the easiest slow cooker bbq chicken recipe! this easy slow cooker bbq chicken only requires 5 ingredients, is totally meal-prep friendly, is paleo & whole30 friendly, & is SO versatile. say hello to your new go-to slow cooker bbq chicken recipe!
hey, hey guys! i hope you had an awesome weekend!
we spent the weekend in madison, which was SO much fun. chris went to school in madison & we spent quite a bit of time there together, especially when we first started dating again in 2013. our visits are only a little less frequent now because we live in minneapolis instead of milwaukee, which is just an hour away from madison, but it’s a pretty special place for the both of us. it’s always good to get back there whenever we can!
this time around we were in town on bittersweet family business. chris’ oldest brother & our sister-in-law are moving to london this week! we had a celebration/send-off party for them on saturday night & were able to connect with some friends & family we haven’t seen in awhile throughout the weekend.
i absolutely adore my in-laws, which makes it so sad to see micah & katie moving so far away. buuuut i know they’re both whole-heartedly excited & ready for this next adventure in their lives. so it’s a happy-sad, you know what i mean?
…& selfishly, their move totally gives us an excuse to travel to europe (via london, of course) a few times in the next couple of years. can’t go wrong with that, right? 😉
so, anyway. this is going to be a short & sweet post, which happens to feel completely appropriate for this recipe – it’s short & sweet.
don’t you love when that happens? #meanttobe 💜
my 5-ingredient slow cooker bbq chicken is the easiest & most satisfying recipe that you’ll add to your rotation this fall.
along the lines of the recipes i’ve been sharing so far this season, this slow cooker bbq chicken is easy (ridiculously easy, actually), healthy (i’ll talk about this more in a sec…), & most importantly, SUPER delicious. i looooooooove this slow cooker chicken!
which actually says a lot, because confession: i kinda hate slow cooker meals.
🙈🙈🙈 ugh, i know, i’m the worst! it’s just that so many slow cooker recipes just feel like they lose all of their flavor & end up tasting…like a slow cooker. does that make any sense?? please tell me i’m not alone. 🙈
ANYWAY…in the event that you’re a slow cooker skeptic like me, i encourage you to still give this slow cooker bbq chicken recipe a try. it’s so simple & i have a couple of tips to make sure it doesn’t end up with that slow cooker taste.
let’s break it down.
this slow cooker bbq chicken:
- is SO freakin’ easy. onions, peppers, chicken, & barbecue sauce. 5 ingredients. that’s it!
- has layers of flavor. rather than just throwing everything into your slow cooker, i really recommend sweating out the onions & peppers first. it’s a 5-minute step, but i think it really is the thing that makes this slow cooker bbq chicken not taste like a slow cooker. i use my trusty instant pot, which has a sauté setting, but any multi-cook slow cooker will have an option that will work. if you don’t have a multi-cook slow cooker, that’s totally fine too – chances are, you’re not a complete psycho when it comes to being picky about slow cooker meals & this is a complete non-issue!
- is totally meal-prep friendly. slice up the onions & peppers on sunday & store them in an airtight container/Ziplock bag. all you have to do to make slow cooker bbq chicken is dump it in & let it go! but between you & me? please don’t cook this for 8-10 hours. chicken just does NOT need that much time to cook & that’s why slow cooked chicken is so often dry as heck. since this recipe reheats well, i opt to make it on a sunday afternoon & shred it right then & there.
- can be as healthy as you want it to be. store-bought barbecue sauce tends to be one of those condiments that sneaks a lot more sugar than you expect into your meal. which shouldn’t be too surprising, since that’s the whole spicy-sweet thing is what makes barbecue sauce so delicious, but anyway, if it’s something you want to keep your eye on, just use your fave barbecue sauce for this slow cooker bbq chicken. my go-tos are: stubb’s (it’s really good & not too expensive), annie’s organic (a little pricier, but still good!), & tessemae’s (expensive & slightly hard to find, but it’s paleo & whole30 compliant, which is great for when we’re entertaining my girlfriends who do whole30 pretty regularly). (buuuut, if you’re not too concerned about sugar, sweet baby ray’s will always be my fave!)
- freezes well. this recipe intentionally makes a TON of chicken. i love to make a big batch of slow cooker bbq chicken at a time & freeze half of it from the get-go (unless we’re entertaining).
- is SO versatile. like, the options with this slow cooker chicken are endless. stay tuned because later this week i’m sharing 3 of my favorite ways to use it (see below!), but here are some initial thoughts…
- slow cooker bbq chicken sandwiches (you can’t beat a classic!)
- slow cooker bbq chicken on its own with roasted veggies on the side (another classic!)
- slow cooker bbq chicken quesadillas (hello melty cheese & tortillas.)
- slow cooker bbq chicken nachos (hello melty cheese & tortilla CHIPS.)
- slow cooker bbq chicken salad (with romaine & crunchy croutons – SO good!)
- slow cooker bbq chicken pizza (with caramelized red onions & cilantro!)
- slow cooker bbq chicken mac & cheese (i mean…c’mon.)
- & more!!! (seriously, stay tuned because later this week i’ll show you 3 of my favorite ways to use it creatively!)
don’t forget to check out 3 of my favorite ways to use easy slow cooker bbq chicken!
if you love this easy & healthy slow cooker bbq chicken, here are some other recipes you’ll be obsessed with:
- our favorite healthy eggplant lasagna
- 15-minute trader joe’s skillet
- healthy skillet chicken parmesan meatballs
- all healthy-ish pwwb recipes
so…tell me! what would be your favorite way to use this slow cooker bbq chicken? what’s your favorite slow cooker recipe? do you have an instant pot?? let me know in the comments below…i’d LOVE to chat! xo
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- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 2 bell peppers, sliced (I like red & orange!)
- 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce (see notes below!)
- salt and ground black pepper, to season as needed
- Place the coconut oil, onion, and peppers into your slow cooker. Season with a pinch of salt and ground black pepper. Using its sauté or browning feature, sweet out the onions & peppers until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
- Place the chicken breasts on top of the onions & peppers & pour the barbecue sauce over top. Stir to combine, ensuring the chicken & veggies are well-coated in the sauce.
- Slow cook (using the slow cook or “high” setting) for 2-3 hours, or until the chicken is fully cooked through. Check at 2 hours & if it needs a little more time, check every 30 minutes thereafter to avoid totally dry chicken.
- Shred the chicken (see notes below for a shortcut!) & serve as desired on its own, in sandwiches, in quesadillas, on nachos, etc. Enjoy!
- This recipe is written with an Instant Pot or multi-cook slow cooker in mind. If you don’t have one, that’s totally fine. Omit the oil & place the remaining ingredients in your slow cooker!
- I really like to use Stubb’s barbecue sauce. It’s cost-effective, has no weird ingredients, & has relatively low sugar per serving. & it’s tasty! Annie’s is another great health-conscious option. If you’re paleo or on a Whole30 (or feeding someone who is!), I can’t recommend Tessemae’s enough. It’s sweetened naturally with dates & is really delicious. The drawback is it’s expensive & a little difficult to track down (though my Whole Foods carries it in the refrigerated condiments section).
- A fun tip to easily shred chicken - use your stand mixer! I pop the chicken into the bowl of my KitchenAid mixer & mix on low speed, using the paddle attachment. It takes about a minute & the chicken gets perfectly shredded!
- Slow cooker bbq chicken freezes really well! Once it’s cooled, transfer into a freezer container or Ziplock bag. Press out all of the air to prevent freezer burn & freeze for up to 3 months.