Looking for an easy shredded bbq chicken recipe? These slow cooker bbq chicken thighs stay wonderfully moist while cooking in your crock pot. Just 5 minutes of prep and a few simple ingredients and you’ll have amazing bbq shredded chicken for sandwiches, pizza and more!
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Need an easy recipe for making barbecue shredded chicken for sandwiches? This slow cooker bbq chicken thighs recipe couldn’t be easier!
With just 5 ingredients and just a few minutes of prep, you’ll have amazingly moist, juicy shredded bbq chicken. Not just for bbq chicken sandwiches, this shredded chicken is also great for topping pizza, nachos, salads and in quesadillas.
What do I need to make shredded bbq chicken?
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs – chicken thighs will give you ultra moist, tender shredded chicken. I’ve found the best place the buy chicken thighs is at Costco. Check out my post for the 15 Things I Buy at Costco for Healthy Meals and see all the items I love.
- Barbecue sauce – I use my homemade honey barbecue sauce for this recipe. It is slightly sweet, tangy and smokey. The extra time to make this sauce (maybe make it the night before) is 100% worth it!
- Apple cider vinegar – the vinegar will provide great flavor and juiciness to the chicken.
- Salt and Pepper – to add to the chicken thighs once they go into the slow cooker.
For exact ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the post for the recipe. Thanks!
How do I make slow cooker shredded chicken?
First, begin by mixing together the sauce that the chicken will cook with. For this shredded bbq chicken recipe, you’ll need just the barbecue sauce and apple cider vinegar.
Whisk the sauce and the vinegar together in a glass measuring cup or small bowl.
Add the chicken thighs to the slow cooker. No need to brown the chicken – the slow cooker will cook them in the sauce.
To the chicken thighs, top with salt and pepper. Then, pour the barbecue sauce mixture over the thighs.
Cook the slow cooker barbecue chicken thighs on low for 4-5 hours.
Ingredient Substitutions and Additions for slow cooker bbq chicken thighs:
- Chicken breasts instead of thighs – if you don’t have chicken thighs available or prefer breast meat, feel free to use chicken breasts. 3 large breasts (about 1 1/2 – 2 lbs.) would be ideal for this recipe.
- Substitute bottled store-bought sauce for homemade sauce. I certainly understand time is tight. Look for a sauce that is low in refined/added sugar.
- Liquid smoke – for more smokey flavor, add in 1/2- 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke to the sauce. My homemade honey barbecue sauce already includes liquid smoke, so if you’re using this recipe, you won’t need to add more.
For exact ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions be sure to scroll down to the recipe at the bottom of the post. Thanks!
Once the chicken thighs are done cooking, remove the pieces. They will likely fall apart, as they will be wonderfully tender and juicy.
To shred the chicken thighs: transfer the chicken to the mixing bowl for your upright stand mixer that has been fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on the lowest speed and the chicken will shred in about 30 seconds.
Don’t have a mixer? You can also shred the chicken by hand with two forks.
Transfer the shredded chicken back to the slow cooker and stir together with the sauce. Keep the chicken warm in the slow cooker until ready to serve.
If you love cooking with chicken thighs, check out my Pollo Asado Recipe which is a fantastic grilled chicken thighs recipe. My Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Peppers are also a great shredded chicken recipe.
Frequently asked questions about crock pot shredded chicken:
I’ve found the quickest and easiest way to shred chicken is to use your upright mixer with the paddle attachment. Simply place the cooked chicken in the bowl, and turn the mixer on the lowest speed. The paddle will perfectly shred the chicken in under 30 seconds!
Pulled chicken and shredded chicken are the same thing. After chicken has cooked, it is “pulled” into shreds with forks or a mixer.
Let the chicken cool for 5-10 minutes before shredding. (It can still be warm.) Letting the chicken cool slightly will allow the juices in the chicken to distribute and keep the chicken moist after shredding.
If you’re using a slow cooker or crock pot, adding the sauce while the chicken cooks is helpful in adding flavor to the chicken. Once the chicken is done cooking, remove from slow cooker, shred and then add back to sauce mixture.
Shredded or pulled bbq chicken is ideal served on buns or rolls as sandwiches. It can also be added to nachos, quesadillas, pizza and salad.
What can I serve with shredded bbq chicken?
Slow cooker shredded chicken is great served on buns or rolls as barbecue chicken sandwiches. Here are some great side dish ideas that would be perfect served with the sandwiches:
- Classic Macaroni Salad
- Bacon Lovers Baked Beans
- Creamy Cole Slaw at Love Grows Wild
- Sauteed Broccoli with Garlic
- Ruth’s Chris Sweet Potato Casserole
- Slow Cooker Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole
- Zesty Italian Pasta Salad
- Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
If you loved this crockpot shredded chicken recipe, check out some of our other recipe ideas:
- 1 1/2 - 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup barbecue sauce
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- In a small bowl whisk together the barbecue sauce and vinegar. Set aside.
- To your slow cooker, add the chicken thighs. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Pour the sauce mixture over the top of the chicken.
- Set the slow cooker on low and cover with lid. Cook on low for 4-5 hours.
- After cook time is complete, transfer the cooked chicken to the mixing bowl for your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn on low and let the mixer shred the chicken. This should only take about 30 seconds. (You could also do this with a hand mixer.) If you don't have a mixer, transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board and manually shred with forks.
- Transfer the shredded chicken back to the slow cooker and stir together to incorporate with the sauce. Keep warm until ready to serve.
I use and love my homemade honey barbecue sauce for this recipe.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container and keep refrigerated. Leftovers will keep for up to 5 days refrigerated.
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Cuisinart 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker: Slow Cooker, Brown/Saute, Steamer
Kitchenaid Artisan Mini Plus 3.5-Qt. Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Flex Edge Beater
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 308Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 277mgSodium: 974mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 55g