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Crock Pot BBQ Chicken

The heat all over most of the U.S. this past week has been oppressive. It's been so hot here in southern California that the mere thought of turning on my oven to sweat even more while I make dinner holds absolutely no appeal. That's a drag because it wouldn't be summertime for our family without barbecue chicken. Thank goodness for one of my favorite pieces of kitchen gear: the crock pot!

Now we get to enjoy BBQ without me having to go outside and stand over the grill in 100 degree heat. All I do is place the chicken and sauce in the pot, coat it well, cover the lid and within 2 1/2 hours I've got chicken that's so juicy and tender you won't believe it takes so little effort.

I toyed around with making my own barbecue sauce for this recipe, but these days there are so many great zippy and tangy sauces on the market made without corn syrup, that I decided to go with a bottled brand. That saved me even more time. With the kids running around out of school and tons of summer activities to attend, I'd much rather be spending the few free moments I have with the little ones than in the kitchen. And this way, no matter how hot it is outside when you put this Crock Pot BBQ Chicken on the table, everyone inside your house will think you're cool.

Crock Pot BBQ Chicken  (Serves 4-6)

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The heat all over most of the U.S. this past week has been oppressive. It's been so hot here in southern California that the mere thought of turning on my oven to sweat even more while I make dinner holds absolutely no appeal. That's a drag because it...


  • 4 chicken breasts, bone in, skinless
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce ( i use smokin' willie's)


  1. 1. Place the chicken in a crock pot.
  2. 2. Pour the barbecue sauce over the chicken and coat the chicken WELL with the sauce.
  3. 3. Cook the chicken on low for 2 1/2 hours.
  4. 4. Serve.
  5. *Save the juice from the bottom of the pot if you want to make Shredded BBQ Chicken Sammies
Crock Pot BBQ Chicken

Nutrition Information

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  1. Lettie

    February 16, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    I was sesiourly at DefCon 5 until I saw this post.

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  3. betty Campbell

    August 8, 2014 at 12:18 am

    will give this a try if I win

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  5. Tracy

    July 22, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Can you freeze slow cooker chicken cutlets, if they are kept whole?

  6. Darlene

    July 4, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Could i use a whole chicken? Thanks

  7. Tiffini

    March 25, 2013 at 12:06 am

    I only have bone in thighs and wasn’t sure if I needed to adjust the time or temperature setting? I’m worried the chicken won’t cook properly.

  8. kim

    March 14, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    Thank you

  9. Linda

    February 12, 2013 at 9:34 am

    I use Sweet Baby Rays I call it with a twist because I add brown sugar I do this on my ribs and chicken, making sure I have a enough sauce to put in a bowl on the table for anyone who wants to dip or add more sauce because it is thicker and not so broken down which happens when cooking. My family and friends love it . Let me know if you try this and what you think hope you enjoy!

  10. Marcie Wagner

    January 6, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Hi! I just put in three boneless, skinless chkn breasts with some bbq sauce today at noon on HIGH. I was wondering … I have made these multiple times but have always cooked them on HIGH for 4 hours. Is this too long? I can’t imagine cooking them on LOW for only 2 and a half hours and them getting done. Not doubting you, I just can’t imagine that. Really? They will get done in that amount of time on LOW setting? Thanks!

    • catherine

      January 7, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      Yes, they will cook all the way through! If you aren’t sure you can stick them with a thermometer and see that the temp reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit! Or cut into them to see that there is no more pink.

  11. Emily

    December 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    I found a similar recipe on allrecipes, but that one added italian dressing, worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar, in addition to the bbq sauce, and called it “zesty slow cooker chicken barbecue.”. Yours is simple and delicious, but i thought i’d share.

    • Fily

      February 4, 2014 at 12:26 am

      The Absent Game In between me and my huabsnd we’ve owned additional MP3 players through the years than I can count, together with Sansas, iRivers, iPods (basic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few decades I’ve settled down to one line of players .

  12. tkompus

    September 30, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    This sounds and looks so good and easy. I am going to make it for dinner tonight!!!

  13. Melissa

    March 19, 2012 at 8:54 am

    I want to make this for dinner but would like to incorporate some veggies into the mix. Any ideas of a veggie I should add with the chicken — or would that ruin the flavor? Thanks!!

  14. recipes

    January 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Excellent items from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re simply too excellent. I really like what you have got right here, really like what you’re stating and the best way in which you are saying it. You’re making it enjoyable and you continue to take care of to stay it smart. I can not wait to learn far more from you. This is actually a tremendous site.

  15. Amanda

    August 25, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    I’ve made this recipe twice this week with two different BBQ sauces and it has turned out great both times. Now I am hunting for other sauce options for chicken breasts in the crock pot. I assume a teriyaki sauce would work great but what about a pesto? Or some kind of lemon juice and garlic mixture? I would love to hear more recipes along this line. Thanks!

  16. Jeanne

    April 15, 2011 at 7:20 am

    This was so simple yet so good. I used boneless, skinless chicken breast. They were still slightly frozen when I started, so I put them on high for 30 minutes then turned it to low and ended up cooking them about 3 hours longer, just because we had plans before dinner. They were so good! Made BBQ sandwiches with them.

    Some said the boneless chicken is too dry, but I love it that way so this was perfect.

  17. Naomi

    March 21, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    This might be a dumb question… but are you always supposed to cover the food in a crock pot with water? I JUST got a crock pot and have only used it once to make a roast. And I was under the impression that everything you cooked in it had to have water added to it. Sorry… I am a newbie!

    • catherine

      March 21, 2011 at 1:44 pm

      Not necessarily, for example, this recipe does not need water because of the juices of the chicken that comes out. The crock pot is just another pot but you just cook things at a different heat. Also if the recipe needs water, it will call for it- so no need to worry :) If you used water to every recipe in the crock pot, it wouldn’t come out the way its supposed too

  18. nicole

    March 16, 2011 at 11:10 am

    One trick I use for cooking bone-in chicken pieces in the crockpot…crumple up several pieces of aluminum foil and place on the bottom of the pot. Then lay the chicken on top of it. The pieces are elevated about an inch and aren’t floating in the juices and falling apart on the bone. I do this with drumsticks that I coat in spices and they come out perfectly done! I do everything on low for anywhere from 7 to 9 hours…depending on what time I get home. I can’t wait to try it with the BBQ sauce!

  19. Laura

    February 16, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I have 8 breasts instead of 4 and they have skin on. Should I just do it on high instead and for how long?

    • catherine

      February 17, 2011 at 6:29 pm

      Are they bone-in? I suggest cooking it on low for 3 hours, and depending on how big your crock pot is, rotate the chicken breasts from the bottom layer to the top so all the breast cook evenly.

  20. Laura

    November 12, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    This recipe is so easy and so good. My husband likes dark meat and this comes out incredible with chicken thighs. I’ve never had enough leftovers to try anything else.

  21. alabamama

    November 7, 2010 at 10:17 am

    After using the original recipe several times and loving it, I tried using Hot Wing (aka Buffalo) sauce instead of BBQ sauce. What a winner! My toddler son and husband LOVED it! I cooked it longer so it fell off the bones, added a dab of lowfat cream cheese and melted cheddar on top, and wa-la. I can imagine tons of uses for the leftovers – Buffalo chicken tortillas, nachos, topping for baked potatoes … the list goes on and on. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  24. Alison

    September 22, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Loved this! Can’t get any easier! I did cook it on high for two hours instead of low, but otherwise, no changes. I baked several potatoes and steamed some broccoli in the microwave as sides. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

  25. Dawn

    September 21, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I am trying this now. I only have a smaller crockpot and am cooking 6 breasts instead. So I figured I would start cooking on low at 12:30 and let them go until 6. We shall see how they turn out :)

  26. Chris

    August 31, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    I made this tonight and the breasts were not even close to being done after 2.5 hours. I was wondering what size crock pot you used? I have a large one and a small one; I used the small one for this recipe, and the breasts were stacked up on each other. I am wondering if I should have used the larger one and spread them out in a single layer. Do you think they would have cooked through in 2.5 hours if they were in a single layer instead of stacked up?

    • catherine

      September 2, 2010 at 5:26 pm

      My breasts were on a single layer. Stacking them could have been the cause of being undercooked. I would use the larger one and spread them out on a single layer :) That way, you evenly cook all the breast and they are not over or under cooked.

  27. Meg T

    August 25, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    I was wondering about using boneless, skinless breasts… I have made them once and it seems dry. Is there anyway to help this?

    • catherine

      August 25, 2010 at 4:23 pm

      Boneless and skinless with dry out the breast. Using the bone and skin will allow the breast to keep its moisture. Your crockpot may also cook the chicken in a short amount of time. One tip is either reduce the cooking time – for example by 30 minutes and take the temp of the chicken and if it is around 160-165 then your chicken breasts are perfect – just watch the temp of the chicken the last 30 minutes of cooking.

      • Blanca

        March 10, 2011 at 6:17 pm

        Maybe adding some broth will help with the dryness?

  28. Jennifer

    August 16, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    I would like to try this out tomorrow however I’ll be cooking 6 chicken breasts. I’m not very experienced with crock pots… how much time would you cook 6 breasts for?

    • catherine

      August 17, 2010 at 12:38 pm

      Add another 30 minutes to the cooking time but check it and if you feel like they are not done, add another 30 minutes. The temperature should be 160-165 when you test them with the thermometer.

  29. Autumn

    August 4, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    This is so yummy. Had it for dinner this evening and my house smelled wonderful. Much better than putting the chicken in the oven. My house is cooler and the chicken is so tender that it just falls apart!!! I ended up cooking it on high for about 2 hours. Definitely going to do this one again soon!

  30. Tanya

    August 1, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Hiya — I was wondering if my chicken breasts were frozen (not a whole chicken) how long would this take to cook in the crock pot?

    • catherine

      August 2, 2010 at 3:14 pm

      Hmm, I have never put frozen chicken in the crock pot, so I wouldn’t know. If I were you, I would let the chicken breasts defrost in the fridge over night and then put them in the crock pot the next day. This way the chicken can cook evenly and will be tender :)

      • Tanya

        August 6, 2010 at 1:48 pm

        Hi Catherine —
        Thanks for the defrost tip — usually I’m pretty good about that, but that night I was in a rush! I ended up putting them in the crock pot (frozen) with the BBQ sauce and they turned out absolutely wonderful. I loved this great recipe, it was easy & so delicious!

        p.s. Do you have a easy homemade BBQ sauce recipe to share? It’s difficult to find ones at the store without high fructose corn syrup and a ton of preservatives.

        • Laura

          November 12, 2010 at 6:18 pm

          I used to have a hard time finding any also, except for Annies Organic, but recently found Bull’s-Eye BBQ Sauce. It is made by Kraft foods. Not sure if it is available nationwide.

  31. Liz

    July 25, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    This took WAY longer in my crock pot–the breasts were not done after 2.5 hours and I had to turn the pot up to high for an hour and eventually just put them on the grill…still turned out good, just took forever…

    • Karen

      February 15, 2011 at 1:37 pm

      What did I do wrong? The breasts were still on the medium rare (raw) side after 2.5+ hours. Is low the correct setting? I had to abandon my dinner plan because of the extended cooking time. =^(

      • catherine

        February 15, 2011 at 4:58 pm

        How big were your chicken breasts? Were they bone-in and skinless? Also did you stack them on top of one another? if you stack them, the ones on the top won’t be able to cook through in time.

        • Lindsay

          November 4, 2012 at 5:41 pm

          I totally agree. I was suspicious to start with, and after 1.5 hours, they were still totally raw. I turned it up to High, and so far, anotehr 1.5 hours on high, and still nowhere near done. I am using bone-in thighs, but I don’t believe that should change the cook time.

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  33. crockpot recipe

    July 20, 2010 at 5:13 am

    I really like crockpot recipes. I like the idea of letting your dinner simmer away as you attend with the other things in your to-do-list. I’d suggest you try using chicken legs or thighs. I find them more flavorful, chicken breast tend to taste too bland for me.

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  35. Amy V.

    July 19, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Now we have an invention ladies: the crock pot timer. Set it to turn on/off like your Christmas lights and have yummy dinner waiting for you at just the right time :)

    • Ashley A

      July 20, 2010 at 1:05 am

      They have them! It’s a matter of placing frozen meat and ingredients in the crock pot; therefore, calculating the time needed to cook at a semi frozen rate. Keep an eye out in stores. My mom purchased one last christmas for me!

    • meg

      July 19, 2010 at 5:31 pm

      The only problem is this is that your food is not going to stay hot enough for food safety purposes. The newer models have warm settings, but I still find these tend to overcook. I love that this recipe actually says too cook for only 2 1/2 hours. Those “cook for 6-8 hours on low” recipes just don’t work well with today’s cookers!

  36. Ami

    July 19, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Vicki~ I’ve put frozen meat in the crockpot just adding a few hours to the cooking time and it came out juicy and delicious. Though, 8 hours might still be too long – resulting in the same issue others mentioned with the bones falling apart completely. It still might be worth a try, though 5-6 hours might be the ‘right’ cooking length.

  37. Vicki

    July 19, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Anyway you could do this for a longer period of time, for example 8 hours while I’m at work?

    • catherine

      July 19, 2010 at 3:12 pm

      You could do an entire chicken for 6-7 hours, with the skin off. It is going to be hard to take the entire skin off the chicken, so I would just take the skin off the breasts and cover the whole chicken with the sauce and set it on low.

  38. Blanca

    July 19, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I’m with Meg, I didn’t see a store locator that sold the product on their site so not sure if you have to order online directly?

  39. Mikal

    July 19, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Liz, I put a whole chicken in for about 6 hours. I have done it for the whole day while I am at work (about 8.5 hours) and it was delish, but fell apart…every little bone was seperated. It was still super yummy, but I had to make sure I was extra careful about getting all the bones out.

  40. Meg

    July 19, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Can you buy Smokin’ Willies in the store or do you have to order from the Smokin’ Willies site?

    • catherine

      July 19, 2010 at 3:20 pm

      I buy Smokin’ Willies at Whole Foods.

  41. Liz

    July 19, 2010 at 9:26 am

    How long would you cook a whole chicken (4-5 lbs) in this recipe?

    • catherine

      July 19, 2010 at 3:25 pm

      Normally with out Chicken in a Crock Pot recipe, I cook it on high for 2 hours for a 4lc and 2 1/2 for 5 pounds. IF you want to cook it on low – I would cook it for 6-7 hours.

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