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Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken is an awesome lighter alternative to other shredded meat recipes such as Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork or beef. It has the rich smokey depth of flavour of the American BBQ style of cooking but with a faster cooking time and lower fat content. It’s also really easy to prepare!

I find the key to making this dish is to use the dark meat of the chicken, my preference being skinless and boneless chicken thighs. They’re slightly fattier than the breast meat and have a tougher consistency, but will soften and shred perfectly once they have been cooked in the sauce over a period of time. Another plus is that thighs tend to be the cheaper cuts of the meat, so it’s great if you are looking to feed en-masse!

What I really love about this recipe is the chicken is cooked in the BBQ sauce. At the end of cooking simply lift the meat out of the slow cooker and you’re left with a pool of lovely rich sauce in the pot. Drizzle the BBQ sauce over the meat for that extra bit of juiciness or, serve in a big jug on the side!

Pulled Chicken in a bun with salsa

How do I serve Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken?

Pulled chicken is delicious in a sandwich with pickled vegetables, which is usually the way I serve it up when it’s hot and fresh out of the pot! I also make a side of fresh and spicy corn and avocado salsa which compliments the flavour brilliantly and adds a splash of colour to the plate.

As an added bonus, BBQ pulled chicken is also really delicious served cold in a soft flour wrap with crunchy salad. So it’s perfect if you are looking for lunch ideas for the next day!

Can I make gluten free Pulled Chicken?

If you’re making gluten free BBQ Pulled Chicken, double check your stock, and use a gluten free brioche replacement.

Slow Cokker BBQ Pulled Chicken bun on a board

How long can I keep leftovers?

Pulled BBQ chicken stays fresh in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 2 days. If you are freezing to eat another day, just add a little more BBQ sauce over the shredded meat before freezing for up to 3 months. The added sauce will keep the meat nice and moist when you defrost and reheat!

Slow Cokker BBQ Pulled Chicken bun on a board

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken is an awesome lighter alternative to other shredded meats. The rich and smokey BBQ flavours are quite literally mouth watering!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 5 hrs
Total Time 5 hrs 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings4 people


Shredded Chicken

  • 600 g chicken thighs skinless and boneless
  • 1 onion white, medium
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tbsp oil vegetable, rapeseed or light olive

BBQ Sauce

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 400 g tomato puree passata
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp sugar dark brown
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • tsp cumin ground
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp salt flakes
  • 0.5 tsp black pepper ground
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper optional extra to increase the heat of the dish

To Serve

  • Brioche buns replace with gluten free alternative if required


BBQ Sauce

  • Soften an onion in a little oil over a medium heat, after a couple of minutes add 3 cloves of crushed garlic and reduce the heat to low.
  • Add the tomato paste, cumin, paprika and smoked paprika and stir through with the garlic and onions.
  • Stir in the tomato puree, sugar, syrup, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, chilli powder and salt and black pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally then set aside.

Shredded Chicken

  • Roughly slice an onion and 2 cloves of crushed garlic and place in the slow cooker, drizzle with 1 tbsp of oil. Lightly season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and add amongst the onion and garlic.
  • Pour over the BBQ sauce to submerge the chicken and leave to cook on medium for 5 hours.
  • Once cooked, stir through and then remove the thighs to a separate dish. Using two forks shred the meat and then drizzle over some of the BBQ sauce from the pot to taste. Serve the chicken in a bread or brioche bun, with leftover BBQ sauce on the side.


BBQ Sauce

The BBQ sauce in this recipe works great on it’s own as an accompaniment to a range of other dishes. Simply blend the sauce once it’s cooked until smooth. This will keep refrigerated in a sealed container for 3 days, and can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Gluten Free

If you’re serving this recipe gluten free, check the following ingredients:
  • Buns – use gluten free alternatives
  • Stock – most brands are gluten free, but check before using


Calories: 409kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 33gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 1512mgPotassium: 1184mgFiber: 4gSugar: 28gVitamin A: 1766IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 83mgIron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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