BBQ Pulled Chicken

BBQ Pulled Chicken with tender chunks of chicken breast cooked in the oven, so easy and convenient you’ll skip the slow cooker in favor of this quick meal.

Serve up this summer favorite with KFC Coleslaw (Copycat)Three Bean Salad and Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese for the easiest and most delicious summer cookout meal made indoors!

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
Easy BBQ Pulled Chicken Recipe

BBQ Pulled Chicken is a summer favorite of ours, much easier and less messy to eat than classic BBQ chicken, we make this dish so often the kids call it summer chicken. This dish can absolutely be made on your grill. In fact about half the time we do use the grill, but making this in the oven is one of the easiest recipes I keep in my year round arsenal.

This recipe is a two for one deal for us. When I was in college one of my “specialties” was bottled bbq sauce over chicken that gets cooked in the oven. These days I try to cook a bit less processed, so I mix up my own bbq sauce for the chicken. It may take a few more minutes to mix together but the flavors are out of this world.

How to Make Pulled Chicken:

Pulled chicken is generally made one of three ways, cooked on a grill, cooked in an oven or cooked in a slow cooker. They all have their merits but the making a pulled chicken recipe in an oven is the easiest option that keeps the chunks firm and flavorful (the slow cooker is the easiest option but the meat will fall apart with served).

We like to use this recipe to make pulled bbq chicken burgers, easy enough to just pile on the chicken and the sauce.  We do sometimes also brown the buns on a griddle in some butter when we feel fancy or indulgent, but the sauce is delicious on an un-toasted bun as well.


BBQ Chicken Recipe

Grilled BBQ Pulled Chicken Recipe:

Score the chicken as instructed, then season with salt and pepper and coat in a bit of canola oil. Add to the grill on medium heat and cook for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through and browned on both sides. While the chicken is cooking add the rest of the ingredients to a grill safe sauce pan and cook the bbq sauce next to the chicken on the grill. When the chicken is done cooking, shred with with forks and coat in the bbq sauce.

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken Recipe:

In the slow cooker I recommend using chicken thighs in place of chicken breast. While you can use chicken breasts for this recipe I’d still defer to the thighs as they’ll maintain more moisture and flavor than slow cooking chicken breasts will. Add the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours before shredding with a fork.

If you find that the sauce is too watery (remember there is nowhere for the steam to escape in the slow cooker, I would cut the sauce ingredients (everything but the chicken) in half. Remember no matter what you do, the sauce will be more watery in a slow cooker.

Tender pulled chicken recipe

Ways to use leftover Pulled Chicken:

  • Add it to a salad (leave it cold) with corn, black beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce and top with honey mustard and bbq sauce.
  • Add it to a baked potato with some sharp cheddar cheese.
  • Make it into a bbq chicken quesadilla with some thinly sliced red onion and cheddar cheese.
  • Add it onto pizza dough with red onions, cilantro and cheddar like this famous CPK recipe.
  • Make it into tacos with finely shredded cabbage, pico de gallo and ranch dressing.

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwich Recipe

More fun Easy Summer BBQ Recipes:

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
5 from 13 votes

Easy BBQ Pulled Chicken Recipe

BBQ Pulled Chicken with tender chunks of chicken breast cooked in the oven, so easy and convenient you'll skip the slow cooker in favor of this quick meal. 
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword BBQ Pulled Chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 282 kcal
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut diagonally into the chicken breasts about 1/4 inch deep in an x shape to allow the bbq sauce to flavor more of the chicken. (like how a holiday ham has the top cut into an x shape).
  3. Add all the ingredients together in a large bowl and toss well together until mixed.
  4. Add the chicken to a sheet pan, then pour the sauce over the chicken breasts.
  5. Cook for 25 -30 minutes or until caramelized, browned and cooked through.

  6. Shred the chicken with the forks and serve in your favorite bun, spooning the sauce over the chicken.
  7. If the sauce didn't cook down enough (if you use a pan that's too small it may not), then add the sauce to a saucepan and cook on medium heat until thickened (likely 15-20 minutes).

Nutrition Facts
Easy BBQ Pulled Chicken Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 282 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Cholesterol 96mg32%
Sodium 947mg41%
Potassium 795mg23%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Sugar 22g24%
Protein 33g66%
Vitamin A 550IU11%
Vitamin C 4.5mg5%
Calcium 29mg3%
Iron 1.1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. I’d already cooked the chicken and was going to add some barbecue sauce from the fridge but the bottle was very old so I was looking for a recipe and found yours. Not only was it super easy but more importantly was totally loved by everyone and my daughter said tasted better than the one she’d had at a taco place not that long ago. For anyone looking for a really quick way to cook the chicken – I put the chicken breasts in a pot, covered with water and simmered for 10 mins or so depending on how big they are. Take out the chicken and then pull apart with two forks. I added the sauce to the chicken and then put in the oven for 10 mins to finish. Eldest daughter loved it so much she took the leftovers for lunch today.

  2. We were given a store bought rotisserie Chicken. Could I reheat this in the oven and make the sauce, shred the chicken off the bones and serve like sloppy sandwiches on buns?

    1. It just adds to the flavor. You can leave it out or use just apple juice if you want a sweeter twist.

  3. Wow! what an amazing recipe! i cooked this for my family and they loved it and gave it 5 stars! so thank you and i look forward to having some more great tasty meals from your website!

    what a blessing!

  4. I was a bit doubtful about this, I have to admit– it seemed too easy. And I did have to make one substitution (a teaspoon of pretty potent red pepper flakes for the two teaspoons of chili powder) so I wasn’t sure how it’d turn out. But it was absolutely delicious! I made it with chicken breast tenders that I had left from a large frozen bag, and they worked beautifully; the sauce is tangy and delicious, not too heavily tomato-ish nor vinegary, but just right. Really good! I’ll definitely repeat this one in the future. Thank you!

  5. This was a great base recipe. However, the sauce just tasted like ketchup after adding the ingredients. Doubled most of the added ingredients and added some liquid smoke. Ended up being the best bbq chicken I’ve ever had. My chef hubby also loved it. Wouldn’t be my go-to recipe as it is currently written, but it was good to have a general idea of what flavors I needed to add to get the desired result. Thanks!

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