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Slow Cooker Cranberry Chicken Sandwiches

Slow Cooker Cranberry Chicken Sandwiches make for an easy meal with a quick cooking semi homemade whole berry cranberry BBQ sauce topping slow cooked chicken.

A onion bun with Slow Cooker Cranberry Chicken on a green plate

We’ve been making a version of this Slow Cooker Cranberry Chicken recipe for a long time. It’s a twist on a grilling recipe from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook for turkey with cranberry BBQ sauce.

Turkey breast isn’t always readily available and grilling isn’t always fun during the winter so I’ve swapped the turkey for chicken. Plus I wanted to make it something that could feed a crowd without a lot of extra work. Sandwiches are always a hit in my house like the Dr. Pepper BBQ Sandwiches so I decided to take the original recipe that direction.

The cranberry sauce cooks up really quickly with just a few ingredients. It’s the real star of this dish! The original recipe is just right for a bunch of normal servings of sauce but my husband loves sauces so I usually double the amount of sauce. The whole berry cranberry sauce and the diced onions gives a pleasant chunkiness to the sauce and a good contrast to the chicken.

If you didn’t want to make this as a sandwich you could always serve it over rice or mashed potatoes. If you are really looking for some fall flavor pair it with the Orange Cranberry Wild Rice I shared yesterday!

A Slow Cooker Cranberry Chicken on an onion roll topped with cranberry BBQ sauce.

Ingredients

Shopping list

  • hamburger buns
  • boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • onion
  • whole berry cranberry sauce

Pantry staples

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A split picture showing cooked chicken breasts in a slow cooker on the left and shredded chicken in a slow cooker on the right.

Top Tips

FAQ

How do you prevent overcooking chicken in the slow cooker?

Using a programmable slow cooker prevents the over cooking of boneless skinless chicken breasts but you’ll want to make sure you don’t discard the cooking juices from the slow cooker.

Another option is to use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts which are much harder to overcook due to the extra fat in the meat.

Is there an easy way to shred chicken?

I shred up my meat right in the slow cooker and toss it with the juices so it reabsorbs the juice. I like to use a hand mixer or a stand mixer to shred the chicken goes a lot faster than trying to shred it by hand with two forks.

Make sure the chicken is at least still warm if not hot. Shredding the chicken cold doesn’t work as well and can be difficult for the mixer’s motor.

Hold a tea towel over your hand and the slow cooker if using a hand mixer to reduce the inevitable flying chicken shreds.

Can I make this in the pressure cooker?

Yep!

  1. Coat the chicken breasts in the seasoning and add 1 cup of chicken stock to your pressure cooker.
  2. Place the lid, set the valve to sealing, and cook on high pressure for 9 minutes.
  3. Switch valve to release pressure and shred the chicken.
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 Recipe

A Slow Cooker Cranberry Chicken on an onion roll topped with cranberry BBQ sauce.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Chicken Sandwiches

Tasty apart this sandwich pairs a delicious cranberry BBQ sauce with well seasoned slow cooked chicken for an incredible sandwich that gets rave reviews.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 297kcal
Author: Jade Jones

Ingredients

  • 8 hamburger buns

For Chicken:

For Cranberry BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 1 16 oz. can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp mustard
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Instructions

  • Combine all spices in a small bowl. Reserve 1 tsp of mix for BBQ sauce.
  • Place chicken in slow cooker. Sprinkle the spice mix over the chicken.
  • Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours. Once done cooking, use two forks, a hand mixer or stand mixer to shred the meat. Set aside and keep warm.

For the Cranberry BBQ sauce

  • Saute the onion in about 1 Tbsp olive oil until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add whole cranberry sauce, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, ketchup and 1 tsp reserved spice mix. Cook for about 5 minutes till thickened and bubbling.
  • Remove chicken from slow cooker and top with BBQ sauce.

Notes

Using a programmable slow cooker prevents the over cooking of boneless skinless chicken breasts but you’ll want to make sure you don’t discard the cooking juices from the slow cooker.
Another option is to use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts which are much harder to overcook due to the extra fat in the meat.
For easiest shredding of the chicken, use a hand mixer or stand mixer while the meat is still hot.
If you want to make this in the pressure cooker, add 1 cup of chicken stock with the chicken and cook for 9 minutes on high pressure.

Nutrition

Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 743mg | Potassium: 579mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 330IU | Vitamin C: 4.2mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 2.3mg
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