Crockpot BBQ Pulled Chicken made with tender chicken and coated in a smoky BBQ sauce. Easy to make with 8 simple ingredients, it’s perfect for busy weeknights, potlucks, and meal prep.
You might also love crockpot shredded chicken!
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This crockpot BBQ pulled chicken recipe is the easiest way to enjoy sweet and savory, fall apart chicken without the BBQ or oven. Just toss everything in and let the crockpot work its magic.
Ingredients for Crockpot BBQ Pulled Chicken
You only need 8 simple ingredients to make pulled BBQ chicken in the crockpot, including salt and pepper.
- Chicken breasts: I used 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts.
- Brown sugar: A small amount adds extra sweetness.
- Seasonings: Garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, and ground black pepper make up the delicious spice rub that we sprinkle on.
- Apple cider vinegar: Gives the sauce in crockpot barbeque pulled chicken a tangy flavor.
- BBQ sauce: Stubbs is my favorite store bought brand but I often have homemade healthy bbq sauce or Hawaiian BBQ sauce in my fridge, they are a kitchen staple for us.
To double crockpot BBQ pulled chicken recipe, use a 6 quart or 7 quart crock pot. Cook time should remain the same.
How to Make BBQ Chicken in Crockpot
Here is a quick overview of how to make pulled BBQ chicken in crock pot with step-by-step photos. There is a full recipe card below.
- Add chicken, sugar and spices to your slow cooker: Add chicken breasts in a single layer at the bottom of crockpot. Then sprinkle brown sugar, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper on top.
- Add liquids: Pour apple cider vinegar and barbeque sauce over chicken.
- Cover and cook: Place the lid on top and cook pulled BBQ chicken in the crockpot for 5 hours on low heat or 2.5 hours on high heat. I recommend to use low heat for most tender chicken!
- Shred the chicken: Keeping it mess free, shred the chicken with 2 forks right in the crockpot. Stir and serve!
Tips for Best Results
Here are some simple tips on how to make crockpot BBQ pulled chicken a crowd pleasing favorite.
- Cook on low setting: The chicken will come out more juicy and tender.
- You can use chicken thighs: Boneless skinless chicken thighs work too, they will have more flavor and fat.
- Every crockpot brand and model is different: Know your crockpot! My barbeque pulled chicken in crockpot was ready and perfectly tender after 5 hours in 7 quart slow cooker, other models may need up to an hour more or less.
- Don’t overcook: Some love the idea of adding everything to the crock pot, turning it on, and going to work but that won’t give you best results. Chicken breasts in slow cooker are ready fast and you can overcook them. The key for perfectly cooked crockpot BBQ chicken is cooking time of up to 6 hours on low and 3 hours on high.
- Keep on warm: Shredded chicken can be kept on warm for up to 2 hours, any longer and it will be dry and tough.
- Shred it while warm: It is actually harder to shred cold cooked chicken. It’s best to cool chicken until safe to handle and then shred while warm.
What to Serve Crockpot BBQ Pulled Chicken with?
Once you have this tender, flavorful crockpot BBQ pulled chicken and a mess free kitchen, the serving options are endless. Here are some of our top hits!
- Simple summer favorites include delicious BBQ chicken on a toasted bun alongside healthy fruit salad, vinegar coleslaw, healthier potato salad.
- Serve with classic crock pot corn on the cob or Instant Pot corn on the cob with chips and pickle spears.
- For a cozy comfort meal we love adding it to rice, quinoa or pasta. My boys love it on top mac and cheese. And BBQ chicken nachos are to die for!
- Add protein to your favorite healthy salad or use it to make BBQ chicken salad.
- Use shredded BBQ chicken in crockpot leftovers to make amazing tacos, wraps, or quesadillas.
- Make them into sliders and whip up some deviled eggs for your next potluck.
How to Store, Freeze and Reheat
Store: Keep leftover BBQ chicken in an airtight storage container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freeze: Crockpot BBQ pulled chicken is great for meal prep and you can keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheat: Warm it up in microwave or in a covered pan on the stovetop until warmed through.
Yes, just be sure your chicken is cooked through. As per US food safety, your chicken is ready when you insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and it reads 165 degrees F.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, cut into the chicken with a paring knife and if juices run clear, your chicken is cooked through.
Your chicken was either cooked too long or for not enough time. You can try adding more sauce or cooking it for more time.
I like to prevent dirtying another bowl or appliance and shred chicken with two forks. You can also place chicken breasts in a large bowl and shred with a hand mixer.
Yes. There is a sweet spot when chicken breasts cooked in slow cooker are cooked and can be easily shredded. Cooking it longer will result in dry and tough chicken.
Both work well, just be sure to adjust the cook time. I prefer cooking meat and poultry on low if time allows because I believe the meat comes out more tender.
More BBQ Recipes to Try
More Crockpot Recipes to Try
- Crockpot chicken breast
- Crockpot shredded chicken
- Crockpot pulled pork
- Sirloin tip roast in crock pot
- Crockpot white chicken chili
Crockpot BBQ Pulled Chicken
- In a slow cooker, add chicken breasts i na single layer and sprinkle them with brown sugar, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Then add apple cider vinegar and BBQ sauce on top.
- Cook on low heat for 5 hours or on high heat for 2.5 hours. I prefer low heat if possible because chicken comes out more tender.
- After shred chicken with 2 forks right in the crockpot and stir.
- Serve on buns with a side of coleslaw, pickles, chips and corn on the cob.
- Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: Freeze for up to 3 months.