The Best Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken Recipe

The Best Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken Recipe

I’m finally sharing my secret dry rub mix for you to make The Best Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken Recipe at home. This blend of herbs and spices tenderises the chicken and infuses it with an authentic BBQ flavour.

The Best Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken Recipe is easy to follow and can be adapted to make the most incredible pulled pork as well. 2 recipes for the price of one!

This is my brothers favourite meal that I make. Out of lockdown he has been know to turn up at my house with a pork joint and ask me to make this for him. During lockdown he craved it so much that I had to create him this step by step guide. He won’t mind me saying he isn’t the most experienced chef but he does like to give things a try. Knowing he has successfully made this a couple of times gives me confidence this recipe is good to go and easy to follow.

How to make BBQ Baked Beans
Pulled Chicken, BBQ Baked Beans and BBQ Sauce

Like my brother, the Best Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken Recipe is also one of my favourites. My obsession started in Walt Disney World at the Flaming Tree BBQ located in Animal Kingdom. The slow cooked pulled pork slider with coleslaw, BBQ beans and a Key lime pie is my absolute favourite meal in the whole of Disney and it’s one I have to have each time we visit.

This slow cooked pulled pork slider was the inspiration for The Best Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken Recipe. I use the same recipe for the pulled chicken and pork and it never disappoints. It’s easy to make a batch of either meat and cook up some tasty sides to feed a crowd. I serve it in the middle of the table, in a large bowl and we all gather round and tuck it. It’s fun, it’s messy and most importantly, its incredibly tasty.


Herbs and Spices

The Best Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken Recipe
The Best Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken Dry Rub

The magic of The Best Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken Recipe comes from two elements. The first element is the dry rub made from smoked paprika, cumin and a mix of chillis and other herbs and spices. The dry rub tenderises the meat and infuses it with flavour. The second is the sauce you create from the juices in the slow cooker. It’s combines all the flavours and makes the pulled meat incredibly juicy and tasty. Don’t think of a shop bought BBQ sauce when you read this recipe. It’s not sickly sweet and has more of an authentic taste.

I use fresh thyme and bay leaves from the garden in this recipe. They are in my top 5 must grow herbs that I use all the time, especially in winter. Bay is an evergreen shrub that can be left to bush out and fill a space, or cut into shapes to create striking features in your garden. I use it in throughout winter in soups, sauces and stews. I have different varieties of thyme dotted around my garden. It creates pretty ground coverage and has a wonderful scent when caressed.

How To Make The Best Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe
Flame Grilled Pulled Pork

Give The Best Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken Recipe a go this weekend, I promise it will soon become one of your family favourites. When lockdown is over you’ll have mastered the recipe and it will be the perfect meal for a family gathering.

The Best Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken Recipe

The Best Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken Recipe

I'm finally sharing my secret dry rub mix for you to make The Best Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken Recipe at home. This blend of herbs and spices tenderises the chicken and infuses it with an authentic BBQ flavour
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Marinading2 hours
Total Time6 hours 30 minutes
Course: BBQ, Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: BBQ, Crowd Pleaser, easy
Servings: 4
Calories: 385kcal
Author: Lee


  • Slow Cooker
  • Hand blender


BBQ Dry Rub

  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar (15g)
  • 1 tbs smoked paprika (15g)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne chilli powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (5g)
  • 1 tsp chipotle flakes ground or finely chopped (5g)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (5g)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander (5g)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Slow Cooker Sauce

  • 1 large red onion roughly sliced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 150 mls chicken stock
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 4 fresh bay leaves (or 2 dried)
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)


  • 600 g skinless and boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tin baked beans


  • Mix all the dry rub ingredients in a large bowl, add the chicken thighs and coat well. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours, overnight is best if you have the time.
  • Set the slow cooker to high. Place a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil.
  • When the pan is hot add the onions and gently fry for around 5 minutes, until translucent and slightly golden. Tip the onions into the slow cooker and place the pan back on the heat.
  • Allow the pan to warm up again, then add the chicken and any extra rub. Seal on both sides for a minute and tip into to the slow cooker.
  • Place the pan back on the heat, add the tomato puree and mustard and stir for 30 seconds. Pour in the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and stir for another 30 seconds. Finally add the chicken stock and scrape any brown/sticky bits from the bottom and sides of the pan and tip into the slow cooker.
  • Stir the chopped tomatoes and herbs into the slow cooker, pop the lid on and turn the slow cooker down to low. Cook for 4 hours, until the chicken is cooked and tender. Check in on your slow cooker and stir occasionally. Check your slow cooker manual as timings can differ.
  • When the chicken is ready remove it from the slow cooker using a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl. Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme stalks. Use a hand blender to blitz the juices into a smooth sauce. If the sauce is a bit runny you can boil in a pan for 5-10 minutes to thicken.
  • Tip the baked beans into a pan and add a ladle of the sauce. Cook on a low heat until piping hot and serve with the chicken.
  • Use two forks to shred the chicken. Mix some sauce back into the shredded chicken and serve with soft rolls, coleslaw, wedges and some leftover sauce on the side.


Play around with the dry rub. I don’t always have all the ingredients, I sometimes mix things up and play around with quantities. If you like it hot add more cayenne chilli powder or chipotle chilli flakes.
For extra tasty beans add some of the shredded chicken.
If you want to make double the amount of chicken, double all ingredients
Pulled pork
Use a large joint (to fit snuggly in your slow cooker), times the dry rub by 3, but only use 1 amount of the slow cooker ingredients. Prepare as per above and cook on low for around 8 hours until tender, again check your slow cooker manual for timings. Remove excess fat, shred with two forks and stir in some sauce before serving.
For extra tasty pork I flame grill the cooked joint on the BBQ for 15-30 minutes. The joint will be tender so be careful it doesn’t break apart on the BBQ! The excess fat will make the BBQ flame up so use the lid to dampen the flames. Cut off any excess fat then shred.
Pulled chicken and pork can be kept in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 3 days, or a month in the freezer.
Nutritional values are for guidance purposes and are for Pulled Chicken with a portion of BBQ Baked Beans only.

Accompany this recipe with my Ultimate Margaritas for a winning combo.

Obsessed with your slow cooker? Try my Slow Cooked Beef and Mushroom Pie, easy comfort food at it’s finest!

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