How to Make Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken

  • 01 of 05

    Assemble Your Pulled Chicken Ingredients

    Man chopping onions
    Image Source/Photodisc/Getty Images

    With its low, steady temperature, a slow cooker is the 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 can also refer to just the recipe for Slow-Cooker Pulled Chicken)


    First, assemble your ingredients. You will need:


    • 2 1/2 pounds chicken parts (I'm using a combination of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and skinless bone-in thighs, which will give the final dish some...MORE richness)
    • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
    • Barbecue Sauce (I use Gates Barbecue Sauce, but you can use your favorite brand, or even a recipe of your own creation.) You'll need about 8 ounces.

    Continue to 2 of 5 below.
  • 02 of 05

    Fill the Slow Cooker

    Slow Cooker Chicken, Step 2
    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.
    Continue to 3 of 5 below.
  • 03 of 05

    Add the Sauce

    Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken, Step 3
    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.
    Continue to 4 of 5 below.
  • 04 of 05

    Shred the Chicken

    Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken, Step 4
    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" the chicken. 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...MORE its long, slow simmer in the slow cooker. Discard any bones.
    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Mix the Chicken and Sauce

    Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken Step 5
    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 "keep warm" 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.