Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs are a sweet and savory dish that is so simple to make. This recipe is perfect when you are looking for a slow cooker chicken recipe that has a little more kick to it than our 4 Ingredient Slow Cooker Chicken with Stuffing. Just get the spice blend ready, sprinkle on to the chicken, and pour on the sauce. A CrockPot makes this an easy weeknight dinner. This recipe is kosher, non-dairy, and gluten free.
Why This Recipe Works
Easy slow cooker recipes are a Yay Kosher favorite because they are so accessible to everyone no matter your cooking skill. This recipe is similar to our Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Beef and our Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Drumsticks. We love this recipe because it is:
- Easy to make. BBQ Chicken Thighs in the slow cooker require very little preparation and the slow cooker does most of the work.
- Ready to cook in less than 5 minutes. The spice blend is a basic mix of common household spices that should take no time at all to put together. Pour on the sauce mixed with apple cider vinegar and you are ready to go!
- Easy to store. Place into an airtight container and seal. You can keep the barbecue chicken thighs in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also freeze them for up to 6 months.
- Family friendly. This is one of the few weeknight dinners that everyone gets excited for. The sweet and savory flavors of this recipe appeal to just about any age.
How to make this recipe step by step
Step 1 - Prepare the spice blend
Mix the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper together in a separate dish. Make sure it is well blended.
Step 2 - Season the Chicken Thighs
Sprinkle the seasoning blend evenly over each chicken thigh. You can rub the spices into the meat to ensure that it gets fully seasoned for the long cook.
Step 3 - Pour the sauce over the top and cook
Combine the bbq sauce and apple cider vinegar and then pour over the top of the chicken thighs. I found a bottle of bbq sauce that was about half full, poured the apple cider vinegar into it, and then shook to combine.
Cook the chicken thighs in the slow cooker on high for 4 hours. When they are done, the chicken should be fall off the bone tender. If you have a newer CrockPot or InstaPot, you can set the heat to go to warm after the cook is done. This way you can let the bbq chicken sit until ready to serve.
Use your favorite bbq sauce
We used Stubbs original sauce for this recipe post. We like this sauce because it has a nice flavor profile and doesn't have any corn syrup in the ingredients. That being said, there is nothing wrong with using your favorite sauce (and yes, some of our other favorites do have corn syrup in them). Experiment with the different sauce styles and figure out which ones you like the best. Here are some of the more popular styles of bbq sauces:
- North Carolina - no tomato and is comprised of mainly (apple cider) vinegar and peppers. Very thin and watery.
- South Carolina - like North Carolina but with an added mustard base.
- Texas - Typically made from beef stock, vinegar, Worcestershire, and spices like salt, pepper, and garlic.
- Kansas City - thick, sweet, and tangy sauce with a base of ketchup and molasses and flavored with things such as liquid smoke and brown sugar and other spices. Bullseye and KC Masterpiece are good examples of this.
- Memphis style bbq sauce is similar to Kansa City but with a thinner more vinegary base.
Chicken Thighs Are Great for Slow Cooking
We like chicken thighs for this recipe because they have a high fat content that is just perfect for keeping the meat tender and juicy during the long slow cook. Avoid using boneless chicken thighs or skinless chicken thighs; you get a ton of flavor from the bones. You can also try using boneless skinless chicken breasts for a lower fat dish but they tend to dry out over time and are not as flavorful.
Special Equipment Used for this Recipe
This recipe needs to cook for a long time over heat. We used a CrockPot but you can also use an InstaPot or even a stovetop. The nice thing about the automatic slow cookers is that they require no maintenance throughout the cook. Plug it in, set it on high, come back when the chicken thighs recipe is done!
Pro Recipe Tip
The bbq chicken thighs are ready to eat right out of the slow cooker. If you want to make the skin crispy, place the cooked chicken thighs on to a baking sheet and then under the broiler for 1-2 minutes.
Side Dish Suggestions
Bbq chicken thighs go great with any number of side dishes. Here are some of our favorite to combine with this recipe for a complete dinner:
- Easy Authentic Spanish Rice
- Easy Sheet Pan Broccoli
- Sweet Potato Medallions
- Creamy Cole Slaw
- Easy Potato Salad
Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs
- 8 chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup bbq sauce your choice
- Mix paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.
- Rub seasoning all over chicken including under the skin.
- Place chicken in bowl of slow cooker.
- Mix bbq sauce and apple cider vinegar together and coat chicken with bbq sauce.
- Cook 4 hours on high.