BBQ Chicken Sliders


With 3 simple steps, you’ll have finger-licking good Crockpot BBQ Chicken Sliders. The perfectly seasoned, shredded chicken breasts are served on mini buns and topped with BBQ Sauce to make an easy weeknight meal or a scrumptious meal for groups of people. Be sure to double and freeze the recipe to save your future self time!

BBQ Chicken Sliders on a cutting board with a salad in the background

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Let’s Talk About Sliders

A slider is basically a small sandwich. We are big fans of sliders because they are perfect for families (since kids can be smaller eaters) and can stretch a food budget pretty far. With the popularity of our Ham & Cheese Sliders and our Chicken Parmesan Sliders, we have a hunch this BBQ Chicken Slider recipe will be a winner for you, too.

BBQ Chicken Sliders on a cutting board with chips

What Ingredients Do I Need for BBQ Chicken Sliders?

You will be amazed at how easy this recipe is. Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients for BBQ Chicken Sliders

How to Make BBQ Chicken Sliders

Step 1: Season the Chicken Breast

The first step to making your sliders will be to season your chicken. Here’s a pro tip for you: Dump the raw chicken into your crockpot first (see the one we both use and love). Sprinkle the seasoning on the chicken after it is in there. This will insure all the seasoning gets in the recipe rather than left on a cutting board where you might have seasoned the chicken. It also means fewer dishes (holla!).

Raw, seasoned chicken on a cutting board

Step 2: Cook the Chicken Breast & BBQ Sauce in the Crockpot

Ah, now to the fun part–pressing a button and walking away! Place the seasoned chicken in the crockpot and top evenly with 1 cup of BBQ sauce. Turn the chicken to make sure it’s coated in the sauce.

How Long to Cook the Chicken

Wait wait wait! We want to make sure you don’t overcook your chicken. For a long time, I chronically overcooked and dried out chicken breast in the slow cooker. After testing hundreds of recipes in the crockpot, we’ve honed in on the perfect timing: 2 1/2 – 3 hours on low.

Yes, you read that right. Chicken breast only takes 2 1/2 – 3 hours on low to be fully cooked. It makes us cringe when we see recipes out there that tell you to cook chicken for 6-8 hours. In fact, we have written an entire post about how long to cook your chicken in the crockpot if you want to read about it in more detail.

Can I Use Frozen Chicken?

As cookbook authors and freezer meal experts, we commonly get the question, “Can I cook frozen food in the crockpot?” I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but simply put, the answer is no. You should not put frozen food in a crockpot.

I know, we are sad too.

But, before you start giving us dirty looks, you should know we are coming out strong on this because the experts have made it very clear: cooking frozen food in a crockpot is not safe!

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service says, “Always thaw meat or poultry before putting it into a slow cooker.”

Raw chicken in a slow cooker with BBQ Sauce

Step 3: Shred and Serve the BBQ Chicken Sliders

After your chicken is fully cooked (use an internal meat thermometer to ensure it is 165°F), you will remove it from the cooker and place it on a cutting board. Let it rest for about 5-10 minutes, and then use two forks to shred the chicken breast apart.

If you want a shortcut on shredding, considering tossing it into a Kitchen Aid Mixer (or a large mixer of your choice) and use the paddle attachment. Put it on low and watch it closely to make sure the chicken doesn’t get too shredded.

Once it’s shredded, add the chicken back into the crockpot and stir in remaining 1/2 cup of BBQ Sauce.

Shredded chicken on a cutting board

Can I Make BBQ Chicken Sliders in the Instant Pot?

If you don’t want to go the low and slow method, using your Instant Pot to pressure cook BBQ Chicken Sliders will work just as well. After testing hundreds of recipes for our cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker, we have narrowed down the perfect Instant Pot cooking times. In fact, you can snag a free Instant Pot Cooking Times Chart here.

To make these sliders in the Instant Pot, add 1 cup of water or chicken broth and the steamer rack in the bottom of the pot. Put the seasoned chicken breasts in a single layer on the rack and top evenly with 1 cup of BBQ sauce (turn half way through so each side gets coated).

Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes and quick release the remaining pressure. (If the chicken isn’t done, pressure cook for 1 more minute.)

Cook Straight from Frozen in the Instant Pot

If you follow our freezer meal instructions below to turn this recipe into a freezer meal, you can easily cook it in the Instant Pot straight from frozen!

Do not thaw the prepped chicken. Place the frozen meal in the Instant Pot with 1 cup of water or chicken broth (no need for the steamer rack). Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Shred the meat and stir in the remaining BBQ sauce.

BBQ shredded chicken being placed on a slider bun

Make the Chicken Sliders a Freezer Meal

It’s no secret we are big fans of freezer meals around here. In fact, we have 2 freezer meal cookbooks1 Hour Freezer Prep Sessions, and even a round-up with 70+ freezer meal recipes that you will love!

So, yep, we have freezer meal instructions for the sliders.

Freeze For Later:

Label a gallon-sized freezer bag. Follow Step 1. Add the seasoned chicken and 1 cup of BBQ sauce to the bag. Seal, squish around to distribute the sauce, squeeze out any excess air, and freeze alongside the buns (and extra sauce in a small bag, if desired). (Note: If you want to cook this from frozen in the Instant Pot, place the bag in a round container in the freezer until frozen and then remove. Try not to stack the chicken, but place it in one flat layer.)

Prepare From Frozen:

Two options for cooking:

  1. Thawed in either cooker: Thaw completely using one of these safe thawing methods for chicken and follow Steps 2-4.
  2. From frozen in the Instant Pot: Do not thaw. Place the frozen meal in the Instant Pot with 1 cup of chicken broth. Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Follow Steps 3-4.
BBQ Chicken Sliders being turned into a freezer meal

What to Serve with BBQ Chicken Sliders

Overhead shot of BBQ Chicken Sliders

What to Serve with BBQ Chicken Sliders

Oh man, I have so many ideas for you! Here are a few really easy sides that would go great with this recipe:

Print

BBQ Chicken Sliders

  • Author: Rachel Tiemeyer
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Slow cooker
  • Cuisine: american
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

With 3 simple steps, you’ll have finger-licking good Crockpot BBQ Chicken Sliders. The perfectly seasoned, shredded chicken breasts are served on mini buns and topped with BBQ Sauce to make an easy weeknight meal or a scrumptious meal for groups of people. Be sure to double and freeze the recipe to save your future self time!


Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional; do not use if using a spicy BBQ sauce)
  • About 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approx. 4 medium chicken breasts)
  • 1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce (homemade or store-bought), plus more for serving
  • 8 slider buns or wheat rolls, sliced in half

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Season the chicken breasts on all sides with this rub. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Cook using one of these methods until the chicken is done (reaches an internal temperature of 165°F or no longer has any pink inside):
    1. Slow Cooker: Place the seasoned chicken in the crockpot and top evenly with 1 cup of BBQ sauce (turn the chicken to coat). Cover and cook on LOW for 2 ½ – 3 hours.
    2. Instant Pot: Add 1 cup of water or chicken broth and the steamer rack in the bottom of the pot. Put the seasoned chicken breasts in a single layer on the rack and top evenly with 1 cup of BBQ sauce (turn half way through so each side gets coated). Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes and quick release the remaining pressure. (If the chicken isn’t done, pressure cook for 1 more minute.)
  3. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest 5-10 minutes. Use two forks to shred it. (If making in the Instant Pot, discard the liquid and remove the rack in the Instant Pot.) Return the shredded chicken to the cooker to keep warm and stir in the remaining ½ cup BBQ sauce.
  4. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to add the shredded chicken to slider buns. Top with more BBQ sauce, if desired.

Freeze For Later: Label a gallon-sized freezer bag. Follow Step 1. Add the seasoned chicken and 1 cup of BBQ sauce to the bag. Seal, squish around to distribute the sauce, squeeze out any excess air, and freeze alongside the buns (and extra sauce in a small bag, if desired). (Note: If you want to cook this from frozen in the Instant Pot, place the bag in a round container in the freezer until frozen and then remove. Try not to stack the chicken, but place it in one flat layer.)

Prepare From Frozen: Two options for cooking:

  1. Thawed in either cooker: Thaw completely and follow Steps 2-4.
  2. From frozen in the Instant Pot: Do not thaw. Place the frozen meal in the Instant Pot with 1 cup of chicken broth. Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Follow Steps 3-4.

Notes

Gluten Free Option: Use gluten free buns.

Want More Easy Chicken Recipes?

We have a growing list of easy Chicken Freezer Meals for you to browse though. Every recipe can be made from fresh or prepped ahead as a freezer meal.

Chicken freezer meals

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