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BBQ Pulled Chicken

Tender BBQ Pulled Chicken delivers big, bold, smoky flavors without taking up space on the grill or heating up the oven. It’s fantastic for meal prep and gatherings.

BBQ Pulled Chicken on buns
Easy Barbecue Pulled Chicken, Juicy and Tender

The Easiest, Most Tender BBQ Pulled Chicken

In these midwestern parts, the season has finagled its way from winter to suddenly summer. Each year, without fail, everyone is beyond ecstatic for warm, sunny days and campfire nights.

Like countless others, we’ll be firing up the grill for boldly flavorful burgers and everything else that comes with an outdoor barbecue splurge. Without missing a beat, this BBQ Pulled Chicken delivers all the flavor, with no need for grill space nor oven heat. You’ll find it refreshingly convenient that this barbecue pulled chicken only asks for a few hands-off hours in your slow cooker.

Round out your picnic, cookout, or family meal by serving up these super easy Brown Sugar Baked Beans and this fan-favorite Red Potato Salad Ranch Salad.

BBQ Pulled Chicken on buns
Perfect for meal prep and gatherings

Make it in advance for meal prep

This Smoky BBQ Pulled Chicken is one of my favorite ways to add to any casual party, as well as weekly meal prep for the family.  No oven and no competing for grill space.  This pulled chicken, like our no-fail Perfect Pulled Pork, is fully done up in the slow cooker. It could not be easier.

Gather your ingredients. Toss it all in your slow cooke. Let it go…hands-free, carefree, and you’re set  You’ll be rewarded with the most flavorful, tender, and juicy pulled chicken. All the Serve it in the bun, in a salad, or in a wrap.

For meal prep, make a big batch and separate into containers for the week. I often prep mine the night before, and just turn the slow cooker on the next morning.Then mix up your presentation each meal by serving it in buns, in a barbecue style salad, in a wrap, or even a bowl. It’s a winner no matter how you serve it up.

Barbecue pulled chicken on buns
Serve in buns, with chips, or a crisp salad

More to Cook and Eat:

Try this Slow Cooker Pork Loin, Too

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

BBQ Pulled Chicken on buns

Smoky BBQ Pulled Chicken

4.95 from 17 ratings
This slow cooker recipe results in superbly tender, juicy, and succulent pulled chicken with just the right amount of smoky flavor.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Servings: 10
Author: Amy Dong


Optional Serving Suggestions

  • Buns or sandwich rolls, pickles, or coleslaw


  • Combine all ingredients except chicken in a bowl. Mix sauce ingredients well. Sauce can be made well ahead of time and kept in fridge until ready to use.
  • Thoroughly dry chicken pieces with paper towels. Combine chicken with sauce and place in slow cooker. Cook 2 1/2 to 3 hours on High, or 5 1/2 to 6 hours on Low.
  • Carefully remove chicken from slow cooker with tongs. Keep slow cooker lid on and keep sauce warm. Gently pull chicken apart with forks, but not too finely.
  • Return shredded chicken into slow cooker. Toss well to make sure chicken is fully coated in sauce. Add more BBQ sauce if needed. Cook another 30-45 minutes on High. Keep warm until ready to serve.
  • Toast buns or sandwich rolls and serve with pickles or coleslaw, if desired.


  • We highly recommend using chicken thighs, as they produce much more tender results than chicken breasts would. If you’d really like to use chicken breasts, we suggest using 50/50 along with chicken thighs.
  • We like Sweet Baby Ray’s honey barbecue sauce for this recipe, but feel free to use your favorite brand. 
Tips for Meal Prep: 
    • Entire slow cooker can be prepared the night before and kept in the fridge until ready to cook. Keep in mind that if you’re starting with a cold slow cooker and cold ingredients, you’ll need to increase cook time a bit. 
    • Leftovers can be stored in fridge for up to several days, or frozen for up to a month. 

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 246kcal | Carbohydrates: 30.2g | Protein: 12.5g | Fat: 8.3g | Saturated Fat: 1.5g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 880.9mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24.3g
Course: Dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free
Method: Slow Cooker

Add a comment

Recipe Rating


    • Callie Cribley

    Have you ever used this recipe with a pork shoulder? I’m mostly curious about the cook time …I’ve got 7lbs and I believe cooking it on low for 6-8 would be sufficient to cook it through.

      • Amy Dong

      Here’s our recipe for BBQ Pulled Pork, using slow cooker – hope you love it!

    • Janelle
    • 5 stars

    Best Recipe I’ve made so far my family loved it, I used a chipotle bbq sauce to had a bit of heat to it.

    • Chris David
    • 5 stars

    I’ve made this countless times!!! Absolutely fantastic!!

    • Loreto and Nicoletta
    • 5 stars

    What a perfect summer grilling meal. The chicken looks so tender and my mouth is watering thinking of the BBQ sauce. Thanks for sharing, it looks and sounds scrumptious, I am grabing a stack of napkins! This could get madsy!

    • Hayley Dhanecha
    • 5 stars

    I’m sharing this recipe link with my friend who loves chicken, such gorgeous flavours and perfect for any bbq get together!

    • Silvia
    • 5 stars

    Omg! so easy to make and it turned out delicious. We ate it on tacos, added fresh cilantro and salsa, the perfect family dinner.

      • chewoutloud

      SO happy you all enjoyed it!

    • Jacqueline Debono
    • 5 stars

    This is such a great way to enjoy chicken. I have made pulled pork sandwiches but never chicken. Don’t know why but you’ve inspired me to try it. Looks delicous!

    • Veronika Sykorova
    • 5 stars

    This bbq pulled chicken sandwich looks so good and juicy! Can’t wait to give it a try!

      • chewoutloud

      Thanks, Veronika!

    • Kate
    • 5 stars

    My pulled chicken turned out perfectly smoky and succulent. Loved every bit of it!

      • chewoutloud

      Super happy to hear it!

    • veenaazmanov
    • 5 stars

    Thanks for such an easy and delicious recipe. Looks so yum and flavorful.

    • Colleen
    • 5 stars

    This was a delicious change from just grilled chicken. Everyone loved these sandwiches. Thank you!

    • Sonia Seivwright

    My mouth watered as soon as I saw the photos. Very juicy recipe.

    • Angela Christianson

    Pulled pork is delish and these look simply mouth-watering! (beautiful photos!!) I always love finding other Midwestern bloggers 🙂

    • recipesforsustenance

    This looks good. Just pinned it. Can’t wait to try it.

    • ohiocook
    • 5 stars

    Reblogged this on My Meals are on Wheels.

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