BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

You know when someone asks you what your favorite food is, and you sometimes stumble on your answer? There are so many delicious dishes and sweets and snacks you love, so how can you be expected to pick just one as your favorite?!

Well, unfortunately, I don’t have a solution for you, but I will tell you this: If someone asked me right now what my favorite food is, the one food I would eat endlessly if left on a deserted island for days/weeks/years, I would confidently answer “barbecued chicken.” This has pretty much always been the case, and I’m sure it seems like a safe choice, but I didn’t always know it.

This barbecued chicken recipe, a take on the ever-popular pulled pork sandwich, was so unbelievably tender, you would think I used dark meat or slow-cooked the chicken in a CrockPot all day, but that’s not the case. Just get two boneless, skinless breasts, marinade them in spices for half an hour, grill, shred with two forks and throw it all into a saucepan full of bubbling, sweet and tangy barbecue sauce!

Mark and I grabbed some mini, slider-style buns and piled them high with the shredded chicken, a little more sauce (because you can never have enough), added a dill pickle, and had a scrumptious dinner outside last week… plus many leftovers! This take on barbecued chicken has become an absolute favorite of mine, and a much more healthy, far less fatty option than pulled pork.

Whether you make these for dinner at home, as a casual meal for guests, or as bite-sized sliders or full-sized sandwiches for a summer shindig, I know you’ll love these sandwiches too!

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Yield: 4 to 6 servings



  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 pound about 2 portions skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Cooking spray


  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • 4 sandwich rolls or 8 mini slider buns, or halved dinner rolls, toasted lightly
  • Dill pickle chips


  1. Combine the oil and spices for the marinade in a large bowl. Add chicken to the bowl and rub spice mixture evenly over chicken. Marinade for at least 30 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator. When ready, heat grill to medium-high heat. Cover and grill chicken for 15 minutes, or until a thermometer registers 180°, turning occasionally. Let stand for 5 minutes. Place chicken on a cutting board and shred with 2 forks.
  2. To prepare sauce, heat canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in brown sugar and all spices; cook 30 seconds. Stir in ketchup and vinegar; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in shredded chicken. Cook 2 minutes, or until thoroughly heated.
  3. Place desired amount of chicken mixture on bottom halves of sandwich rolls and a few tablespoons of sauce. Top each serving with 2 pickle chips and top roll half.
  4. Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

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Join the Conversation

  1. Georgia, How could you make this in oven? Should it be covered & what temp?

  2. If making these in the oven, I would recommend sauteeing the whole chicken breasts in a pan with a little oil first (about 5 minutes per side). Then, shred with a fork. Add some BBQ sauce to a saucepot, get it simmering, and add the shredded chicken. Toss it around, and you should have the same meal!

  3. Umm Mymoonah says:

    OMG! The pictures look so tempting, even after having my dinner, i feel hungry by looking at your pictures.

  4. Oh that sandwich looks so delicious!!! I just wanted to say I love your blog. I’ve bookmarked so many of your recipes and plan on making your wonderful looking cinnamon bread this week. I look forward to checking in each day to see what delicious dish you’ve made next!

  5. Thank you so much, Brenda! I’m so happy to hear that you like the blog and would like to try my recipes. Feel free to let me know how they turn out (good or bad)!

  6. That seriously has my mouth watering!!

  7. FANTASTIC photos. Fortunately, I have already made some BBQ sauce so I could definitely make this chicken and use my leftover sauce. Thanks for a great recipe!

  8. Thanks!

  9. Oh, sorry to tease you then, Monet! Even if I were vegetarian, I would have to sneak in a little BBQ meat now and again ;) Thank you for your kind comment.

  10. Thanks, Lauren. Glad I could conjure up a good memory for you – that sounds delicious!

  11. We made this at my family reunion this past weekend and it was a hit!

    We tripled the recipe for our group but ended up with TONS of leftovers. Not that I’m complaining, it made the best midnight snacks……I’m eating it right now.

  12. As a vegetarian, this is one meal I crave OFTEN. Especially after seeing your beautiful photograph. I want to walk to the BBQ restaurant right now!

  13. This looks excellent— everybody likes a good BBQ chicken sandwich! When I was a kid, my mom used to take leftover rotisserie chicken and reheat it in barbecue sauce, and then serve it on a warm and gooey bun. Good memories, good food. Nice post!

    – Lauren, Lauren’s Little Kitchen

  14. I just came across those mini-buns in the market…this is the perfect reason to buy ’em. I know Hubby & I will luv this! Delicious photos…they just look so succulent and tasty.

  15. These look delicious! I’ve been planning on making bbq chicken sandwiches sometime soon, but I think I’m going to try your recipe!

  16. I love this idea :) I adore mini-sandwiches — I usually do pork bbq, but this chicken looks delish.
    Nice to have found your blog!

    By the way, I included this in a 4th of july roundup on Foodwhirl tonight – here’s the link:

    thanks for sharing!

  17. When my boyfriend moved in, I started having to cook real meals again. And bbq chicken sandwiches became a staple of our diet. However, I never felt like I was doing it quite right. The chicken was always too bland. So I compensated with more bbq sauce. More is always better, right? ;) Which made the sandwiches too soupy. So when I was browsing recipes to get some new ideas I found this recipe and decided to give it a try. Although I’m not quite fancy enough to make my own bbq sauce yet, the marinade makes bbq chicken taste SO delicious! With it, the meat is sweet, flavorful, and juicy. Mmm! Thank you for helping me perfect my bbq chicken sandwich making skills. :)

  18. Thanks so much for stopping by to let me know you enjoyed this recipe, Rhea! I’m so glad you found a BBQ chicken recipe that is just right for you and your boyfriend. :)

  19. If not grilling, do you think the next best way to cook the chicken to be on the stove sauteing or in the oven, either baking or broiling on a broiler pan? Gonna try and make this yumminess tonight!!! ;)

    Aka.. Novice cook to extreme :)

  20. I would bake the two chicken breasts at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, then toss with the BBQ sauce in a pot on the stovetop. Enjoy!

  21. Ok, that’s how I usually cook chicken breasts anyway. Thanks so much for replying so quickly! I’ll let you know how it turns out…. Assuming I dont burn down the house or give the fam food poisoning! ;)


  22. 5 stars
    So I made the BBQ without burning down the house or poisoning anyone! Yay!! I love the marinade and the chicken. I let the chicken sit in the marinade all day. Since our grill is out of commision, I sauteed the chicken breasts in a little oil for a few minutes before putting in the oven on 350 for about 30 minutes. When I was pulling it apart, I tried a piece and wow!! Sooooo good!!! Unfortunately the fam wasent too excited about the sauce. I’m not sure if it was all the onion or maybe the allspice but it definetly had a different taste than what they are used too. We tend to smother all our dinners in Sweet Baby Rays honey BBQ :). Next time, I think I’ll do everything the same but maybe omit half of the onion and all of the allspice. Definetly a great dish though!! Everyone certainly had their favorite BBQ.. Whether that be vinegar, mustard, or catsup based. We lean towards the sweet honey BBQ for chicken. Can’t wait till summer and I can try this on the grill!

  23. Could i somehow do this in my crock pot?

  24. Sure! Place the chicken in the above marinade, let sit for at least 30 minutes, then prepare the BBQ sauce (or use a whole bottle of storebought) to cook the whole chicken breasts. Set on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-4.

  25. 5 stars
    This is the best BBQ I have ever tasted. I could eat it every day, every meal if I could, haha. No joke! Thank you for the recipe!

  26. 5 stars
    I made this for my family tonight, but instead of sandwiches, I made a BBQ Chicken pizza and it was a hit! thanks for a great recipe for the chicken

  27. Can you make it with a pan?

  28. You can cook the chicken in a grill pan, or
    also bake it at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, then toss with the BBQ sauce in a pot on the stovetop.

  29. This sounds and looks too good :D Thanks for the great recipe! x

  30. 5 stars
    Wow now that’s what you call a sandwich. thanks for posting this recipe.


  31. 5 stars
    Been making this recipe for years now. Soo good

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