Set It and Forget It: Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken
Dana Angelo White
Total Time 255 min
Prep 15 min, Cook 240 min
Yield 6 servings (227 calories each)

Every home cook needs some reliable slow cooker ideas for busy weeknight dinners. This recipe uses flavorful chicken thighs, packed with heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats that help keep the meat tender with the long cooking time. The sweet and tangy sauce is speckled with vegetables and thickened with cornstarch instead of flour to keep it gluten free and celiac-friendly.


  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large package boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1.5 pounds)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½  cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup 100% apple juice
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, sliced


  1. Place cornstarch and salt in a large resealable bag.
  2. Add chicken thighs, seal the bag, and shake to coat with cornstarch.
  3. Heat oil in a skillet or slow cooker with a browning function. Shake excess cornstarch from chicken and (in 2 batches) brown on both sides (it takes about 2 to 3 minutes per side).
  4. In slow cooker combine browned chicken, BBQ sauce, apple juice, onion, bell pepper; stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours. Shred meat with a fork before serving.

    Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

    Use any kind of barbecue sauce you like, just check the label to make sure it’s a gluten free variety.Trader Joe’s Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce is highly recommended.

    If you're a fan of garlic, throw a few cloves of sliced garlic in the slow cooker along with the other ingredients.

    Cooking and Serving Tips

    Serve this chicken on gluten free rolls or wrapped in gluten free tortillas with a sprinkle of cheese. You can also serve in bowls spooned over cooked brown rice and topped with fresh sliced jalapenos.

    Store leftovers in a container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

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