Overhead shot of slow cooker bbq whole chicken breasts resting on a wire cooling rack, with a small bowl of sauce and a basting brush next to it
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Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Breasts

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5 from 1 vote
This easy slow cooker BBQ chicken breast recipe uses 5 ingredients can be left whole, or shredded and is served with onions and a sticky barbeque sauce!

Who’s in the mood for some finger-lickin’ barbeque chicken that doesn’t require hoovering over a grill? I’ve got just the thing for you – a Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Breasts recipe that’s as easy as pie. Just toss in chicken breasts, some zesty BBQ sauce, a splash of ACV, a sprinkle of golden brown sugar, and a few onions into your slow cooker and let it work its magic. The crock pot yields a pull-apart BBQ chicken breast that’s as juicy as it is flavorful!

Slow cooker bbq whole chicken breasts topped with caramelized onions resting on a wire cooling rack, with a small bowl of sauce and a basting brush next to it

This slow cooker barbeque chicken breast is stupid simple, and tastes amazing! Being from the South, I love BBQ – and while it can be quite pricey to order out, it’s super simple to make at home in the crock pot. And let’s talk about how versatile this slow cooker BBQ chicken is. Pile it high on some buns for an easy sandwich, or toss it in a salad for a lighter meal, or seven it with onions on top and your favorite sides. Honestly, once you try making BBQ chicken this way, you might never go back to the traditional method. So, grab your slow cooker, and let’s get this BBQ party started!

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Breasts Overview

Cuisine Inspiration: American
Number of Ingredients: 5 (excluding salt and pepper)
Feeds a Family of: 6-8
Total Cook Time: 8 hours, 20 minutes
Primary Cooking Method: Slow Cooking
Dietary Info: Gluten-Free (check your BBQ sauce)
Key Flavor: Meaty, smoky BBQ
Skill Level: Beginner

Notable mentions

  • Easy to Make: Just toss your ingredients into the slow cooker and let it take the wheel for 6+ hours. You can tackle your to-do list or just kick back and relax. No need to stay glued to the kitchen.
  • Amazing Scent: As these slow cooker BBQ chicken breasts cook, your place will start to smell like the coolest BBQ joint. Seriously, you might have neighbors knocking, asking what that yummy smell is!
  • Perfect for Meal Prep: Cook once, eat twice (or thrice)! This dish saves you time and keeps your belly happy on those busy or “just don’t feel like cooking” days.
  • Tender Chicken Guaranteed: Thanks to the slow cooking process, you’ll end up with chicken so tender it practically melts in your mouth.

Ingredients to make Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Breasts

  • Chicken Breasts: Boneless and skinless. These are ready to soak up all the smoky flavors we’re going to throw at them.
  • BBQ Sauce: To bring in that classic, smoky-sweet BBQ goodness. Pick your favorite brand (mine’s Sweet Baby Ray’s) or go wild and use a homemade version!
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Adds a bright zing that cuts through the sweetness.
  • Golden Brown Sugar: ¼ cup to sweeten the deal. It caramelizes beautifully, giving your chicken that irresistible, slightly sticky finish.
  • Onions: Those thinly sliced onions aren’t just for show – they add a savory depth that complements the BBQ sauce like a dream.
  • Salt & Pepper: To season your crockpot BBQ chicken breasts to perfection.
Overhead shot of slow cooker bbq whole chicken breasts resting on a wire cooling rack, with two small bowls of sauce and a basting brush next to it

How to make Barbeque Chicken Breasts in the Slow Cooker

  1. In a small bowl, combine the BBQ sauce, apple cider vinegar, and brown sugar. Stir until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Place the chicken breasts in the slow cooker and season them generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Layer the sliced onions over the chicken.
  4. Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken and onions.
  5. Stir, ensuring everything is well-coated.
  6. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for about 4 hours, until the chicken is tender.
A step by step image collage on how to make slow cooker bbq whole chicken breasts with ingredients, raw chicken seasoned, chicken covered with onions, chicken mixed with onions and bbq sauce, and chicken cooked drenched in bbq sauce

Making Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken as a Dump Freezer Meal:

Transform your Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken into a convenient and flavorful dump freezer meal. This method is perfect for those busy days or when you’re meal prepping for the week. It’s a great way to have a delicious, home-cooked meal with minimal effort.

Preparation For Freezing:

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a large zip-lock freezer bag, place the raw chicken breasts. Add the BBQ sauce, apple cider vinegar, golden brown sugar, and the sliced onions. Don’t forget to season with salt and black pepper.
  2. Seal and Mix: Remove as much air as possible from the bag before sealing. Give the bag a gentle shake or massage to ensure all the ingredients are well combined and the chicken is evenly coated. This step allows the chicken to marinate in the flavors while in the freezer, enhancing the taste.
  3. Label and Freeze: Write the date and the recipe name on the bag. Flatten the bag as much as possible for efficient storage and even freezing.

Cooking From Frozen:

  1. Thawing: To ensure even cooking, transfer the freezer meal to the refrigerator about 24 hours before you’re ready to cook. This allows for a safe and consistent thaw.
  2. Cooking Time: If you’re cooking the chicken directly from frozen, adjust the cooking time accordingly. Place the contents in your slow cooker and set it to low for approximately 7-8 hours or on high for about 4 hours. Ensure the chicken reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Try Different BBQ Sauces: Explore the vast landscape of BBQ styles! Go Kansas City-style for a thicker, sweeter sauce, or Texas-style for a more robust, spicy kick. Venture into Carolina territory with a vinegar-based sauce for tanginess, or Memphis-style for a balanced, smoky-sweet touch.
  • Sweet Swap: If you’re out of brown sugar or just want to try something new, honey or maple syrup are fantastic substitutes. They add a natural sweetness just as good as brown sugar.
  • Add Some Heat: A sprinkle of red chili flakes or a spoonful of chipotle in adobo can give a fiery twist to the slow cooker barbecue chicken breasts. It’s an easy way to turn up the heat!
  • Throw in Veggies: Want to sneak in some extra vegetables? Toss in bell peppers, carrots, or even some mushrooms. They’ll soak up the BBQ goodness and add a nutritious punch to your meal.
  • Toss In Some Thighs: If you want to make a combo of dark and white meat, especially for shredding you can add some slow cook BBQ chicken thighs right along with the chicken breast. You can also make slow cooker barbeque drumsticks or wings!

Tips for making the best slow cooker barbecue chicken breasts

  1. Reduce the BBQ Sauce: For a richer, more developed flavor, consider reducing the leftover sauce in a saucepan. It thickens the sauce, intensifying the flavors, and makes for a fantastic drizzle over your onion-topped chicken.
  2. Coat the Chicken Evenly: When adding the sauce to the slow cooker, don’t just throw it in all at once. Take a moment to drizzle it and ensure each piece of chicken is well-coated. This guarantees every bite is as flavorful as the last!
  3. Timing is Everything: Start your slow cooker early enough, so you’re not tempted to crank up the heat too high in a rush. Low and slow is the secret to perfectly cooked, tender chicken.
  4. Shred It: Once cooked, consider shredding the chicken for an array of meal options. It’s perfect for BBQ chicken sandwiches, tacos, or salads. Just use two forks to pull it apart – it’ll be so tender, it almost shreds itself!
Close up of slow cooker bbq whole chicken breasts topped with caramelized onions resting on a wire cooling rack with a small bowl full of sauce in the background

How to store & reheat BBQ Chicken Breasts

First, let your BBQ chicken cool down to room temperature. Then, pop it into an airtight container and slide it into the fridge. If you’ve got extra sauce, store it in a separate container – it’s liquid gold!

For reheating, simply place the chicken in a microwave-safe dish, drizzle some of that saved BBQ sauce on top, and microwave until heated through. Alternatively, warm it in a skillet over medium heat, adding a splash of water or chicken broth to keep it moist.

How long will BBQ Chicken Breasts last in the fridge?

These yummy slow cooker BBQ chicken breasts will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Perfect for grabbing a quick, delicious meal on the go!

Can i freeze crockpot bBQ chicken breasts?

If you want to save leftovers for more than 4 days, freeze your chicken in airtight freezer bags or containers. It’ll keep well for about 2-3 months. To enjoy it again, thaw it in the fridge overnight and reheat.

What to serve with Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Breasts

  • Mac and Cheese: Dive fork-first into a creamy, dreamy mac and cheese! It’s the gooey, cheesy sidekick that turns your BBQ chicken dinner into something truly addictive. My suggestion? Velveeta mac and cheese. The classic of classics.
  • Baked Beans: A side of baked beans works like a charm with BBQ chicken breasts. They’re hearty, a little sweet, and oh-so-satisfying. Plus, they just feel right with anything barbecue!
  • Mashed Potatoes: Picture fluffy, garlicky mashed potatoes melting in your mouth with each bite of BBQ chicken… Just thinking about it makes me drool, I really do. They’re the PERFECT cushion for your saucy BBQ chicken.
  • Rice: A fluffy bed of rice (be it white, brown, or even a fragrant jasmine) is a great canvas for that BBQ goodness. Simple, but delicious.

Frequently asked questions

Is it possible to overcook the chicken in a slow cooker?

While slow cookers are more forgiving, it’s still possible to overcook chicken, especially if left on high for too long (been there). So stick to the recommended cooking times!

Can I make this recipe in an Instant Pot?

Sure! Use the poultry setting and cook for about 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken breasts. Also, be sure to use the natural release method for the best texture.

My Sauce is too runny. How can I thicken it?

You can easily thicken the sauce by transferring it to a saucepan and simmering it over medium heat. For an extra thickening boost, simply mix in a cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water) and stir until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.

Close up of slow cooker bbq whole chicken breasts resting on a wire cooling rack, with a basting brush next to it

These Slow Cooker BBQ Whole Chicken Breasts are bursting with flavor, all coming together in a sweet-and-savory symphony in your slow cooker. The highlight? You can totally make it with chicken legs or thighs too – versatility at its finest!

More Slow Cooker Chicken recipes:

I want to hear from you! If you try this easy Slow Cooker BBQ Whole Chicken Breasts recipe or any other of my easy recipes on Dinner in 5, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! I read all the comments and respond!

Close up of slow cooker bbq whole chicken breasts topped with caramelized onions on a wire cooling rack, with a small white bowl of extra barbecue sauce and a basting brush next to it
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Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Breasts

This easy slow cooker BBQ chicken breast recipe uses 5 ingredients can be left whole, or shredded and is served with onions and a sticky barbeque sauce!
5 from 1 vote
Author Jackie
Servings 8 servings
Course Main Course
Calories 292
Prep Time 5 minutes
0 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 3-4 pounds
  • 2 cups BBQ sauce
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup golden brown sugar
  • 2 small onions (or ½ large onion) sliced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine the BBQ sauce, apple cider vinegar, and brown sugar. Stir until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Set aside.
  • Place the chicken breasts in the slow cooker and season them generously with salt and pepper.
  • Layer the sliced onions over the chicken.
  • Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken and onions, ensuring everything is well-coated.
  • Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for about 4 hours, until chicken is tender.

Notes

  1. Reduce the BBQ Sauce: For a richer, more developed flavor, consider reducing the leftover sauce in a saucepan. It thickens the sauce, intensifying the flavors, and makes for a fantastic drizzle over your onion-topped chicken.
  2. Coat the Chicken Evenly: When adding the sauce to the slow cooker, don’t just throw it in all at once. Take a moment to drizzle it and ensure each piece of chicken is well-coated. This guarantees every bite is as flavorful as the last!
  3. Timing is Everything: Start your slow cooker early enough so you’re not tempted to crank up the heat to high in a rush. Low and slow is the secret to perfectly cooked, tender chicken.
  4. Shred It: Once cooked, consider shredding the chicken for an array of meal options. It’s perfect for BBQ chicken sandwiches, tacos, or salads. Just use two forks to pull it apart – it’ll be so tender, it almost shreds itself!

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5lb, Calories: 292kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 72mg, Sodium: 1017mg, Potassium: 646mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 32g, Vitamin A: 195IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 43mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American

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