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Crockpot BBQ Pulled Chicken

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Raise your hand if you need this Crockpot BBQ Pulled Chicken recipe. I’ll raise it for you, trust me you do! If you’re a fan of BBQ Pulled Chicken you must try this one! It’s sweet, spicy, smoky, savory perfection and dials back a ton on the sugar content of regular good ol’ BBQ. We love it!

Crockpot Pulled BBQ Chicken sandwich on parchment paper with a bowl of coleslaw and fries in the background

I came about this recipe last Fall when I wanted to make a big batch of Chicken BBQ Sandwiches for a family get together. I hopped on google to find a simple recipe that I could use the next day… and all I found were recipes that used a bottle of already made BBQ sauce plus a few ingredients (more sugar) and chicken. Now, I have absolutely nothing against using some sweet baby ray’s in bbq chicken. It’s one of the most popular bbq on sauces on store shelves for a reason. Growing up my mom made pulled pork and ribs using it so I’m a big fan.

But, I wanted something that didn’t have the sugar content of a snickers bar in between two hamburger buns. I decided to try my hand at my own and oooooh baby, it’s some good stuff and it’s ridiculously easy to throw together. Oh!! and the homemade coleslaw on top? It’s a must make if you like that sorta thing. The perfect spicy creamy crunch that any good sandwich deserves. Also good? Melted cheese. Let’s be real, melted cheese is always the answer unless you’re allergic to cheese… I’m very sorry if you are.

Crockpot Pulled BBQ Chicken being held above a plate of coleslaw and french fries

Let’s get into the kitchen and make Crockpot Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches!

Start off with a bowl and throw a can of tomato sauce, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 2 tsp smoked paprika, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 1 tsp kosher salt. Stir together well.

If you want to make this completely sugar free you can omit the brown sugar and use 3 tbsp my favorite brown sugar replacement or omit it completely because in a minute here we’re going to add some pineapple and that helps make it sweet too!

Chicken breasts, homemade BBQ sauce, and sliced onions in the crockpot before cooking

Alright, now add 2 lbs raw chicken breast, 1 medium thinly sliced yellow onion, 1 cup chopped pineapple (see next photo), and all of the bbq sauce mixture into a crockpot that’s been lightly sprayed with some cooking spray. Stir to incorporate everything.

Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4 hours.

pineapple in crockpot with chicken and bbq mixture

You know how sometimes when you’re doing two things at once and you totally forget what you’re doing? No? Welcome to my world. This Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken had been cooking for about an hour and I realized I forgot one of the most important ingredient! I didn’t just forget to put it in… I forgot it at the store! And, I knew I didn’t have any fresh on hand so I rummaged threw the pantry and thank goodness I had a can in there because I really wanted to get this recipe done and on the blog for y’all to see and make this week.

This is a can of Dole pineapple tid bits in 100% pineapple juice with no sugar added. If you’re not sure about using canned, that’s fine, folks! Use fresh! I usually use fresh in this particular recipe, but I’m happy to know now that using the canned pineapple was just as delicious.

I know I’m gonna be asked why I decided to add pineapple to this and the answer is that I was at a BBQ joint quite awhile ago and I remembered them having a stupid delicious BBQ sauce that was called “Smoky Chipotle Pineapple” and I loved it so I threw it in mine and crossed my fingers. Inspiration is everywhere. Ha!

How to make quick and easy Coleslaw:

Now for some coleslaw! You don’t have to do this, but you should do this especially if you enjoy coleslaw on your sandwiches. It really does add such a satisfying and fresh crunch to a BBQ pulled Chicken Sandwich!

In a bowl, place three cups shredded purple and/or green cabbage and two cups shredded carrots and a few green onions sliced thin lengthwise. Make life easy and just buy it already done in the produce section! I like more of an even carrot to cabbage ratio in my coleslaw so I don’t buy the prepackaged coleslaw mix (no dressing) because it’s mostly cabbage with like a sprinkle of shredded carrots, but if you wanna buy that. It’ll work too!

Add in 2 tbsp chopped pickled jalapeños, 1-2 tsp of brine from the pickled jalapeño jar, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar 3 tbsp non fat greek yogurt, 1/4 cup light mayonnaise, 2 tbsp dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp celery salt, and 1/8 tsp cumin.

coleslaw mixed up

Stir together well and add some salt and pepper to taste! It tastes best if you let the flavors marinate all together for at least an hour or so, but also very good right after it’s mixed up. You can also make this up to 24 hours ahead of time.

Don’t feel like coleslaw? Melt some cheese on it. It’s so, so good.

When the bbq pulled chicken is all done take it out of the slow cooker and shred with two forks. Place back into the slow cooker for about a half hour and continue to cook on low.

Grab a soft hamburger bun, add chicken, and coleslaw. Chow down!

crockpot bbq pulled chicken on sandwich with coleslaw

What to do with Crockpot BBQ Pulled Chicken:

  1. Add to a baked sweet potato/white potato with cheese, diced green onions, and maybe even a lil bacon. Mmmm!
  2. Make these simple sandwiches with a hamburger bun & homemade coleslaw.
  3. Add to tacos!
  4. Add next to rice & roasted vegetables for a quick and delicious Meal prep.
bbq pulled chicken sandwich

Oh my gosh my mouth is watering thinking about how tasty this is. I seriously cannot wait for dinner tonight because I’ve been enjoying leftovers for a couple days now and I’m already thinking about an acceptable amount of time before I can make it again.

I know there seems to be a lot of ingredients on that recipe card below, but remember there’s technically two recipes. Crockpot Pulled BBQ Chicken AND Coleslaw! I went ahead and divided the ingredients, instructions, and ww points/calories into two separate categories for you so that you don’t have to guess which is which and if you just want to make the chicken and not the coleslaw- it’ll be super easy!

I hope you love it so much! Comment and rate it if you get a chance!

With love from my kitchen to yours, Star

Crockpot BBQ Pulled Chicken

A healthy, crave-worthy, sweet, and smoky bbq pulled chicken recipe made in the crock pot.
Print Recipe
crockpot bbq pulled chicken on sandwich with coleslaw
Prep Time:5 mins
Cook Time:8 hrs

Equipment

  • slow cooker

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs chicken breast raw
  • 1 medium yellow onion cut into thin slices
  • 1 cup pineapple chopped into small peices
  • 1- 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper more or less depending on spice preference. remember you can always put more spice in, but you can't really take it out.

Coleslaw (optional to make sandwiches with):

  • 3 cups green/purple cabbage shredded
  • 2 cups carrots shredded
  • 3 green onions sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeños chopped small (about two tablespoons)
  • 1-2 tsp jalapeño brine from the picked jalapeño jar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup light mayo i like hellman's
  • 3 tbsp non fat greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Crockpot BBQ Pulled Chicken:

  • In a bowl add tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and salt & pepper. Stir together well.
    Lightly spray a crockpot with cooking spray and add chicken breast, onions, pineapple, and bbq sauce mixture. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. When the chicken is done cooking, remove from crockpot and shred apart with two forks. Place back into the crockpot and continue to cook on low for 30 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Coleslaw:

  • In a bowl add cabbage, carrots, green onions, greek yogurt, mayo, mustard, apple cider vinegar, and spices. Stir well until combined. Salt and Pepper to taste! Make up to 24 hours in advance.

Sandwiches:

  • If making BBQ Chicken sandwiches with coleslaw grab your favorite hamburger bun or roll add 1/2 cup chicken and 1/2 cup coleslaw. Enjoy!

Notes

BBQ Pulled Chicken Serving size: 1/2 cup
109 calories 1g fat, 0g saturated fat, 200g sodium, 4.5g carbohydrates, 0g fiber, 3g sugar, 0g added sugar, 0g sugar alcohol, 26g protein
WW Points for Chicken: 1
Creamy Coleslaw (Makes about 6 cups)
Serving size: 1/2 cup
34 calories, 2g fat, 0g saturated fat, 150g sodium, 0g sugar, 0g added sugar, 0g sugar alcohols, 2g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 1g net carbs, 0.5g protein 
WW Points: 0
 
Note: Hamburger buns not included in points or nutritional info since they can range in size/nutrition/points, but you’ll need those too if you’re making sandwiches! I like the butternut brand. 
Servings: 11
Author: Star @ the skinny-ish dish
Tried this recipe?Mention @theskinnyishdish or tag #skinnyishdishrecipes!

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106 Comments

    1. Pickled jalapeños don’t have nearly as much kick as fresh jalapeños in my opinion, but that can definetly vary on the brand and how many seeds are included. If you’re unsure you can use a little less. I personally think that the pickled jalapeños add a slight kick, but nothing crazy. If you’re super sensitive to spice maybe skip them! You could do diced pickles or bananas peppers in there place if you want a brine-y crunch still!

  1. 5 stars
    This slaw recipe is my absolute favorite!! I make it with your Kalua Pork (which is incredible!! My Hawaiian mother and I love love love it!) And it is perfect. I also make it with carnitas, tacos, and Chipotle style bowls.

    I actually add about 1/2 cup of diced fresh pineapple to the slaw – it adds the perfect touch of sweetness without added sugar! Thanks for another great recipe!

  2. #top2021
    We love this one! I make this slaw for any kind of bbq now. My husband requests it frequently.

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve got this one on rotation! It makes me feel like I’m cheating on my diet when I’m not. #top2021

  4. 5 stars
    #top2021 This is my GO TO BBQ chicken recipe!!! It is so simple and delicious and I have always received compliments when I serve it!

  5. This recipe is one we always go to and will also be on our menu for Super Bowl! Definitely a crowd pleaser! #top2021

  6. My love language is food and let me tell you, when I’m cooking for others but am short on time-this recipe is a crowd pleaser every single time. The BBQ sauce is out of this world and people always want the recipe before they leave! #top2021

  7. 5 stars
    So good and so easy! My crockpot gets used 3 or 4x per week at least. Love this recipe with pulled pork, too! #top2021

  8. 5 stars
    I’m not usually a bbq sauce fan but if Star makes it, I’m gonna try it haha i love this recipe! We ate it over baked sweet potatoes and it was great!! Thank you 🙂 #top2021

  9. 5 stars
    #top2021-I work 12 weekend shifts. I make this on a Friday and I’m set for the entire weekend. This is so good as a sandwich or over rice or even a salad.

  10. I haven’t made this yet, but it looks delish! Adding the ingredients to my list now! #top2021

  11. Can yellow mustard be substituted for the Dijon mustard, or should I just leave it out???

  12. Heading off to Hawaii to see my twins at college and this will get us in the “Hawaii-mode”. Your recipes never disappoint!!! Thanks ahead of time, I KNOW this will be a winner!!

  13. 5 stars
    My family loved these BBQ sandwiches! My husband and kiddos can’t handle much heat so I left out the jalapenos in the slaw, but otherwise followed the recipe and it came out great! No leftovers and my daughter asked when we could have these again. It’s a winner!

  14. 4 stars
    Tried this for the first time yesterday. My husband and I loved it! He doesn’t like Cole slaw but said that this changed his mind. So delicious! We are using the leftovers to make you taquitos. Don’t skip the slaw folks!

  15. 5 stars
    Such a delicious and easy staple to cook on the weekend and have for the week ahead ! The whole family loved this dish!

  16. 5 stars
    YUM!! Made these for my son and his girlfriend last Sunday. For a side we had baked sweet potato fries. I think they’re getting wise to my use of lightened up recipes when we have a meal together. It’s not that they need to lose weight, but that your recipes are always a winner! My son liked it so much I had to send home some leftovers. I think next time I’ll bake stuffed potatoes and top them with the chicken along with the other good stuff you put in potatoes. I saw that mentioned somewhere and it sounds delish.

    1. I’m so happy yall are enjoying the recipes and the baked potato idea sounds so good! I have to do it next time I make these too!

  17. 5 stars
    Can I give that slaw 10 stars!! That was the best BBQ sandwich!! Glad I put the leftovers away before I ate my sandwich because I would have eaten it all!! Delicious!! Your recipes are amazing! Thank you!

  18. 5 stars
    Our family loves this. So delicious, Star you did a really good job with this recipe, the pineapple is an amazing addition.

  19. 5 stars
    I made this a few weeks ago and love it! I portioned it into individual servings for the freezer and it’s so easy to just pull one out for a quick lunch or dinner. I didn’t make the cole slaw yet but the pulled chicken sandwich is delicious with fries or chips.

  20. Would crushed pineapple work? I assume I would have to use a little less than 1 cup since it is more condensed(?)
    Thanks!!

  21. 5 stars
    Ok…made this tonight! However, I ised my Instant Pot. This stuff is legit! Will make again. And the coleslaw is fantabulous! Thank you!!

  22. 5 stars
    So easy and so delicious! This was a win with 3 kids AND hubby and I. Definitely going into permanent rotation. PS- don’t skip the slaw!!!

  23. 5 stars
    This was amazing! The slaw has the perfect kick to it, and give it such a nice crunch. I only used half the pineapple because I’m not a pineapple fan and it was fantastic. I’m sure I would’ve liked it even with all the pineapple it called for. Was great on buns, baked potatoes, as pizza topping, and just all by itself! @squatto4moscato on IG! 🙂

  24. Star has done it again! Made this for my family when my brother visited. He’s super picky but the whole family loved it. The jalapeño slaw was the perfect punch of flavor, not too spicy but went perfectly with the bbq chicken! 10/10!!

  25. 5 stars
    This is my favorite skinny dish recipe by far!!! So easy to make and so simple! The homemade bbq sauce is fabulous – not too sweet and oh so savory! Since I discovered this recipe, it has become a weekly staple in our household! I like to sear the chicken and onions briefly before adding to the crockpot – I think it yields more flavor. Provides amazingggggg leftovers! We also simply cook some bacon and make skinny dish taquitos – so yummy! Would love to try these in an air fryer sometime! I also love to take some leftover potatoes – warm them, top with warmed leftover bbq pulled chicken and top with an egg sunny side up and some scallions for breakfast!! Thank you thank you and thank you again for changing my life with this recipe! Can’t thank you enough for all you do!

    – @catieb

  26. I love a good BBQ chicken in the crockpot recipe and this one is my favorite. The pinapple adds the right tangy sweetness. I love doing the coleslaw also!!
    Thanks for the great WW recipes!
    Dana Wright
    danacwrightoil2oil on IG

  27. 5 stars
    This is AMAZINGLY good. We’ve made it twice this month already and my 13month old likes it too – and she is PICKY! Thank you for this!! Makes a mama happy to see her little girl eat!

  28. Anything that can be substituted for the balsamic vinegar? That’s the only thing I forgot to get at the store!

  29. 5 stars
    I don’t really love BBQ sauce so when you posted that this wasn’t like regular BBQ sauce, I figured I could try! 🙂 it is delicious!!! FYI, used the instant pot on 10 minutes, 10 min release and then hit saute after shredding to reduce the sauce a bit. Worked great.

    I also butchered your slaw since I only had honey mustard and pickles it was still good. Love how adaptable your recipes are. Thank you!

  30. 5 stars
    The coleslaw is straight from flavortown! Such a delicious meal. 2nd recipe from your site & your stuff is fantastic!!

  31. 5 stars
    My whole family enjoyed this meal! We skipped the coleslaw and it was great just by itself!

  32. 5 stars
    I tried this one because I really stuggle to find low point BBQ sauce. I really loved this!! I tried with a bit less sugar just to see and I still loved it and so did my husband. My favorite part is that it can easily be frozen so I just portioned out the extra for some quick sandwiches in the future. I will have to see what the best way of thawing it is. Thanks for another recipe to help stay on track with WW 😀

    1. I am so so happy you and your husband both enjoyed, thanks so much for letting me know! I just thaw it in the fridge overnight before I want to use it the day of. If it seems water-y after being frozen just cook it on a low in a pan over medium heat and let the extra juices reduce. =)

  33. 5 stars
    This made great sandwiches and even better leftover on baked potatoes! I think I did something wrong on the coleslaw because mine came out very vinegar-y. 99% chance that was user-error though!

  34. 5 stars
    I love crockpot meals and this one is so delicious!! The chicken tastes even better the next day.

    1. Agree!! I almost always prep this one in advance because when it sits in the fridge the flavors REALLY come together!

  35. 4 stars
    Hi! Do you think this would work well with boneless chicken thighs? If so, would you use the same amount?

  36. I just made this today, wow it’s so tasty! I love it. Nice and spicy with a good amount of sweet. I don’t miss the heavy bbq sauce with all this flavor. And it was the first time I made my own coke slaw. Thank you!

  37. 5 stars
    This is so delicious! We love it so much that now when I make it I double the recipe so we have leftovers for later in the week. Seriously delicious!

  38. 5 stars
    Hello April,
    I always put oranges in the pot as a substitute to the pineapples.
    Also super tasty
    Grettings from Germany

  39. I’m not a fan of jalapeños because I can’t do spicy. What would you suggest as a substitute for the coleslaw?

    1. Leave’m out of the coleslaw. Should taste just fine just no spice! If you have some, I’d personally replace the jalapeño brine with a little bit of pickle juice so it still get’s a bit of that brine-y bite to it!

  40. I got up early and put chicken in crockpot, coleslaw is in frig marinating the house smells wonderful. Thank you. Cannot wait to eat in a few hours

  41. 5 stars
    Made this exactly as written. For the record not a huge bbq or coleslaw fan. This was AMAZING. For the person reading this just make it – you won’t regret it. Put it on a kings hawaiin roll. Flavor and texture off the charts. Another winner Star!

  42. Hi. This looks great! Do you think substituting pickles and pickle juice would work if one didn’t have pickled jalepenos on hand?

  43. This is the best! I love it as a sandwich with the slaw!!!! Your recipes are so well-spiced and delicious!

  44. 5 stars
    Sooooooo good! I put it on top of some chopped salad greens with a little cheese and homemade ranch. YUM! Thank you!

  45. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! I always double the Chicken and then freeze some for later. I also add a touch of liquid smoke and BAM!…it has everyone at the office drooling when I heat it up for lunch. The Coleslaw is the best coleslaw I’ve ever had, and compliments the chicken fantastically. I’m so glad you created this recipe as I was getting really bored with my lunch wraps.

    1. I am so happy you enjoyed it Stephanie!! I’m drooling reading this because I don’t have any in my fridge for the first time in weeks and now I’m craving it!

  46. Ms Star!
    What a great recipe, I loved it! My kids loved it too (that’s super amazing) I didn’t take a pic, because there was no time to do it when we were eating it, lol
    I did save some of the sauce and will cook some leftover rotisserie chicken in it! Hopefully I’ll take a pic

    1. 5 stars
      Hello April,
      I always put oranges in the pot as a substitute.
      Also super tasty
      Grettings from Germany

  47. Hi Star! I love your recipes. I’m wondering if you have any tips for cooking this stove top with a dutch oven instead? Thank you! 🙂

  48. Great bang for your buck pointswise (blue plan). An Aldi brand bun gives you a BBQ sandwich with slaw for 5 points. Can’t beat that.

  49. I want to make this for Super Bowl Sunday. Pickled jalapenos….you’re just talking in a jar. Not fresh. Maybe I’m overthinking this. Of course when I think of pickling…I think sweet. Cant wait to try this!

    1. Yes I’m sorry I’ll be sure to specify this because a couple of people have asked. There’s pickled jalapeños where the pickles are in the grocery store. I hope you enjoy!

  50. This sounds amazing and just got added to the Super Bowl menu for this weekend! Is one of those celery salt amounts supposed to be cumin, though? I thought I saw you mention cumin in the post…

    1. Hi Holly! Yes there is 1/8 tsp of cumin in the coleslaw! I accidentally wrote celery salt twice on the printable recipe. Sorry about that! It’s all fixed now.

  51. I’m trying this recipe and see that celery salt is listed twice. Just wanted to bring it to your attention!

    1. Hey Misty! Thanks so much for letting me know. So sorry! I just fixed it. It’s 1/2 tsp celery salt & 1/8 tsp cumin. =) I hope you enjoy!

  52. The coleslaw recipe calls for 2 different amounts of celery salt. Would you be able to clarify please?

    1. Hi Jane! So sorry! I just fixed it. It’s 1/2 tsp celery salt & 1/8 tsp cumin. I accidentally listed it twice.

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