Smoky Maple BBQ Chicken Sliders

Tender & juicy pulled chicken, smothered in a smoky maple barbecue sauce, nestled in a soft slider bun. Backyard bashes don’t get any tastier (or easier) than this!

Smoky Maple BBQ Chicken Sliders

When you think of July 4th, do “crockpots” come to mind? I bet not! People grill, right? Toss some hot dogs, hamburgers, ribs, or chicken on those grates… this is standard Independence Day party fare.

Plate of three Smoky Maple BBQ Chicken Sliders

But somebody has got to stand over the grill, in the hot sun, and cook all that. What if instead, you had homemade, super tender, shredded chicken bathed in a tangy barbecue sauce? Oh, and the best part, it waits patiently, no effort required, until the party people are ready to dig in!

Plate of 3 Smoky Maple BBQ Chicken Sliders with bowls of cabbage jalapenos and other party fare

Grab your extension cord, lay out your stars and stripes tablecloth, and plop that slow cooker on your outdoor table alongside a basket of soft slider buns, crispy cabbage, crumbled cheese and a bowl of pickled chilis.

A tub of cold drinks on ice, a bowl of chips, and an amazingly tasty make-ahead potato salad , and now you too can enjoy the festivities!

Plate of Smoky Maple BBQ Chicken Sliders with party fare

Two summers ago, we had a big party on our lawn with a square dance caller. So much fun! I asked my girlfriends to bring over their crockpots, and in went 25 pounds of meat- a choice of pulled pork or chicken. It was the perfect, easy party food, and allowed me to dance away the afternoon instead of toiling away in the kitchen.

Using your crockpot for entertaining is one of the BEST ways to use it!

Hand picking up a Smoky Maple BBQ Chicken Slider

Ok, arguably the best part isn’t how you use it, but what you put in it! And you are going to love this flavor.

A simple, bright and tangy barbecue sauce bathes the shredded chicken, keeping it moist and tender. I like to buy an already cooked rotisserie chicken and pick the meat, since it makes this recipe even easier, but you could roast your own chicken and shred it before adding to the sauce.

Have a safe and happy holiday!


Make AheadDinner PartyQuick & Easy

Smoky Maple BBQ Chicken Sliders

Prep Time20 mins
Servings: 6


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 large garlic cloves finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • ½ tsp caraway seed
  • 15- ounce can tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar light or dark
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 rotisserie chicken meat picked from the bone and shredded

For serving:

  • 12 slider buns or 6 regular sized buns
  • Shredded cabbage optional
  • Crumbled blue cheese or cheese of choice optional
  • Chopped or pickled jalapenos optional
  • Your favorite hot sauce


  • Warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the chopped onion and 1 tsp of the salt and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium heat until softened. Stir in the garlic, mustard powder and caraway seeds and cook one more minute. Stir in the tomato puree, cider vinegar, maple syrup, brown sugar, liquid smoke, black pepper, and remaining 1 tsp salt and bring to a simmer. Partially cover to avoid splatters, and let cook until very thick, about 20-25 minutes.
  • Put the chicken in your slow cooker and stir in the sauce and remaining 1 tbsp maple syrup. Set the heat to low and let it cook for at least an hour, turning the setting to “warm” after an hour until ready to serve. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.
  • Serve buffet style with buns, shredded cabbage, cheese and chilis if desired.


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