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BBQ Pulled Chicken – Slow Cooker or Instant Pot (Paleo + Whole30)

Are you guys as BBQ obsessed as us?? This Paleo + Whole30 BBQ pulled chicken pretty much always sounds good, and we love it so much we give you Slow Cooker and Instant Pot instructions! Make pulled chicken tacos, a pulled chicken sandwich with lettuce buns, a bowl, throw it on a pizza…seriously there are so many ways to love this BBQ pulled chicken!

Horizontal overhead image of BBQ pulled chicken in bowl with extra sauced drizzled everywhere. Topped with chopped green onion.

The Best BBQ Sauce

We don’t say “The Best” about things very often because let’s be real…there are TONS of options out there on the web and it’s a pretty big claim. BUT…Justin deserves kudos for this BBQ sauce because it really is THE BEST! There is no added sugar at all and it’s the perfect combo of savory, smoky, tangy and sweet!

Perfect For Meal Prep

You will love this BBQ pulled chicken recipe for meal prep. It’s super easy to make and takes little active cooking since the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker really does most of the work. You’ll probably wish you made a double batch because you can eat the leftovers so many different ways that you’ll never get bored of this shredded chicken!

Angled vertical image of holding bowl of BBQ pulled chicken with chopped green onion on top.

Versatile Protein

We love this meal prep protein because you can use up the leftovers in a variety of ways that make it feel a little different every time! Some ideas to get you started are to make tacos with Siete tortillas or with lettuce shells, make a bowl with cauliflower rice and greens, stuff a baked sweet potato with the shredded chicken, throw it on top of a pizza or make a breakfast casserole with the chicken in it. Of course tortillas and pizza aren’t Whole30, but you do you. I’m sure the list goes on and on…where will you start?

Angled vertical image of BBQ pulled chicken in a bowl with lots of extra sauce drizzled everywhere and topped with chopped green onion.

Other Great Meal Prep Recipes

Your Turn To Try Our BBQ Pulled Chicken

Get your meal prep on this coming weekend, and make this BBQ pulled chicken. We bet you’ll be adding it to your regular rotation! Leave a comment below and let us know how it goes. Also, take a pic to share on Instagram. Tag us @realsimplegood so we can see and maybe even share on our account. Make sure you give us a follow if you don’t already. We’d love to stay connected!

Angled vertical image with text overlay at top for pinterest of BBQ pulled chicken in a bowl with lots of extra sauce drizzled everywhere and topped with chopped green onion.

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Two images with text overlay in the middle for pinterest. Top image of BBQ pulled chicken in a bowl with lots of extra sauce drizzled everywhere and topped with chopped green onion. Bottom image of BBQ pulled chicken in a bowl with lots of extra sauce drizzled and more chopped green onion. Shot overhead.

BBQ Pulled Chicken – Slow Cooker or Instant Pot (Paleo + Whole30)

4 from 61 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Main Course
Servings: 8
This Paleo + Whole30 BBQ pulled chicken is a versatile meal prep recipe, and we give you Slow Cooker + Instant Pot instructions! It’s a family favorite and an easy, healthy recipe with no added sugar! 
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  • 4 lbs chicken thighs
  • 1 onion, diced

For the BBQ sauce:

  • 1 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
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  • Chop onion as noted.
  • To make the BBQ sauce, pace all of the sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk well to incorporate. Place 1/2 of the sauce in a container and refrigerate, you’ll it use after the chicken is cooked.
  • Pour the other half of the sauce into the instant pot. Add the chicken thighs in on top of the sauce and the onions on top of the thighs.
  • Press the “manual” button (or “pressure cook” button) and set the time to cook for 25 minutes at high pressure. Once the time is up, let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes and then release any remaining pressure.  Remove the lid and shred the chicken in the Instant Pot with two forks, mixing it with the juices.
  • Serve topped with additional BBQ sauce as desired.

For the slow cooker:

  • Follow steps 1 & 2 above.
  • Place the chicken and onions in the slow cooker. Pour 1/2 of the sauce over the chicken.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
  • Shred the chicken in the slow cooker with two forks, mixing it with the juices.
  • Serve topped with additional BBQ sauce as desired.
Tried this recipe?Take a picture and tag @realsimplegood so we can see it!
BBQ Pulled Chicken - Slow Cooker or Instant Pot (Paleo + Whole30)

36 thoughts on “BBQ Pulled Chicken – Slow Cooker or Instant Pot (Paleo + Whole30)

  • I have made this in the crockpot and i now have an instapot and i want to try it. I looked at video that say you need liquid and bbq sauce doesn’t count. Do i need to add other liquid or use the rack ? Or just use bbq sauce ?

      • 14 minutes in i got the message “ food burn” Did you use the rack for the meat ??
        Also at what point should the valve be up ? I never saw it come all the way up
        Any advice is appreciated. I love this recipe when i made it in crock pot but would love to learn how to make it faster

        • Shoot! We haven’t had that happen with this one, and we don’t use the rack for it. We’d recommend adding a 1/2 cup of broth to give it some more liquid. It will be more juicy than it is in the crockpot, but still taste delicious. The valve goes up once the IP has reached full pressure. I don’t exactly how many minutes that should take since we typically set ours and walk away. Sorry it didn’t go quite as planned for you. Hope you try again with a little broth added. We’ll add a note in the recipe in case anyone else has an issue as well.

  • This really is the best whole30 BBQ chicken in the land, I make it all the time, often with frozen chicken because it’s so easy and have messed up the amounts countless times and it still comes out great, thank you!!

  • Love how this recipe turned out!! The chicken was super tender and the sauce was perfect. Definitely making this again soon.

    • Hooray! We are so happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks so much for giving it a try and for taking the time to come back and share. We’re so grateful you’re here and hope you find more recipes to love on our site! 🙂

  • what are you supposed to do with the chopped onions if you are using the IP recipe? they are not mentioned in the IP instructions

  • Do you use bone-in or boneless chicken for this? It looks delicious and I’d love to try it this weekend!

  • When making this the second time I noticed the spices were a tablespoon each. Is that correct? Today I only put in a teaspoon of each and it seemed plenty flavorful. I did use a tablespoon of Dijon and a tablespoon of yellow mustard. I also used a 6 oz can of tomato paste even though the recipe only calls for 4 oz and sauce still tasted great.

    Thanks for the recipe it is easy and delicious.

  • Making this today! So looking forward to this! Making it was some slaw 😉 I’ll come back and tell how it turns out!!

  • Hi! I’d like to try this recipe with a whole chicken. Would there be a significant difference between using a crock pot versus an instapot –( I don’t have an instapot)?
    Thank you! Sounds super yummy!

    • Cooking a whole chicken is significantly different than just chicken thighs. You could try just cooking the chicken in your crockpot with some of the sauce on it. Then you’d have to shred/pull the chicken once it is cooked and toss it with extra sauce for the true BBQ chicken flavor.

  • For the sauce, what kind of mustard? Ground mustard or yellow mustard? Sorry just hoping for clarification.

  • This. was. amazing! We had purchased everything to make a different recipe for shredded BBQ chicken until this one showed up in my Instagram feed. The sauce is incredible, the chicken super flavorful, and very little effort required (we made it in the crockpot). The BBQ sauce is some of the best we’ve tried. Thank you for a super flavorful sauce that deosn’t contain any sugar!

  • I made this in the crockpot this weekend and it is so yummy! The only modification i made was adding salt to my chicken and added crushed red pepper to the sauce, I like spicy. This was seriously delicious and even my boyfriend said it was good. And when he says something’s good, I know I have to keep it on rotation because he complains about EVERYTHING! Thank you for sharing this recipe! ❤

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