The Best Sweet and Tangy Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Recipe

Make juicy, sweet and tangy chicken in your crockpot with this easy Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken recipe! Perfect for weeknights, impressive enough for guests!

Make juicy, sweet and tangy chicken in your crockpot with this easy Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken recipe!

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Do you ever have those meals and you’re like “DANG. Why am I not eating this every week???”

That was today’s Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken recipe. I’ve had this recipe for years (at least 15-20 years). However, we’ve always used it on small chicken wings, as an appetizer. Very delicious.

Last week, as I was taking inventory of my freezer, I saw a huge package of chicken drumsticks. I wasn’t sure what to do with them, and then thought back to that BBQ chicken wing appetizer we eat every holiday. Why not try it??

How to make Crockpot BBQ Chicken

Make juicy, sweet and tangy chicken in your crockpot with this easy Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken recipe!

Start by cooking your chicken in the oven. This broiler chicken gives it the crispy exterior, while the slow cooker gives it the “fall off the bone” texture!

Place chicken drumsticks on a broiler pan and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper (on all sides).

Broil 4-5 inches from heat for about 12 minutes, flip and cook other side for an additional 12 minutes. Chicken legs with be browned and fully cooked at this point.

Transfer to crockpot or slow cooker. 

In a small bowl, whisk together bbq sauce, honey, mustard, worcestershire sauce, and a few shakes of tabasco. Stir until blended and pour over chicken.

Cover and cook on high for 2 hours on high, or 4 hours on low. Serve hot and enjoy.

What to serve with Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

If you’re looking to make the very best coleslaw recipe, this copycat Chick-fil-A Cole Slaw is made for you!

Healthy and light, this fresh Cucumber Tomato Salad is a delicious summer side dish!

Every potluck needs this easy Broccoli Salad on the table. With broccoli, cheddar cheese, red onion, and bacon topped with a sweet and tangy dressing, it’s the perfect summer side dish!

Creamy white cheddar macaroni and cheese just like Panera. Give this copycat version a try. Oh and it’s quick and easy on the stove top too!!

Make juicy, sweet and tangy chicken in your crockpot with this easy Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken recipe!

Can Barbecue Chicken be made in advance?

Here’s the thing you guys…this is the perfect meal if you’re having company. You cook the chicken under the broiler before placing in the crockpot, so it’s fully cooked. Toss all the chicken legs in the crockpot and pour the barbecue sauce mixture over the top.

You can either cook them on high for two hours, or on low for 4 hours. Any longer than that and you’ll have chicken falling off the bone in the slow cooker! 

As a food blogger, there are times I make our dinner and it’s ready at noon (so I can get photos under the best lighting of the day). With today’s recipe, it was ready at 1pm, and I turned it on warm until dinner (5pm) and it was perfect…still moist and juicy! 

But, back to the recipe.

Our grill ignitor broke some time over the summer and I’m such a baby when it comes to igniting it with a match or lighter. That “WHOOSH” scares me, haha! This recipe is perfect, even for the middle of winter when your grill is covered in ice and snow but you’re craving BBQ chicken! Use your broiler to cook the chicken, then toss it all in the crockpot for dinner!

Can I use Boneless Chicken?


Instead of broiling the chicken, place the boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the bottom of the crockpot. 

Top with the homemade barbeque sauce mixture. Cover and turn the slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 4 hours.

Shred chicken with fork and enjoy!

Love this Crockpot BBQ Chicken recipe? Here are more chicken dinner ideas:

  • This Slow Cooker Bourbon Chicken recipe has a sweet, tangy glaze and must be put on your dinner menu soon!
  • Orange Chicken in the Crockpot doesn’t have to be difficult. Make your weeknights less stressful by adding this to your rotation!
  • Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken and Rice  from A Mindful Mom is the EASIEST set it and forget it Chicken and Rice recipe. Chicken thighs and rice cook up perfectly with garlic, lemon and thyme for an easy, wholesome family meal.
  • This Slow Cooker Taco Chicken from Wine and Glue is super simple to make, but it is the start of so many delicious dinners! It needs to be part of your regular dinner rotations!
  • It’s not chicken, but it’s comfort food. This Classic Meatloaf is a family favorite!
  • From start to finish, this easy Instant Pot Bourbon Chicken Recipe is ready in under 30 minutes! Packed with flavor, it’s faster than going to the mall to pick up a plate of this dish!

Make juicy, sweet and tangy chicken in your crockpot with this easy Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken recipe!

Shopping List for Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

  • Chicken Drumsticks
  • Sweet Baby Rays original BBQ sauce
  • Honey
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Worchestershire sauce
  • Tabasco sauce, optional

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More Dinner Recipes:

Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken recipe:



Yield: 12 servings

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 24 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 34 minutes

Make juicy, sweet and tangy chicken in your crockpot with this easy Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken recipe!


  • 2-3 lbs of chicken drumsticks
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups Sweet Baby Rays original BBQ sauce
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp worchestershire sauce
  • tabasco sauce, optional


  1. Place chicken on broiler pan and sprinkle chicken generously with salt and pepper, on both sides.
  2. Broil 4-5 inches from heat for 24 minutes (12 minutes on each side) until browned and fully cooked.
  3. Transfer to crockpot.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the bbq sauce, honey, mustard, worchestershire sauce and a couple shakes of tabasco. Stir until blended and pour over chicken.
  5. Cover crockpot and cook on high for 2 hours, or low for 4 hours. Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

2 drumstick

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 521Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 288mgSodium: 1117mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 22gProtein: 55g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

*This recipe for Slow Cooker BBQ chicken was originally published on Shugary Sweets on November 2, 2016 and has been republished in April 2018.

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken is tangy and sweet and the perfect dinner to make on a weeknight and impressive enough to serve friends!

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

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Posted on April 29, 2018

Comments & Reviews

  1. Our family loves this recipe. We’ve made it three times in the past six months or so. It’s first on the list when we want drumsticks. We use Trader Joe’s Organic Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce to avoid the high fructose corn syrup. I’m going to add a roughly chopped onion on the bottom tomorrow, like we do when we’re preparing shredded chicken breasts. Some shakes of rub after broiling is something I’m considering, as well

    1. Sure, you may just have to adjust the initial broiling time to make sure they are fully cooked 🙂

    1. I supposed you could. But I like the texture it gives the chicken, similar to putting it on the grill!

    1. Yes, except you can cut the broil time down to 8-10 minutes per side, depending on size of wings.

  2. Confused – we’re broiling it till fully cooked and THEN putting it in the cp on high? Doesn’t that result in it literally falling apart?

    1. Two hours on high (at least on my crockpot) results in tender chicken…but NOT falling apart. More than that? Yes, maybe. But this is a great dish to make ahead of time and serve a crowd. It’s also the best BBQ chicken ever 🙂

  3. I  am and interested in and looked at Amazon for the Ninja and saw 2 or 3 different  models.  Which would you recommend?

  4. My slow cooker is one of my all time favorite appliances! My family loves bbq chicken, so can’t wait to try this – it looks wonderful!

  5. You can’t go wrong with BBQ chicken especially when it’s as easy as sticking it in that Ninja slow cooker! It looks so juicy and I’m glad you coated it with plenty of barbecue sauce!

  6. I am going to have to take a look at that Ninja Slow cooker. My slow cooker just died 🙁 And I love meals like this!

    1. Not gonna lie, if my Ninja ever quit working, I’d be on Amazon getting a new one ASAP. Best crockpot I ever owned (did I mention how easy it is to clean?)

  7. Manually lighting gas fueled things make me a little nervous also, so that’s a great idea! This chicken looks fantastic!

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