BBQ Pulled Chicken Sliders with Zesty Italian Dressing

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These Pulled Chicken Sliders are bursting with tangy, zesty flavors and plenty of savory goodness. Easy to eat and even easier to make, most of the work is done in a slow cooker! Make this pulled chicken sliders crockpot recipe with a few simple ingredients for one incredible meal.

Titled Image: Zesty Italian Chicken Sliders


Pulled Chicken Sliders

It doesn’t take a long list of ingredients to make a satisfying meal, and these BBQ pulled chicken sliders are proof of that!

Slow cook chicken in BBQ sauce, Italian dressing, and a little brown sugar, then shred and pile onto buns with pickles and cheese. Easy peasy!

Whether it’s buffalo style or stuffed into tacos, shredded chicken is one of the easiest ways to satisfy a hungry family.

In fact, I usually cook a big batch once a month to add to soups, pasta salads, and more!

ingredients for bbq pulled chicken sliders

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Chicken – It’s easiest to make pulled chicken sliders in the crockpot with boneless, skinless breasts. You can also use boneless thighs if you prefer dark meat!

    If you opt for bone-in thighs, account for the extra weight and fish the bones out before shredding the meat.
  • Barbecue Sauce – Use your favorite homemade or store-bought version.

    I think my Jack Daniels Double Kick sauce would be incredible in this pulled chicken sliders crockpot recipe!

    Or, use my signature sauce for an alcohol-free option.
  • Italian Dressing – Same here… grab a bottle of your favorite from the store or make my homemade version, found in the recipe card below.
  • Brown Sugar – This helps balance all those tangy, zesty flavors.

    Regular white sugar will work in a pinch, but you’ll miss the added caramel note from the molasses.
  • Slider Buns – Regular burger slider buns are my top choice, but Kings Hawaiian buns would add another layer of sweetness.

    Have a bakery nearby? See if you can find mini versions of potato or pretzel rolls instead!!
  • Toppings – I like to top my pulled BBQ chicken sliders with dill pickle chips and shredded Monterey Jack cheese.

    Coleslaw is another popular choice, or try some sliced red onions if you’re not a fan of pickles. For a cheese swap, try mozzarella or white cheddar!
chicken breasts and bbq sauce in crockpot

Tips for Making Juicy Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

  • Cook chicken slowly in the crockpot.

We’re actually cooking on High, just to speed up the process. All this means is that the slow cooker reaches temperature faster, but the meat still cooks “low and slow.”

If needed, you can use the Low setting for this pulled chicken sliders crockpot recipe instead — just increase the time to 6-8 hours.

Either way, the chicken has plenty of time to marinate in the BBQ sauce and Italian dressing. The acidity in both helps to make the meat extra tender!

  • Avoid over shredding the meat.

Trust me, it will practically fall apart when you touch it, so there’s no need to use a ton of muscle.

Gently pull the breast meat apart with two forks or meat claws, just until there are no longer large chunks in the crock.

Pulled chicken sliders meat shouldn’t be stringy, though!

Sometimes, I’ll simply pinch each chicken breast with a pair of tongs to break it apart, then shred to the right consistency before serving.

  • Let it cook a little longer after it’s been shredded.

An extra 30 to 60 minutes in the slow cooker allows every shred of chicken to get thoroughly coated in that zesty sauce!

The meat will soak it up a bit too, so every bite is infused with all that delicious flavor.

adding seasoning to chicken in crockpot

Prep Ahead

  • Make Italian dressing
  • Grate cheese
  • Slice open slider buns

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Slow Cooker – Great for soups, roasts, shredded chicken, and more! I love it in the cooler months, but it’s also great in the summer when you don’t want to heat up the whole house with the oven.
  • Mason Jar – The easiest way to make any homemade dressing — just add all the ingredients and shake!
  • Cheese Grater – Fresh cheese makes this recipe even better! Skip the bagged shreds and buy a block to grate yourself.
  • Bread Knife – If your buns don’t come pre-sliced, a large serrated knife is the best way to cut them in half without tearing.
shredding chicken breasts with forks in a crockpot

Serving Suggestions

Pair BBQ pulled chicken sliders with all the classic cookout sides: macaroni salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, or your choice of potatoes.

Enjoying leftovers for lunch? Add a handful of crispy air fryer chips or a scoop of fresh fruit.

You can also use the pulled chicken sliders meat on nachos or baked potatoes, over rice, in quesadillas, or on top of pizza!

bbq shredded chicken in crockpot

Storing and Reheating Pulled BBQ Chicken Sliders

Allow leftover meat to cool, then transfer to an airtight container. Shredded chicken will keep for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Reheat however much you need in the microwave or on the stovetop, thawing in the refrigerator first if frozen.

Then, assemble pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches as directed and dig in!

Pulled Chicken Sliders FAQ

How do you know if chicken is done in crockpot?

As long as you cook meat on High for 3-4 hours or on Low for 6-8 hours, it’s guaranteed to be cooked through.

Chicken should shred easily and have no pink in the center. But if you want to be sure, remove one of the breasts and test it with a digital meat thermometer.

Once it reaches at least 165°F in the center, all poultry is safe to eat!

Can I double this pulled BBQ chicken sliders recipe?

You bet! Use a 6- or 7-quart crock pot and don’t make more than a double batch at a time.

If you are feeding a crowd and need dozens of pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches, get a second crockpot going to ensure the meat cooks evenly.

Are these pulled chicken sliders baked?

Not for this recipe, no — but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it!

Assemble the sandwiches and tuck them into a greased baking dish, then pop them in the oven at 350°F until the top buns are toasty.

You can also take a cue from other baked slider recipes and brush the buns with butter first!

closeup of bbq shredded chicken in tongs

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stacked bbq pulled chicken sliders

closeup of pulled chicken sliders

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sliders with Zesty Italian Dressing

Donna Elick
Pulled Chicken Sliders are flavor-packed with tangy BBQ sauce and Italian dressing! Top crockpot pulled chicken with pickles and cheese!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Method Slow Cooker
Servings 6 people (2 sliders each)



  • 2-3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 24 ounces barbecue sauce, use your favorite
  • 6 ounces zesty Italian salad dressing, ingredients and recipe below, or use store bought dressing
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Zesty Italian Salad Dressing

  • 2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/4 cup dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

For Serving

  • 12 slider buns
  • 12 dill pickle chips
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese


Zesty Italian Salad Dressing

  • Add all dressing ingredients, including vinegar and oil, to a pint sized mason jar or resealable container. Shake vigorously, then transfer to the fridge to chill until ready to serve.

Pulled Chicken

  • Place chicken in a crockpot. Pour barbecue sauce, prepared Italian salad dressing and brown sugar over the top. Stir well to combine and cover crockpot with lid.
  • Cook 3-4 hours on High, stirring occasionally if possible.
  • When chicken is cooked through and shreds easily, use 2 large forks or meat shredder to pull chicken apart. Stir again to combine and cover with lid
  • Allow to cook another 30 to 60 minutes, to let the chicken absorb the sauce and let the sauce thicken.

To Assemble Sliders

  • Slice open slider rolls (we used 2 per person). Put 2 heaping tablespoons of pulled chicken on each slider.
    Add a tablespoon of shredded cheese, then top with pickle chips and top bun.
    Serve and enjoy!


Serving: 2sliders | Calories: 887cal | Carbohydrates: 98g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 2028mg | Sugar: 56g | Fiber: 6g | Calcium: 386mg | Iron: 5mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Zesty Italian Chicken Sliders - PIN

Originally Published October 2011, updated and republished March 2024

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  1. my mouth is watering just so you know and I am now rethinking the salmon i was going to cook tonight and instead just do this recipe- just so you know you messed up my whole day because i have to go to the store now! LOL! Kidding but kinda not- i really do want to make this tonight

  2. Very cool assembling line! The buns look amazing. I think I could easily eat more then 2, or at least I will try to…hihihih

  3. Happy hour is my favorite. These sliders look great…I'm especially loving the Blue Moon in the background. 🙂 My favorite kind of beer.

  4. looks great! I'm going to make this for the the pot luck lunch I'm having next month. So it makes about 6 sliders total?

    Also, question about the ingredients, you mentioned, "1/2 Homemade Zesty Italian Salad Dressing". Is that half batch, or half something else? thanks!

    1. I am wondering the same thing. How many sliders will this make? Looks great~just not sure if I need to double the recipe….Trying to serve 8 guests. Thanks.

    2. Depending on your serving size, you should easily get 16 sliders (or 8 full size) out of 2 lbs of chicken.

  5. Great looking sliders and I love the single pickle sitting on top! Perfection! Great taste in beer my dear. 🙂

  6. Today I made the zesty Italian salad dressing in advance for next weekend, then I am making the whole recipee. I can guarantee you that I am dreaming the whole week about my lunch for next weekend. Hmmmm. The dressing is super. Different uses for it. It goes with tomato, cucumber, etc. etc.

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