Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken


Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken is always a hit and made completely hands-off using your slow cooker, chicken breast, a few spice, and bbq sauce.

pulled chicken on bun with chips

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

Season chicken breast with a dry rub and then add some bbq sauce to the bottom of your slow cooker. Place the chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Once fully cooked, shred the chicken and toss with more bbq sauce.

What is in slow cooker pulled chicken?

It all starts with a chicken dry rub. If you’re looking to get the most flavor out of your pulled chicken, we highly recommend NOT skipping this step. Our rub is made with chili powder, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.

In addition to the spice blend, you need boneless, skinless chicken breasts, your favorite bbq sauce, and a little chicken broth.

chicken breast in slow cooker with spices

How long to cook slow cooker pulled chicken?

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…

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.

shredding bbq chicken in crock pot

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 or low for 4 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.

homemade kale slaw

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.

Is pulled chicken in the crock pot healthy?

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!

slow cooker bbq pulled chicken in basket with chips and slaw
pulled bbq chicken on bun with chips

Serving Suggestions

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.

This crock pot 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, and the list goes on!

Crockpot BBQ Chicken

  • 1 – 1.5 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

  • 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.

    A person is seasoning and slow cooking chicken in a slow cooker for pulled chicken.

  • Spray the bottom of your crockpot with nonstick cooking spray and then add your chicken breasts.

  • 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.

  • Let cook for around 2-3 hours on high for 4-6 hours on low.

  • Once the chicken has fully cooked and reached an internal temperature of 165ºF, use 2 forks to shred.

  • 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.

    A person prepares slow cooker pulled chicken by pouring sauce over it.

Slaw & Sandwiches

  • Next, prepare slaw by mixing together all slaw ingredients.

  • 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!

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

Calories: 162kcal Carbohydrates: 9g Protein: 22g Fat: 4g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 6g

About Lee Funke

Lee is the founder of Fit Foodie Finds and based in Minneapolis, MN. She started this website in 2010 as a way to share her love for real food and wellness. The internet has changed so much since then and so has Fit Foodie Finds. Today we’re a female-run recipe website publishing hundreds of tried and true recipes developed and tested by our team.

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