Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs: Fall-Off-The-Bone Flavor

Let’s face it, grilling isn’t always an option. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice delicious, smoky BBQ chicken! The humble slow cooker comes to the rescue, transforming bone-in or boneless, skinless chicken thighs into succulent, flavorful pieces that practically fall off the bone.

slow cooker bbq chicken thighs

This recipe is a lifesaver for busy weeknights or relaxed weekends. Simply toss the ingredients together in the morning and come home to a ready-made meal that smells like summer.

The Beauty of Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs

There are countless reasons to love this recipe:

  • Easy Cleanup: The slow cooker does all the hard work, leaving you with minimal dishes to clean.
  • Flavorful and Versatile: This recipe is easily customizable with different BBQ sauces and spices. Want it smoky? Add a dash of chipotle powder. Craving a touch of sweetness? Honey or brown sugar will do the trick.
  • Healthy Option: Chicken thighs are a great source of protein and can be part of a healthy meal plan, especially when paired with whole grains and veggies.
  • Perfect for Meal Prep: Shred the cooked chicken and store it in the refrigerator for effortless tacos, sandwiches, salads, or bowls throughout the week.

Why Slow Cooker

Here’s why a slow cooker is the perfect tool for this BBQ chicken recipe:

slow cooker bbq chicken thighs
  • Hands-Off Cooking: The beauty of the slow cooker is its ability to simmer food for extended periods with minimal intervention. This recipe requires just a few minutes of prep in the morning, then the slow cooker takes over, transforming the chicken into tender, flavorful goodness while you’re busy with your day.
  • Perfect for Tough Cuts: Chicken thighs are known for their richer flavor compared to breasts, but they can also be a bit tougher. Slow cooking allows the collagen in the thighs to break down, resulting in incredibly fall-off-the-bone meat that’s juicy and packed with flavor.
  • Even Cooking: The slow cooker’s low and slow cooking method ensures even heat distribution. This means all the chicken pieces cook through consistently, avoiding any dried-out edges or undercooked centers.
  • Minimal Cleanup: Since most of the cooking happens in the slow cooker’s crock, there’s minimal mess to clean up afterwards. Just toss the liner (if using one) and wipe down the pot – a major perk for busy weeknights!
  • Energy Efficient: Slow cookers are generally more energy-efficient than ovens, especially for long cooking times. This is a great benefit if you’re mindful of your energy consumption.

Ingredients for Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs:

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs typically include chicken thighs, barbecue sauce, onions, garlic, and optional seasonings like salt, pepper, and paprika.

slow cooker bbq chicken thighs

These ingredients are combined in a slow cooker and cooked low and slow until the chicken is tender and infused with smoky barbecue flavor.

In short, the slow cooker provides a convenient, hands-off approach to achieving perfectly cooked, flavorful BBQ chicken thighs. It’s a win-win for busy cooks who crave delicious results!

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs: Fall-Off-The-Bone Flavor With Minimal Effort

Recipe by arwynnCourse: Uncategorized


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or bone-in, if preferred)

  • 1 ½ cups BBQ sauce (choose your favorite!)

  • ¼ cup honey or brown sugar (for sweetness)

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (for tang)

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (adds depth of flavor)

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • In a large bowl, whisk together the BBQ sauce, honey, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Place the chicken thighs in your slow cooker and pour the BBQ sauce mixture over them, ensuring all pieces are well coated.
  • Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or on HIGH for 3-4 hours, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. (Bone-in chicken thighs may take slightly longer to cook through.)
  • Once cooked, remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred it with two forks. Alternatively, you can leave the chicken whole for serving.
  • Serve the shredded chicken with additional BBQ sauce on the side.

Tips and Customization Ideas:

  • Want a crispy finish? After shredding the chicken, transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and broil for a few minutes until golden brown.
  • Add chopped onions and peppers to the slow cooker with the chicken for a more veggie-packed dish.
  • For a smoky flavor, add a teaspoon of liquid smoke to the BBQ sauce mixture.
  • Feeling adventurous? Try different BBQ sauce styles like chipotle, honey garlic, or mustard BBQ sauce.
  • For a thicker sauce, remove the chicken from the slow cooker after cooking and whisk together a cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water) into the remaining sauce. Bring to a simmer on the stovetop until thickened, then return the chicken to coat.

Serving Suggestions

Here are some delicious serving suggestions to complement your slow cooker BBQ chicken thighs:

Classic BBQ Sides:

slow cooker bbq chicken thighs
  • Creamy Coleslaw: A cool and refreshing counterpoint to the smoky BBQ sauce, coleslaw adds a delightful crunch and tang.
  • Baked Beans: For a touch of sweetness and smokiness, baked beans are a perfect partner to BBQ chicken.
  • Cornbread: Soak up all that delicious BBQ sauce with warm, fluffy cornbread.

Healthy Options:

  • Roasted Vegetables: Toss your favorite veggies like broccoli, carrots, or Brussels sprouts with olive oil, herbs, and spices, then roast them alongside the chicken in the oven for a complete and healthy meal.
  • Quinoa Salad: This protein-packed salad adds a light and flavorful element to the dish. You can customize it with your favorite vegetables and a light vinaigrette.
  • Grilled Asparagus: Simple and elegant, grilled asparagus adds a touch of green and a satisfying char to the meal.

Comfort Food Classics:

  • Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes are a perfect way to soak up all the delicious sauce.
  • Mac and Cheese: This kid-pleasing favorite pairs wonderfully with the smoky BBQ chicken.
  • French Fries: Crispy french fries are a classic and satisfying side for BBQ chicken.

Creative Twists:

  • BBQ Chicken Nachos: Shred the cooked chicken and pile it onto tortilla chips with your favorite nacho toppings like cheese, beans, salsa, and avocado.
  • BBQ Chicken Pizza: Use the shredded chicken and BBQ sauce as a base for a homemade pizza – a fun and delicious twist!
  • BBQ Chicken Salad: Toss shredded chicken with chopped celery, red onion, and your favorite salad dressing for a quick and easy lunch.

With a slow cooker and this recipe, you’re just a few steps away from delicious, fall-off-the-bone BBQ chicken thighs. So ditch the takeout menu and embrace the ease and flavor of this crowd-pleasing dish!

No matter your taste preferences, there’s a perfect side dish waiting to be paired with your slow cooker BBQ chicken thighs. Get creative and enjoy!

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