2-Ingredient Crock Pot Barbecued Chicken Legs

2-Ingredient Crock Pot Barbecued Chicken Legs

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 6 hrs
Total: 6 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yield: 6 whole chicken legs
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
209 Calories
4g Fat
31g Carbs
11g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 209
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 55mg 18%
Sodium 819mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 25g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 30mg 2%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 289mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Home-cooked barbecued chicken legs are super easy when you use your slow cooker. This recipe is the perfect solution for busy families, and if you prepare it in the morning, it will be ready just in time for dinner. With only two ingredients—budget-friendly chicken legs and barbecue sauce—it can't be beaten.

This recipe could not be more straightforward. Just place frozen chicken legs and barbecue sauce in the slow cooker and turn on the heat. That's it. It can easily be customized to fit your taste as well. If you use thawed chicken legs, consider browning them in a small amount of vegetable oil before you add them to the slow cooker. Though it isn't necessary, browning adds flavor to the meat. Or remove the skin if you'd like to lower the fat content and calories. The recipe is a fantastic foundation to play with, and your family will love it.

For extra homemade flavor, use the sauce from this slow-cooker chicken wing recipe for inspiration. Mix your sauce in a bowl and stir it well after adding each ingredient. Adjust the ingredients to suit your taste. Some spices intensify slightly over long slow cooking, so be sure that you do not make it too hot for people to enjoy.

Serve these chicken legs alongside mashed potatoes or a potato salad and coleslaw for a well-balanced meal.

"It’s easy to appreciate a meal that requires nothing more than tossing a couple ingredients in the slow cooker. The recipe is extremely easy and has the quickest prep time I’ve encountered. It’s also nice that you can take the chicken straight from the freezer. It’s a solid recipe with good results." —Colleen Graham

Barbecued Chicken Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 6 whole chicken legs (or chicken leg quarters), frozen or thawed

  • 1 (16-ounce) bottle barbecue sauce, or 2 cups

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for making crock pot barbecued chicken legs

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. Arrange the chicken legs in a slow cooker.

    Arrange chicken legs in the slow cooker

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. Pour barbecue sauce over the chicken legs.

    Pour barbecue sauce over chicken legs in the slow cooker

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  4. Cover and cook the frozen chicken legs on high for 4 to 7 hours, or until thoroughly cooked. Alternatively, if you use defrosted chicken legs, cook them on low for 5 to 8 hours.

    2-Ingredient Crock Pot Barbecued Chicken Legs in a covered slow cooker

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni


  • Slow cookers can vary widely in terms of the time it takes to cook any given dish. To ensure it's thoroughly cooked, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thigh to check for doneness.
  • According to the USDA, the safe minimum internal temperature for chicken is 165 F. However, with the dark meat in this recipe, 175 F to 180 F produces more tender and juicier meat.
  • A six-quart slow cooker can fit six large whole chicken legs. Depending on the size of your slow cooker and chicken pieces, you may find that it's a tight fit, especially with frozen chicken. Shift the pieces around so you can get the lid closed; as they cook, the chicken will thaw and reduce in size.

Recipe Variations

If you want to customize the sauce, try these flavorful additions:

  • For sweet-tart flavor, add a few teaspoons of mustard and about 1/4 cup of honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar.
  • Worcestershire sauce is a great flavor enhancer for barbecue sauce as well, or add a small amount of Liquid Smoke.
  • If you like your food spicy, add a teaspoon or more of cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes. Tabasco sauce, sambal, or sriracha work, too.
  • If you like onions, slice a medium onion and scatter it over the bottom of the crock pot before you add the chicken.

What Is the Difference Between a Whole Chicken Leg and a Chicken Leg Quarter?

A whole chicken leg is a drumstick with the thigh still attached. A chicken leg quarter is similar, but it contains some of the back, so it's a little larger. One whole chicken leg or quarter should be enough for an adult and more than enough for a child. If you use drumsticks or thighs instead of whole legs, allow about two drumsticks or two thighs per adult, or one per small child.