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Slow Cooker Shredded BBQ Chicken

If you’re looking for a simple dinner that is sure to please everyone around the table, try Slow Cooker Shredded BBQ Chicken! This easy recipe is just as mouth-watering as the pulled meats you can get at a local BBQ restaurant. 

shredded chicken on cutting board

Juicy, flavorful shredded chicken can be served in some form of everyone’s favorite entrée – sandwiches, tacos, nachos, and more. It’s the perfect meal to let cook while away – just shred it when you get home and toss it with some extra sauce. Dinner is ready!

Ingredients Needed

It really can’t be any simpler to make this delicious, dinner-ready dish. 

You only need:

  • Chicken thighs
  • Easy Homemade BBQ Seasoning Rub – if you haven’t already mixed up a batch, try mixing up extra to save for your next easy slow cooker meal.
  • And your favorite BBQ sauce!
package of chicken thighs, bottle of bbq sauce and jar of seasoning

There are so many recipe variations for slow cooker shredded chicken, but the key to keeping the shredded meat juicy and tender is using boneless skinless chicken thighs! Chicken thighs are a darker meat than chicken breasts which means they produce more juices when cooking due to the fat content. That extra fat means extra flavor! 

How To Make Slow Cooker Shredded BBQ Chicken 

Your dinner prep is about to get even easier!

First, add all ingredients to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 4-6 hours. After the cooking time, remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred using 2 forks. 

Add additional BBQ sauce into the slow cooker or as desired when serving. Enjoy with your favorite sides!

shredded bbq chicken in slow cooker

Tip: Many recipes involving shredded chicken cook best on low. This can help prevent the chicken from becoming dry or rubbery and overcooked.

Best Sides To Serve With Shredded BBQ Chicken 

If you are a BBQ fan, you know that no sweet-and-savory BBQ meat is complete without ALL  the sides options! 

Pickles, corn on the cob, and crunchy salads bring a pleasant contrast of tanginess and texture. Or, include more slow cooker classics for your easy meal like Slow Cooker Classic Baked Beans and Slow Cooker Green Beans

Lastly, don’t forget the carbs! Try serving up Slow Cooker Ranch Potatoes, oven-baked French fries, or Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with any serving style of shredded BBQ chicken.

shredded bbq chicken on bun with bbq sauce

Shredded BBQ Chicken FAQs

  • What’s the best chicken to use for shredded BBQ chicken? Chicken thighs are best for shredded BBQ chicken because they will cook in their own juices and do not tend to dry up as much as chicken breasts. Plus, you get a little extra flavor by using chicken thighs!
  • Why is my slow cooker shredded chicken tough? Chicken can become tough when it is undercooked and when it loses moisture. If there is still plenty of liquid in the slow cooker and it won’t easily pull apart with a fork, it may need more cooking time. Use a meat thermometer to help gauge this (be sure to reach 165 ℉), and be sure to keep the lid on the slow cooker to prevent evaporation of liquid.
  • Is pulled chicken the same as shredded chicken? Pulled chicken and shredded chicken are synonymous. Both can be “pulled apart” or pulled from the bone when cooked. Also, both are shredded or pulled apart after fully cooking to an internal temperature of 165 ℉.
  • What is the best way to serve shredded BBQ chicken? The most traditional way to serve BBQ shredded chicken (and the best way, in my opinion) is over warmed buns with a hearty amount of extra BBQ sauce. To make this sandwich even better, top off the chicken with creamy, fresh-made coleslaw for an added crunch.
Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken on Hawaiian slider bun topped with coleslaw
  • What are some other ways to serve shredded BBQ chicken? You can’t go wrong in how you serve shredded BBQ chicken! Try a tortilla wrap or toasted sandwich or top off an oven-baked potato with a big scoop of BBQ chicken and your favorite toppings. Or, mix up a BBQ-themed salad with cooled shredded chicken and a combination of greens and other veggies like corn, tomatoes, or cucumbers.

Recipe Substitutions and Additions 

With only a few ingredients (including the complete seasoning rub), you can make several swaps on this BBQ classic. Since the BBQ rub includes brown sugar, you can lower the sugar content by using a no-sugar-added BBQ sauce. 

There is plenty of room to change the spice level in the rub mixture. Add a touch of cayenne pepper or an ancho chili powder for extra heat. You can also look for a premade spicy BBQ rub mixture.

There are so many different delicious BBQ sauces to choose from and each can change the flavor slightly. Try a honey or spicy BBQ sauce, or depending on your region, you might prefer to stay loyal to your local flavor (Kansas City, Memphis, etc.).

One more swap option: chicken breasts – or even a combo of chicken breasts and thighs – are also an option. Just be sure to not overcook and consider extra sauce for added moisture.

shredded chicken on cutting board

Slow Cooker Shredded BBQ Chicken

Jennifer Draper
If you’re looking for a simple dinner that is sure to please everyone around the table, try Slow Cooker Shredded BBQ Chicken! This easy recipe is just as mouth-watering as the pulled meats you can get at a local BBQ restaurant.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 166 kcal


  • Slow Cooker



  • Add all ingredients to slow cooker
  • Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6
  • Remove chicken and shred using forks
  • Add additional BBQ sauce as desired for serving


  • Storage – Keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months – perfect for extra meal prep!
  • Best Way To Reheat Leftovers – Microwave your leftover chicken in 30-second increments. If reheating from frozen, be sure to allow time to defrost slowly.
  • Shredding – Cooked chicken will shred best when still warm.


Calories: 166kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 22gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 285mgPotassium: 319mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 67IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 16mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @slowcookergourmet or tag #slowcookergourmet!
Important nutritional disclaimer

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