Any protein that comes packed with this much flavor and only requires 5 minutes of prep belongs on your weeknight dinnertime roster! Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken is downright addictive thanks to shreds of perfectly cooked, juicy chicken coated in a savory-sweet BBQ sauce.
With this recipe, your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce gets a homemade makeover with a few simple ingredients and spices for a magical flavor combination that can't be beat. All you have to do is throw everything in the crockpot and shred it when it's done cooking! The slow cooker does all the work for you.
Use this recipe to make chicken sandwiches one night and BBQ quesadillas or Cowboy Tostadas the next! It's perfect for family dinners and great for entertaining! Need more slow cooker inspiration? Bookmark our Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Tacos or Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork for next time!
HOW TO MAKE SLOW COOKER PULLED CHICKEN
- Make the Sauce | Add BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, and spices to your crockpot and stir to combine.
- Cook the Chicken | Add the chicken breasts, cover, and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.
- Shred and Eat! | Transfer the chicken breasts to a work surface and use two forks to shred them. Return the shredded chicken to the crockpot, stir, and serve!
HOW LONG TO COOK SLOW COOKER PULLED CHICKEN
If you're cooking the chicken on the low setting of your slow cooker, you can cook it for 4 to 6 hours.
If you'd like to get the job done a little quicker, cook it on the high setting. On the high setting, the chicken should cook through in a 2 to 4 hour range.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN THE CHICKEN IS DONE
The best way to determine whether or not your chicken is done is by using an instant-read thermometer. Insert the thermometer in the center-most point of the chicken breast. Once it reads a temperature of 165°F your Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken is ready to eat!
Another way of determining if the chicken is ready is by color. Both the color of the chicken breast itself and the juices are indicators.
The interior of the chicken breast should be completely white, with no pink showing. As for the juices, once the chicken has been sliced into, the juices that run from the interior of the breast should be clear, not red or pink.
CAN YOU OVERCOOK CHICKEN IN THE SLOW COOKER?
Yes. Chicken can easily overcook in the slow cooker. Some slow cookers may take longer to come to temperature, while others may cook extra hot and stay hot throughout the duration of the cook time.
It's best to check the doneness of your chicken on the lower end of the time spectrum to make sure you don't overcook it.
WAYS TO SHRED CHICKEN
Here are three easy methods for shredding chicken:
- Use Two Forks | This is probably the most popular method for shredding chicken. Use one fork to keep the chicken in place and the other to pull it into shreds.
- By Hand | Sometimes, your hands really are the best tools and unsurprisingly, they're pretty great for shredding chicken. The only downfalls to this method when it comes to BBQ Pulled Chicken? It's a bit messy and you'll have to wait until that chicken is cool enough to handle.
- Stand Mixer | If patience isn't your strongsuit, your really going to like the stand mixer method. All you have to do is put those chicken breasts directly into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and begin mixing on low. As the chicken starts to break apart, you can increase the speed to medium-high and continue mixing until the chicken is completely pulled apart.
SLOW COOKER PULLED CHICKEN INGREDIENTS
Chicken | We prefer boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe, as it shreds nicely and let's that BBQ flavor shine. However, if you'd rather use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, they will work as well. Thighs have great flavor and have a tendency to stay "moister" but they don't pull quite as nicely as chicken breasts.
BBQ Sauce | You'll want to choose a BBQ sauce on the thicker side for this recipe, as thinner sauce won't cling to the meat as well. Stubbs Sweet Heat Bar-B-Q Sauce is a great option.
Worcestershire Sauce | Worcestershire sauce is a powerful ingredient for adding a punch of flavor to just about any meat dish. It adds a nice robust savory quality, with undertones of molasses and vinegar, and it's a quick and easy ingredient for immediately elevating your Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken!
Vinegar | Apple cider vinegar has a nice, fruity quality (mainly apple) to it, and as far as that vinegary "bite" goes, this one's pretty mild. It's just right for adding a welcomed pop of acidity to BBQ Pulled chicken.
Seasoning | As for the seasoning, we kept the spice list pretty simple, and you'll likely find everything you need already in your spice cabinet! Salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder does the trick just fine.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH SLOW COOKER PULLED CHICKEN SANDWICHES
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HOW TO STORE THE LEFTOVERS
You can keep your leftover Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVER BBQ PULLED CHICKEN
When it comes to BBQ pulled chicken leftovers, you can get really creative.
Use it on these Cowboy Tostadas topped with Monterey Jack cheese, sliced red onions, and an extra drizzle of BBQ Sauce! You could also make quesadillas, sliders, nachos, or even tacos!
5 MORE SLOW COOKER RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Crock Pot Chicken Legs
- Slow Cooker Spare Ribs
- Crock Pot Chicken and Rice
- Crock Pot Chicken Enchiladas
- Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings
Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken takes just 5 minutes to prep and is downright addictive thanks to shreds of perfectly cooked, juicy chicken coated in savory-sweet BBQ sauce!
- ¾ cup favorite store-bought BBQ Sauce
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2-3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Combine the BBQ sauce, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
Add the chicken breasts, cover, and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or on high for 2-4 hours.
Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the slow cooker and transfer it to a work surface. Let it rest for about 10 minutes. Then, shred it using two forks.
Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker, stir, and serve!