Slow Cooker Shredded BBQ Chicken

Shredded BBQ chicken is a great way to feed a crowd or make a batch to use for easy dinners during the week. It’s made with boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs so it’s juicy and full of flavor. Cook them in the slow cooker with the quick homemade BBQ sauce and pile the shredded meat on buns for a delicious dinner.

two sandwiches stacked on top of each other.

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. It’s easy and delicious and, gosh darn it, people like it.

Juicy Shredded Chicken with Lots of Flavor

Have you ever cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the crockpot only to have it turn out dry and, well, not so good? You won’t have that problem with this recipe.

To solve the dry chicken conundrum, I use both breasts and thighs. Chicken thighs have more fat and flavor, so you get pulled chicken that is juicy and delicious.

Add a simple homemade barbecue sauce and you get easy BBQ chicken that you can use in all kinds of ways.

photo collage of the sauce and the chicken and sauce in a slow cooker.

Quick Homemade BBQ Sauce

Okay, I will state the obvious: you can totally use your favorite jarred BBQ sauce for this recipe, but making your own is fun! And easy! Plus, you might already have the ingredients on hand:

  • Ketchup
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • brown sugar
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Smoked paprika

Pulled Chicken Recipe in 3 Easy Steps

  • Mix up the BBQ sauce.
  • Place the thighs and breasts in the slow cooker and add the sauce.
  • Cook it all on low for two to three hours and shred it.

This recipe makes a big batch – about 10 servings – and it will keep well for three to four days in the refrigerator.

As someone who mostly avoids leftovers and prefers small-scale cooking these days, shredded BBQ chicken is one of the exceptions. I will happily make a big batch and eat it for days.

shredded bbq chicken in a slow cooker.

Different Ways to Serve BBQ Pulled Chicken

  • Make some BBQ chicken sandwiches and pile the shredded chicken on hamburger buns with some coleslaw or sliced pickles.
  • Use it to make tropical BBQ chicken wraps.
  • Chill it and then use it to make a BBQ chicken salad with lettuce, black beans, corn, cheese, and other veggies you like.
  • Make a BBQ bowl with the shredded chicken, rice, veggies, and cheddar cheese.
  • Make chicken tacos with crunchy shells or soft ones – add your favorite toppings like guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and cheese.

Shredded Chicken FAQs

Can you use all boneless skinless chicken breasts?

Yes, but I recommend adding a tablespoon of olive oil or vegetable oil. Adding a little fat will make up for not using the thighs.

Can you make it in an Instant Pot?

Yes, you should be able to cook the chicken in the sauce in your IP. Cook it for 10 to 12 minutes on high pressure and let the steam naturally release. You can also check your manual – there may be a setting for chicken.

Can you use frozen chicken?

Yes, but they will need a longer cooking time – at least four to five hours on low.

Can you freeze it?

Yes, just let it cool first and then store the BBQ shredded chicken in freezer bags or containers. It will keep for a few months. You may need to add some more BBQ sauce once it’s reheated to liven it up.

I hope you give this easy chicken recipe a try! If you want more ideas be sure to check out my boneless, skinless chicken breast recipe collection!

Happy slow cooking!

photo of the chicken on a bun.

More Slow Cooker Recipes

If you like this crock pot BBQ chicken recipe you might like to try some of my other favorite slow cooker recipes:


Shredded BBQ Chicken

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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.

  • Author: April Anderson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American


  • 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
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs


  1. Combine the ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and seasonings in the slow cooker. Place the chicken in the sauce and spoon some of the sauce over the top of each piece so it’s covered.
  2. Cook the chicken on high for two to three hours (or on low for four to six hours) or until the chicken is cooked through and shreds easily with a fork. Once cooked, shred all of the chicken (I do this right in the slow cooker) and then stir well to combine with the sauce.
  3. The chicken can be cooked ahead and will keep well in the refrigerator for three to four days.


  • Serving Size: approximately 3 ounces
  • Calories: 191
  • Sugar: 15g
  • Sodium: 633.7mg
  • Fat: 3.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.8g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1.7g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 19.8g
  • Fiber: 0.5g
  • Protein: 19.4g
  • Cholesterol: 75.7mg

Do you love this recipe? Don’t forget to leave a comment and your recipe star rating!

Post, photos, and recipe updated from the archives. First posted June 2016.


  1. Well said, spot on
    More love for sure.
    I love summertime crock pot recipes. They dont overheat the kitchen and summer is so busy i sometimes feel like grilling is too much wotk! and summer crock pot meals are hard to find, so many slow cooker dishes are heavy comfort food.
    This also looks like the perfect dish to bring to a family or person going through a tough time. I really love that you talked about showing more love, and then gave us a way to do it. Tragedy makes people feel helpless so a guide towards a healing direction is a great thing.

    1. Thanks, Bridget 🙂 Appreciate your comment – and you’ve got me thinking about summer slow-cooker recipes, may need to post a few more of those 🙂

  2. Hi April, you are so right, this was a terrible tragedy that hit everyone, and yes we all need to show more love. I agree food helps. A great recipe made with love.

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