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Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken Recipe: Perfect for Sliders

Mix up a homemade barbecue sauce and toss it in your slow cooker with chicken breast. This is an easy, no-fail recipe that produces a tangy shredded chicken that’s the perfect slider filling.

Slow cooker pulled chicken recipe: What to expect

Slow cooker pulled chicken with text overlay.
©Blog Chef.
  • Taste: The chicken should have a slightly sweet, tangy flavor. The sauce is more complex than most bottled barbecue sauces: A bit of cumin powder and chili powder balances out the sweetness from the brown sugar.  
  • Texture: Shredded chicken slow cooked all day is tender. It’s best served with something crunchy for balance, like coleslaw or sliced pickles.
  • Foolproof factor: You cannot screw this up unless you forget to turn on the slow cooker or leave out the ketchup.
  • Timing: You’ll spend less than 15 minutes on prep. The slow cooker does the rest of the work.

Ingredients and how to use them

Ingredients for slow cooker pulled chicken on cutting board.
©Blog Chef.

These are the ingredients you need for slow cooker pulled chicken, plus tips on using them.

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast: The sauce is sufficient for two large chicken breasts or three to four small ones.
  • Ketchup: You’ll need 1 cup of ketchup which functions as the base of your sauce.
  • Water: ¼ cup water thins out the ketchup so it makes a reasonable sauce.
  • Brown sugar: Use 2 tablespoons brown sugar to give the barbecue sauce some sweetness. You can use light or brown sugar according to your preference.
  • ACV: 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar add the tang. You can substitute another vinegar here if you don’t have ACV. The only one I wouldn’t use is balsamic.
  • Chili powder and paprika: The recipe calls for 2 teaspoons chili powder and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika. You can adjust these measurements to tailor the spice level. Use more chili powder and less paprika for more kick, and vice versa.
  • Garlic powder, onion powder, dry mustard, and cumin: Use 1 teaspoon of each to flavor your sauce.
  • Allspice: ¼ teaspoon of allspice adds depth.
  • Slider buns and dill pickle slices (optional): My favorite way to serve this chicken is on a toasted slider bun with pickle slices.


One of the best things about this pulled chicken recipe is that it’s light on equipment. You need a bowl — or, as you can see from my photo, an old plastic container — plus a slow cooker, cutting board, and two forks. Probably, you have all of those on hand already.

Use the bowl to mix the sauce. The slow cooker does the cooking. Once that’s done, pull the chicken breasts out of the cooker, place them on a cutting board, and shred them with two forks.

More slow cooker recipes

If you liked this slow cooker pulled chicken recipe, put these on your list to try next:

  • Slow cooker barbacoa tacos: Made of chuck roast and a quick, blended sauce, this recipe is an easy weekday meal.
  • Slow cooker Italian beef sliders: This is a “three envelope” recipe that uses dry onion soup mix, dry Italian dressing mix, and brown gravy mix. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.
  • BBQ pulled beef recipe: This one’s similar to the chicken recipe but uses fewer ingredients and chuck roast in lieu of chicken breast.
Yield: 6 servings

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken Recipe

Slow cooker pulled chicken prepared in slider buns with pickles.

This is an easy, no-fail recipe that produces a tangy shredded chicken that's the perfect slider filling.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 15 minutes


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts or 3-4 small ones
  • 12 slider buns (optional)
  • Dill pickle slices (optional)


  1. In a medium bowl combine ketchup, water, dark brown sugar, cider vinegar, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, dry mustard, smoked paprika, cumin, and allspice. Stir until well combined and smooth.
  2. Add chicken breasts to the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour the prepared BBQ sauce over the chicken breasts. Cover and cook on low for 4 ½-5 hours or until the chicken is fully cooked (the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees).
  3. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred each chicken breast using two forks. Return the chicken to the slow cooker and mix with the sauce.
  4. While the shredded chicken heats in the sauce, toast slider buns. Pile shredded chicken onto buns and top with dill pickle slices.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 293Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 708mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 3gSugar: 16gProtein: 20g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Tyler Wold

Saturday 30th of December 2023

Excellent! Sauce is great!


Sunday 2nd of February 2014

this is my second time making it. I had 8 halves and it seems to be cooking faster. wondering if I should return chicken to pan with all the juice or just BBQ sauce


Monday 4th of February 2013

Tried it, super easy and delish!


Friday 1st of February 2013

Laura - it would be 4 halves.


Friday 1st of February 2013

This looks great! Is it 4 full breast (8 halfs) or 4 halves?

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