Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs
With a short list of simple, real food ingredients this Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs recipe is brilliantly easy and so delicious. Throw everything in the slow cooker in the morning and come home to a perfectly cooked barbecue dinner. Yum!
We don’t head back to school around here for another month, but that doesn’t mean I’m not always looking for ways to make dinner quick, easy, and healthy.
And when I’m in need of quick, healthy, and easy I often turn to my slow cooker. I love dumping a few simple ingredients in, hitting a button, and coming home to dinner waiting for me at the end of the day. So good.
This Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken is especially good for busy weeknights because it can be prepped in just a few minutes with a short list of simple pantry-staples. Plus everyone will love it.
Feel free to double the recipe if you’re feeding a crowd. Serve the juicy pulled chicken atop a whole wheat or gluten-free bun, in lettuce wraps, or in rice bowls.
A quick, simple slaw adds texture, crunch, and veggies to the chicken. We like 5-Ingredient Every Day Slaw.
Or, make a quick slaw by combining one-half of a Napa cabbage, thinly sliced (regular green cabbage would also work), a grated carrot, a sliced red bell pepper, the juice of one lemon, a tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir together in a bowl and let sit for a few minutes for the flavors to combine. You can’t go wrong!
Tip: If you prefer to use a store bought sauce, you’ll love this recipe Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken recipe!
1 | If your child prefers chicken with less sauce, hold some shredded meat aside before adding back to the slow cooker. Serve the shredded chicken with sauce on the side for dipping.
2 | Taste the smoked paprika before adding it to the recipe. Some can be on the spicy side, so omit it if yours is spicy and you have a child sensitive to heat.
THIS RECIPE IS . . .
Naturally Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free and Refined Sugar-Free.
Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs
- 1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 tablespoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Combine tomato sauce, honey, molasses, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, vinegar and salt in a 6-quart slow cooker, stirring until well combined.
- Add the chicken, spooning some of the tomato mixture over to cover.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 4-5 hours, or until the chicken is very tender.
- Remove the chicken, shred with two forks, then add back to the slow cooker, stirring to combine.
- Serve the pulled chicken on buns, in lettuce wraps, or in rice bowls.
Can’t wait to try this! How did you make the coleslaw on top?
Melissa, great! I made the slaw by combining thinly sliced Napa cabbage (regular green cabbage would also work), a grated carrot, a sliced red bell pepper, the juice of one lemon, a tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. 🙂
Thank you! I’m making this tomorrow for dinner! And we made the weeknight tacos tonight. They are amazing! Thank you for all your recipes! 🙂
Melissa, yay and you’re welcome!
Putting this on our menu this week! Looks so good. Wondering if you have a substitute suggestion for the molasses? maple syrup? Also, how much cabbage for the slaw? Thank you! My family loves your recipes!
Hi Julie, I think you can substitute maple syrup for the molasses. The sauce won’t quite have the same bbq flavor, but it will still be yummy. For the slaw I’d go with 1/2 medium sized napa cabbage or 1/4 large green cabbage. I’ll work on a basic slaw recipe to add to the blog soon. So happy you and your family like the recipes!
I tried this recipe over the weekend it’s very simple to make and very delicious. I added Chyanne and red pepper flakes just to add a little kick. I will definitely make this again!
Fantastic Kathy! Love the idea of adding a little kick as well!
Somehow I stumbled on your blog and I love it! I’ve bookmarked a ton of your recipes. We definitely have the same taste in food. I made this recipe (actually on Labor Day!) and it was great! Luckily I doubled most of the ingredients so we had it for leftovers for a while. I made it again the next week for my parents and they loved it too. Thanks for sharing it!
Amy, yay, so glad you’re here and that we share the same taste in food! 🙂
I always seem to dry out boneless chicken breasts in the crockpot. Is there a secret to keeping them moist?
Willy, there is so much sauce in this recipe that even if the chicken breasts get a bit dry while cooking they’ll become moist again when mixed with the sauce. 🙂
I was all set to make this and then noticed my honey has crystallized! If I run it under warm water will it still be good for this? Or is there something else I can substitute? Thank you!
Amy, yes, you can use crystalized honey as-is, or run the bottle under warm water. You can also use maple syrup in its place as well. 🙂
Could I use white wine vinegar as a substitute for some cider vinegar?
Shauna, yes, that should work!
Can this be frozen after being made? If so, for how long and what are your suggestions on how to go about it?
Niki, yes the chicken (with sauce) can be frozen after it’s made. I like to use wide mouth mason jars (search "freezing in jars" in the search bar and you’ll find my specific instructions. You could also use zip-top bags or any other freezer safe container. I generally freeze for no more than three months. 🙂
What if I don’t have onion powder or smoked paprika? Can I use dried minced onion or just extra garlic powder and regular paprika?
Evyan, yes, finely minced onion will work, as will regular paprika. You’ll miss the smokey flavor of a traditional sauce, but it should still taste good. 🙂
Made this last night so easy and had most of the ingredients. We loved it and it will be made again.
Fantastic, so happy you enjoyed this one! Thanks so much for leaving a review!