15 Moist and Tender Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken Recipes

Shredded Slow Cooker Chicken
Lauri Patterson / Getty Images

Don't let a rainy day ruin your barbecue plans; let your crock pot come to the rescue! A slow cooker is an excellent option for a barbecue, especially when the weather is too wet or too cold to fire up the grill. 

Though the slow cooker is an excellent option for all parts of the chicken, legs, thighs, and wings are the most forgiving; they stay moist and juicy even after long, slow cooking. If you are cooking chicken breasts in the crock pot, just remember to check them for doneness about 1/2 hour to 1 hour earlier than the recipe recommendation. Like any lean meat or poultry, chicken breasts can become quite dry when overcooked. The minimum safe temperature for chicken and other kinds of poultry is 165 F. 

For pulled or shredded chicken, thighs or a combination of boneless chicken breasts and thighs are ideal. When slow cooking wings and bone-in chicken parts, avoid overcooking unless you want the meat to be falling off the bone. 

Here are some of our favorite barbecue chicken recipes for the slow cooker, including pulled and shredded chicken for sandwiches, chicken meatballs, and recipes using bone-in chicken parts.

  • 01 of 14

    Mouthwatering Crock Pot Pulled Chicken

    Crock pot pulled chicken

     The Spruce

    This moist mouthwatering crock pot pulled chicken is a snap to fix with the sweet and tangy homemade barbecue sauce. Boneless chicken breasts and thighs team up in this recipe; the thighs keep the chicken moist and flavorful while the chicken breasts keep it relatively low in fat.

    Some of the sauce is saved for serving. The chicken is shredded and piled onto buns. Drizzle with the extra barbecue sauce and top the chicken with dill pickle slices and a few spoonfuls of coleslaw.

  • 02 of 14

    Sticky Crockpot Chicken Drumsticks

    Sticky chicken drumsticks
     The Spruce

    Make sure you provide napkins—or better yet, moist towelettes—when you serve this delicious sticky crockpot chicken drumsticks recipe. Brown sugar, honey, and ketchup make up the sauce along with seasonings. Sticky chicken is an excellent dish for a game day event or kids' party.

  • 03 of 14

    Simple Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken

    Slow Cooker Chicken Barbecue

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Chicken breasts are used to make this shredded simple slow cooker barbecue chicken. Barbecue sauce and onions go into this delicious chicken dish, and the slow cooker makes it a snap to fix and cook. 

  • 04 of 14

    4-Ingredient Slow Cooker Cola Chicken

    Slow Cooker Cola Chicken

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Chicken parts are featured in this 4-ingredient slow cooker cola chicken dish. Cola and ketchup team up to make the sauce for this basic crock pot chicken. For barbecue flavor, add a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and a teaspoon of liquid smoke to the sauce mixture. 

    Continue to 5 of 14 below.
  • 05 of 14

    Homemade Barbecue Chicken Meatballs

    Chicken meatballs

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    These homemade barbecue chicken meatballs, made with ground chicken thighs, are another excellent choice for the crock pot. The meatballs stay moist and juicy, and the spiced sauce mixture flavors them perfectly. Serve the meatballs over rice or noodles, or scale the recipe up and serve them as an appetizer.

  • 06 of 14

    Crock Pot Sticky Chicken

    Sticky chicken

    haoliang / E+ / Getty Images

    This saucy, crock pot sticky chicken is a flavorful combination of lean chicken breasts and a spiced brown sugar and honey sauce.

  • 07 of 14

    Crock Pot Shredded Chicken for Sandwiches

    Pulled Chicken Sandwich
    Alexandra Grablewski / Getty Images

    The homemade barbecue sauce for this crock pot shredded chicken for sandwiches recipe is surprisingly easy, and it contains only six ingredients. The chicken makes delicious sandwiches, and it's easy to scale up for a crowd.

  • 08 of 14

    BBQ Chicken Drummies

    grilled bbq chicken legs

    The Spruce


    These BBQ chicken drummies are a simple preparation, and they can be served right from the slow cooker. The prepared barbecue sauce—choose a commercial sauce or homemade—is amped up with some chili sauce, honey, and garlic. 

    Continue to 9 of 14 below.
  • 09 of 14

    Slow Cooker Honey Barbecued Chicken With Sweet Potatoes

    Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

    StockFood / Getty Images

    Chicken parts are slow cooked to perfection in this all-in-one meal. Barbecue sauce flavors the seared chicken pieces. The sweet potatoes are halved and wrapped in foil, which will ensure that they cook thoroughly and don't break down in the sauce. Serve this slow cooker honey barbecued chicken with sweet potatoes dish along with a salad or greens for a satisfying family dinner.

  • 10 of 14

    North Carolina BBQ Chicken Sauce

    Piedmont Barbecue Sauce

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    If you're looking for an enticing homemade barbecue sauce for your chicken, look no further than this North Carolina BBQ chicken sauce recipe. This sauce is especially good with shredded chicken.

  • 11 of 14

    Crock Pot Chicken With Spice Rub

    Chicken and corn
    Brian Leatart / Getty Images

    A spice rub gives these chicken pieces grilled flavor without the heavy sauce, and searing them ahead of time adds texture and color. If you like sauce, brush some on the chicken parts just before they're ready and serve more sauce at the table. This crock pot chicken with spice rub recipe calls for thighs and drumsticks, but chicken wings, whole legs, and drumettes are good alternatives.

  • 12 of 14

    2-Ingredient Crock Pot Barbecued Chicken Legs

    Tamis barbecued chicken legs

    The Spruce


    Chicken drumsticks, drumettes, or whole legs are a breeze to fix and cook with this 3-step 2-ingredient crock pot barbecued chicken legs recipe. If you substitute with boneless thighs or chicken breasts, reduce the cooking time by about an hour. Feel free to "doctor" the sauce with the addition of some crushed red pepper flakes, liquid smoke, or hot sauce. 

    Continue to 13 of 14 below.
  • 13 of 14

    Slow Cooker Island Barbecued Turkey Legs

    Slow Cooker Island Barbecue Turkey Legs

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    This slow cooker island barbecued turkey legs dish calls for large turkey legs, but feel free to use whole chicken legs in the dish instead. The homemade "island-style" barbecue sauce includes brown sugar, pineapple, and optional liquid smoke.

  • 14 of 14

    Slow-Cooker Barbecue Chicken

    Crockpot barbeque chicken

    The Spruce

    When you need to assemble dinner quickly, reach for this recipe for slow cooker barbecue chicken; all you need are chicken parts, an onion, and a bottle of barbecue sauce (although feel free to make a homemade version). Simply place all of the ingredients in the slow cooker and several hours later you will have a delicious meal the whole family will love.