You’ll quickly fall for these weeknight-friendly Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs because they’re rich with smoky flavors, deliciously tender, and so easy to make! Just set it and forget it, then enjoy for dinner hours later.
Grab your slow cooker because we’re making Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs for dinner tonight! This easy chicken dinner can be prepared hours in advance and is full of rich, smoky, and savory barbecue flavors. Just let the crockpot do all of the work while you work on the sides!
If you love the practicality of slow cooked meals, try this Slow Cooker Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe.
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Disclosure: this recipe has been created in partnership with Awaken180° Weightloss and it is compliant with the program rules and recommendations. For more information please visit Awaken180° Weightloss.
Slow cooker meals are some of my favorites because they’re so hands-off. The crockpot works its magic to infuse the rich barbecue sauce and garlic marinade into each chicken thigh over several hours. You always end up with tender, juicy, and delicious chicken in the end.
Keep this recipe for BBQ chicken thighs in your back pocket because it’s perfect for potlucks, summer barbecues, weeknight dinners, and so much more. One taste and it’s sure to become a new staple!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Set it and forget it! Making BBQ chicken thighs in the crockpot is an easy method that involves dumping everything in the pot, then walking away! It’s a perfect weeknight dinner you can prepare hours in advance.
- Full of savory, smoky flavors: The chicken thighs are first marinated in an oil, garlic, and onion marinade, then cooked with paprika, red pepper flakes, apple cider vinegar, and, of course, barbecue sauce. Every bite is packed with rich flavors that are perfect for summer barbecues or potlucks.
- The meat is ultra-tender: The low and slow method is the best way to transform bone-in chicken thighs into an ultra-tender and delicious protein.
Ingredients you need
- Chicken thighs – Use bone-in chicken thighs when making this slow cooker recipe. They take a little longer to cook but have deep and delicious flavors that you don’t get from boneless chicken thighs. They’re one of my favorite go-to proteins and I use them in all kinds of weeknight dinners, like Chicken Thighs with Vegetables and Lemon Butter Chicken Thighs.
- BBQ sauce – Use this Awaken180° Weightloss program approved BBQ sauce.
- Apple cider vinegar – The tangy acidity helps to break up the strong smoky flavors and sweetness in the barbecue sauce. I don’t recommend using white vinegar or any other substitute.
- Olive oil – Or use melted butter for a true garlic butter sauce.
- Garlic – Freshly minced garlic cloves are a must in the sauce.
- Onion powder
- Smoked paprika – The smoky flavors pair best with the barbecue sauce-covered chicken, but you can use regular paprika if that’s what you already have at home.
- Red pepper flakes – For a subtle heat.
- Salt and pepper
How to cook BBQ chicken thighs in the slow cooker
Step 1: Make the barbecue chicken marinade by stirring the oil, garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl.
Step 2: Place the chicken thighs in a ziplock bag and pour in the oil garlic marinade. Shake to coat, then seal the bag and place it in the fridge. Let the chicken thighs marinate.
Step 3: When they’re done marinating, place the chicken thighs in the slow cooker. Sprinkle the paprika and red pepper flakes over top, then add the BBQ sauce and apple cider vinegar.
Step 4: Cook the chicken on High for 2 ½ to 3 hours or on Low for 6 to 8 hours.
Step 5: Plate the chicken when it’s done, top with fresh cilantro, and enjoy!
How do you serve BBQ chicken?
BBQ chicken thighs can be served as a smoky and savory protein with all of your favorite barbecue side dishes. Garlic Butter Mushrooms Cauliflower Mashed Potato and Roasted Vegetable Salad, would all pair well!
Frequently asked questions
The chicken can be left in the marinade for a minimum of 30 minutes or a maximum of 24 hours. Remember to keep it in the fridge at all times.
Bone-in chicken thighs should be done cooking after 2 ½ to 3 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low. To ensure they’re cooked through, use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature. You’ll know they’re ready when it reaches 165ºF.
I haven’t tested this recipe in the Instant Pot because barbecue sauce tends to burn. You can use my Instant Pot Chicken Thighs recipe for guidance, but keep the marinade and seasonings from this recipe as normal.
To store: Keep the cooked chicken thighs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.
To reheat: Warm the leftover chicken for 1 to 2 minutes in the microwave or place them in a baking dish and reheat in a 350ºF oven until warmed through.
Want more Awaken180° Weightloss approved recipes?
- Low Carb Keto Beef Stew
- Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers Soup
- Sheet Pan Roasted Salmon with Vegetables
- Green Tuna Salad
Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs
- Slow Cooker/ Crock Pot
- 6 chicken thighs
- 8 oz BBQ sauce
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Garlic Butter Sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a small bowl add oil, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Season chicken with garlic rub and place chicken in a ziplock bag, let it marinate anywhere from 30 minutes up to a day.
- Place chicken in slow cooker. Top with paprika and red pepper flakes. Add in bbq sauce and apple cider vinegar.
- Cook on high for 2 1/2 hours – 3 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
- When done garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.