What is up with beer and me lately?

Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken I howsweeteats.com

I can’t get enough of the stuff.

If I’m telling the truth, I really enjoy cooking with beer much more than I like drinking it. I do like to drink it on occasion, but it’s not always my beverage of choice. However, when it comes to cooking with it?




Basically, I love replacing water with alcohol. Always and forever.

Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken I howsweeteats.com

And now… a peek into what a mess my kitchen appliances really are.

Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken I howsweeteats.com

You don’t even want to see my stand mixer. Or my toaster. Or my food processor. Or my fridge. Or my… everything. I’m a train wreck.

Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken I howsweeteats.com

Look at that bun. (Or bum, since that’s what I really just typed.) Don’t you want to do a big trampoline jump on it? So puffy and fluffy and fat.

Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken I howsweeteats.com

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this is the best chicken I have ever made in the crockpot. It might be the best chicken I’ve made, period. And… I make a ton of crockpot chicken. Like really, a ton.

People… I live with a man who seriously eats chicken at least five days a week for lunch and dinner. Sometimes I get insanely creative, but most weeks he gets the short end of the stick when I throw chicken in the slow cooker with, uh… nothing else, just so I don’t have to deal with making him something delicious only to stuff it in five giant tupperware containers. Maybe I do wish you could see my fridge.


So, I’m convinced it’s a combination of the perfect marriage between beer, spices (I freakishly love onion powder and smoked paprika together… give it a whirl) and sauce (Bone Suckin‘ is the best) that makes this so amazing. It’s a great meal for a crowd but if you’re smart, you’ll make a big crock for yourself and freeze a bunch for the days when wine drinking and pie eating takes precedence over dinner.

Or is that just me?

Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken I howsweeteats.com

Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken

serves about 8-10

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 large)

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

8 ounces of beer (I used a classic amber)

32 ounces of barbecue sauce

Season chicken with onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Add to crockpot, then add beer and 24 ounces of barbecue sauce. Cook on low for 8 hours, tossing once or twice if desired. After 8 hours, shred and add remaining barbecue sauce. Toss chicken to coat and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving to absorb everything. Serve as desired.


1. I’ve found that *thinner* barbecue sauce works better (such as Bone Suckin’ Sauce) than thicker sauce (like Sweet Baby Ray’s). If you choose to use a thicker sauce, you may want to add a little more beer (or liquid) in order for the sauce not to burn and thicken on the edges of the pot. This is also the reason I don’t use my homemade barbecue sauce.

2. If you don’t want to use beer, you can try a ginger ale, chicken stock, or even water.

3. This makes a ton of chicken and I usually freeze immediately freeze a container for later.

Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken I howsweeteats.com

I wish I was sandwiched between those buns.

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476 Responses to “Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken.”

  1. #
    Jason — November 6, 2011 @ 9:51 am

    So you don’t brown the chicken before you throw it in the crockpot?


    • Jessica — November 6th, 2011 @ 10:12 am

      Nope, I never brown my chicken for the crockpot if I’m going to shred it. I do with beef/meat and sometimes pork, but not this chicken. It’s really juicy all on it’s own.


  2. #
    Jess — November 6, 2011 @ 10:17 am

    Found this recipe on Pinterest and I am making it today! It sounds delicious and so does everything else on your blog – following you now!


  3. #
    Amanda Dawn — November 8, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

    This recipe is sooo simple. I love it. I’m reaching my third decade on this plantet and have realized I’m not a good cook…yet. My previous recipe for pulled pork has a dozen things in it..turns out great…but expensive and for a crockpot meal it was very labor intensive. This sounds simple, inexpensive and best of all yummy. I’ll be giving it a try this week. Thanks for posting!


  4. #
    Jennie — November 11, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

    Would that be Leinenkugel’s Classic Amber?


  5. #
    Julia — November 16, 2011 @ 9:52 am

    I made this last night and it was delicious….even though I overcooked it by 2 hours because I couldn’t get home from work on time and I used Sweet Baby Ray’s bbq sauce even though you said not to :-D heehehe. it was delicious and bf approved! sorry i didn’t get to take any pics of it though.


  6. #
    Jamie — November 17, 2011 @ 7:12 pm

    I’m so excited about this, mine is in the crockpot right now and smells wonderful! I turned it on high for an hour and then set it on low for 6 hours, it’s got about 3 hours to go but it looks very watery and I’m a little worried it’s not going to turn out well. Also, my chicken feels too hard and I’m concerned it’s not going to fall apart like everyone else’s did…do you think it should still turn out okay?


    • Katie — March 21st, 2013 @ 4:12 pm

      im having this problem right now! with about 3 hours left to go to….how did yours turn out??


  7. #
    Jen — November 18, 2011 @ 1:36 am

    What size crockpot did you use?


    • Jessica — November 18th, 2011 @ 8:08 am

      Mine is 7 quart but this could probably fit in a 5 quart too.


  8. #
    Austin — November 19, 2011 @ 11:22 am

    This was really delicious! My husband loved it – why wouldn’t he – beer and BBQ sauce!? I think next time I’ll use pork though instead of chicken.


  9. #
    Diana Staresinic-Deane — November 20, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

    Question about shredding the chicken – did you take it out of the crockpot and put it on a cutting board, or shred it in the crock pot?


    • Jessica — November 20th, 2011 @ 8:59 pm

      Do it in the crockpot.


      • Diana Staresinic-Deane — November 20th, 2011 @ 9:08 pm

        *Whew!* You replied just in time. I’m 20 minutes out from shredding time. The house smells *wonderful* – mouthwatering.

  10. #
    Kate — December 5, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

    Thanks for posting this recipe! Had friends over for dinner last night but had to work all day. Threw this together the night before in the crockpot, put it in the fridge, and then plugged it in this morning! Came home after a long day to an amazing smelling house and dinner done and ready for my friends and I! Perfect crockpot recipe… thanks for posting!


  11. #
    Dave Cynkin — December 17, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

    Now I know what my monitor tastes like. :D

    I <3 BBQ!


  12. #
    Ron — December 18, 2011 @ 6:38 pm

    A couple of ideas. First, use chicken thighs rather than breasts – they have a lot more flavour and cost lest. Second, using real onion and garlic isn’t that hard – give it a try.


  13. #
    Tina — December 19, 2011 @ 10:24 am

    Can you put the chicken in frozen and put the seasoning on top? I want to make it in the next hour! Please reply soon! Thanks!


    • Jessica — December 19th, 2011 @ 10:25 am

      If you want to do the chicken frozen, I would possibly add a little less liquid because it will release a lot of water. I haven’t tried that. I really suggest putting it in thawed if you can!


      • Tina — December 19th, 2011 @ 10:48 am

        Thanks! I made a buffalo chicken last week and it went in frozen! Just double checking! Thanks, I will thaw it!

    • Katie — March 21st, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

      hmmm is that why mine is so watery? I used frozen and a normal amount of beer i have about 2 hours until its done. i hope i can save it :(


  14. #
    Micah — December 20, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

    Cooking this as we speak!


  15. #
    Noelle — December 20, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

    I just found your recipe and I have it in the crock pot as I type this email! YUMMY!!! I am so excited to try it and I am sure my kids and husband will like it too! I am going to look through your other recipes too and see what I can make tomorrow with steak! :)


  16. #
    Cy — December 20, 2011 @ 6:54 pm

    Mine had so much liquid it still just about covered the chicken from sight. If I shred the chicken in that much sauce it will be more like soup than BBQ. I used a 6 qt Crockpot. Did I do something wrong?


  17. #
    Alexis — December 21, 2011 @ 8:37 am

    I made this last night when I had my in-laws over and it was a huge hit. I used chicken stock instead of beer but it was still tasty. Mine had a bit of liquid still left so I might cut back on the liquid next time but we all loved it.



  18. #
    Peggy — December 22, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

    This sounds really good! I make an easy pulled BBQ pork with sliced onions and ROOT BEER and a boneless pork roast… just put it all in the crock pot. It cooks for hours on low and then you shred the meat and make a BBQ sauce with more root beer and a few other ingredients. It is really good too. Have to go find the recipe…. i have even made it with diet root beer for fewer calories and it is good.I think it was a Better Homes and Garden recipe originally. My kids used to love it!


  19. #
    Amber — December 27, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

    If I don’t have 8 hours can I do this on high and if so for how long?


    • Katherine — January 13th, 2012 @ 2:51 am

      I’ve made this a couple times and cooked it on high for 5 hrs with no problem using completely frozen chicken breasts…but I used more sauce and beer so I don’t know if that makes a difference


  20. #
    Casey — December 30, 2011 @ 8:38 am

    I just made this tonight and was a great hit with the Mr. :) SO easy! Thanks a lot!


  21. #
    Tastylicious — January 1, 2012 @ 10:36 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is the first recipe I have ever made in a crockpot, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. I took it to a New Years Eve soiree and it was a smashing success. I completely wanted to dive into the crockpot and just swim in its amazingness. I’m also now a bone suckin’ convert. :)


  22. #
    Msu Sparty — January 3, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

    Talk about easy, EASY! This makes the decision between pulled pork, barbecue beef and chicken that much more difficult the next time. No gristle or fat to wade through with chicken breasts, had it for the plethora of Monday college football games including the Michigan State overtime win, yahoo, and the guests all liked it alot. Thanks for sharing this one with us. On the short list for tailgate parties in the future, and any other group party where the cook wants to relax. We served the sandwiches on slider size rolls, noone just ate one, for sure.


  23. #
    Leia — January 10, 2012 @ 8:03 pm

    Hello! First of all, I LOVE your website!!! I am making this chicken tomorrow. My grocery store didn’t have the bone sucking sauce in stock, so I am using Sweet Baby Ray’s….how much extra beer should I add over the 8 oz to keep the sauce from burning?? Any help you could give me would be great!! Thanks!!! :-)


    • Jessica — January 10th, 2012 @ 8:07 pm

      I haven’t tried it with Sweet Baby Ray’s but I think a few other commenters have and haven’t had a problem! Maybe add 10 ounces and go from there? Any chance you will be home at all to check on it?


      • Leia — January 10th, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

        I will be home hopefully about 5 hours into cooking. I will try using 10 oz of beer. Thank you for your help! I can’t wait to make this!!!! :-)

  24. #
    Felesha — January 12, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

    I am going to make this either this weekend or Monday! I do have one question though… Where would I buy that Bone Suckin’ Sauce? Do they carry it at Walmart? Also, if I include real onions, do you think a whole onion would be too much?


  25. #
    Katherine — January 13, 2012 @ 2:47 am

    I tried this recipe a week after you posted it and it was seriously so awesome! Then I had the brilliant idea of modifying it only like two days after into shredded chicken tacos. Just the chicken, a beer, a jar of salsa, and a taco seasoning packet in the crockpot. Shred, stuff in taco shells, stuff in mouth. Let me tell you…..HEAVEN!! Thanks for the great recipe and inspiration!


  26. #
    Brye — January 17, 2012 @ 11:19 am

    Hey this looks delish. I am looking for a new crockpot. Which one do you have??


  27. #
    DEnisse — January 18, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

    Yum! Made this for diner tonight and served it as sliders to my toddlers! Delicious!


  28. #
    Brooke — January 18, 2012 @ 7:35 pm

    im making this as we speak. im so excited to see how it turns out :) thanks!


  29. #
    Hannah — January 21, 2012 @ 6:16 pm

    This was great and super easy. I didn’t have garlic powder so I just threw in a whole garlic clove and let it cook down.


  30. #
    Earthycrunchgal — January 21, 2012 @ 10:46 pm

    Everytime I try to freeze a dinner I’ve made for a later date it always has freezer burn. Any suggestions how I can avoid that??

    Ps. I’m making this recipe tomorrow for dinner; I can’t wait to try it :)


    • Tami — January 26th, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

      I have done monthly freezer cooking for about three years. I used Gallon Freezer Ziploc bags for my meals and have never had a problem. If I’m using foil containers I put a layer if press n’ seal and then a layer of foil with no problems.


  31. #
    Peggy — January 22, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

    I made this for the family for the Patriots AFC Championship game. Really delicious and was surprised how much the little kids (4.5, 3.5 and 18mos) liked it. Not sure if they consumed any beer or not as a part of this but I was happy to see them eating it so happily.


  32. #
    Barb — January 23, 2012 @ 10:35 pm

    This sounds delish. But 4# of chicken? Sounnd like a lot of chicken. How many people will this feed? Or I should say, how many sandwiches?


    • Jessica — January 23rd, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

      The recipe calls for 3 pounds of chicken, not 4, which is most likely 6 chicken breasts. Above I have noted that it serves 8-10, but can’t say how many sandwiches it will make given than people use different amounts of chicken on their sandwich.


  33. #
    Becky — January 25, 2012 @ 6:35 pm

    Awesome recipe!!! Thank you!!!


  34. #
    Lori m — January 25, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

    Just one word to describe this recipe……………OMG!!!! Let me repeat it. OMG!!!!! Truly, some of the best stuff to ever come out of a crockpot.


  35. #
    Karlyne — January 26, 2012 @ 9:45 am

    WOW! A complete success and I’m happy because it was so VERY easy! Thank you!


  36. #
    Calli — January 27, 2012 @ 7:47 pm

    I just made this and it was so good! Thanks so much!


  37. #
    Jamie — January 28, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

    That looks so good! Omg,! Thx can’t wait to try!


  38. #
    Karen C — January 28, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

    OMG..You’ve solved my dilemma! Now I know what I’m fixing for our Super Bowl party!


    • KaraJ — January 29th, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

      Me too!! Doing a test run today for the fiance just to make sure the new kind of BBQ sauce I bought is okay… On hour one at the moment…


  39. #
    Amy C — January 28, 2012 @ 9:32 pm

    I made this today and it is amazing!!!!!! Served on Pretzel rolls. Yummy!


  40. #
    Melissa — January 29, 2012 @ 10:26 am

    Thank you for adding the tips @ the end, we use Sweet Baby Ray’s & I don’t care to cook with beer since I have kids in the house. Recipe sounds great!


  41. #
    Michelle — January 29, 2012 @ 6:37 pm

    Just finished making this it is awesome! No way I will be able to stop at one sandwich! So easy!


  42. #
    Clare — January 29, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

    Mine seems rather runny after the 8 hours. Any suggestions or hints on what i did wrong??


    • Danny G — January 30th, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

      Mine was runny too. I just drained it before I shredded it, and then added the last 8 oz of barbecue sauce. Still delicious!


      • Karen C — January 31st, 2012 @ 11:24 am

        If you let it cook a bit longer, the sauce will absorb into the chicken and thicken up.

  43. #
    J.J. — January 30, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

    how long would you freeze something like this should you have leftover?


  44. #
    Stephanie — January 30, 2012 @ 8:31 pm

    I made this with turkey breast instead of chicken. I LOVED IT!!!!


  45. #
    Leah — February 2, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

    Oh my….saw on pintrest and knew I had to get the recipe! Can’t wait to try!


  46. #
    Rose ( Magpie's Recipes) — February 3, 2012 @ 2:56 am

    i don’t have a slow cooker but have made pulled pork in my trusty dutch oven. Would you know how long to cook this for in one of those in the oven or even someway to make this on the stove top- pressure cooker?


  47. #
    Julie — February 3, 2012 @ 9:18 am

    YUM! I made this last night and sang it’s praises this morning on my blog. Oh, I also used one of your photos ’cause I’m too lazy to take my own… but I gave you props :) http://koskersidlewild.blogspot.com/2012/02/ode-to-my-mixer.html


  48. #
    Joann — February 5, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

    Loved the flavor but had the same problem I always have with crockpot recipes — too much liquid. I had to pour off all the liquid and just add back in a little before I added the bbq sauce at the end. For those of you who use crockpots a lot, what am I doing wrong???


    • Jessica — February 5th, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

      Did you actually shred the chicken in the crockpot then mix to stir and let sit for a few minutes? It should absorb everything up. But other than that, maybe it’s the temperature of your crockpot? I never have that issue when I shred meat in the crockpot so I’m just guessing though.


  49. #
    Sylvia Stephenson — February 5, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

    I’ve made this using a can of diet coke and envelope of lipton onion soup, instead of the BBQ sauce.

    It’s delish!


  50. #
    Denise — February 6, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

    I made this for yesterday’s Super Bowl party with a batch of homemade cole slaw- it was a huge hit! i used a local Atlanta sauce (Fox Bros.) after mistakenly buying a sauce that was too thick and too sweet. i added more beer than was necessary in the beginning so i ended up taking out 2 ladle-fuls of the liquid- the texture was just right! thanks!



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