With summer and all of its glorious heat practically here, it’s time to embrace the flavor of the season with this *amazing* Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken.
Slow cookers are the only way I get anything cooked during the dog days of summer. One can only eat so many salads before they start to feel like a bunny rabbit, but I’ll be damned before I turn on my oven or stove and add to the climbing temperatures that are already making my house miserable to hang out in. So, slow cookers are my right hand man during the summer (and the rest of the year, as we all know).
Not only do I love love love that this delicious, easy, and family friendly meal is cooked to perfection in my handy-dandy slow cooker, but I also love that it is NATURALLY sweetened with dates. BBQ sauce typically has some sort of sugar added to it to help cut the acidity of the vinegar and tomatoes, however I was able to balance that lovely zang with the natural sweetness of a few pureed dates.
Prep time for this recipe is minimal. Literally just minutes.
- Throw the sauce ingredients into a blender.
- Pour over chicken in the slow cooker.
- Turn on slow cooker.
- Walk away and enjoy life.
See! Nearly effortless. So this slow cooker pulled BBQ chicken is absolutely ideal to serve for dinner after a busy day of enjoying the season with your family or as a lovely “welcome home” offering to yourself after a long day at work.
This recipe makes a hefty batch, so it is great to feed to a crowd or simply enjoy for leftovers.
3 pounds organic chicken breast
2 cups diced tomatoes
2-4 pitted dates
3 cloves garlic
1 small yellow onion peeled and quartered or 1/2 a large yellow onion
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
6 oz tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil
- In a large slow cooker (I use a 6-quart slow cooker), arrange the chicken breasts and drizzle with the avocado oil.
- Combine the rest of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until all of the ingredients are well chopped. Pour over the chicken, spooning the sauce over all exposed chicken.
- Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
- After the chicken is done cooking, remove the breasts. Using two forks, shred the chicken.
- Return shredded chicken to slow cooker with the remaining sauce, stirring it together to combine.
- Enjoy warm over a salad, in large leaves of lettuce, as filling for baked potatoes, or simply on its own.
- Store leftovers in fridge for about 5 days.
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Becky Winkler (A Calculated Whisk)
This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it.
Thanks, Becky! Such a fun and easy dish for summer!
I’d love to try this however I don’t have a slow cooker. If I wanted to make this in a dutch oven, at what temp and how many hours should I cook?
My guess would be 325 degrees F for 90 minutes or until the chicken is easily shreddable. However, I’ve never made it this way.
This looks so delicious !!!
I don’t have a slow cooker but I own a Thermomix. Do you have any idea if this would work ? Or if you know someone that has tried …
Looks delicious! I was just about to start making this, but I want to make sure this is correct: cook on low for 4 hours?? I’ve always cooked chicken on low for 7-8 hrs or high for 3-4. Please advise 🙂
Chicken breasts cook much faster than a whole chicken. Yes, 4 hours on low is correct. Much longer and the chicken will be quite dry
Ok awesome! Thanks for the response 🙂
I was intrigued to think i could throw this in the crockpot after "a long day at work" as you noted but 4 hrs obviously doesn’t work when you work 9-5. Would I have to do a whole chicken for an 8 hr slow cook?
I understand your confusion with my statement. I have a slow cooker that keeps food warm after it is done cooking, so I can pop it into the slow cooker in the morning and have it ready and waiting for me after work. I understand that is not what everyone has, so poor wording on my part. It also reheats beautifully, so don’t be afraid to make it during meal prep and warm up later.
As for a whole chicken: yes, I’d suggest 8 hours if using a whole chicken. Though I have a feeling deboning the whole chicken would be quite messy with the sauce.
This is in my slow cooker now! Did you use canned diced tomatoes or just dice fresh tomatoes? I used canned but I wasn’t sure if that was what was meant.
Either is fine! I hope it turned out great!
I love BBQ pulled chicken so I’m excited to try this paleo recipe!
I’m looking for some real talk: how similar does this sauce taste to store bought bbq sauce? 🙂 Thanks!
It has a BBQ sauce vibe, but is certainly different. Store bought BBQ sauce has lots of added sugar (which is why it tastes so amazing), so i tried to minimize the sugar in this recipe by naturally sweetening with date
Could I use honey or maple syrup instead of dates?
Absolutely! It wouldn’t be Whole30 anymore, but it would taste delicious
Sooooooo good!!! We really enjoyed this recipe, thanks for sharing
Hi!!! Can this be used for babyback ribs?
I’ve never tried this recipe with anything other than chicken, so I can’t really tell you for sure. If you use the sauce in the slow cooker with the babyback ribs, it will likely need longer in the slow cooker.
Can this be frozen once cooked?
I can’t say I have tried freezing it but I don’t see why not!
Yes I freeze it all the time. Can be a bit watery and need thickening second time around but still works
Great to know!
What could I use instead of dates? Maybe a tbsp of honey?
Hey, recipe sounds really good! Just wondering if theres an alternative for the avocado oil?
I am looking to spice this up a tad. Any suggestions?
I threw in chili powder the first time I made the recipe and that punched in up a little. I’m making it again right now and forgot to add any spice 🙁 but I made a vegan mac and cheese recipe with dried chipotle chilis that are blended into the sauce and those work great (I’m a wimp and two little slices add enough zing for me).
This looks delicious! Can you tell me how to do this in an Instant Pot?
Loved how easy this is! We aren’t Whole30 but I try to cook mostly Whole30 meals with little modifications (food freedom!) For this one, the dates didn’t quite sweeten it enough for me so I added two tbsps of maple syrup – again NOT Whole30 but a good mod if you aren’t! The flavor was great! Also, I used a mix of chicken breasts and thighs – I like them mix together better than just breasts, makes the chicken more tender to me. I also added some chili powder as suggested in another comment to kick it up a bit! Plan to serve it over cauliflower grits for lunches this week!
Oh yum! I’m so glad you guys enjoyed it!
I like the recipe but am wondering if it’s possible to do in a way that I am able to make ahead and freeze. I am having surgery soon and will be unable to cook. I am trying to make everything that I can so that my daughter is able to throw in the crockpot without the need for additional steps.
I need at least a full month of dinners with leftovers so that our family will have enough meals that take them only a few minutes to get ready. I don’t mean the hands off time. I was thinking of shredding an entire chicken but am not sure if would end up over cooked and dried out.
Thank you for the information
I think if you made it ahead and froze it, it would still be lovely!