Pulled BBQ Chicken Freezer Meal Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
We lovingly refer to it as the “lovechild of sweet and tangy,” bringing a whisper of smoky goodness that will earn you a standing ovation.
Gluten Free

As scrumptious as it is comforting, this crowd-pleaser will win everyone around your table over…including you. We love the tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken, but the sauce in this recipe is the real MVP. We lovingly refer to it as the “lovechild of sweet and tangy,” bringing a whisper of smoky goodness that will earn you a standing ovation.

You’ll applaud for yourself when you see how much convenience and ease this recipe brings. 

We know just as well as the next guy how crazy life can get. That’s the motivation behind this recipe. We grew tired of five o’clock rolling around and then suddenly realizing we had nothing prepared to feed the mouths we had been shuffling around all day. So we gave make-ahead freezer meals a try and we have never looked back. We don’t think you will, either.

Let’s get to it!

Why you’ll Love this Homemade Pulled BBQ Chicken

  • Customizable
  • Time-Saving
  • Versatile
  • Kid-Friendly
Pulled BBQ Chicken Freezer Meal Recipe
Hannah Stewart
We lovingly refer to it as the “lovechild of sweet and tangy,” bringing a whisper of smoky goodness that will earn you a standing ovation.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 128 kcal
Equipment
  • 1 Slow Cooker
  • 1 gallon freezer bag
  • 1 High speed blender
Ingredients
  
  • 2 lbs chicken thighs boneless/skinless
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce *optional : make your own sauce following instructions below
Homemade BBQ Sauce (Blend Together)
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp raw honey
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
Instructions
 
Freezer prep directions:
  • Prepare a gallon freezer bag, labeling according to your preferred method. 
  • Add sauce ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. (You may have to scrap sides once or twice).
  • Seal bag, removing as much air as possible, and freeze for up to three months.
Slow cooker directions:
  • Thaw freezer bag in fridge 12-24 hours before cooking.
  • Add freezer bag contents into slow cooker
  • Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
  • Remove chicken, shred, and stir back into the slow cooker.
  • Serve over rice, on a bun, or over a salad.
Instant Pot Directions
  1. Dump the contents of the freezer bag into the Instant Pot, add 1/2 cups water to instant pot.
  2. Set to High Pressure for 20 minutes, then allow a 10-minute natural release followed by a quick release.  
  3. Remove chicken, shred, and stir back into the slow cooker.
  4. Serve over rice, on a bun, or over a salad.
Dietary Adjustments
Make it Gluten-Free:
  • Ensure your barbecue sauce is gluten-free.
 
Make it Dairy-Free:
  • This recipe is naturally dairy-free.

Notes

  • This recipe can easily be made in a slow cooker or crock pot just set all ingredients into the slow cooker and cook on low 4-6 hours. 
  • Use your favorite BBQ sauce for the recipe, anyone will work.
  • For some extra kick in the BBQ sauce add some chipotle pepper or adobo sauce.
  • Serve pulled chicken on buns, over a salad or even to top off nachos or pizza. 

Nutrition

Calories: 128kcalCarbohydrates: 7.4gProtein: 14.5gFat: 3.7gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 330mgPotassium: 122mgFiber: 0.7gSugar: 6.6gCalcium: 8mgIron: 1mg
Keyword BBQ Recipes, Chicken Recipes, freezer meals, Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken
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Equipment Needed to make Easy Pulled BBQ Chicken Recipe

  • 1 Slow Cooker
  • 1 gallon freezer bag
  • 1 High speed blender

Ingredients for Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts
  • 1 cup bbq sauce (Optional: make your own sauce following instructions below)
  • Homemade BBQ Sauce (Blend Together)
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp raw honey
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard

How to make an Ultimate Pulled BBQ Chicken Guide

Prep/freezer directions:

  1. Label Freezer bag with recipe name, cooking from frozen directions and expiration date (todays date plus three months).
  2. Add sauce ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. (You may have to scrap sides once or twice).
  3. Add all ingredients to labeled gallon freezer bag.
  4. Store in freezer for up to three months.

Cooking directions:

  1. Thaw overnight in fridge or in the morning in some warm water (meal may not be 100% thawed but that is ok).
  2. Add freezer bag contents into slow cooker
  3. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
  4. Remove chicken, shred, and stir back into the slow cooker to fully combine in the BBQ sauce.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

What to pair with your Authentic Pulled BBQ Chicken

Sides:

Desserts:

Mocktails:

Popular Substitutions and Additions

Substituions:

  • Chicken: Substitute thighs for breasts (or vice versa), depending on your preference or what is available.
  • Maple Syrup: If you don’t have honey on hand or prefer the depth of flavor maple syrup offers, change the honey for syrup.

Additions:

  • Chipotle/Adobo Sauce: For an added kick, stir some chipotle or adobo sauce into the BBQ sauce.
  • Brown Sugar: Adding brown sugar to the mix deepens the sweetness and helps caramelize the sauce while it cooks.

How to Reheat and Store Pulled BBQ Chicken Recipe

Best way to store Make-Ahead Pulled BBQ Chicken?

The best way to store leftover pulled bbq Chicken is to allow the recipe to cool to room temperature before storing. Once cooled, make sure to place the leftovers in airtight containers or a resealable freezer bag. For quick consumption, use the fridge between 3-5 days storage. If you plan to need a longer period of storage, you may use the freezer.

How long will Pulled BBQ Chicken last in the fridge?

When properly stored, this meal will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Can I freeze Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken?

We recommend freezing before cooking and making this as a raw freezer meal. To prepare this recipe for a raw freezer meal, all all ingredients into the freezer bag. If you wish to make your own homemade BBQ sauce, simply blend the sauce ingredients together, and then mix in the gallon freezer bag.

If you are looking to freeze leftovers, allow the recipe to cool, just as if you were storing in the fridge. Please leftover Pulled chicken in an airtight container or freezer bag, and remove as much air as possible. Seal and store for up to 2-3 months.

How to reheat the Best Pulled BBQ Chicken recipe?

The best ways to reheat a Pulled BBQ Chicken leftover would be in the microwave or stovetop. If reheating in the microwave, place the leftover chicken on a microwave safe dish, then place in the microwave to heat in short burst for 30-60 seconds. Stir during each interval until you have reached even heating.

If you are heating on the stovetop, place your Pulled BBQ chicken in a saucepan, splash a bit of water/broth in the pan, and allow the leftovers to cook over medium heat. Stir occasionally until your leftovers have heated through!

Pulled BBQ Chicken FAQs

Other Chicken recipes you’ll love

Don’t forget to Pin this recipe for later!

Don’t forget to come back and let me know how your Pulled BBQ Chicken turned out!

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