This Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken recipe is easy to make and full of flavor! We use it to make the BEST barbecue chicken sandwiches.
We’ve been making this recipe for years, and it is one of my kid’s favorites. I love it because the crockpot does the work. Our favorite way to eat it is as barbecue chicken sandwiches.
Here’s Everything You Need To Make Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken
Ingredients Needed and Substitutions
There are only four ingredients needed to make slow cooker bbq chicken! Here is what we used, why we used it, and some common substitutions.
- Chicken: This recipe calls for chicken breasts, but you can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
- Seasoning: I like to preseason the chicken breasts before adding them to the slow cooker because it gives them a fabulous flavor boost. Even if some of the seasoning comes off while they are cooking, it still remains in the sauce! We used a savory dry rub (find my recipe here). You can also use your favorite seasoning blend (such as cajun or chipotle) or simply use salt and pepper.
- Barbecue Sauce: You can use your favorite brand of barbecue sauce (we use Sweet Baby Rays original or sugar-free), and depending on which brand you choose, you can have sweeter or spicier chicken.
- Soda: You’ll need eight ounces of Dr. Pepper (diet or regular). Or you can use Coke or root beer for a change in flavor.
How To Make Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken
My favorite thing about this recipe is that it is mainly hands-off! Put everything in the crock pot, and you end up with delicious chicken at dinner time.
- BBQ Chicken Sauce: Whisk together the barbecue sauce and soda in the slow cooker.
- Chicken Rub: Coat the chicken with a savory dry rub and place them in the slow cooker and cover them with sauce.
- Cook: Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours on high.
- Shred: Remove the chicken and shred it before returning it to the sauce in the slow cooker.
How To Shred BBQ Chicken
- Two Forks: Using two forks is the most basic way to shred cooked chicken. This method is the most popular because everyone has forks available. It works best when the chicken is fork-tender.
- Mixer: You can use a stand mixer or hand mixer to shred the chicken. Put the cooked chicken in the mixing bowl and turn the mixer on low to shred the chicken. This is a great way to quickly shred all of the chicken at once.
- By Hand: Chicken can also be shredded by hand. Allow the chicken to cool enough to handle. Use your impeccably clean hands to pull the chicken breasts apart.
How To Use Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken
Our favorite way to eat this chicken is in barbecue chicken sandwiches, but that isn’t the only way to eat it. Here are a few more ways to use chicken:
- These Hawaiian Barbecue Walking Tacos are perfect for feeding a crowd!
- We made Barbecue Chicken Pizza on tortilla crust with shredded cheese, sliced onions, and chopped cilantro.
- This Cheesy Barbecue Dip recipe is a delicious appetizer. Serve with tortilla chips or crostini!
- This Hawaiian Barbecue French Bread Pizza can be made in the oven or on the grill.
Leftovers and Storage
Allow leftover chicken to cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 3-4 months. Thaw frozen chicken overnight in the fridge and reheat it in the microwave before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Toasting the buns before making the pulled barbecue chicken sandwiches makes them about 900% better! Warm a skillet over medium heat. While it is warming up, cut the buns in half and spread butter on each of the cut sides. Grill the buns, butter side down, in the skillet until golden and toasted.
Yes, you can substitute chicken thighs for the chicken breasts in this recipe. Use boneless skinless thighs for shredded bbq chicken. Or you can use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and brown the skin under the broiler when they are finished cooking.
Want more crock pot recipes? Try these next:
- These tender Slow Cooker Pork Chops are cooked in a creamy sauce that can be used as gravy on mashed potatoes.
- This Slow Cooker Pulled Pork recipe only has four ingredients and cooks in the crock pot for 3-4 hours on high.
- These delicious Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches are so easy to make in a crock pot!
- Here’s our recipe for the BEST Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs with only three ingredients!
Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken
- 2.25 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoon savory dry rub or use your favorite spice blend
- 2 cups barbecue sauce
- 8 oz Dr. Pepper diet or regular
- Pour the barbecue sauce and Dr. Pepper into the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
- Rub both sides of the chicken breasts with the savory dry rub.
- Add the seasoned chicken to the slow cooker and cover with sauce. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours (or 4-6 hours on low) until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165˚F.
- Shred the chicken and return it to the slow cooker. Stir to coat with the sauce. Leave the chicken in the slow cooker on high uncovered for 20-30 minutes, if time allows, stirring occasionally. This will allow some of the excess liquid to escape and let the chicken get more of the barbecue flavor.