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 sour dough starter back to life, I tend to favor the high maintenance meals.

Given 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


  • ¼ 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


  • In a small bowl whisk together the tomato paste, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder and brown sugar.
  • 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.
  • Using two forks, shred chicken.
  • Scoop chicken into slider buns.

I used this slow cooker (affiliate link).

Slow Cooker Beer and Brown Sugar Pulled Chicken Sliders1

57 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 :)

      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. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Help! Mixed all the ingredients together and discovered I only have 1.5 tbs soy sauce. :( 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 :)

    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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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?

  18. 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!

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