Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken

No matter the time of year BBQ Pulled Chicken is the way to go for any gathering. So, take out that crock pot, and let’s make the easiest Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken recipe of all time.

If you love slow cooker pulled chicken, then you’ll love these shredded chicken recipes too: Crock Pot Honey Garlic Chicken, Instant Pot Moroccan Chicken, and Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad.

pulled chicken on bun with chips

Pulled Chicken Crock Pot is the Best Chicken

Shredded chicken is one of my favorite ways to eat chicken! I especially love it if it’s slow cooker pulled chicken because it’s super easy to make and the clean-up is a cinch.

This BBQ pulled chicken recipe can be used in so many ways beyond a sandwich. You can eat it in a meal prep bowl, in a burrito, by itself, as tacos, in a lettuce wrap, on toast, the list goes on!

Why make slow cooker pulled chicken?

Hands-off: bbq pulled chicken slow cooker is a set it and forget it kind of meal.

Flavorful: made with a dry rub and your favorite bbq sauce, this pulled chicken comes out so saucy and flavorful.

Healthy: pulled chicken is high protein and low carb. You can even make it gluten-free and low sugar depending on what kind of bbq sauc eyou choose.

What does this slow cooker pulled chicken taste like?

This slow cooker pulled chicken is flavored with your favorite bbq sauce. So, it will ultimately take on the flavor of the sauce you use.

pulled chicken on bun with bbq sauce

How to Make Pulled BBQ Chicken Crock Pot

We’re going to teach you how to make bbq pulled chicken in the crock pot. Secret: it’s so easy! We’re also sharing some serving suggestions including side pairings and ways to eat it.

Dry Rub

It all starts with a rub. If you’re looking to get the most flavor out of your pulled chicken, we highly recommend NOT skipping this step. Giving your chicken breasts a nice spicy rub down before slow cooking will give it so much flavor later on.

For this rub, we used some basic spices. Here’s what you need:

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
chicken breast in slow cooker with spices

Cook Chicken in Slow Cooker

Next up, it’s time to add some BBQ sauce to the top of your chicken breast and slow cook! We have a delicious homemade BBQ sauce on FFF, but you can use whatever kind you like.

When cooking chicken in the slow cooker it’s all about low and slow. We have two cooking options for you. Slow cook your pulled chicken on…

High for 2 hours

Low for around 4-6 

Do I need to add any liquid to my slow cooker with the chicken?

You do not HAVE to add any other liquid to your slow cooker because the chicken will give off a lot of moisture. However, we like to add a few tablespoons of water or broth for added moisture.

Shred Chicken

Once the chicken is fully cooked and 165ºF, shred your chicken breast right in the slow cooker with 2 forks. Make sure to keep the excess liquid in the slow cooker as this will keep things moist and delicious.

We like using 2 forks to shred our chicken, but many people like to place their cooked chicken breast into a hand mixer and shred that way!

shredding bbq chicken in crock pot

Add More Sauce

Once your chicken has been pulled, it’s time to add more bbq sauce. No one likes dry bbq pulled chicken. Add about 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup more of bbq sauce and mix everything together!

We also added a touch of vinegar because it really brings out the delicious flavor of the bbq sauce. Option to add a vinegar-based hot sauce OR pickle juice instead!

Eat it

Our favorite way to eat slow cooker pulled chicken is as a sandwich with all the fixings. Here’s what you need for what’s photographed:

  • Homemade slaw: buy your favorite premade slaw mix and add onion, pickle juice, lime, and salt.
  • Pickles: Pickles make the world go round. A few rounds will really make this sammie!
  • Chips: Because everyone loves a crunch, serve your pulled chicken sandwich next to a handful of your favorite chips.
homemade kale slaw

Serving Suggestions

Whether you’re making bbq pulled chicken sandwiches or using this chicken in a bowl, you’re going to want to serve it with some delicious healthy sides! Here are some suggestions:

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken Q’s

Can you put raw chicken in a slow cooker? Yes! And, in fact, we recommend only putting raw, thawed chicken in your slow cooker. Check out our crockpot shredded chicken recipe.

Can you overcook chicken in a slow cooker? You can absolutely overcook chicken in the slow cooker. Typically (depending on how thick your chicken breast is), chicken will be fully cooked in the slow cooker on…

  • high for 2 hours
  • low for 4-6 hours

Can you put frozen chicken in a slow cooker? We do NOT recommend putting frozen chicken in a slow cooker. This is due to food safety. No one wants to get foodborne illness from uncooked chicken! If you want to cook frozen chicken, we suggest doing this in your Instant Pot.

Can you freeze pulled bbq chicken? Yes, you can freeze pulled chicken once it’s cooked. Place it in a large gallon-sized bag and remove as much air as possible. Then, seal and place in the freezer for up to 3 months.

What does pulled chicken mean? Pulled chicken is the same thing as shredded chicken. You can find some recipe examples of pulled chicken here: crock pot honey garlic chicken, healthy buffalo chicken, and Thai peanut chicken salad.

What goes with pulled chicken? We love eating BBQ pulled chicken as a sandwich with a homemade slaw and pickles! You can also eat pulled chicken in a meal prep bowl, in a wrap, or as a taco.

slow cooker bbq pulled chicken in basket with chips and slaw

How can I make this recipe healthier?

Good news! For the most part, this BBQ pulled chicken is healthy. It is…

  • low fat (just 4g per serving)
  • high protein (22g per serving)
  • can be lower sugar depending on what BBQ sauce you use.

So? What can make this even healthier? Use a bbq sauce that is lower in sugar or consider making your own bbq sauce (such as this one that uses maple syrup) at home so you can monitor exactly what’s in it!

Remember, “healthy” is all about balance!

pulled bbq chicken on bun with chips

pulled bbq chicken

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken (Easy Pulled Chicken Crock Pot Recipe)

An easy pulled chicken crock pot recipe made with bbq sauce! Make this saucy slow cooker bbq pulled chicken for your next get togethering or party.

Prep: 15 minutesCook: 2 hoursTotal: 2 hours 15 minutes

Fat 4

Carbs 9

Protein 22

Yield 46 1x


Crockpot BBQ Chicken

  • 11.5 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2/3 cup bbq sauce, divided
  • 3 tablespoons water or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


  • 2 cups favorite slaw mix
  • 1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon pickle juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
  • salt, to taste


  • 4 hamburger buns of choice
  • 1/4 cup bbq sauce (or more to taste)
  • pickles, to taste


Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken

  1. First, prepare your crockpot bbq chicken. Mix together chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Then, season both sides of your chicken breasts.
  2. Spray the bottom of your crockpot with nonstick cooking spray and then add your chicken breasts.
  3. Pour about 1/3 cup of bbq sauce on top of your chicken breasts (save the rest for later) and then add 3 tablespoons of water. Cover slow cooker.
  4. Let cook for around 2-3 hours on high for 4-6 hours on low.
  5. Once the chicken has fully cooked and reached an internal temperature of 165ºF, use 2 forks to shred.
  6. Keep the liquid from the chicken and bbq sauce in the crockpot and add about 1/3 cup more bbq sauce and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. Mix sauce and shredded chicken until everything is coated.

Slaw & Sandwiches

  1. Next, prepare slaw by mixing together all slaw ingredients.
  2. Put together your bbq chicken sandwiches by placing a generous amount of slaw on the bottom of your bun and then about 1/4 lb. of the shredded chicken. Add about 1 tablespoon more of bbq sauce (or more, if desired), and a few pickles. Put the top on your chicken sandwich and enjoy!

Tips & Notes

  • Nutrition information is JUST for the slow cooker pulled chicken using Annie’s Original BBQ Sauce.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1/4
Calories: 162
Sugar: 6
Fat: 4
Carbohydrates: 9
Fiber: 0
Protein: 22

Author: Lee FunkeCategory: Main MealMethod: Slow CookerCuisine: American

Keywords: slow cooker pulled chicken

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