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The BEST Crockpot BBQ Pulled Chicken

Today I am sharing my favorite Crockpot BBQ Chicken Recipe EVER! This easy shredded chicken is simple to make with a zesty secret ingredient that sets it apart! Perfect for a weeknight dinner, party, or game day!

Make sure to try my Homemade BBQ Sauce for this recipe too!

Crockpot BBQ Chicken Is An Easy Dinner Idea!

You guys know I am an easy dinner kind of gal. Make it an easy slow cooker recipe and we’ve all leveled up our dinner game. AND this Crockpot Shredded Chicken Recipe is just as perfect in the cooler weather months as it is in the summer by the pool. Long story short, this is a year-round recipe.

PLUS I use a secret ingredient in my pulled chicken that really makes it special!

So What’s The Secret Ingredient In This Shredded BBQ Chicken?

Ok, so this might seem a little weird, but I swear it’s SO delicious! I add Italian Salad Dressing into my BBQ sauce, AND a packet of dry Italian salad dressing mix, like Good Seasons.

The extra flavor the Italian dressing adds doesn’t make it “Italian”, it just gives it an amazing flavor combination that you would never think would work together…but they do!

Like I said, not only do I use prepared Italian Salad Dressing, I throw in a packet of Good Seasons for good measure to really amp of the flavor, as well as being a shortcut seasoning step.

shredded bbq chicken in a crockpot

How To Make Barbecue Chicken In Your Slow Cooker

The prep on this is literally 5 minutes. And since it’s a crockpot recipe, once you turn it on, you’re all set! It’s a true dump-and-go recipe…perfect for busy weekdays or feeding a crowd! 

Add your chicken breasts into the Crockpot. Mix together the BBQ sauce, Italian dressing, the Italian dressing dry mix, a little Worcestershire, and some garlic. Pour that on top and let it cook!

When it’s done it will be tender enough to shred using 2 forks.

Side note – I researched the difference between pulled chicken and shredded chicken and couldn’t really find an answer! I guess pulled is generally used like “pulled pork” where you’re pulling it on the bone. But in this case we’re not using bone-in chicken, so…I refer to it both ways!

What Kind Of BBQ Sauce Do You Recommend for BBQ Chicken?

Certainly the quality of the barbecue sauce you use can make or break this recipe. And let’s be honest, some are better than others! I use Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce most often. It’s easy to find, and it’s a great packaged sauce. Of course, my Homemade BBQ Sauce is incredible in this as well if you want to go that extra step! But here are some other brands that I really like:

  • Trader Joe’s Kansas City BBQ Sauce
  • Stubb’s Original BBQ Sauce
  • Famous Dave’s BBQ Sauce
  • Dinosaur BBQ Sauce
  • Jack Daniel’s Original BBQ Sauce
  • KC Masterpiece

Do You Cook This On Low or High?

Either! As with most slow cooker recipes you have the option of the high or low setting. This recipe will cook on high in about 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7. Of course all slow cookers heat a little differently but the time range listed in the recipe should be pretty spot on.

Can I Use Frozen Chicken Breasts In The Crock Pot?

I know a lot of people do and say it works fine, but I’ve never tried it with this recipe. As long as chicken cooks to 165°F you should be fine, and of course this recipe cooks the chicken well past that temperature because it’s tender and shreddable.

I would imagine if you do use frozen breasts, you might need to add a little extra time to the cook time!

Would Boneless Chicken Thighs Work?

Yes sure! They will impart more fat into the shredded chicken, but it will work!

Crockpot BBQ Chicken on a bun with cole slaw

What Else Can You Do With Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken?

This recipe is great served on buns as BBQ Chicken Sandwiches. I LOVE it with a little cole slaw for crunch! BUT don’t let that be the only option! Here are a few other ideas for ways to enjoy this Crockpot BBQ Chicken!

  • Stuffed in a baked potato or sweet potato.
  • In a tortilla as a taco with a little shredded cabbage and grated smoked gouda!
  • BBQ Chicken Nachos!
  • In a BBQ Chicken Salad.
  • On it’s own!


Shred your chicken easily by placing in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed for about 30 seconds. Works like a charm!

Crockpot BBQ Chicken Sandwiches Are The Perfect Party Food!

Like I said above, this is a great weeknight dinner, especially when the family has busy schedules and everyone might need to grab dinner on the go. BUT This is a super dish to make for any type of party, game day or gathering.

Can You Double This Recipe To Feed A Crowd?

YES! This recipe easily can be doubled, but note you will need to add some cook time on and you will want to rearrange the chicken at least once while it’s cooking, to ensure all the chicken cooks evenly if it’s stacked!

Storing/Freezer Instructions:

This recipe does make a large portion, so if you have leftovers store them airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat the leftover bbq chicken on the stovetop or in the microwave. 

To freeze: This freezes so well. Just store it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months!

How To Serve:

  • Topped with coleslaw! Use your favorite coleslaw recipe, or pick up a container at the deli counter. 
  • Serve with Frito Corn Salad 
  • Cornbread as a side dish with BBQ chicken is the perfect match!
  • BBQ is great with corn on the cob and save some time and make my Instant Pot Corn on the Cob!

Recipe FAQs:

How to slow cook bbq chicken?

Cooking chicken in a Crockpot slow cooker is easy. Simply add the boneless chicken breasts into the slow cooker, season as you like with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, cover in BBQ sauce and cook on high for 3 – 4 hours until the chicken is fork-tender.

Are crockpot bags safe?

Yes, slow cooker liners are BPA free, FDA approved, and safe cooking up to 400°F.  They makes clean up super easy.

Can you put raw chicken pieces in a slow cooker?

Yes, slow cookers are designed to cook raw meat safely. Make sure you set the timer and heat accordingly for the type of meat.

Does cooking chicken longer in the crockpot make it more tender?

Cooking chicken in the slow cooker can make it extremely tender. If you overcook chicken in the crockpot it can eventually dry out once all the moisture is gone. This would take quite a long time, though.

How do you keep BBQ sauce from burning in a slow cooker?

The sugar in BBQ sauce can burn in the slow cooker if it is left in the slow cooker too long or if the heat is too high. Stir the contents of the slow cooker once or twice during cooking if you notice the BBQ sauce is burning.

Shop This Post:

Kitchen Aid Slow Cooker
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Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce
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Good Seasons Italian Seasoning Packet
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  1. Kitchen Aid Slow Cooker
  2. Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce
  3. Good Seasons Italian Seasoning Packet

Looking For More Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes? Try These:

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A shredded BBQ Chicken sandwich on a bun with cole slaw

The BEST Crockpot BBQ Pulled Chicken

  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: serves 6-8 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Dinner


This super easy crockpot bbq chicken recipe is a great easy weeknight dinner, or perfect for a party!


  • 3 pounds boneless chicken breasts, approximately 6 breasts
  • 1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce
  • 1 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1 (0.7- ounce) dry Italian dressing mix, like Good Seasons
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced


  1. Place all the chicken breasts in the bottom of your slow cooker.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the BBQ sauce, Italian dressing, dry Italian dressing mix, Worcestershire, and garlic. Pour this on top of the chicken.
  3. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 6-7 hours until the chicken shreds easily.
  4. Shred the chicken in the slow cooker, or remove the chicken breasts, shred separately, and return back to slow cooker. Mix to combine with the sauce.
  5. Serve warm


Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 380
  • Sugar: 24 g
  • Sodium: 795.3 mg
  • Fat: 10.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 29 g
  • Protein: 38.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 124.1 mg

Keywords: cookies and cups, chicken, bbq chicken, slow cooker chicken, crock pot chicken, crock pot bbq chicken, shredded chicken

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11 comments on “The BEST Crockpot BBQ Pulled Chicken”

    1. I definitely think it would work in the pressure cooker. I would do it on high pressure for 25 minutes 🙂

  1. This sounds so wonderful. I’m just wondering what you think about using this recipe for pulled pork, instead. I’m thinking it might work. What do you think?…any suggestions on this recipe using Boston shoulder butt with your secret recipe would be so great. Going to make this weekend.

  2. Carolyn S Cheeseman

    So this is literally “THE BEST” – my husband doesn’t love bbq.. and I warned him that I planned on making bbq shredded chicken this week (basically deal with it lol) but then I saw this and I was so intrigued! He will love it, I’m sure of it! I’m following weight watchers so I used G. Hughes sugar free sweet and spicy bbq sauce and some kraft lite zest Italian. It’s on warm in my crockpot waiting for dinner and I’ve already eaten a huge portion, just out of a bowl haha. Thanks for this!

    1. Yay!! So glad you liked it! It’s the way I have made it for years. Love that you lightened it up for WW…great tips!!

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