Looking for a flavorful appetizer or versatile dinner recipe the whole family will love? Try these easy BBQ chicken sliders! They’re drizzled in an easy homemade barbecue sauce and topped with a vinegar-based coleslaw for a nice crunch (and extra punch of tangy flavor!).
These shredded chicken sliders come together super quickly if you use a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, too. In fact, the only cooking involved is heating the BBQ sauce on the stovetop and reheating the chicken in the microwave. Then, just assemble and serve.
Everyone loves sliders. They’ll be a hit at any party or as a quick weeknight dinner! And if you’re really tight on time, just use store bought BBQ sauce – they will be delicious that way, too!
Pulled Chicken Sliders with Homemade Barbecue Sauce
I love using rotisserie chicken to cut down on cooking time, and this is a perfect recipe for that. (See also: things to do with leftover rotisserie chicken.)
Aside from slicing the chicken, all you have to do is mix together the homemade BBQ sauce (or use store-bought if preferred!) and the coleslaw. Then, just put all the ingredients together into cute little slider buns.
These are a perfect game day recipe or appetizer for superbowl parties (or any occasion), or make them a meal and serve them with your favorite side dishes. (I’ll share some of my favorite sides to pair them with below.)
They’re a great kid-friendly dinner, too!
These sliders are fresh and light, but you could totally make them more decadent by melting cheddar, mozzarella, or pepper jack cheese over the chicken under a broiler before topping with the slaw.
What are chicken sliders?
Chicken sliders are essentially miniature sandwiches, often made with pulled chicken, some sort of sauce, and sometimes a slaw or other topping.
Sweet Hawaiian rolls are a popular choice for the slider buns, but I also like whole wheat slider buns to switch things up and add some extra nutrients!
To make the sliders, you’ll need rotisserie (or pre-cooked) chicken, plus your favorite kind of slider buns. For the vinaigrette coleslaw, you’ll need:
shredded green cabbage
apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper
And for the homemade BBQ sauce, you’ll need:
- apple cider vinegar
Feel free to use your favorite bbq sauce from the grocery store (or vinaigrette for the slaw) if you’re short on time!
You can also buy 1-2 bags of pre-shredded coleslaw mix (which usually includes shredded cabbage and carrots), if preferred.
How to Make BBQ Chicken Sliders and Coleslaw
To make these sliders, start by cooking chicken (if needed). I recommend using leftover chicken or a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken to save time, if possible! (Here are step-by-step instructions for how to carve and shred a whole chicken.)
Next, make the cabbage slaw. Shred/thinly slice cabbage, carrots, red onions, and scallions. Then, place them all in a large bowl.
In a separate small bowl or jar, add the coleslaw dressing ingredients (apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper). Whisk together until combined, then pour over the slaw and toss until everything is coated.
Then, slice/shred the cooked chicken, removing the bones, gristle, and skin. Place chicken in a bowl with BBQ sauce and toss to coat (instructions for a homemade BBQ sauce are further down in this post!).
If needed, reheat the coated chicken in the microwave for a few minutes, or in a skillet over medium-low heat.
(If you’re cooking the chicken yourself from raw, the chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If reheating, you can just heat until warmed through.)
Slice slider rolls in half. Add warmed BBQ chicken, more BBQ sauce, and dressed coleslaw to the bottom bun. Add the top buns and serve!
If you want to get extra fancy, you can brush the buns with a little melted butter and toast/broil them in the oven for a couple minutes until golden brown.
How to Make Homemade Barbecue Sauce
It’s surprisingly simple to make your own homemade BBQ sauce! Just combine all the pictured ingredients (full measurement details are in the recipe card at the bottom) in a small saucepan.
Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce begins to thicken.
Let cool a bit, then pour into a jar or other container, and allow the sauce to cool to room temperature. Then cover and store in the refrigerator to chill until you’re ready to use it.
You can make this sauce up to a week in advance! Just keep it stored in the fridge until then in an airtight container.
When making the sliders, coat the chicken in BBQ sauce before reheating it in the microwave or in a skillet on the stovetop. Then, add extra sauce on top when assembling the sliders. Yum!
What’s the best type of chicken for sliders?
Any chicken should work here, as long as the bones have been removed! Chicken breast is leaner, whereas chicken thighs are fattier but can be more tender and flavorful.
Basically – you do you!
You can add whatever you like on these sliders, either instead of the coleslaw or in addition to it. Here are some additional topping ideas:
- broccoli/cauliflower slaw
- lettuce & tomato
- caramelized onions
- sliced avocado
- sliced jalapeno
- hot sauce
- melted cheese
- pickled or fermented vegetables (here’s how to ferment vegetables)
What to Serve with Chicken Sliders
If you’re serving these as a meal, here are some tasty sides that would pair well with them:
- Seasoned Sweet Potato Fries (Baked)
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
- Vegan Kale Caesar Salad
- Zesty Italian Pasta Salad
- Lemony Quinoa Salad with Spinach
- Baked Portobello Mushrooms with Feta
- Crunchy Broccoli Cauliflower Salad
If you’re making these sliders ahead of time, store each element separately (chicken, BBQ sauce, coleslaw, and buns) until you’re ready to serve, for best results.
Wait until right before eating to add BBQ sauce to the chicken and vinaigrette to the coleslaw mix to avoid any sogginess!
Cooked chicken should be stored in the fridge, and should last 3-5 days. The homemade BBQ sauce recipe in this post will last for up to a week if stored properly in the fridge (in an airtight container).
Non-dressed coleslaw should last for 3 days in the refrigerator, depending on when the fresh veggies were purchased. But it will be freshest if you wait until the day you’re serving the sliders to shred the vegetables.
Wherever and however you decide to serve them, I have a strong feeling these BBQ chicken sliders will be a hit! Enjoy. 🙂
You’ll find the full BBQ chicken slider recipe (plus the recipe for the slaw + homemade BBQ sauce) at the bottom of this post.
And if you have even more leftover rotisserie chicken to use up, check out this post: Things to do with Leftover Rotisserie Chicken.
More delicious appetizers to try:
- Crockpot Honey Sriracha Turkey Meatballs
- Sheet Pan Loaded Veggie Nachos
- Simple Charcuterie Board
- Healthy Queso Dip
- Sweet Potato Hummus Bites
- Healthy Deviled Eggs
For the homemade BBQ sauce (yield about 2 cups):
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
For the slaw:
- 1/2 medium green cabbage, shredded (about 3 cups)
- 2 small carrots, shredded (about 2/3 cup)
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- pinch of salt & pepper
- 1 cooked rotisserie chicken, yielding about 3 cups shredded chicken
- slider buns
- To make the BBQ sauce: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 10 minutes, until thickened slightly. Transfer to a jar and chill until ready to use (can be made up to a week in advance).
- To make the slaw: Combine the cabbage, carrots, red onion, and scallion in a large bowl. Combine the vinegar, olive oil, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper in a small bowl or jar. Shake or whisk to combine, then pour over the veggies and toss to coat.
- To break down the rotisserie chicken: Start by making a light cut down the center of the breast to find the breast bone. Make cuts on both sides of the breast bone to peel away each whole chicken breast. Bend each thigh backwards to remove the thighs and drumsticks from the carcass. Shred the chicken breasts, thighs, and drumsticks, removing the bones from the thighs and drumsticks.
- To serve: Toss the shredded chicken with enough sauce to coat in a large bowl (you should have some sauce leftover). Heat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes or in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, if needed. Divide the chicken between slider buns and top with extra sauce and slaw.