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a bun with pulled chicken with sauce spilling out

Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Chicken

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


This easy Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Chicken with homemade Maple Chipotle barbecue sauce is mildly spicy and sweet and absolutely delicious!


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 ½ pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup, dark or amber
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon coarse ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Swirl to coat pan. When oil is shimmering but not smoking, add half of the chicken and sear on one side until browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the chicken to the insert of a large crockpot. Reduce heat to medium-high and sear the remaining half of chicken until browned on one side, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to the slow cooker.
  2. Add onion and water to the skillet, and cook, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the skillet, until starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, maple syrup, vinegar, mustard, paprika, salt and chipotle. Remove from heat and scrape the onion mixture into the crockpot.
  3. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low, undisturbed for 4 hours.
  4. Shred chicken with two forks before serving. Serve with the braising sauce.


Make Ahead Instructions For Setting Up The Night Before

  1. Whisk the ingredients from the tomatoes through the chipotle (the sauce ingredients) in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Sear the chicken and onions as directed and add them to the slow cooker. Stir to coat the chicken with the sauce. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. In the morning, set timer on low for 6 hours.

Leftovers reheat beautifully in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of water. Heat until steaming hot.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 245
  • Sugar: 23
  • Fat: 6
  • Saturated Fat: 2
  • Carbohydrates: 23
  • Fiber: 1
  • Protein: 25

Keywords: slow cooker pulled chicken,pulled chicken,BBQ pulled chicken,Crockpot pulled chicken

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