Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

$8.34 recipe / $2.09 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.82 from 11 votes
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This is the time of year when I start to avoid turning on the oven at all costs. So what’s for dinner when it’s too hot to cook? Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken! You can have this tasty chicken in the slow cooker doing its own thing while you’re enjoying a lazy summer day. Plus, unlike a hot oven, the slow cooker won’t make your AC work overtime. ;)

Overhead view of shredded BBQ chicken in a slow cooker with tongs.

This slow cooker BBQ chicken is almost too easy to be true. Just add some seasonings to boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cover them with your favorite BBQ sauce, and press go. A few hours later, the chicken is tender, tangy, so saucy, and delicious!

What Size Slow Cooker to Use

My slow cooker is about 5 quarts and it was only about ¼ full, so you could definitely use a smaller cooker if you want, but I wouldn’t go any larger. Some slow cookers need to be filled a minimum amount to avoid cracking, so make sure to check your owner’s manual first.

What Kind of BBQ Sauce to Use

You can literally use any type of BBQ sauce for this chicken. I tested the recipe using a very basic and inexpensive BBQ sauce just to make sure it was still delicious on a budget, but you could certainly ramp it up by using a fancier BBQ Sauce. You can also play around with different flavors of BBQ sauce, like smoky, honey, pineapple, spicy, etc.

Close up of tongs holding pulled BBQ Chicken.

How Do You Serve Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken?

The classic way to serve this chicken is on a bun, like a classic BBQ chicken sandwich. Make sure to add some coleslaw and pickles to make it extra delish! But you can also use this BBQ chicken for tacos, pizza, bowl meals, on a baked potato or sweet potato, on nachos, or even on a salad.

What to Serve with Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

Whenever I make BBQ anything I always opt for the classic comfort food sides like potato salad, Coleslaw, mac and cheese, three bean salad, Fried Cabbage, or Cowboy Caviar.

Side view of a BBQ Chicken Sandwich.
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Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

4.82 from 11 votes
Seasoned chicken breast and tangy BBQ sauce are slow cooked until tender and delicious. Perfect for sandwiches, nachos, pizza, and more.
Side view of Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken in the slow cooker with tongs.
Servings 4 1 cup each
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 2 hours 30 minutes
Total 2 hours 40 minutes



  • Combine the smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Sprinkle the seasoning over both sides of the chicken breasts.
  • Place the chicken breasts in the slow cooker, then pour the BBQ sauce over top making sure the chicken is fully covered.
  • Place a lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 2.5 hours or low for 4-5 hours.
  • After cooking, use two forks to shred the chicken. If the chicken does not easily pull apart with the forks, let it cook a little longer.
  • Serve the pulled BBQ chicken on a bun, on nachos, over a baked potato, on pizza, or with your favorite meal.

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Calories: 393kcalCarbohydrates: 53gProtein: 33gFat: 5gSodium: 1777mgFiber: 2g
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Side view of Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken in the slow cooker with tongs.

How to Make Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken – Step by Step Photos

Seasoned chicken breasts on an orange cutting board.

Combine 2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle the seasoning mix over both sides of two boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.3 lbs. total).

BBQ sauce being poured over chicken in the slow cooker.

Place the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker and pour one 18oz. bottle of BBQ sauce over the chicken, making sure it’s fully covered.

Cooked chicken in the slow cooker.

Place the lid on the slow cooker on cook on high for 2.5 hours or low for 4-5 hours.

Chicken being shredded with forks in the slow cooker.

Use two forks to shred the chicken. If the chicken doesn’t pull apart easily, you can let it cook a little longer.

Finished Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken in the slow cooker.

Give the chicken a good stir to make sure it’s all well coated in BBQ sauce, then it’s ready to serve!

Side view of shredded bbq chicken in a slow cooker.

Now I need a plate full of BBQ Chicken Nachos. 🤤

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    1. This is one recipe where we really do prefer breast, but you could definitely use thighs in a pinch.

  1. This is my go-to website for feeding my family of 5 (including two older teenage boys) without going broke or getting a second job! Everything I have made from Budget Bytes has been a HUGE HIT with the whole family! I tried this recipe tonight and my husband went back for THIRDS!!! He is the chef in the family and even he said he thought my bbq is better than his! This will be in frequent rotation in my house. I doubled the recipe and used Country Bob’s original sauce, although next time, I will use less sauce.

  2. I made this last weekend and doubled everything in an 8qt crockpot, I added a half cup of chicken broth before anything else and used Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory & Brown Sugar BBQ sauce on slow for 4.5 hours, and it was a hit!
    Today I have used 1 cup of chicken broth, 5.5lbs of boneless chicken breast and have it set for 5 hours on slow but will add more time if needed.
    We absolutely love it and thank you for the recipe!

  3. LOVE this recipe! Made it for the first time last week, and making it again a week later. One of my new go-tos for a quick easy meal.

  4. 4 boneless skinless chicken breast, doubled all dry ingredients. Cleaned out my bbq sauces, sonny’s original, stubs spicy, and kc masterpiece. 5 1/2 hours on low. Turned out amazing!!

  5. I couldn’t find chicken breasts that big and just wanted to use what I had on hand. Which was a bunch of smaller breasts totaling about 2lbs. But I should’ve reduced the cooking time cause they ended up a bit too tough and hard to shred. It was still pretty good but next time I’ll know better. Also I’ll do less bbq sauce cause 18 oz, even for 2 lbs of chicken, was a bit much. Served on brioche buns with the creamy coleslaw which was great. Super easy recipe.

  6. Mine just turned into thin watery liquid. So when I took out the chicken breasts it was not coated in the bbq sauce. D just all watered down bbq sauce 🤷🏻‍♀️

    1. I’ve had this happen on a different recipe 😅
      I just add a cornstarch slurry to thicken things up :)

  7. Great! Perfect ratios made for delicious pulled chicken sandwiches. Love the coleslaw dressing too! Next time I’m trying pickles in addition. I used Stubbs spicy bbq sauce- delicious, in my opinion. I used brioche hamburger buns too.

  8. So delicious and easy! Perfect for a weeknight dinner. I used Rufus Teague Touch O’Heat BBQ sauce and paired it with coleslaw for an amazing dinner – husband loved it! Thank you.