You are going to love this crockpot pulled chicken. The chicken is well spiced and smothered in a homemade BBQ sauce to keep it healthier, flavorful, and delicious.
Making this pulled chicken slow cooker recipe is easy and simple thanks to some basic ingredients and steps. Serve this up on any busy night for a simple weeknight meal or toss some meat between buns for crockpot shredded chicken sandwiches as an easy lunch or BBQ dish. It’s sure to be well-received either way.
Why This Recipe Works
- It’s low maintenance. Thanks to the slow cooker, this crockpot BBQ chicken breast recipe couldn’t be any simpler. It’s one of those set it and forget types of recipes that require little effort but delivers big taste.
- It’s a healthier meal option. Made from scratch and without preservatives or artificial food coloring or dyes this simple chicken meal is a great alternative to many other forms of BBQ.
- It pairs well with any side dish. You can keep this meal simple by serving it up with corn on the cob, coleslaw, or even just potato chips but another great option is to serve it with some mac and cheese or place it on top of a pizza for an added comfort food taste.
Ingredients you’ll need for crockpot pulled chicken:
- Chicken breasts
- White onion
- Chicken stock
- Bay leaves
- Garlic cloves
- Cilantro seeds
- Black peppercorns
For the Homemade BBQ sauce, you will need:
- Canned tomatoes
- Apple cider vinegar
- Brown sugar
- Worcestershire sauce
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Italian herbs
- Chili flakes
- Black cardamom pods
For the exact amounts needed, please see the recipe card below.
- Crockpot or slow cooker
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Crystal jar
- Medium-sized container
- 2 forks
How to Make BBQ Crockpot Pulled Chicken
Peel and slice your onion into big chunks before setting it aside.
Add your chicken breasts and onion to your crockpot.
Add in the bay leaves, crushed garlic cloves, cilantro seeds, and black peppercorns.
Pour in the chicken stock.
Set to low heat for 6-7 hours or cook on high for 3-4 hours.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the homemade BBQ sauce.
Add your canned tomatoes into a saucepan and the remaining sauce ingredients into a saucepan with the exception of the black cardamom pods.
Crack open the cardamom pops and place them inside the saucepan.
Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for at least 30 minutes over medium-low heat.
Once cooked, let cool and pour into a glass container.
When the chicken has finished cooking, take it out of the crockpot and let it cool down for 10 minutes.
Place the cooked chicken breasts into a flat container and use two forks to shred apart the meat. You can wear gloves while you do this by hand if desired.
Once the chicken has been shredded, mix it together with your homemade BBQ sauce and mix well to combine.
Serve in toasted bread buns with some lettuce, roasted red onion, and your favorite side dishes. Enjoy.
Feel free to adjust the sweetness and tartness of the sauce, because it will depend on the tomatoes used as a base.
Also, do not skip the black cardamom, if possible, since it gives a nice smoky flavor to the BBQ sauce, if you cannot find Black cardamom pods, feel free to substitute them with liquid smoke.
How long is BBQ pulled chicken good for?
This BBQ shredded chicken can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge. This is great for making in advance or having leftovers to enjoy throughout the week.
Can you freeze bbq chicken?
Yes, this chicken can be cooked and then frozen for future meals. To do this, place your chicken into an airtight container or Ziploc baggie and freeze for up to 3 months. Whenever you might be ready to have it, just let it thaw in the fridge and heat it up nice and slow in a pan.
What is the difference between pulled chicken and shredded chicken?
While there isn’t much of a difference at all one of the biggest differences to note is the cooking method. Pulled chicken is slow-cooked chicken that shreds apart with forks or tongs whereas shredded chicken can be cooked at a faster pace (like in the oven or boiling) before being shredded.
For more crockpot recipes you may enjoy, check out these tasty suggestions:
- Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken
- Crockpot Mashed Potatoes Recipe
- The Best Pulled Pork Crock Pot
- Slow Cooker Vegetable Beef Soup
- Easy Crockpot Pizza Lasagna
- Slow Cooker Oxtail Stew
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 white onion
- 33 fl oz chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon cilantro seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
For the Homemade BBQ sauce
- 2 cups canned tomatoes pulsed in the food processor.
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, and sage)
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes (optional but nice)
- 2 black cardamom pods
- Salt to taste
- Peel and cut the onion in big chunks and set aside.
- In the crockpot add the chicken breasts and the sliced onion.
- Add the bay leaves, crushed garlic cloves, cilantro seeds, and black peppercorns to the crockpot.
- Pour the chicken stock.
- Set to cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
- While the chicken is cooking prepare the Homemade BBQ sauce:
- In a saucepan add the caned and pureed tomatoes and the rest of the sauce ingredients but the black cardamom pods.
- Crack open the black cardamom pods and put them inside the saucepan.
- Bring to a boil for at least 30 minutes on medium-low heat.
- Once it’s cooked, let cool down and pour into a glass container.
- Once the chicken is cooked, take it out of the crockpot and let cool down for 10 minutes.
- Inside a flat container, put the cooked chicken breasts and start pulling the chicken with the help of the two forks. If you want, you can also do it with your hands (wear gloves!)
- Once the chicken has been shredded, add the Homemade BBQ sauce and mix well.
- Serve in toasted crispy buns with lettuce, roasted red onion, and a side of your choice.
Amount Per Serving Calories 387Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 78mgSodium 937mgCarbohydrates 43gFiber 4gSugar 30gProtein 35g