Crockpot Pulled BBQ Chicken is a delicious easy meal for busy days and entertaining. Made with only 4 ingredients you can set it and forget it in the slow cooker for an easy weeknight meal.
One of the main reasons I love using my crockpot is because I can start dinner in the morning and it’s done when I get home. And the cleanup is minimal. What’s not to love about that?
We’ve got these easy slow cooker recipes for Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings with Canned Biscuits, Crockpot Mississippi Pot Roast and Crockpot Olive Garden Chicken on regular rotation. They are picky teen approved and only require about 15 minutes of prep.
We’re sharing tips to help you get the best results with this recipe. If you don’t need the tips, scroll to the bottom for the full recipe, including a printable recipe card.
Slow cooker pulled bbq chicken is a staple around our house because it ticks all the boxes for me. It uses a handful of ingredients (hello, budget-friendly!), it’s simple to make and there are so many ways to serve it.
One of our favorite ways to serve this dish is BBQ chicken sliders. And if you’re feeding a crowd don’t worry, you can easily double or triple this recipe without compromising flavor or time.
What Do I Need for Crockpot Pulled BBQ Chicken
Chicken – Boneless skinless breasts are our favorite, but you can swap these for chicken thighs or tenders. Keep in mind you may need to adjust the cooking time for other cuts of chicken.
Brown sugar, ketchup, and vinegar – Yep, you guessed it! These ingredients are for your homemade BBQ sauce – it’s SO good. If you don’t want to make a homemade sauce, Sweet Baby Rays is our favorite store bought brand.
How to Make Crock Pot BBQ Chicken
Start by whisking together the barbecue sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
Place chicken in the slow cooker and pour BBQ sauce over the chicken. Cook on Low for 4-6 hours or High for 2-3 hours.
Remove cooked chicken, place on a cutting board then shred into smaller pieces. Return chicken to crockpot, stir to coat with sauce and continue cooking until heated through. It’s now ready to serve.
Best Way to Shred Chicken
Of course, you can use 2 forks to shred chicken or if you have meat claws those work well, too. But here’s a little Pro Tip for you – the easiest way to shred chicken is by using your stand mixer! It’s literally shredded into perfect pieces in just a couple of minutes.
Can You Overcook Chicken in a Crockpot?
While I never have, it is possible. If you are cooking on the High setting, don’t let it cook past 5 hours, for Low don’t go past 8 hours. If it gets overcooked, the chicken becomes tough and it’s harder to shred.
How To Freeze Pulled Chicken
Let your barbecue chicken cool down completely, then store in Ziploc bags. Personally I prefer to use a vacuum sealer because it extends the life of frozen goods by months. Plus the vacuum seal the packs can be a real space saver in the freezer.
Another tip when freezing is to freeze in portions. That way you don’t pull out more than you need and risk wasting it.
Can you Cook Frozen Chicken In a Crockpot?
I have seen many online recipes state that this is okay, however, according to the USDA website, it’s not recommend. When you use frozen chicken, there’s a risk of the temperature not rising quickly enough, which in turn causes the chicken to remain at the bacteria growth stage. Yuck!
How To Serve
While pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches are super easy and delicious there are so many other ways to use this flavorful meat.
- Top a salad
- BBQ Chicken Tacos
- Loaded French fries
- BBQ chicken with rice and beans
FAMILY Favorite RECIPES
What to Serve with Crockpot BBQ Chicken
Crockpot Pulled BBQ Chicken
- 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, (about 2 pounds)
Homemade BBQ Sauce
- ¾ cup ketchup
- ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon
Optional Serving Ingredients
- Additional BBQ sauce
- Toppings , cheese, coleslaw, lettuce, red onion slices
- In a small bowl, prepare the BBQ sauce by whisking together the ketchup, brown sugar and vinegar.
- Place chicken breasts in the slow cooker and pour homemade BBQ sauce over chicken.
- Cook on Low for 4-6 hours or High for 2-3 hours, until chicken reaches 165 degrees F.
- Remove cooked chicken and place on a cutting board. Using meat claws or 2 forks shred the chicken into small pieces.
- Return shredded chicken to the crockpot, stirring to coat with sauce. Heat through before serving.
- Use a slow cooker liner for easy cleanup.
- Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
- Make-ahead meal: Make a double batch and freeze half for a future meal (cook once, eat twice). Place cooked chicken in a resealable plastic bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. Don’t forget to label & date the bag. Keeps for 3-4 months in the freezer
- Optional serving ingredients are not included in nutritional information.
Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently for accuracy.