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This simple slow cooker BBQ Chicken Sliders recipe features shredded chicken cooked low and slow in barbecue sauce. Each sandwich is topped with homemade creamy coleslaw, making them a perfect snack for the backyard barbecue!
These BBQ Chicken Sliders are the ultimate comfort food you’ll want at every backyard barbecue or summer party! The slow-cooked, barbecue sauce-slathered chicken cooks perfectly and shreds effortlessly every time. Pile a scoop onto slider rolls with homemade coleslaw and dig in!
What makes these pulled chicken burgers completely addictive is not only the smoky BBQ flavors and tender bites. It’s also a foolproof, hands-off recipe that’s made almost entirely in a slow cooker! After cooking low and slow, the beautifully shredded barbecue chicken tastes like it’s been smoking for hours while the 5-ingredient homemade coleslaw complements every bite.
- There are smoky, savory, creamy, and tangy flavors in every multi-layered bite.
- The slow cooker does most of the work for you, giving you more time to focus on the classic barbecue sides.
- It’s an easy “set-it-and-forget-it” recipe you can serve for summer parties, potlucks, barbecues, and family dinners.
Dry seasonings - I seasoned the chicken with smoked paprika, salt, onion powder, and black pepper before cooking. You can add a dash of cayenne or red pepper flakes if you want a hint of spice.
Chicken breasts - You can use fresh or frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts. If you use frozen chicken breasts, make sure to thaw them ahead of time. This recipe also works with only chicken thighs or a combination of thighs and breasts.
BBQ sauce - Use your favorite store-bought bottle of BBQ sauce.
Coleslaw - The chicken sliders are topped with a quick and creamy coleslaw made from coleslaw mix (or shredded cabbage), mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, and sugar. Make sure you keep this coleslaw recipe in your back pocket because it’s fantastic with bison burgers and jackfruit pulled pork in addition to these sandwiches!
Step 1: Make the dry rub. In a small bowl, stir the smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, and black pepper together.
Step 2: Season the chicken. Sprinkle the spice blend over the chicken and use your hands to rub it all over.
Step 3: Cook the chicken in BBQ sauce. Transfer the chicken to your slow cooker. Pour the barbecue sauce overtop, then cook on low heat.
Step 4: Make the coleslaw. Meanwhile, stir the mayo, vinegar, lime juice, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the coleslaw mix (or thinly sliced cabbage) and stir to combine.
Step 5: Assemble and serve. Transfer the shredded BBQ chicken to a bowl or scoop it directly onto slider buns or Hawaiian rolls topped with the coleslaw. Enjoy!
Tips and FAQs
- I highly recommend cooking the chicken on low heat. This gives it more time to absorb the flavors in the BBQ sauce and tenderize so it falls apart effortlessly when you shred it.
- If you want the chicken to taste like you cooked it in a smoker, add a dash of liquid smoke to the crockpot.
- To shred the BBQ chicken, remove it from the slow cooker and use two forks to shred it. Return it back to the crockpot, toss it with the released juices and barbecue sauce, and let it simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes to ensure that every bite is moist and flavorful.
- Top your pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches with the coleslaw, as well as pickles, pickled jalapenos, pickled red onions, fried onions, and/or cheese.
Can I use pre-cooked chicken instead?
While the dry seasonings won’t be the same, you can absolutely use leftover shredded chicken to make pulled BBQ chicken. You can even use leftover or store-bought rotisserie chicken here.
To make this with pre-cooked shredded chicken, add the chicken to your slow cooker with the BBQ sauce and cook on High for 15 to 20 minutes or until the chicken and sauce are heated through.
What goes well with pulled BBQ chicken sliders?
How else can you use pulled barbecue chicken?
Any leftover chicken can be put to good use in pulled chicken tacos, layered on a BBQ chicken pizza, on top of a chicken salad, or stuffed into BBQ chicken quesadillas. Use the leftover coleslaw as a side to any of these dishes or as a topping on pulled pork sandwiches, crispy cod sandwiches, or chickpea tacos.
Refrigerator: Store the leftover chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. The coleslaw can also be made 2 to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Reheating: Place the pulled chicken back in the slow cooker or a skillet with more barbecue sauce, then reheat over low heat until warmed through.
More classic BBQ recipes
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BBQ Chicken Sliders
- Stir the smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, and black pepper together in a small bowl, then sprinkle the spice mix over the chicken, using your hands to coat it.
- Transfer the chicken to your slow cooker, then pour the bbq sauce overtop. Cook it on high for 2.5 hours or on low for 4-5 hours.
- Before serving the chicken, make the coleslaw: stir the mayo, vinegar, lime juice, and sugar together in a large bowl, then pour in the coleslaw mix (or thinly sliced cabbage) and stir to combine.
- Enjoy in a bowl or as sandwiches!