Pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches are an easy meal anytime of the year! Plus, I’ve got instructions for cooking the chicken on the grill or in the slow cooker.

pulled bbq chicken sandwiches

If you’re looking for a simple classic family-friendly meal, pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches are always a good idea! They’re a huge hit with my family, and I love to make them when we’ve got a big group, or when I want to make a meal once to enjoy all week long.

The pulled BBQ chicken can be prepared either on the grill (great in the summer!) or in the slow cooker if you’re looking for an easy hands-off recipe, and a simple homemade BBQ sauce adds so much more flavor. All you’ll need is some buns and maybe some pickles or coleslaw to complete this delicious meal.

marinated chicken for bbq chicken

Ingredients You’ll Need

There are 2 parts to this recipe— spiced chicken and an easy homemade BBQ sauce. Here’s what you’ll need for both:

  • Boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • Olive oil
  • Ketchup
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Brown sugar
  • Ground cumin
  • Paprika
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Salt and pepper

making homemade bbq sauce

How to Make Homemade BBQ Sauce

If you’ve never made your own BBQ sauce, you are missing out. It’s so easy to make and so much more delicious than store-bought brands. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Combine ingredients. Add ketchup, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder and brown sugar to a saucepan.
  2. Simmer for several minutes. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5-10 until slightly thickened, then remove from heat.

And that’s it! This homemade BBQ sauce can be made up to a week or more and stored in the fridge.

grilled chicken and bbq sauce

How to Make Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Now that we have our BBQ done, we’re ready to cook the chicken and make our sandwiches! There are 2 ways to cook the chicken, either on the grill or in a slow cooker. Using the grill provides more flavor, whereas using a slow cooker is more of a “set it and forget” it recipe.

Cook Chicken on the Grill

  1. Season chicken. Rub chicken all over with olive oil, ground cumin, paprika, brown sugar, salt and pepper.
  2. Grill till cooked through. Cook on grill over medium high heat for about 5 minutes per side. Turn down heat as needed to prevent burning while chicken cooks through completely.
  3. Shred. Let cool for about 15 minutes, then shred with your hands or 2 forks.

Cook Chicken in a Slow Cooker

  1. Add ingredients to slow cooker. Add chicken, olive oil, and seasonings to a slow cooker. Add ½ cup water.
  2. Cook till chicken is done. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 4-6 hours.
  3. Shred. Let cool for about 15 minutes, then shred with your hands or 2 forks.

assembling pulled bbq chicken sandwiches

Make it a Complete Meal

Any of these recipes would be a great side dish to these pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches!

pulled bbq chicken sandwiches

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pulled bbq chicken sandwiches
4 from 1 review

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes


For the BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

For the Pulled Chicken:

  • 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika

For Serving:

  • 8-10 buns
  • Coleslaw (optional)
  • Sliced pickles (optional)


To make the BBQ sauce:

  • Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Simmer for 5-10 minutes until slightly thickened.
  • Use right away or store in the fridge for a week or more.

To make the Pulled Chicken:

  • On the Grill: Rub chicken breasts or thighs with olive oil, brown sugar, salt, pepper, cumin and paprika.
  • Cook on grill preheated to medium high heat for about 5 minutes on each side until cooked through. Time will vary based on size of chicken breasts or thighs. Adjust heat as necessary so chicken doesn't burn while it finishes cooking.
  • In the Slow Cooker: Add chicken, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, pepper, cumin and paprika to a slow cooker. Add ½ cup water.
  • Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 4-6 hours until chicken is cooked through.
  • Once chicken is cooked on either the grill or in the slow cooker, let cool for about 15 minutes. Shred with your hands or 2 forks.
  • Combine pulled chicken with all of the BBQ sauce and serve immediately or keep warm in a slow cooker for up to 4 hours.
  • Serve with buns, coleslaw and/or pickles or as desired.
Calories: 434kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 954mg, Potassium: 349mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 384IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 24mg, Iron: 12mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Main Course
Author: Annalise Sandberg
Have you tried this recipe?I’d love to hear about it! Leave a rating and review below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram @completelydelicious with #completelydelicious.