Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs are mouthwatering and tender after cooking all day in the flavorful bbq sauce! An easy weeknight meal the whole family will love - and no grill required.
Why You'll Love This
"This bbq chicken thighs crock pot recipe is what you'll love to come home to during the week. Chicken thighs cooked low and slow in a delectible barbecue based sauce - YES please! "
Super easy! With few steps, this slow cooker chicken makes for effortless meal preparation. Throw your dinner together in 10 minutes and let the flavors marry!
So much flavor! Cooking your chicken thighs on low heat all day in the sauce makes for very tender and flavorful chicken. The beauty of chicken thighs is that they stay moist much longer than a chicken breast which can dry out quickly.
Healthy! This recipe can easily adapt to your dietary requirements. Make it keto by using a sugar-free bbq sauce. This recipe is dairy-free and gluten-free. Make it lower in fat by removing the skin.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thigh recipe:
Bone-in Chicken Thighs - the best option for flavor, but boneless and skinless chicken thighs will work too!
Chopped garlic - both fresh and jarred work just fine for this recipe.
Ground Black Pepper
Brown Sugar - use regular brown sugar or a brown sugar substitute which is a great way to add sweetness to this dish without adding sugar and calories.
BBQ Sauce - use our sugar-free bbq sauce recipe or try a favorite bottled sauce.
Be sure to see the recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions!
Equipment and tools needed to make this Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thigh recipe:
- Cutting board - to trim chicken if needed
- Small Mixing Bowl - to mix bbq seasoning
- Utility Kitchen Knife - to open package of chicken and bottle of bbq sauce.
- Measuring Spoons
- Tongs - to move or serve bbq chicken.
- Air-Fryer Tray or Small Sheet Tray - to broil or fry crispy chicken fat.
- Insta-read Thermometer
Here's how to make the Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs:
For complete instructions, please see the printable recipe card below.
Pull chicken thighs out of the package and trim any unwanted fat or skin.
Grease a 6-quart slow cooker.
Make Dry Rub
In a small bowl, mix all the dry spices together.
Place chicken in a large bowl and sprinkle with dry rub. Toss to coat.
Add Ingredients to Slow Cooker
Add chicken to the bottom of the slow cooker, then top with garlic and barbecue sauce.
Cover and slow cook for 4 hours or until the chicken is done.
Remove chicken from the slow cooker and brush with additional bbq sauce.
To brown the chicken, place in a 400 degree Fahrenheit air fryer or an oven on broil until chicken is the desired color.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
How To Serve
Here are some ideas for serving your slow cooker BBQ chicken thighs:
- BBQ chicken is an American favorite and goes well with just about anything. I like to serve my bbq chicken with potato salad and baked beans for my sides. Some other sides that pair well with this recipe are, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, air fryer green beans, dill pickle slaw, and corn bread.
- You can also shred your chicken for many different applications like: pulled bbq chicken sandwiches, bbq chicken salad sandwiches, or bbq chicken dip.
- Easy Salad Ideas: Make a chopped or wedge salad using shredded bbq chicken, bacon, shredded cheddar, tomatoes, and onions. Finish your salad with our house blue cheese dressing recipe or another of your choice! Or, try our blue cheese wedge salad.
- Finish any of these options with freshly chopped green onions for added flavor!
Here are a few ways you can vary or make substitutions to your Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs:
- Feel free to use boneless and skinless chicken thighs. This recipe also works great with chicken breasts and even drumsticks.
- A few other substitutions for chicken thighs could be seared boneless pork-butt, pork shoulder, pork loin, or beef roast of any kind. I would suggest searing any of these cuts of meat prior to slow cooking to bring more flavor and pack in the moisture. Also slow cook on low for 4-6 hours instead of 4 hours for the chicken thighs.
- I find that slow-cooking chicken thighs with the skin on brings more flavor and tenderness! I recommend to broil or air-fry your thighs to crisp up the skin! I broiled mine in the oven on high for approximately 6-8 minutes.
- Proper temperature for chicken doneness is 165 degrees F. Four hours in the crock-pot is plenty of time, but don't hesitate to check your temps!
Can you put raw chicken from the package to the slow cooker?
Yes, you definitely can! The rule of thumb is 4-6 hours on low in a crockpot or cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Can you make it ahead of time?
Yes, you are welcome to cook your thighs ahead of time, cool, and batch out for a couple of meals during the week. Remember to reheat your thighs to an internal temperature of 165 degrees before consumption. Chicken thighs can hold no longer than 4-5 days in the refrigerator.
I see an overnights rest in bbq sauce and seasoning as a lovely way to marinate your chicken for 8 to 12 hours. Cover and put into the refrigerator. Pull straight to the heating source on low, and you're good to go! You can also prep your crockpot the day before for ease the next day.
Can you overcook chicken in a crock-pot?
Yes, but as long as you watch your internal temperature, chicken is the best at 165 degrees F. If cooked too long, the bones are brittle and can break down. If you use boneless thighs, your chicken will slowly dry out.
Do I need to add any liquid to my crock pot?
This depends upon the recipe you are making. You do not need to add any liquid to your crockpot for this recipe. Moisture is created during the cooking process.
Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs
- 2.5 pounds chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
- 4 tablespoons garlic (minced)
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar substitute or regular brown sugar
- 18 ounces sugar-free bbq sauce (or, any favorite regular bbq sauce)
- Mix all dry spices into a small bowl for the bbq seasoning and set aside.
- Rub all sides of the chicken until coated and lay thighs on the bottom of a greased slow cooker.
- Top the chicken with garlic and bbq sauce.
- Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until chicken thighs are done.
- Remove chicken from the slow cooker and brush with additional barbecue sauce if desired.
- Optional: to brown the thighs and crips up the skin place in an 400° F air fryer or an oven on broil for a few minutes.
- Don't miss all of our helpful hints, substitution ideas, cooking tips, and other delicious recipes that can be found in our post. Check it out!
- SUBSTITUTIONS: Use a regular bbq sauce or sugar free. use regular brown sugar or a substitute depending upon your dietary requirements.
- TOP TIPS: Feel free to broil or air-fry your thighs to crisp up the skin!
- SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Serve with a side of steamed or roasted vegetables and a fresh green salad. Or, try these crock pot green beans
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