Slow Cooker Beer and Brown Sugar Pulled Chicken Sliders

Slow Cooker Beer and Brown Sugar Pulled Chicken Sliders. Perfect for a football game!

Slow Cooker Beer and Brown Sugar Pulled Chicken Sliders3

For all of the FanBoy love that seems to be sent to the Slow Cooker, it’s my least favorite way to produce a meal. Flavors tend to muddy, its hard to develop layers of flavor, and this culinary contraption seems to render a thinking cook obsolete: dump it in and turn it on.

Meat seems to be the best use, especially when you introduce beer into the mix. Both a low and slow cooking method and the alcohol in beer are meat tenderizers giving you a great final product.

I can concede that it’s convenient for those of you who don’t prefer to spend all day in the kitchen babying a sauce or teasing a sourdough starter back to life, I tend to favor the high maintenance meals.

Slow Cooker Beer and Brown Sugar Pulled Chicken Sliders1Given my skepticism of a Slow Cooker meal, I was thrilled with how this came out. I made it twice, once with a stout with about 4% ABV (Alcohol By Volume, it should be listed on the label of your beer) and the second time with a porter with 9% ABV.

Because it’s the alcohol in the beer that gives it it’s tenderizing power, the higher ABV did the best job. Look for a beer that packs a punch, and you’ll have a fantastic crowd-pleasing meal that takes only about five minutes of active time.

I’ll just have to satisfy my need for involved cooking tasks with homemade beer slider buns.

Slow Cooker Beer and Brown Sugar Pulled Chicken Sliders2


Slow Cooker Beer and Brown Sugar Pulled Chicken Sliders

Yield: 6 servings


  • ΒΌ cup tomato paste
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 3 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 12 ounces porter beer (high ABV dark beer works best)
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thigh fillets
  • 18-20 slider buns


  1. In a small bowl whisk together the tomato paste, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder and brown sugar.
  2. Add the sauce, chicken and beer to a slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 hours or until chicken pulls apart easy with a fork.
  3. Using two forks, shred chicken.
  4. Scoop chicken into slider buns.
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70 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Beer and Brown Sugar Pulled Chicken Sliders

      1. Do you have a favorite crunchy slaw recipe to top these sandwiches with? Or do you think an apple fennel slaw would pair well with the porter flavored meat?

        1. That sounds great! I usually do a quick pickled slaw with julienne cucumbers and red onions. I think it needs a little acid πŸ™‚

      2. Jackie – Do you add any additional salt to the chicken. Or is the salt in the soy sauce all I need. What if I’m using low sodium soy sauce.

        1. It really depends on the ingredients. “Low sodium” means something different to each company, there is not standardization. Taste it at the end and add more if you think it needs it.

  1. I kind of agree with you on the crockpot. It is not my #1 form of cooking, but I have been trying to find ways to use it more and whenever the meat is cooked in beer it almost always turn out good!

    These sliders sound awesome! I love the sweetness from the brown sugar!

  2. Oh that chicken looks amazing. So many uses!

    I agree with you on the slow cooker. I really don’t use mine all that often. And I hardly ever do anything but roast meat when I do. πŸ˜‰

  3. Excellent and easy! The entire family love it, which is rare. perfect level of beer flavor. We added some homemade pickles, but even without that it was great. Thank you!

  4. I think that the recipe of meat sounds nice but the burger itself looks rather boring. I mean, what if to add some lettuce and tomatoes or even pickled cucumbers? I think it will be more fresh and tasty.

  5. We made this yesterday and it was a perfect dinner while watching football. We thought we’d pair it with pretzel rolls (AMAZING) and had the same idea others had about it looking “boring” alone so added some cheese to one and no cheese to the other.
    1) it is anything but boring by itself.
    2) it was way better (in my opinion) without cheese. It’s perfect just the way it is.
    This was amazing! And easy to make. I’m definitely adding this to the meal rotation. Thanks again for another winner of a recipe!

  6. I do a similar recipe but without the slow cooker, just simmering everything together in a frying pan. These look delicious and I will have to try it with a slow cooker sometime

  7. Oh wow, I am seriously (mentally) drooling over these babies! I wish I had a slow cooker. But we’re at our kitchen appliance maximum capacity until we move to a bigger apartment. Waaah!

    1. I made the sauce, prepped the chicken, then found out my slow cooker crock was broken! I just threw everything into my Dutch oven for three hours at 275 and then simmered it uncovered on the stove for thirty minutes or so. Delicious!

  8. Made these yesterday and was overwhelmed by stout flavor which is surprising to me given my love of stouts including my local SwampHead Midnight Oil.

    But I didn’t give up hope.

    I put the leftovers in a container and drizzled some of the beery broth over them and stored in the fridge over night.

    It was like magic happened in the last 24 hours!

    The first taste, even cold, was great! Then I griddled some up to reheat (I hate chicken reheated in the microwave) and served it up on a toasted potato hamburger bun. So good compared to yesterday!

    So the only recommendation I would make is prepare it a day ahead and be ready to be knocked out by the yumminess!

  9. We made this last night with a milk stout. After pulling the chicken, we put the remaining liquids from the slow cooker into a sauce pot and thickened it up with a little cornstarch to make a nice bbq-like sauce. Mixed that right into the pulled chicken. It came out great.

  10. Great and easy! Used this for a football party and the extra liquid in the slow cooker kept it nice and juicy all day long. We added some homemade refrigerator pickles and used pretzels buns and they were the first thing gone!

  11. Hi Jackie,

    I made this tonight (have yet to try it0 and used 6 chicken thighs. They looked kinda small to need 18-20 slider buns….do you have an approximate weight of the meat required? I’m a novice cook and just wanted to make sure I have the right ratio. Thank you so much. Can’t wait to try it.

    1. I really don’t. it depends on how you like it and how big of slider buns you use. I use slider buns on the small side, or I use Kings Hawaiian buns.

  12. These look so good! Have you ever tried the recipe with just boneless, skinless chicken breasts? I was wondering how many I might need – was thinking 3 breasts, if I don’t have the thighs available? Thanks!

  13. These are awesome! I made once with the recipe as is and they were great but the guys wanted some spice to them. Just tried them again adding 1/4 cup of Franks hot sauce and cutting the soy, vinegar, and Worcestershire in half. Gave it a kick the guys loved! This will be a go to recipe when I’ve got a crowd and don’t want spend all my time in the kitchen.

  14. This is in the crock pot right now to be ready for lunch tomorrow! I made some spare BBQ sauce and put it in the fridge. I didn’t have chicken on hand but instead, I’m using a pork roast! I’m so very excited, as I love any food with beer in it. We bought some slider buns but I think I’ll go pick up some Kings Hawaiian rollls, slaw and pickles tomorrow. Mmm. If this comes out as well as I’m thinking, it will be the recipe I use for a friend’s pot luck wedding shower.

  15. This looks great- gonna make for the 4th. Do you have an idea of how many people this would feed?

  16. Help! Mixed all the ingredients together and discovered I only have 1.5 tbs soy sauce. πŸ™ I put in what I have, but is this going to make a big difference? Also, do you recommend thawing the chicken or putting them in frozen? (I’m assuming frozen will result in too much liquid).

    1. Do you have a little more balsamic? Or some apple cider vinegar? Add a bit of that to compensate for the missing acid.
      Yes to thawing πŸ™‚

    1. low, but high at half the time usually works. You can also do a combination of the two. These beans need a long time so after 10 hours, if they aren’t softened, try high for another 2 to 4 hours.

  17. Cooking. The chicken. Right now.

    The smells coming from the kitchen are crazy…I have turned the slow cooker to HIGH after 2.75 hours on LOW as we don’t want to have to wait too long.

    As an aside, I have planned to take the chicken out when it’s fully-cooked and reduce the sauce on the stove in a pan, so we can choose individually to have whatever level of moistness on the meat.

  18. Chicken amount question…..I will be using boneless, skinless SPLIT breasts (as that is what we have already and use constantly) so do I use 12 because they are split? Just trying to get amount of meat correct. Thanks! Can’t wait to try it New Years Day!

  19. so excited to make these tomorrow for the super bowl! Do you have a preference about whether dark brown sugar or light brown sugar is used?

  20. Hi. This looks great. I will be away while cooking. Can I cook on low for 4 hours and then on warm for another 4-5 hours? My slow cooker automatically switches to warm when timing is done. Thanks!

  21. Hi Jackie!

    I have no idea where to start with this, so please forgive my randomness… First off, when it comes to cooking, my culinary skills are about on par with that of a 3rd grader… That being said, one of my awesome friends bought me a crockpot for my birthday a few weeks ago… I’m all about idiot-proof cooking, so needless to say, I was pretty excited!… Anyway… I broke in the new crockpot with a couple different Mac and Cheese recipes, which much to my surprise, didn’t come out half bad… With my confidence soaring (more like, just glad I didn’t burn my house down) I decided to step up to more of a “challenge”… After spending more time on Pinterest than I’d care to admit, I stumbled across you incredible recipe… As a lover of all things craft beer and a consumer of all things BBQ, your recipe was a natural fit…

    With a list of ingredients in hand, I set out to my local grocery store to buy everything I needed… You know…because I don’t cook and I didn’t have ANY of the required ingredients… Except for the beer of course… Fortunately, my fridge is always (over)stocked with amazing craft beer………… and an endless supply of leftover Mac and Cheese… which come to think of, I should probably throw out at this point… Anyway, I got home, double checked all my ingredients and reread your instructions about 87 times… After a few deep breaths and whispering some inspirational words to myself :::You can do this Danny… You can do this!::: it was finally time to start… I poured myself a glass of Wynwood Brewing Co.’s Pop’s Porter (GABF Gold Medal Winner and my favorite local beer / brewery =P) and the rest went into the crockpot along with all of the other ingredients… While waiting with nervous anticipation, about halfway through the cook time I was suddenly hit with the heavenly aromas coming from my crockpot… I don’t want to be over dramatic here, but I’m pretty sure I died for 0.8721 seconds… When it FINALLY finished cooking, I was blown away by what I had just made… No lie, I could live off of this recipe for the rest of my life!………this recipe and cupcakes!…wait…this recipe, cupcakes and beer!… Yea, that’s it!… … … Probably wouldn’t be a very long life, but it would be a happy one!…

    Against my better judgement, I shared my amazing chicken sliders with my friends at a pool party later that day and they all loved them!… My inner fat kid wasn’t too happy with the decision to share my magical chicken sliders, but I GUESS it was the right thing to do… “Sharing is caring” and all the nonsense… =P

    Looking back at this now, I’m sure you could have done without the back story / novel I just wrote… I promise I’m not a crazy person!… Just wanted to thank you for the AMAZING recipe!… My friends have been successfully duped into thinking that I’m much more competent in the kitchen than I actually am thanks to you!… Without this, I’d still be burning peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (impressive, I know) and eating leftover Mac and Cheese… Congrats!… You just got a new fan whether you like it or not!…


  22. I know very little about beers. Which porters would your recommend for this recipe? I am trying to debut this recipe for the upcoming super fight this week. Thanks in advance for your recommendations.

  23. I found this recipe looking for something to do for a party today with chicken breasts that we had already thawed. Would they work as well as the thighs or would they get too dry? Sounds so yummy!

  24. Yum.

    These sliders are quickly becoming a New Year’s Eve tradition. Last year, I used a Stone Smoked Porter; this time around, I’ll try my luck with a coffee milk stout.

  25. I made this for a Super Bowl party this past weekend. I used ‘Shake a Paw Smoked Porter’ from Yellow Dog Brewing Co. It came out great. I had lots of liquid left so I reduced it on the stove until it was fairly thick and added a couple of glugs of bbq sauce. Topped the sliders with a very small amount of shredded cheddar and some of the sauce. I will definitely be making this again. Perhaps a few crispy fried onions (or pickles) would be a nice touch. Thanks for all the great recipes. Cheers!

    1. Chicken thighs stand up much better to heat and long cooking times. Breasts will work but the texture will be different.

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