This easy slow cooker barbecue chicken is coated in a flavorful spice rub and then goes into your crockpot with barbecue sauce to cook until it’s tender and juicy. It’s perfect for a weeknight dinner or easy entertaining!
There’s certainly no lack of cooking gadgets out there these days. Air fryers, instant pots, sous vide machines, and probably ten more that I don’t even know about. Honestly I don’t have any of those and don’t really have any desire too. I’ll just stick to my stovetop, oven, and slow cooker for now.
Slow cookers or perhaps you call it a crock pot, are great if you want to cook something for multiple hours and not have to worry about checking on it. I love to use mine to make soups and chili, like this reader favorite slow cooker buffalo chicken chili.
Another meal I love to use my slow cooker for is slow cooker barbecue chicken. Not only is shredded barbecue chicken great for game day, parties, and large gatherings, but it’s a great way to cook once and have multiple meals ready during the week.
Ingredients For Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken
- boneless skinless chicken breasts
- chili powder
- smoked paprika
- garlic powder
- granulated onion
- apple cider vinegar
- barbecue sauce
How To Make Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken
This recipe couldn’t be easier to make. Start by combining the chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, granulated onion, salt and pepper together. Sprinkle the dry rub evenly over both sides of the chicken breasts.
Place the chicken breasts in the slow cooker, in a single layer if possible. Pour in the apple cider vinegar and about a 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce.
Use a silicone spatula or something similar to spread the barbecue sauce out over the chicken. Cover the slow cooker with the lid and set it to low. The chicken will need to cook for about 3-5 hours depending on the size and quality of your slow cooker.
What To Serve With Crockpot Barbecue Chicken
Most salads and side dishes will go great with bbq chicken, but here are a few of my favorites.
- Black Bean and Corn Salsa Salad
- Tomato Corn Pasta Salad
- Crunchy Thai Cucumber Salad
- Herb Roasted Potatoes with Blue Cheese
- Everything Bagel Roasted Potatoes
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Despite many crock pot recipes saying “set it and forget it”, that’s not entirely true. I’ve let chicken breasts cook in the slow cooker for over 6 hours and have found that it gets way too dried out.
If you’re unsure if your chicken is cooked through, simply use a meat thermometer to test it in the thickest part. It should read 165° F.
Yes. You can use boneless skinless chicken thighs in place of boneless skinless chicken breasts or use a combination of both. They both should cook in a similar amount of time.
If you choose to use bone in chicken breasts or thigh, be sure to remove the skin before putting them in the slow cooker. It won’t get crispy. They will also take longer to cook, likely 6+ hours depending on the size of the chicken, quantity, and type of slow cooker you are using.
I used this 6 quart KitchenAid slow cooker. It’s on the larger side, but it allows 3 pounds of chicken breasts to lay in a single layer and cook in approximately 3-3.5 hours. You can of course use a smaller size, but your cooking time may differ.
What Kind Of Barbecue Sauce Should I Use?
Use whatever your favorite brand of barbecue sauce is. I like to use the Whole Foods Texas True barbecue sauce. It’s not overly sweet and has a spicy kick to it.
Ways To Use Leftover Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken
- Make barbecue chicken sandwiches like I did in the photos.
- Use it on top of pizza and make a barbecue chicken pizza.
- A filling for tacos or burritos.
- Make these barbecue chicken quinoa bowls.
- Freeze it and use it when you have a busy day and don’t have time to cook.
More Slow Cooker Recipes
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Slow Cooker Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Slow Cooker Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese Soup
- Slow Cooker Italian Turkey Chili
- Slow Cooker Korean Pork Tacos
- 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
- In a small bowl combine the spices, salt and pepper. Sprinkle evenly over both sides of the chicken then place the chicken in the slow cooker in a single layer if possible.
- Pour the apple cider vinegar and a 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce over the chicken. Spread the sauce evenly over the top. Place the lid on the slow cooker and set it to low. Cook for 3-5 hours or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165° F.
- Shred the chicken and add in the remaining barbecue sauce. Stir everything together and keep your slow cooker on warm until ready to serve. Add additional barbecue sauce as needed.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 377Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 690mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 18gProtein: 53g
Nutritional information is an estimate. Please consult a registered dietician for the most accurate nutritional information.