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Crockpot Pulled Chicken is quick and easy to throw together for a weeknight meal. Pile this barbecue pulled chicken on a sandwich with your favorite toppings for a filling and satisfying dinner.

Sesame bun topped with crockpot pulled chicken, set on a white plate.

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Apparently Alex and I became Facebook friends 9 years ago today, or so the app reminded me when I logged on this morning.

So it seems appropriate that I am resharing one of the very first recipes that he ever developed, back when we were first living together in our tiny Chicago apartment.

Those days feel like both 5 minutes ago and a lifetime ago, depending on the moment. Back then, he was working as a personal trainer, I was working for a PR firm, and it was just the two of us and our two cats.

Almost a decade later, we’ve been living in our house in Central Illinois for 6+ years, we spend our days chasing after our precious 2-year-old daughter and our four animals, he has been working in a restaurant kitchen for years, and I have transitioned into food writing and blogging full time after a number of job/career changes.

Bun piled high with crockpot pulled chicken and coleslaw and set on a white plate.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, really.

But despite the many life changes, some things remain the same: we still love getting in the kitchen together. I still swoon when he makes dinner (because the irony of being a food blogger is that I’m usually too exhausted to want to). And his recipes are still solid as ever.

This crockpot pulled chicken is a dinner Alex threw together one night all those years ago and is still a recipe we turn to when we need something quick and easy. 

Ingredients for crockpot pulled chicken sauce arranged on a marble countertop.

SLOW COOKER PULLED CHICKEN SANDWICHES

When the weather gets hot, Alex absolutely protests turning on the oven.

I mean, I can’t really blame him. We live in an old house and our postage-stamp-sized kitchen does heat up quickly when the oven is going.

But that means that recipes like homemade chicken pot pie or garlic chicken have to wait for cooler weather. Instead, we turn to recipes we can throw on the grill or in the slow cooker.

Sauce for crockpot pulled chicken being whisked together in a metal bowl.

These crockpot pulled chicken sandwiches absolutely fit that bill. We can toss the ingredients in the slow cooker and have dinner ready to go within a few hours, all without heating up the kitchen in the process.

We love to top our pulled chicken sandwiches with a simple coleslaw for some crunch, along with cheese and pickles (or even pickled cucumbers). 

But feel free to top these sandwiches however you’d like! Some more barbecue sauce or mustard would be great. You could even turn this pulled chicken into a wrap if you wanted.

Slow cooked barbecue chicken breasts in a metal bowl with metal tongs.

HOW TO MAKE CROCKPOT PULLED CHICKEN

You won’t believe how easy it is to make this pulled chicken. It’ll absolutely become your new weeknight go-to recipe!

Ingredients you’ll need

The first time Alex made this recipe, he threw it together using only ingredients we already had in the fridge or pantry. This recipe uses:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: I’m not usually a huge fan of chicken breasts, but because they get slow cooked in the sauce here, they don’t get dry at all. You can absolutely swap for boneless, skinless chicken thighs if you prefer, though.
  • Barbecue sauce: Use your favorite barbecue sauce! I like one that is a bit sweeter, but use one with more of a vinegar tang if that’s what you love.
  • Ketchup: A bit of plain ol’ ketchup adds a lot of flavor and tang to this chicken.
  • Cider vinegar: We love apple cider vinegar in this house and add it to so many things for a bit of tanginess.
  • Worcestershire sauce: My husband is obsessed with Worcestershire sauce. It adds so much depth and umami flavor to anything you put it in.
  • Brown sugar: Just a hint of brown sugar for a bit more sweetness.
  • Chopped onion & minced garlic: We always seem to have half an onion hanging around the fridge, and we are never without garlic. Feel free to use frozen diced onion and jarred minced garlic if you need this recipe to be even faster and easier! 
Shredded slow cooked chicken in a metal bowl with a pair of tongs.

Equipment

You don’t need a lot of tools to make this chicken either. Make sure you have:

  • A 3-quart Crockpot – I like to use my 3-quart slow cooker for this recipe, but a larger one will be fine if that’s all you have.
  • A large bowl
  • Tongs or a couple of forks for shredding the chicken

That’s it! And don’t worry about having the fanciest slow cooker around. I still use my plain Jane one I bought at Target fresh out of college. 

Shredded chicken mixed with barbecue sauce in a metal mixing bowl.

Making this recipe

Alright, are you ready to find out how easy it is to make crockpot pulled chicken? 

Toss your chicken in your crockpot. Whisk together all of the other ingredients and pour this sauce over the chicken.

Set your slow cooker to low for 6-8 hours or to high for 2-4 hours. The chicken may cook even faster than this, but it will only get more flavorful as it simmers.

Crockpot pulled chicken on a sesame bun, set next to pickles on a white plate.

When the chicken is done, take it out of the sauce and use a pair of tongs and/or some forks to shred it. Add as much of the cooking liquid to the chicken as you like; you can make it super saucy if you want!

And that’s it. Serve the pulled chicken as sandwiches or a wrap, or even over a salad. Whip up some carrot fries and call it a day!

Crockpot pulled chicken sandwich on a bun, topped with slaw, next to a glass of iced tea.

STORAGE AND FREEZING

Another reason we love making crockpot pulled chicken is that it can either feed a large group of people or we can store leftovers for later if it’s just the three of us for dinner.

You can make the chicken ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or pop it back into the slow cooker on low or warm to heat it through again.

You can also freeze leftover pulled chicken for longer-term storage or quick and easy lunches.

Divide the chicken into cup-size containers and freeze for up to 6 months. Pull out as many servings as you need for a super quick dinner or a weekday lunch.

I hope that this crockpot pulled chicken serves your family as well as it has served ours over the years. Easy dinners to the rescue!

Shredded barbecue chicken on a bun, with iced tea and bowls of chicken and slaw in the background.
Crockpot pulled chicken on a bun, set on a white plate.

Crockpot Pulled Chicken

Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 5 minutes

Crockpot Pulled Chicken is quick and easy to throw together for a weeknight meal. Pile this barbecue pulled chicken on a sandwich with your favorite toppings for a filling and satisfying dinner.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1¼ cups barbecue sauce (use your favorite!)
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in a slow cooker. Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Cook on high for 2½-4 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours.
  2. Remove chicken from slow cooker and shred in a large bowl with tongs and/or forks. Add as much of the cooking liquid as you like to the shredded chicken, stirring to combine. 
  3. Serve with slaw, barbecue sauce, cheese, pickles, mustard, or your other favorite toppings if you are so inclined.

Notes

Feel free to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs in place of the chicken breasts if you prefer.

Nutrition Information
Yield 8
Amount Per ServingCalories 394Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 145mgSodium 805mgCarbohydrates 28gFiber 1gSugar 22gProtein 54g

23 Comments

  1. It may be 6am west coast time, but I’m ready to fire up the ol’ Hulu and watch FNL and TWD! Now that I’ve cylced my way through Grey’s, I’m in serious need of a new obsession. Gimme obsessiiioooooon! Hats off to you for snagging a man who can cook. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his belly, but…uh…the way to my heart is through my belly, too. 😉 Must crock pot barbecue the shhhh out of chicken!

    1. Seriously, you’d love FNL for sure, probably TWD (although sometimes I have to shut my eyes when it gets a little gory). And i’m with you on that belly-heart connection.

  2. We’re always a season (or maybe 3) behind on shows, which sucks because the internet has no sympathy for us and spoilers abound. I guess that’s our punishment for being late. And lame. Also? Nom nom nom.

    1. Yep. I already know what happens in pretty much every show I watch EVER. Except the Bachelor/ette. Because that’s the only thing I get obsessive about when it is actually on the TV.

      Lame. Whoops.

    1. Oh, and yes! Get thee a slow cooker! Post haste! (You could totally do this on the stove, too, I just like being able to walk away and forget about the slow cooker and not have to babysit the stove.)

  3. So jealous that your manfriend cooks, and cooks well (I mean, my dear Elliott, you make really good grilled cheese!). Also I don’t watch either of those shows so I have no idea what you’re talking about, but I am slowly catching up on Revenge and I’M SHOCKED BY ALL THE DRAMA.

    1. I mean, grilled cheese is pretty darn important… 😉

      YES. I watched Revenge over the summer and HOLY DRAMA. Makes your head just spin right round! Also, that dude. SHOOT! What’s his name?? The friend one. With the floppy hair in season 1. Crap. Anyway, love him.

  4. Seriously, I wonder if he can do anything with Daddy? Daddy claims that I am intimidating in the kitchen, which could be partially true. Then and again, at least you have some comfort that if what happened to Daddy ever happened to you, at least you could have something to eat. I have a feeling I’ll have to live on Sweet Sue and Jiffy cornbread (help me!!). Meanwhile, this looks yummy. I’d have to fix some sweet potato fries to go along with this.

      1. I originally was thinking sweet tater fries, but now I’m thinking bourbon baked beans. I didn’t know they made sweet tater tots. Daddy would go wild. Shipping tomorrow for all of this.

  5. Hahaha umm can we trade?? Mine is a pretty good dishwasher but I could definitely use an extra cook 🙂 AND these look fabulous. I want this for dinner tonight.

  6. That is AWESOME. Can he come and give Aaron some lessons, please?! I think this post is a sign, as I just discovered that pulled chicken existed yesterday (a pulled meat recipe that doesn’t take SIX HOURS? Booyah!) and now… here’s a gorgeously glossy recipe on one of my favourite blogs. Yes! Double thumbs up.

  7. I just wanted to leave you a note that I continually come back to this recipe and thought you should know that it is my family’s fave!

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