooker Recipes, Homemade Barbecue Sauce

 

 

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Comments - page 1/2

    • Hi Joel,

      Yes bone in will work perfectly for this. I recommend bone in chicken thighs.

      Thanks!

      Kelley

  • Sabrina

    We just put chicken and barbeque sauce in the crock pot? Correct? No water?

    • Hi Sabrina,

      Yes that is correct! Just bbq sauce and chicken.

      Thanks & Enjoy!

      Kelley

  • Tyrene Shepherd

    Will this work with frozen chicken tenderloin? Or should I thaw them.

    • Hi Tyrene,

      You could add these frozen. They will take maybe an hour or two longer but will work fine.

      Thanks & Enjoy!

      Kelley

  • Brianna

    HI there. This looks delicious and I can not wait to try it! How many people does this recipe typically serve? I am looking to make this for a group of four people.

    Thanks!

  • Kathleen

    How many chicken breasts (frozen in my case) would you need for the 1 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce? Thanks.

    • Nathan

      Hi Kathleen,

      Depending on how big the breasts are, but on average the ones I use are in the 4-6 oz. range. So, anywhere in the 5-8 range.
      I hope this is helpful! Thank you so much for trying out the recipe and for the comment!

      Nathan
      @chefsavvy

    • Nathan

      Hi Joanna,

      I wouldn’t suggest it just because you need more of a high dry heat to get the crispiness that you want for a good wing. Frying is actually considered a dry convection cooking method. Frying, grilling, baking, or even air frying would all work better. Hope that helps! Thank you for the comment!

      Nathan
      @chefsavvy

  • J

    Can you cook the chicken for like 9 hours if you leave it on low and go to work?

    • Nathan

      Hi Joseph,

      Yes. It will be nice an tender when you get home. I Hope you enjoy and thank you for the comment!

      Nathan
      @chefsavvy

  • Stephanie

    Hello! Do you season the chicken before putting it in the slow cooker?

    • Hi Stephanie!

      I do not. I typically season the whole dish with salt and pepper after it’s done cooking.

      Thanks!

      Kelley

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