BBQ Pulled Chicken

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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:



Easy BBQ Pulled Chicken Recipe

5 from 7 votes
  • Yield: 6 Servings
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
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.  


  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 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


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  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 Information

Yield: 6 Servings, Amount per serving: 282 calories, Calories: 282g, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 96mg, Sodium: 947mg, Potassium: 795mg, Sugar: 22g, Vitamin A: 550g, Vitamin C: 4.5g, Calcium: 29g, Iron: 1.1g

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Keyword: BBQ Pulled Chicken
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.

See more posts by Sabrina

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. It’s a 1/4 of a teaspoon. Sorry about that – looks like the recipe card didn’t save correctly… or I didn’t have enough coffee that day 🙂

  1. I basically never comment on blog recipes but this one is just way too good to pass! I tried this recipe about 2 months ago and it just blew my mind. This is the best bbq sauce I’ve ever had and I use it for pulled pork, chicken, as a basting sauce, in hot dogs, etc. My friends rave about it and I can’t count the times I’ve shared this post with them.
    It’s now my go to summer recipe for when I have people over.
    Great job!

  2. My family loves this recipe! It’s quick and super easy. I use only a cup of ketchup and that still leaves me plenty of sauce for 3 large chicken breasts. I sometimes pound the fuller part of the breast down to create a more uniform sized piece of chicken to ensure quick, even cooking. Thanks Sabrina!

  3. I made these for dinner (I used chicken legs…adjusting the cooking time accordingly) I took the chicken out to shred and debone and put back in the pot to cook for the last 20 minutes. I made it in my castiron pot and it turned out wonderfully.
    My husband and my 22 month old both cleaned their plates!

    1. I’d call that a winner! Thanks so much for coming back to let me know how much everyone enjoyed it, Sarah.

  4. Hi!

    Please don’t take it as an offence…

    “a bit less processed”, and the main ingredient is ketchup!
    Tomato purée or sauce would be a nice change!

  5. 30 minutes at 350, the chicken is only halfway cooked. Good thing I gave myself extra time. I’ll comment again once the chicken is actually cooked. And yes, I prepared according to directions. We’ll see!

  6. Made this in oven for Memorial Day – scaled back measurements on sauce as I did not have 2 lbs of chicken – cut into chicken fingers and put in sauce and set in fridge till I baked at around 400 for 22 minutes – I did not shred served as is – great chicken and wonderful sauce – will make again and with more chicken – thanks for the recipe

    1. So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Sounds like it was a good addition to your family meal! Thank you for coming back to let me know how they turned out!

  7. Not sure where else I could leave this comment; I am new to your site and love your recipes. I know you do a lot of copy cat recipes; I would love one for the chicken noodle soup at Chick-fil-a. The broth has creaminess I can’t figure out how to replicate at home. Keep up the great work!!

    1. Sorry it took me so long to respond. Your question was stuck in my spam filter. That soup is on my “to do” to replicate. Stay tuned.