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Crockpot Barbecue Chicken Thighs

Browned skin and seasoned, fall-of-the-bone meat makes this easy slow cooker dinner as delicious as it is simpe.

This recipe is perfect for any night of the week. The chicken thighs are browned and seasoned before being cooked in the slow cooker with barbecue sauce. All the hard work is done up front, making it an easy and convenient meal.

chicken thighs in crockpot.

❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe

  • It’s just so darn easy. Yes, browning the chicken is a few extra minutes of work, but you don’t need to mess with a broiler at the last minute to get browned skin. The chicken is ready when you are.
  • Yummy chicken. Fall of the bone tender chicken that isn’t overcooked.
  • Super budget-friendly. An affordable cut of meat + not too many extra ingredients = a dinner your bank account will love.

This is an overview of the ingredients. You’ll find the full measurements and instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page.

chicken, barbecue sauce, and seasoning.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this super easy dinner:

  • bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs 
  • prepared barbecue sauce (any kind will work!)
  • dry rub seasoning (try making your own with this recipe)

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  • 6 quart or larger slow cooker
  • heavy skillet

🍴Instructions

Step One: season

parchment. paper with seasoned chicken thighs.

Rub the chicken thighs with a dry rub of your choice. Let them rest and come to room temperature while you prepare everything else.

Step Two: brown

browned chicken in skillet.

Preheat a heavy skillet with one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Sear the chicken two minutes per side. The skin will be browned but the meat won’t be cooked yet.

Step three: cook

uncooked chicken thighs with barbecue sauce on top.

Put the chicken thighs in the slow cooker. Pour barbecue sauce on top. You don’t need to coat it or turn it. There’s no need for any additional liquid.

To cook your dish in a slow cooker, close the lid and set it to high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours. You can use tongs to remove the cooked chicken thighs from the crockpot. You can spoon barbecue sauce out and put it on top of the chicken or on the side.

🥫 Storage instructions

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. Reheat in a microwave-safe dish on medium power for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.

The fully cooked dish does not freeze well. But if you’d like to cut down on prep time, you can brown the chicken ahead of time. Let it cool and put it in a freezer bag with the barbecue sauce. Then you. can defrost overnight in the fridge and cook as directed in the morning.

🔍 FAQs

Can I skip the browning step?

It’s still pretty good if you just throw everything in without browning first. I’ll allow it.

Can I use frozen chicken in this recipe?

You’ll need to defrost it first.

Can I use boneless chicken breast instead?

Yes… but be very careful that it doesn’t get overcooked. Check it at 3 hours on low.

👩🏻‍🍳 Expert tips

  • Try browning a sliced onion after the chicken and adding it to the slow cooker.
  • Switch up the barbecue sauce flavor by using a different kind or making your own.
  • Add some cayenne pepper to the dry rub you’re using if you like heat.

📘 Related Recipes

🍽 Serve it with

For a simple dinner at home, make these recipes too:

📖 Here’s the recipe

finished dish in white crockpot.
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Crockpot Barbecue Chicken Thighs

Print Recipe
Browned skin and seasoned, fall-of-the-bone meat makes this easy slow cooker dinner as delicious as it is simpe.
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:5 hrs
Click here to grab a free seasonal e-cookbook!

Ingredients

  • pounds chicken thighs bone-in and skin on, about 4-5 large thighs
  • 1 cup prepared barbecue sauce we like Sweet Baby Ray's Brown Sugar and Hickory
  • 2 tablespoons dry rub seasoning such as Montreal Chicken

Instructions

  • Rub the chicken thighs with the dry rub of your choice. Preheat a heavy skillet with one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Sear the chicken two minutes per side. The skin will be browned but the meat raw.
  • Place the chicken thighs in the slow cooker. Pour the barbecue sauce on top. There is no need to coat it or turn it. You don’t need to add any additional liquid.
  • Close the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours
  • Use tongs to remove the cooked chicken thighs and serve with extra barbecue sauce from the crockpot on top or on the side.

Notes

Most packages of chicken thighs are about 2.5 pounds, but if your crockpot will comfortably hold more, that’s fine too.
Do not cook directly from frozen: the frozen chicken will splatter when it hits the hot oil and can burn you.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheap crockpot dinners, crockpot barbecue chicken thighs, recipe for bone-in chicken thighs
Author: Katie Shaw
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @heartscontentfarmhouse so I can see!

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