Shredded BBQ chicken is a great way to feed a crowd or make a big batch and use it for easy dinners during the week. The homemade BBQ sauce is easy to make and cooks in the slow cooker with the chicken. Pile the shredded chicken on buns for an easy dinner.
Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken
It might not be glamorous, but a slow cooker filled with tender shredded chicken coated in a simple homemade BBQ sauce goes a long way to solve dinnertime challenges. Hosting a group? Make shredded BBQ chicken. Busy week ahead? Make a batch on the weekend for dinners all week. Hit with a comfort food craving? BBQ chicken sandwiches can help. As someone who mostly avoids leftovers and prefers lower-scale cooking these days, shredded BBQ chicken is one of the exceptions. I will happily make a big batch and eat it for days.
And you’re not limited to just sandwiches, although it’s probably my favorite way to enjoy the chicken. Piling it on buns, add a little extra sauce plus some pickle slices for a tangy zing takes all of five minutes, but I’ve also been known to wrap the shredded chicken in a tortilla with some cheese or tossing it with some greens and other veggies for a BBQ chicken salad. There are so many ways to use it.
Some Ingredients You’ll Need
- I used skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts and browned the skin before tossing them in the slow cooker. You could do the same with boneless, skinless chicken breasts (just skip the browning part), but I find they come out a little dry.
- For a super easy version you could use your favorite jarred BBQ sauce, but making your own doesn’t take much work and you can customize it to suit your tastes. A homemade sauce is as simple as combining a few ingredients and adding it straight to the slow cooker with the chicken. I like to reserve some of the sauce for serving. Here’s what you need:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Worcestershire sauce
- brown sugar
- Chili powder
- Garlic powder
- Smoked paprika
- When the chicken’s done all you have to do is shred it and then set out some hamburger buns and pickles and let everyone build their own sandwich. The leftovers keep for several days in the refrigerator.
More Slow Cooker Recipes
Shredded BBQ chicken is easy to make in the slow cooker and a great way to feed a crowd or make a batch for easy dinners during the week. I like to pile the BBQ chicken on buns, but it’s also great wrapped up in tortillas or tossed with greens and veggies for a salad.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper
- 2 cups ketchup
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 8 hamburger buns
- Dill pickle slices (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Season the chicken on all sides with salt and pepper. Place the chicken skin side down in the pan and cook it until the skin has browned. Remove the chicken from the pan and place it in the slow cooker.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and spices.
- Pour half of the sauce over the top of the chicken, cover the slow cooker and cook the chicken on high for four hours or on low for eight hours. Reserve the other half of the sauce for serving.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the slow cooker. Using two forks, carefully separate the meat from the bones and skin and shred it. Discard the bones and skin.
- Add the shredded chicken back to the slow cooker. Stir until it’s well coated in the sauce, cover, and let it warm through again with the cooker set on high.
- Serve on buns with a spoonful of the extra sauce and dill pickle slices.
Because brands vary, the nutrition estimates do not include the hamburger buns or pickles.
- Calories: 432
- Sugar: 19.1g
- Sodium: 956.4mg
- Fat: 10.3g
- Carbohydrates: 25.9g
- Fiber: 0.8g
- Protein: 55.7g
Keywords: slow cooker shredded chicken, shredded BBQ chicken sandwiches
Post updated from the archives with no changes to the recipes or photos. First posted June 2016.