Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

Hold onto your seats! I’ve busted out my slow cooker and delicious, easy-to-make food is in your future! I’m combining the goodness of BBQ and beer in this recipe and I think you’ll want to add this Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken to your “favorites.” Read on to get the recipe!

BBQ Chicken and Beer?

I know what you’re thinking, “Did Sara really just use beer in a recipe? Isn’t she a dietitian? Dietitians would never do that!”

Oh sigh. Well, this dietitian did that. You know why? Because it tastes good. Oh, I see your shocked expression and I’ll match it with an equally shocked expression that you think I don’t appreciate good flavor! See, I love nourishing food, but I like food that tastes good. And I believe the two can be simpatico and you should too!

Flavorful Not Flavorless

I’m so incredibly tired of bland recipes that talk about the number of “healthy” ingredients in them. Ok, good for you, but does that concoction taste good? Sure you used acai and matcha and whatever else is super trendy at the moment, but did you taste it? Did you? I’m not mad at you, I just want you taste it. Because I want you to succeed at making healthy recipes that taste amazing, ok?

Building Flavor

This is the key to making yummy tasting food! Building layers of flavor is where it’s at! And if you don’t do this, start doing it now. This slow cooker recipe is just an example of how easy it is to develop layer upon layer of flavor! Start with a rub for the chicken as the first layer. Then the second layer is cooking it in a flavorful liquid (hello beer!). Then the final layer is mixing in some acid and sweetness to make a sauce. So much flavor! Yahoo!

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

Yes You Can!

Feeling pumped? Yay! You should be! Because you can do this too. Before you get that pan or bowl out, think about how you can build flavor. Maybe it’s that you roast some of the vegetables first, instead of just eating them raw. Or maybe you sear the beef before you make that stew. Or maybe you just toss that salad with dressing before you serve it. It doesn’t have to be complicated! Because, yes, YOU CAN!


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Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

  • Author: Sara Haas
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


I love cooking, but I love my slow cooker too! Find out what happens when spice-rubbed chicken gets slow cooked in beer! Hello Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken!



For the Rub

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper

For the Chicken

  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups sliced)
  • 12 heads garlic, smashed
  • 12 fluid ounces beer, pale ale preferred
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast

Putting it All Together

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/41/3  cup ketchup (add up to 1/3 cup for additional sweetness, if desired)

For the Purple Cabbage Slaw (optional)

  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 head purple cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced


For the Rub

  1. Combine the cumin, cayenne, paprika, brown sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl and mix with a fork until well combined. Set aside.

For the Chicken

  1. Place the onion and garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Rub the spices all over the chicken breasts then place on top of the onions and garlic in the slow cooker. Pour beer around the chicken (avoiding pouring directly on top) and then cover with the lid.
  3. Turn the heat to low and cook for 6-8 hours.

Putting it all together

  1. Drain and discard 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
  2. Using two forks, shred the chicken (this can be done inside the crockpot). Stir in the vinegar and ketchup. Enjoy or cook another 30-45 minutes to meld flavors.
  3. Serve on whole grain buns or in tortillas, on top of salads or pasta! So many options! Don’t forget the Cabbage Slaw too!

For the Cabbage Slaw

  1. Combine the yogurt, lime juice and zest and salt in the bottom of a mixing bowl. Add the cabbage and jalapeño and toss to combine.
  • Category: Slow Cooker