Chicken Sloppy Joes combine juicy shredded chicken with a quick, homemade sloppy joe sauce for messy, yummy sandwiches that effortlessly come together in the crockpot and are sure to please the entire family!
I'm sure that everyone has had sloppy joes for supper a time or two hundred. But have you ever had sloppy joes made with shredded chicken instead of ground beef...AKA, Chicken Sloppy Joes? I am here to tell you that they are just as tasty and even easier to make!
The slow cooker is the magical appliance that makes these Chicken Sloppy Joes absolutely effortless. And the homemade sloppy joe sauce is what makes them messy-drippy-SCRUMPTIOUS!
Based on my world-famous The VERY BEST Sloppy Joes recipe, you only need a handful of basic ingredients to throw together these Chicken Sloppy Joes.
- Chicken breasts. Boneless and skinless make this recipe easy, but you could opt to use bone-in/skin-on for extra flavor.
- Chicken broth. The cooking liquid for the chicken. Water plus Organic Chicken Better Than Bouillon works great, too.
- Seasonings. Specifically, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper, used to season the slow cooked chicken and flavor the sauce.
- Tomato sauce. The base for the homemade sloppy joe sauce.
- Ketchup. I like to use an all-natural ketchup with straightforward ingredients.
- Brown sugar. This can be tweaked to your liking, depending on whether your ketchup has a lot of added sugar and/or how sweet or savory you prefer your Chicken Sloppy Joes.
- Worcestershire sauce + yellow mustard. To add depth of flavor to the sauce.
How to Make Chicken Sloppy Joes
(The below photos are intended to be helpful, but please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for FULL DIRECTIONS.)
This recipe is quick to toss in the crock pot in the morning and takes minimal effort to finish up at dinnertime.
The homemade sloppy joe sauce literally only takes a couple minutes longer than opening that can (canwich?) of sauce would, but it tastes about 100 times better...without the questionable ingredients. 😉
- Arrange chicken breasts in the bottom of a large slow cooker. Pour in the chicken broth and evenly sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper.
- Cook on LOW until the chicken falls apart when you try to pick it up with a fork (the ideal cooking time will be dependent on how hot your particular slow cooker runs...more on that below).
- Drain the liquid and any fat from your slow cooker. Shred the chicken with two forks. You can do this step directly in the crock pot or remove it to a cutting board if that's easier.
- Measure the sloppy joe sauce ingredients into a medium bowl or a 2-cup measuring cup. Stir until completely combined.
- Pour the sloppy joe sauce over the shredded chicken in the slow cooker.
- Stir to combine, cover, and allow to cook for a few minutes longer until heated through.
- Serve piled on buns with sliced pickles. ENJOY!
Cooking Chicken Breasts in the Slow Cooker
If you've never cooked chicken breasts in your slow cooker, it's a really easy way to prep a bunch of shredded chicken all at once for use in a variety of recipes, from chicken salad to pot pies to casseroles to enchiladas and so much more.
You could easily cook a whole crock pot full of chicken and just pull out enough to stir together with sauce for these Chicken Sloppy Joes while refrigerating/freezing the rest of the cooked chicken for a future use.
My only disclaimer is this: the chicken cooking time may vary based on how much chicken you cook at once and how hot your crock pot runs!
When I first started making this recipe 15-ish years ago in my trusty old (literallly) crock pot, I cooked my chicken dishes on LOW for the standard 6 to 8 hours.
But guess what? That beloved slow cooker eventually kicked the bucket and I had to give in and buy a shiny new crock pot. And I quickly learned that my new slow cooker ran considerably hotter than my antique model did, so I had to reduce the cook time for a lot of my slow cooker recipes.
I share this because all of you have different slow cookers. And while the chicken breasts for these Chicken Sloppy Joes cook up in just 4 hours on low in my newest slow cooker, I probably would have cooked them for 6 to 8 hours on low in my old slow cooker to achieve the same level of doneness and tenderness.
So to summarize...with any crock pot recipe, use the times as a guide the first time you make it, and adjust up or down as necessary once you get to know how hot your particular slow cooker runs! 🙂
I know that we often think of crock pot fare as fall and wintertime food, but the slow cooker is a great tool once the weather warms up as well. After all, isn't it nice to cook a warm meal without having to heat up the oven, and consequently, the whole kitchen?
And this week? Give these Chicken Sloppy Joes a try!
Between the tender, juicy chicken and the tangy, flavorful sauce, I think you'll deem this recipe a winner, winner, chicken dinner. 🤗
More Sandwiches for Supper
- Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches Au Jus
- Taco Sloppy Joes
- Slow Cooker Meatball Subs
- Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork Sliders with Creamy Broccoli Slaw
Slow Cooker Chicken Sloppy Joes (with a Tasty Homemade Sauce!)
FOR THE CHICKEN:
- 1 to 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts , 3 to 4 large chicken breasts
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE SAUCE:
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- ½ cup ketchup
- 2 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar, depending on preferred sweetness
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- Place chicken and chicken broth in slow cooker. Sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper. Cook on LOW for 4 to 6 hours, or until chicken falls apart when you try to pick it up with a fork.
- Drain liquid and any fat from slow cooker. Shred chicken with two forks. Measure sauce ingredients into a medium bowl or 2-cup measuring cup. Mix well and pour over shredded chicken. Stir to combine, cover slow cooker, and allow to reheat for a few more minutes. Serve on buns with sliced pickles, if desired.
- I recommend cooking boneless, skinless chicken breasts on low as opposed to high, to lower the odds of chicken drying out.
- This recipe will work with any cut of chicken. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are the easiest, with no skin or bones to worry about picking out. Bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (light and dark meat) can be used as well, which may result in moister shredded chicken.
- The amount of chicken you use will dictate how saucy your sandwiches are. Use 1 pound of chicken -- as opposed to 1 ½ pounds -- for the sauciest sandwiches.
- If your slow cooker runs hot or if you cook less chicken, you may want to check it at the 3-hour mark. If your slow cooker does not run as hot or if you double (or triple) the recipe, you will probably need to cook for 8 to 10 hours on low.
- When a slow cooker recipe calls for chicken broth, I typically use water plus Organic (Chicken) Better Than Bouillon.
- I also like to use jarred, refrigerated minced garlic in slow cooker recipes. I just dump in several spoonfuls...the garlic becomes mellow as it cooks and I really don't think you can use too much! But garlic powder (as called for in this recipe) works great as well.