5-ingredient Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken is meltingly tender and an easy way to create a delicious hands-off meal
Turn this zesty chicken into a sandwich by piling it high on a bun and topping it with our Asian Coleslaw for a cool twist
The magic of the slow cooker is that you can prep everything in the morning and have dinner ready without much hassle. Win-win, right? This one takes just 15 minutes of prep time!
There are only 5 basic ingredients for this crockpot BBQ chicken recipe and you probably have them in your refrigerator and pantry right now.
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Ingredients for Pulled Chicken:
- BBQ Sauce – pick your favorite brand or make our 15-minute Homemade BBQ Sauce
- Garlic Cloves – we use 3 cloves but add a few more if you love garlic
- Cumin – this spice has an earthy flavor and is a great flavor boost
- Chili Powder – this is where the kick of spice comes in but you can tone it down by adding a little less if desired
- Chicken Breasts – 2 pounds of boneless and skinless breasts
If making Pulled Chicken Sandwiches or Pulled Chicken Sliders add:
- 6 large or 12 slider buns
- Asian Coleslaw with Peanut Dressing
How to make Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken:
This recipe is super simple with just a few steps:
- Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together in a bowl
- Place whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts in the slow cooker
- Pour the BBQ Sauce mixture over the chicken and make sure it is well-covered
- Put the cover on the slow cooker
- If you have all day you can cook the chicken on low for about 8 hours, but if time is an issue it can be cooked on high for 4 hours
- Once the chicken is finished cooking (165˚F recommended), and tender, take it out of the slow cooker and shred it on a cutting board using two forks to pull it apart
- Return the shredded chicken back to the slow cooker, mix it thoroughly with the sauce, and heat for another 15 minutes. If needed, add more BBQ sauce.
- Serve as is or as sandwiches or sliders
Different ways to use Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken:
My favorite way to eat this chicken is to create a pulled chicken slider or sandwich topped with our cool Asian Coleslaw.
- Start with a bun that is sturdy enough to hold both the chicken and the slaw. I like a poppy seed, sesame seed, or an onion bun, but whole wheat works well too.
- Top the shredded chicken with about 1/3 cup of Asian Coleslaw. The flavors really meld well together.
Other Variation Ideas:
- If you don’t want to use a bun you could also wrap this amazing chicken up in a big piece of sturdy lettuce for a tasty chicken lettuce wrap
- Put it right on your plate and top it with any coleslaw!
- Use the chicken as the protein base in a rice bowl
- Make a burrito or use the mix in tacos or nachos
Storing leftover Pulled Chicken:
FREEZER: Pulled chicken freezes very well which makes it great for meal prep. Be sure to let it cool completely, then separate it into serving sizes that work for you, and store tightly sealed in the freezer for up to 3 months.
REFRIGERATOR: Store in a sealed container for up to 3 days
Suggestions for beverage pairing:
- Our Spicy Mango Margarita or refreshing Paloma Cocktail are both great matches
- Asian beer is a great accompaniment for a pulled chicken sandwich
- Light to medium-bodied Chenin Blanc or Rose is a good contrast to the sweet and salty flavors in the BBQ sauce
Other easy main dishes to try:
- Asian Baked Chicken
- Sheet Pan Salmon
- Skirt Steak with Mustard Sauce
- Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes
Perfect side dishes to pair with pulled chicken
- Refreshing Citrus Salad is a light side
- Try our zesty Black Bean and Corn Salad
- An easy Grilled Caesar Salad adds a smoky touch to dinner
- Grilled Corn with Sweet Chili Sauce adds a spicy touch to match the chicken
Read more about making the perfect Shredded Chicken, which is a great technique to have on hand!
Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken
- Slow Cooker or Crock Pot
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 -2 Tablespoon chili powder (depending on the spice level wanted)
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 pounds chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
- 1 cup water
Optional for Sandwich:
- 6 large buns, such as poppy seed, onion or sesame seed
- 2 cups Asian coleslaw, See recipe link below
- In medium bowl, whisk BBQ sauce, garlic, cumin, chili powder and water.
Slow Cooker Directions:
- In a 4-6 quart slow cooker add whole chicken breasts and cover with BBQ mixture.
- Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours, or until chicken is very tender. (chicken pieces should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165℉)
- Transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board. Shred the chicken by pulling it apart with 2 forks and then add the chicken back into the slow cooker, stirring to combine with the sauce, and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve.
To Make Sandwiches
- Prepare your favorite Asian slaw or use our recipe for Asian Coleslaw with Peanut Dressing
- Serve shredded chicken on buns and top with about 1/3 cup slaw.
- Use boneless pork instead of chicken
- Use small rolls, such as Hawaiian Rolls, to make 12 sliders