Cooking Video for Kids: Healthy Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Recipe

This frugal BBQ chicken recipe is a great staple recipe! My kids and I make it several times a month.

slow cooker BBQ chicken

It can be made in the slow cooker or Instant Pot and it’s free of gluten, grains, eggs, dairy, nuts, soy, corn, sweeteners (optional), and more – so simple to feed everyone!

FREE: Reading Nutrition Labels Worksheet

I don’t know if you’ve looked at the ingredient labels on store-bought barbecue sauce lately, but yikes! You’re avoiding a lot of processed food additives when you make it from scratch like this!

If you haven’t already figured out, my kids looooove this recipe. It’s very mild in flavor and easy to chew for tiny ones.

Can’t view the video? Watch it here on YouTube.

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Recipe (With Homemade Barbecue Sauce!)


  • 4 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 c. onion, chopped (or 1/4–1/2 c. dry minced onion)
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 4 cloves minced garlic (or 1–2 tsp. dried minced garlic or garlic powder)
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. tomato sauce (in glass jars best of course!)
  • 2–3 Tbs. maple or sorghum syrup or molasses (totally optional!)
  • 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. yellow mustard
  • 2–4 Tbs. arrowroot starch (if needed)

Kids lunch box


  • Place the chicken on the bottom of your slow cooker in even layers.
  • Pour everything else except the arrowroot starch on top – no need to even stir! Some prefer to mix the ingredients in a measuring cup first and pour over the chicken. Both work.
  • Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
  • Using a plastic utensil (or two), shred the chicken. It practically shreds itself at this point, to be honest. If the sauce is a bit thin, add the arrowroot powder at this point.

FREE: Reading Nutrition Labels Worksheet

Recipe Notes

  • This recipe works in the Instant Pot as well! Here are the specific directions.
  • We like to eat this BBQ over rice for a gluten-free dinner. It’s paleo, keto and Whole30 compliant as well with just a few small tweaks.
  • We love to put this BBQ chicken in lunch boxes cold!
  • You can use bone-in chicken as well, just use slightly more than 4 lbs. chicken. Trim off as much of the skin as possible using kitchen shears or a sharp knife. Make as directed, then pull out the bones and make homemade chicken stock out of them!

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Healthy slow cooker BBQ chicken

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