Easy BBQ Oven Pulled Chicken

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins

Easy BBQ Oven Pulled Chicken is so simple, and you can use it in a ton of other recipes. Like shredded chicken, oven pulled chicken breast makes delicious sandwiches, tortilla wraps, tacos, and more!

Oven pulled chicken on sandwich buns.

Easiest Ever BBQ Pulled Chicken

BBQ Pulled Chicken is packed with flavor and the king of make-ahead recipes. It’s easy to prep at the beginning of the week and pop into the oven whenever you are ready. You can even prep it and freeze it for the future!

You can stuff this pulled chicken in potatoes, or make a BBQ chicken sandwich… both of which I highly recommend. But it’s also great all on its own too with lots of your favorite bbq sides.

This Pulled Chicken is perfectly tender and juicy, and this easy homemade BBQ sauce/seasoning is the real deal. You don’t have to have a grill to make BBQ chicken — the same flavors can be achieved with the oven as well!

Boneless skinless chicken breast on a cutting board.

Recipe Ingredients

What do you need for this BBQ pulled chicken? Grab these ingredients:

  • Chicken Breast: Use boneless skinless chicken breast.
  • Onion
  • Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • Brown Sugar
  • Spices: Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, Dry Mustard and Paprika
  • Molasses
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Tomato Paste
  • White Wine Vinegar
  • Worcestershire Sauce

Can I make this sugar free?

Yes, you can! I recommend using whatever sugar free sweetener you personally like to use in place of the brown sugar in the sauce recipe.

Start with a little, taste it, and add more until you reach the desired sweetness level. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take it out!

4 sliced chicken breasts on a cutting board.

How to Make Oven Pulled Chicken

Prepare: Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Slice: Cut a few slices across each of the chicken breasts about ¼ inch deep. Place the chicken on a baking tray. Set aside.

Mix: Place the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, preferably one with a pour spout, and mix well to combine.

Sauce poured onto sliced chicken breasts.

Pour Sauce: Pour the sauce evenly over the chicken breasts being sure to get some down into the cuts. There is a lot of sauce, but use it all!

Bake: Cook for 40 to 45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Baked chicken breasts with sauce.

Shred: Place the chicken into a large bowl and shred it using two forks or a hand mixer with beaters for a quick way to shred the chicken!

Pulled chicken in a bowl with two forks.

Mix Extra Sauce: Scoop up any remaining sauce from the baking tray and mix it into the shredded chicken.

Serve: Serve pulled chicken with buns, coleslaw, stuffed in potatoes or over rice!

Pulled chicken with sauce in a bowl.

How Do You Pull a Chicken Breast?

Pulling the chicken breast apart is so easy; you can use:

  • Forks: hold a fork in each hand, and pull the chicken apart into small strips or chunks.
  • A Stand Mixer: place the chicken in a bowl and mix on a low speed using the paddle attachment. It only takes about a minute. 
  • Hand Mixer: same as a stand mixer, place chicken in a bowl and use beaters to slowly shred chicken.
  • Your Hands: after the chicken cools, use your hands to pull apart the chicken. This method is the easiest way to control the size of the strips. 

Tips for Success

What should you do for the best pulled chicken?

Slice Deep Cuts Into Chicken Breasts: you want to make sure you create those deep cuts into the chicken breasts before covering them with your homemade sauce. This helps them to really soak in the sauce!

Let Chicken Cool A Little Before Shredding: If the chicken is too hot it will lose its juices, and you might burn your hands. That said, it should also still be warm because cold chicken is difficult to shred.

Use a Meat Thermometer: A meat thermometer will let you know when the chicken is cooked through, ensuring your chicken isn’t dry or tough!

Making Pulled Chicken Thighs: You can make this recipe with chicken thighs, but the cook time will need to be longer. I recommend using a thermometer to make sure you do cook them perfectly!

Oven pulled chicken in tongs.

What Do You Eat with Pulled Chicken?

Pulled chicken can be served with a lot of sides, but some of my favorites are

For a healthy lunch or dinner, try this BBQ chicken in a Lettuce Wrap!

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Oven pulled chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days. You can warm it up again in a skillet, or you can microwave it, depending on how much time you have.

Can I Freeze Pulled Chicken?

Yes! Pulled chicken can be frozen for 2-3 months in an airtight container or freezer bags. When you’re ready to use it again, just thaw it overnight in the fridge. 

You can also meal prep or freeze this recipe:

You can also prep this Pulled Chicken all the way until the step where you pop it into the oven. Instead of baking it, you can store it in the fridge or freeze it.

So if your chicken’s sell by date is in a few days, you can safely store the prepped dish in the fridge for up to 48 hours. Make sure to cover it with saran wrap or foil while in the fridge. Then just bake following directions.

To freeze it: add everything to a freezer friendly ziplock bag and lay it flat in the freezer to freeze. This recipe can stay frozen for up to 3 months. 2 days before you are ready to bake the chicken, move it to the fridge to thaw. Once thawed, pop it into a casserole dish and bake according to directions!

Oven pulled chicken on sandwich buns.

I am so excited for y’all to try this easy BBQ Pulled Chicken recipe! It’s exploding with flavor from that homemade bbq sauce and so easy to make.

Please leave a review (or even a photo!) below in the comments letting me know how this one turns out for you!

Looking for more great BBQ recipes? Try this Best Pulled Pork or Chinese BBQ Pork!

Yield: serves 6

Easy BBQ Oven Pulled Chicken

Oven pulled chicken on sandwich buns.

Easy BBQ Oven Pulled Chicken is so simple to make and can be used in a ton of other recipes. Like shredded chicken, oven pulled chicken breast makes delicious sandwiches, tortilla wraps, tacos, salads and more!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut a few slices across each of the chicken breasts about ¼ inch deep. Place the chicken on a baking tray. Set aside.
  3. Place the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, preferably one with a pour spout, and mix well to combine.
  4. Pour the sauce evenly over the chicken breasts being sure to get some down into the cuts. There is a lot of sauce, but use it all!
  5. Cook for 40 to 45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Place the chicken into a large bowl and shred it using two forks or a hand mixer with beaters for a quick way to shred the chicken!
  7. Scoop up any remaining sauce from the baking tray and mix it into the shredded chicken.
  8. Serve pulled chicken with buns, coleslaw, stuffed in potatoes or over rice!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 313Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 433mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 48g

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Welcome!

Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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