The Pulled Chicken Dish That Makes Great Use Of Your Slow Cooker

What's the very best dish you can serve your guests — one that tastes great and impresses them, showcasing your culinary prowess? The best dish is one that's great-tasting and impressive and all but that actually took you about five minutes of hands-on work. That last part? That's a little secret, by the way.

"This slow cooker pulled chicken recipe is about medium difficulty since you have to make your own homemade BBQ sauce," says chef, recipe developer, and registered dietician Kristen Carli. But she adds: "You can always use store-bought BBQ sauce if you wanted to make this super simple."

Regardless of how you source your sauce, once you have slow cooked chicken breast meat in a great BBQ sauce for four hours, it will fall apart into the most tender, tasty foodstuff you can imagine. "This is great on top of a salad or with coleslaw on a brioche bun," says Carli, or you can pile it next to rice or potatoes, serve it with beans, corn, and collard greens, or make a wrap that's delicious for a lunch on the go.

As long as you've got a few minutes free to work right now and a few hours to wait while the chicken slow cooks, let's get cooking.

Gather your ingredients for this slow cooker pulled chicken

Assuming you are going to make your own BBQ sauce for this slow cooker pulled chicken from scratch, which frankly is really the right move here, you'll need plenty of brown sugar, plenty of ketchup, some apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, onion powder, pepper, and salt.

Oh, and also you'll need three boneless, skinless chicken breasts. It's kind of important to have chicken for this BBQ chicken recipe. And if you want to add some spice with a bit of cayenne pepper powder or some red pepper flakes, that's a fine thing to do, assuming the other diners like heat too.

Cook up the homemade BBQ sauce for this slow cooker pulled chicken recipe

In a small sauce pan, prepare the homemade barbecue sauce for your slow cooker pulled chicken by adding the brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, onion powder, pepper, and salt. Or in other words, stir all of your ingredients that are not chicken together. 

Bring this mixture to a boil, and then immediately lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure the sauce is reducing but not cooking down into a consistency thicker than a standard BBQ sauce. You can add dashes of water as needed if it starts to get too thick.

Slow-cook the chicken in the BBQ sauce for this slow cooker pulled chicken recipe

As soon as the slow cooker pulled chicken sauce is finished simmering, put the chicken breasts in a small, four-quart slow cooker, then add barbecue sauce on top. Place the lid on slow cooker, then set it to the high temperature setting, and let the chicken and sauce cook for four hours.

Note that Carli says: "You could also throw this in the Instant Pot instead of the slow cooker for about eight to 12 minutes and be done in a pinch." The meat won't be as tender, but it will still taste great, and you'll still want to serve it to friends and family.

Shred the chicken, toss with sauce, then serve your slow cooker pulled chicken

Once the slow cooker pulled chicken has cooked in the sauce for four hours, remove the meat from slow cooker and place it in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, run the stand mixer and allow it to shred the chicken. Now remove the shredded chicken from the stand mixer and add back to slow cooker, tossing it with barbecue sauce.

"I love shredding chicken in the stand mixer, but you could use two forks if you want as well," says Carli. Either way, you're done! Serve and enjoy the tender, tangy chicken in whatever way you please, and if you have leftovers, Carli says: "Keep them in an airtight container for up to five days in the fridge."

The Pulled Chicken Dish That Makes Great Use Of Your Slow Cooker
4.9 from 15 ratings
This pulled chicken dish is exactly what you're going to want to make in your slow cooker this evening. Your family is going to love it.
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
4.25
hours
Servings
8
servings
slow cooker pulled chicken served
Ready in 4.33 hours
Ingredients
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • 3 cups ketchup
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
Directions
  1. In a small sauce pan, prepare barbecue sauce by adding brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, onion powder, pepper, and salt.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, add chicken to a 4-quart slow cooker, then add barbecue sauce on top.
  4. Place lid on slow cooker and set to high for 4 hours.
  5. Once cooked, remove chicken from slow cooker and place in the bowl of a stand mixer, then use paddle attachment to shred chicken.
  6. Remove the shredded chicken from the stand mixer and add back to slow cooker. Toss with barbecue sauce.
  7. Now serve and enjoy!
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 328
Total Fat 2.9 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 74.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 53.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.7 g
Total Sugars 46.1 g
Sodium 913.1 mg
Protein 24.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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