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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
Crockpot Pulled Chicken
- 3 pounds chicken breasts boneless/skinless
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve with slaw, barbecue sauce, cheese, pickles, mustard, or your other favorite toppings if you are so inclined.