One of the easiest recipes ever—tasty BBQ chicken in under 4 hours. Great for family gatherings and parties or just when you want to be lazy for an easy family dinner.
Some people might call this pulled chicken or shredded chicken. Most will use this for sandwiches, but it works well in a wrap, on nachos, and so much more.
I have done this in the past and never thought much of it. Usually, it was with some salsa and chicken for Mexican, but BBQ more in the summer. Both recipes have grown into full recipes. But with the BBQ, I just never formalized it.
I have seen a number of these recipes popping up around the net. Most are identical, and there are some issues with the suggested cooking time. Most had the Worcestershire sauce and some added sugar which I felt was a good idea. Of course, they were too big for my purpose and needed to be cut down the size.
👨🍳How to make this recipe
- Trim skinless boneless chicken breasts of visible fat and cut them into 2-3 chunks each.
- Mix the BBQ sauce of your choice in a 2 quart or larger crock pot with Worcestershire sauce (optional but suggested). Add brown sugar to taste, depending on the sweetness of the BBQ sauce.
- Add chicken and mix well to cover the chicken with sauce.
- Cover and cook on low at 2 ½ hours, then check the internal temperature of the chicken. If 165° or above, remove, shred and return to pot. If not 165° yet, extend the cooking time by checking the internal temperature every 15-20 minutes. Once you reach 165°, remove, shred and return to the crock pot for 15 to 20 minutes.
I suggest using skinless boneless chicken breast for this. Chicken with skin can be used, but you will discard the skin.
It will work if you want to use skinless thighs, but you need to get to the 185° internal temperature range to shred well. It is probably about 3 to 3 ½ hours before shredding.
I use Original Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce but use the sauce of your choice. I recommend the Worcestershire sauce, which will make the taste pop, but it is optional.
The sugar is more to taste and if you're using a honey-based sauce, proceed with care.
The amount of sauce is important since the chicken will release some fluid, and you don't want it soupy.
I suggest cooking on low. The final results are more controllable. High may zoom right through your endpoint since some crock pots run too hot on high, and the sauce has sugar that can burn.
If you must cook on high, please watch the internal temperature of the chicken and remove it to shred at 165° and watch the edges of the sauce for burning.
Store airtight in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Good frozen for 3-4 months if sealed airtight.
📖Crock Pot BBQ Recipes
Easiest Crock Pot Shredded Pork Tenderloin
Crock Pot Pulled Pork from Butt the Right Way
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Only four ingredients
Trim two skinless boneless chicken breasts of visible fat and cut them into 2-3 chunks each
In a 2 quart or larger crock pot, mix ¾ cup BBQ sauce of your choice with 1 ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional but suggested). Add up to 1 tablespoon of brown sugar to taste, depending on the sweetness of the BBQ sauce.
Add chicken and mix well to cover the chicken with sauce.
Cover and cook on low for 3 hours total, but at 2 ½ hours, check the internal temperature of the chicken. If 165° or above, remove, shred and return to pot. If not 165° yet, extend the cooking time by checking the internal temperature every 15-20 minutes. Once you reach 165°, then remove, shred and return.
Cook 15-20 minutes more after the chicken is returned from shredding.
Easiest Crock Pot BBQ Chicken
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts - plus or minus a little
- ¾ cup BBQ sauce of choice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar - vary by the sweetness of the sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce - optional but suggested
- Trim two skinless boneless chicken breast of visible fat and cut into 2-3 chunks each.
- In a 2 quart or larger crock pot, mix ¾ cup BBQ sauce of your choice with 1 ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional but suggested). Add up to 1 tablespoon brown sugar to taste depending on the sweetness of the BBQ sauce.
- Add chicken and mix well to cover the chicken with sauce.
- Cover and cook on low for 3 hours total, but at 2 ½ hours check the internal temperature of the chicken. If 165° or above, remove, shred and return to pot. If not 165° yet, extend the cooking time by checking the internal temperature every 15-20 minutes. Once you reach 165°, then remove, shred and return.
- Cook 15-20 minutes more after the chicken is returned from shredding.
Your Own Private Notes
- Scale to the size you need. Consider about ¼ pound of meat per sandwich.
- You may use boneless skinless chicken thighs but take them to about 180°-185° internal temperature which should take an extra 30 or so minutes. They will be more tender and shred easier if cooked to a higher temperature.
- The chicken releases fluid so be careful not to add too much sauce or it will be soupy.
- If you overcook chicken breast, it will be dry.
- The suggested amounts of Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar will be just right for most BBQ sauce.
- Good refrigerated for 3-4 days and will freeze well for 3-4 months.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Originally Published: May 5, 2018. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.
Roslyn j Vaughan
The easiest and best BBQ chicken sandwich my grandson could not stop eating it Itold him the ingredients He was shocked. He said he could make this himself and little clean up more stars if you had them
I, too, use Baby Ray's BBQ sauce...with a yummy modification. Add a really good Balsamic Vinegar (or reduce watery balsamic to syrupy consistency) for a sweet acid taste and a splash of Siracha or Sambal Oelek for zip. Just a guess because I don't measure, maybe 1-2 T. of balsamic or more to 1/2 cup BBQ sauce and chili sauce to taste (or skip if you don't want the heat).
I like that you have a metric option. Plenty of us out there outside the US!
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
Welcome to the blog.
I really should not respond to comments until I have had coffee. You did find it. My bad.... I fixed my reply for others that don't see it.
Glad you find it. It is not very obvious.
You will find it on almost all recipes.
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Curt p gosnell
Doing chicken quarter & brisket dinner / bbq for eat in or take out. Turned out allrite but would like to change leg quarters to boneless skinless breasts for the lady’s, there fussy, read your recipes &they look good . My concern is holding the breasts while waiting for them to be sold . Our quarters are kept in foil lined cooler and they stay warm & moist for hours. Do you think I could expect the same results with boneless skinless or do you have another recomandation? Thanks CURT
I will give a few generalities. I cook thighs to a final internal temperature of 185-190 while I try to stop chicken breast right at 165. So the lower final temp combined with the lower fat (fat stays hot longer) will allow the chicken breast to cool faster but I don't see you getting a couple of hours anyway. What recipe are you talking about?