How to Make Slow-Cooker Pulled Chicken

  • 01 of 06

    A Slow Cooker Is a Must for Pulled Chicken

    Pulled Chicken BBQ Sandwiches
    Regarding BBQ Inc.

    With its low, steady temperature, a slow cooker is a perfect vessel for tender, saucy pulled chicken. Follow these steps to make an easy weeknight dinner or the perfect entrée for a casual get-together or potluck. (You also can refer to this recipe for slow-cooker pulled chicken.) 

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  • 02 of 06

    Assemble Your Pulled Chicken Ingredients

    Man chopping onions
    Image Source/Photodisc/Getty Images

    First, assemble your ingredients. You will need:

    • 2 1/2 pounds chicken parts (a combination of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and skinless bone-in thighs, which will give the final dish some richness)
    • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
    • 8 ounces barbecue sauce (purchased or homemade)
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  • 03 of 06

    Fill the Slow Cooker

    Filling the slow cooker
    Jessica Harlan
    • Place the chicken parts in the slow-cooker crock. If there is too much chicken to put in a single layer, put the thighs on the bottom and the breasts on top.
    • Sprinkle the onion evenly over the chicken.
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  • 04 of 06

    Add the Sauce

    Add the sauce
    Jessica Harlan
    • Pour enough sauce over the chicken and onions to just cover it, using a spatula to spread it completely over the chicken.
    • Then, put the cover on the slow cooker and set it to LOW. The chicken will take about 5 hours to cook.
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  • 05 of 06

    Shred the Chicken

    Shred the chicken
    Jessica Harlan
    • After 5 to 6 hours, check to see if the chicken is done. It should break apart easily when you pierce it with a knife or a fork. When the chicken is done, it's time to "pull" it.
    • Remove the chicken pieces from the slow cooker, leaving the cooker on LOW. Let the chicken cool for 5 to 10 minutes on a sheet pan or in a shallow baking pan. Then, with two forks, a knife, or your clean fingers, shred the chicken into small pieces.
    • The chicken should pull apart easily from its long, slow simmer in the slow cooker. Discard any bones.
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  • 06 of 06

    Mix the Chicken and Sauce

    Mix the chicken and sauce
    Jessica Harlan
    • Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker and use a wooden spoon or a pair of tongs to toss it with the sauce, until the chicken is completely distributed.
    • If the chicken seems dry, add more sauce. The chicken can remain in the slow cooker on LOW or the KEEP WARM setting until you're ready to serve it.
    • You can serve the pulled chicken on its own, or on a sandwich bun with some crisp cole slaw.