These BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches are the perfect combination of savory and sweet. They're easy to make in the slow cooker using your favorite BBQ sauce and topped with a healthy Greek yogurt coleslaw.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
You'll love how tender, tangy, and flavorful this pulled bbq chicken is. It's simple to make with five ingredients, then topped with a healthier coleslaw made with Greek yogurt instead of mayo.
It's a convenient meal since it's made in the slow cooker to save you time on busy weeknights or to prepare for a game day get-together or backyard bbq. It takes just 15 minutes to prep, and the rest is hands-off.
You can make these shredded chicken sandwiches with just a few common ingredients.
- Chicken Thighs: Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are the main ingredient. You can use chicken breasts if you prefer, but keep an eye on them so they don't overcook. Chicken breast dries out a lot quicker than thighs.
- Onion: Half a yellow onion, thinly sliced.
- BBQ Sauce: One cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, plus more for serving. I like Stubb's Bar-B-Q Sauces.
- Seasoning: Season the chicken with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Greek Yogurt Coleslaw: A combination of a bag of coleslaw mix, plain Greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. This coleslaw makes the perfect healthier topping.
- Buns: Use your favorite type of buns for serving. I like to use whole wheat hamburger buns. You could even make these in a hot dog bun, pita pocket, or even eat them without a bun!
*The full ingredient list with amounts is in the recipe card below.
How to Make Shredded BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
These pulled chicken sandwiches take only a few minutes to prepare and are cooked in the slow cooker, making them a super easy meal.
- Prepare the chicken. Place the chicken thighs in the slow cooker. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat the chicken. Add in the sliced onions and BBQ sauce. Toss to combine.
- Cook the chicken. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 3 hours until they're cooked through and easy to shred. The internal temperature should reach 165°.
- Make the coleslaw. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the coleslaw. In a large bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper until combined. Add in the bag of coleslaw mix and toss until completely coated in the Greek yogurt sauce. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Assemble the sandwiches. Once the chicken is cooked, shred it using two forks. It should shred very easily. You can either do it right in the slow cooker or take them out and shred them on a cutting board. Place the shredded chicken back in the crockpot and stir to coat all the chicken with sauce. Serve on a bun and top with more BBQ sauce (optional) and coleslaw.
Expert Tip: I recommend cooking these on low so they will be tender and juicy. High heat may cause them to become dry. Read more about how to make meat tender.
Tips on How to Shred Chicken
This chicken comes out so tender in the slow cooker that you should be able to shred it with a fork easily. If you don't have time to slow-cook this chicken and opt for another cooking method, you could try one of these ways for pulling (aka shredding) the chicken.
- The fork method. Using two forks, pull the chicken apart into shreds.
- By hand. Once your chicken has cooled enough to handle, use your hands to pull it apart into your desired size pieces.
- The hand mixer or stand mixer method. This method is quick and easy; however, I don't recommend using it if there is a lot of sauce on your chicken since it could splatter. Place your cooked chicken in a large bowl. Use the hand or stand mixer on low speed to break up the chicken.
These sandwiches are a great easy weeknight dinner or party food. You can even make the chicken and cole slaw ahead of time and refrigerate for up to 3 days to meal prep for the week.
Not sure what to serve with BBQ Pulled Chicken? Here are some suggestions!
- Instead of topping them with coleslaw, you can top them with cabbage, pickles, pineapple, jalapeños, cheese, or your favorite sandwich toppings!
- Serve with potato salad, baked beans, fruit salad, pasta salad, macaroni and cheese, steak fries, or potato chips.
- Make them into sliders. Serve them over your favorite slider rolls, like slider-sized Hawaiian rolls.
- Instead of serving the bbq chicken on a bun, add it to a salad, as a pizza topping, or in wraps.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
Each pulled chicken sandwich will have about ¼ pound of chicken.
The best sides for bbq pulled chicken sandwiches are mac and cheese, coleslaw, baked beans, french fries, pasta salad, corn salad, potato salad, and potato chips.
One pound of shredded chicken feeds about 4 people. Each pound of raw chicken should yield around 2 ½ cups of cooked, shredded chicken.
More Game Day Recipes
- Slow Cooker Fall Harvest Chili
- Baked Chicken Nuggets
- Classic Guacamole
- Pico De Gallo
- Baked Zucchini Chips with Sriracha Aioli
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These BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches are easy to make and the perfect combination of savory and sweet. Made in the slow cooker using your favorite BBQ sauce and served with a healthy greek yogurt coleslaw, these are great for your next game day get together!
For the Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- ½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup BBQ sauce plus more for serving (use your favorite store-bought or homemade sauce- I like Stubb's)
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper
For the Greek Yogurt Coleslaw
- 12 ounce bag coleslaw mix
- ¾ cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 8 buns (I use whole wheat hamburger buns)
- Place the chicken thighs in a slow cooker. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat. Add the onion slices and bbq sauce. Toss to combine.
- Cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 3 hours until they're cooked through and easy to shred. The chicken internal temperature should be 165°F.
- While the chicken is cooking, prepare the cole slaw. In a large bowl, add the greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup or honey, salt and pepper. Stir until combined. Add the coleslaw mix and toss until completely coated with the greek yogurt sauce. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Once the chicken is done cooking, shred using two forks. You can do this right in the slow cooker or remove the chicken and shred it on a cutting board. Place back in the slow cooker and toss to combine with the sauce.
- Serve the chicken on a bun, drizzle with more BBQ sauce (optional) and top with coleslaw.
I recommend cooking these on low so they will be tender and juicy. High heat may cause them to become dry.
Chicken and coleslaw can be refrigerated for up to 3 days in airtight containers.
Nutritional Values (per serving) are approximates only.
- Serving Size: 1 sandwich
- Calories: 369
- Sugar: 20.2 g
- Sodium: 734 mg
- Fat: 6.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 44.3 g
- Fiber: 4.7 g
- Protein: 24.9 g
- Cholesterol: 107.8 mg
Keywords: pulled chicken, bbq, crock pot, slow cooker