Crock Pot BBQ Chicken

Crockpot BBQ chicken is one of the best crock pot recipes for summer picnics, potlucks, and cook-outs. Use your slow cooker to make tender, easy pulled bbq chicken, then use it for sandwiches, salads, and so much more!

Pull out the bibs, keep your napkin at the ready, and grab the bbq sauce, because today we are making one of my favorite crock pot recipes: Crockpot BBQ Chicken!

slow cooker full of shredded bbq chicken

Moist, juicy, and brimming with that sweet ’n smoky BBQ flair, this slow cooker BBQ chicken is one of those prized and precious dinners in which a ridiculously simple recipe produces an extremely satisfying meal.

This easy pulled chicken recipe is freezer friendly and actually healthy. As I discovered the week that I made it, its versatile uses are limited only by your imagination (or how hungry you are).

10 Ways to Use Crock Pot BBQ Chicken

  1. Pile it on a bun to make BBQ chicken sandwiches.
  2. Toss it over a salad (it’s perfect for this BBQ Chicken Salad).
  3. Stuff it inside a tortilla to make BBQ-style slow cooker pulled chicken tacos.
  4. Same but different: Stuff between TWO tortillas, fill with cheese, and make BBQ chicken quesadillas.
  5. Take note from these Healthy Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potatoes and try it over a baked sweet potato or regular baked potato. Bonus flavor points for adding avocado and green onion. To really slow cooker it up: You could make the Crockpot BBQ Chicken early in the day or even the day before, use the slow cooker a second time to make these Crock Pot Baked Potatoes, and then reheat the chicken on the stove just before serving.
  6. Layer it on chips for slow cooker BBQ chicken nachos (or how about BBQ Chicken PINEAPPLE Nachos?)
  7. Following the thinking above: BBQ chicken over these crispy Baked Fries. YAS.
  8. Three words: BBQ. Chicken. Flatbread.
  9. These BBQ Chicken Rollups sound mighty fine.
  10. Eat it directly out of the slow cooker. Just do it.

I realize that this recipe is quite basic (I think crockpot bbq chicken Sweet Baby Rays’ style was one of the first slow cooker meals I ever made) BUT sometimes basic can be delicious. And easy. And speak to the part of you that just loves messy food that’s so yummy, you can’t help but lick your fingers.

Embrace the basic. Let’s make some Crock Pot BBQ Chicken, one of the best crock pot recipes to have in your collection!

BBQ chicken sandwich with chicken made in a crock pot

How to Make Crockpot BBQ Chicken

  • You need chicken. You need BBQ sauce. I highly recommend this easy, 15-minute Homemade BBQ Sauce, but if you are in a hurry, store bought will work too.
  • Place the chicken in the crock pot. Pour the sauce on top.

Crock Pot BBQ Chicken breasts

  • Remove the chicken to a plate, stir in a little cornstarch, re-cover, and continue cooking to thicken the sauce. This isn’t 100% necessary, but I think it’s totally worth it, as I love my sauce thick and rich.

bbq chicken breasts in a crock pot

  • While the sauce thickens, shred the chicken with two forks.
  • Return to the crock pot and stir. If desired, add some green onion to make it pretty.

Crock Pot shredded BBQ Chicken recipe, shown inside of a slow cooker

DEVOUR!

Can You Overcook Meat in the Slow Cooker?

  • While some crock pot beef and crock pot pork recipes featuring marbled, fatty cuts are hard to overcook, you can definitely overcook chicken.

So, How Long Do I Cook Chicken Breast in the Crockpot?

  • How long the chicken takes to cook will really depend upon your slow cooker, as well as whether you use high or low heat. My slow cooker (I have this programmable one) tends to run pretty hot and cook things more quickly.
  • On high heat, 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (each weighing about 10 ounces) will cook in 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  • On low heat, this same amount of chicken will cook in 4 to 5 hours.

How Many Pounds is 2 Chicken Breasts?

  • The average weight of 2 medium chicken breasts is 1 pound, but this can vary based on the size of your breasts. Smaller boneless, skinless chicken breasts weigh about 6 ounces each, medium chicken breasts weighs 8-10 ounces, and larger breasts can be 12 ounces or more.
  • This recipes calls for 2 pounds of chicken, which for me was 3 medium/large breasts, but you can scale it up or down (or use it for slow cooker bbq chicken thighs and legs. More on that below!).

Can I Use This Recipe for Crockpot BBQ Chicken Thighs Instead?

  • Absolutely! Follow the recipe just as written but adjust the slow cooking times.
  • Two pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs should cook in 3 to 4 hours on high or 5 to 6 hours on low.
  • Thicken the sauce, shred, and serve the chicken as directed in the recipe.
  • To the fans of slow cooker chicken thighs: Try this Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken or this Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken recipe next.

How About Crockpot BBQ Chicken Legs?

  • Absolutely! I suggest removing the skin first. Since this recipe is made in slow cooker, the skin won’t have the nice, crisp texture that you’d get from making them in the oven.
  • Slow cook the chicken legs on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 5 to 6 hours.
  • Thicken the sauce as directed, but leave the chicken legs whole. Return to the sauce to rewarm when ready to serve.

What Other Crockpot Chicken Recipes Will I Like?

How to Make Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

  • YES! I just tried this in an Instant Pot and here are my best directions: Cook the chicken in the sauce under 8 minutes of high pressure and vent immediately.
  • Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate. Turn the Instant Pot to SAUTE mode and stir in the cornstarch slurry.
  • Cook the sauce, stirring often, until thickened. Shred the chicken and return it to the Instant Pot. Toss to coat and serve.

Recommended Tools to Make Crock Pot BBQ Chicken:

ENJOY! Don’t forget to lick your fingers.

Slow Cooker Crock Pot BBQ Chicken recipe.
5 from 2 votes
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Crock Pot BBQ Chicken

Yield: 6 servings (4 1/2 cups shredded chicken)
Prep Time:
5 mins
BEST EVER Crockpot BBQ Chicken! So easy, moist, and delicious. A healthy crockpot recipe for easy pulled chicken that works chicken breasts or thighs, or drumsticks and can be used for sandwiches, on top of baked potatoes, inside tacos or quesadillas, and more.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups  Homemade BBQ Sauce — or your favorite store-bought sauce (the homemade sauce only takes about 15 minutes to make and is totally worth it!)
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch — mixed with 1 tablespoon water to make a slurry
  • Serving suggestions: whole wheat or pretzel buns — whole wheat tortillas, cheddar cheese, chopped green onion, baked sweet potatoes

Instructions

  1. If you have not, prepare the Homemade BBQ Sauce.
  2. Lightly coat a 5-quart or larger slow cooker with nonstick spray. Arrange the chicken in a single layer on the bottom of the slow cooker. Top with sauce, spooning the sauce all over the top. If you made a batch of the Homemade BBQ Sauce, reserve the rest for serving.
  3. Cover the slow cooker, and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours on high or 4 to 5 hours on low, until the chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and shred with two forks, either on a cutting board or directly in the slow cooker.
  4. Thicken the sauce in the slow cooker: Add the slurry to the slow cooker with the remaining sauce. Whisk to combine, cover the slow cooker, and set to high. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 30 minutes.
  5. To thicken the sauce more quickly: Transfer the sauce to a medium saucepan. Whisk in the slurry, and then cook on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring often until the sauce thickens, 5 to 10 minutes. (If your slow cooker insert is stovetop safe, you can remove it from the slow cooker and place it directly on the burner, but do not do this unless you are POSITIVE your insert is stovetop safe or it may crack).
  6. Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker and toss to coat. Serve chicken warm on buns for sandwiches, inside quesadillas, or (our favorite) on top of a baked sweet potato with a sprinkle of green onion. Add additional BBQ sauce as desired.

Recipe Notes

  • Store leftover BBQ chicken in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
  • Feel free to double this recipe to feed a larger group. You may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • All slow cookers differ in temperature, so adjust the cooking time according to your experience. Cooking time may vary based on the make and model of your slow cooker.
  • For directions on using chicken thighs, chicken legs, or cooking this recipe in an Instant Pot, please reference the blog post above.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Crock Pot BBQ Chicken, Healthy Crock Pot Recipe

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 (of 6), about 3/4 cups, without bun) — Calories: 254, Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 1021mg, Carbohydrates: 27g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 21g, Protein: 32g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

BEST EVER Crock Pot BBQ Chicken! Easy and SO GOOD! Healthy slow cooker recipe that works for chicken breasts, legs, thighs, or drumsticks. Better than Sweet Baby Rays! Use this flavorful shredded chicken for BBQ chicken sandwiches, on top of potatoes, or inside shredded chicken tacos. So simple and our whole family loves it! #healthy #crockpot #slowcooker #bbqchicken

BEST EVER Crock Pot BBQ Chicken! Easy and SO GOOD! Healthy slow cooker recipe that works for chicken breasts, legs, thighs, or drumsticks. Better than Sweet Baby Rays! Use this flavorful shredded chicken for BBQ chicken sandwiches, on top of potatoes, or inside shredded chicken tacos. So simple and our whole family loves it! #healthy #crockpot #slowcooker #bbqchicken

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

12 comments

  1. Can I get the correct timing for doing this same recipe in an Istant Pot? You did say to reference this in your instructions, but Icould not find a place to do this.

    Thanks for your help.

    • Hi Suzanne! It’s in the blog post if you scroll up, just above the recipe. The directions are a bit long to retype here, so take a look and let me know if you have any questions once you review!

  2. Okay YUM. This sounds so incredibly good- and can be used for so many different things! Gotta try it soon!

  3. Do you know if this could be made in the Instant Pot and if so, how long to cook for? I was thinking of making 1 1/2× the recipe for a group this weekend. Wasn’t sure if I need to adjust times in a slow cooker. Trying to decide which method would be best for me as we will be out a good part of the day. Thank you.

    • Hi Nora! If you scroll up to the blog post above the recipe, I actually have a section detailing this out. I haven’t tried it myself yet, but have some suggestions. Let me know if you have any questions once you take a look.

  4. Thanks Erin. Not sure how I missed that paragraph.Will try it out tomorrow ?

  5. I tried this recipe this past Sunday, and absolutely loved it! I did the method of thickening the sauce in a pan on the stove, and it worked perfectly! I added my BBQ chicken to a fresh garden salad, and drizzled just a tiny bit of ranch on top and it was so filling and flavorful! Definitely the best recipe I’ve made in a while. This is a new go-to for me!

    • HOORAY Taylor, I’m so happy to hear this is a new favorite! Thanks so much for giving it a try and taking the time to share this awesome review!

  6. This recipe is so easy and so good! We used the chicken for sandwiches. Will make again!!!

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