Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches (Slow Cooker Recipe)


This should be called “The Sandwich of Summer.” I made this recipe because I love pulled pork so much so I wanted something similar but entirely its own. Basically I wanted something delicious, out of the ordinary that will make people say “wow.” Of course I made it a slow cooker recipe because that’s what I love and that’s what everyone else seems to love. This Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich is bursting with the flavors of the islands (especially when served along with fresh, glazed/grilled pineapple). It inspires me to want to host a luau party in my backyard.

Don’t be scared by the long list of ingredients, most of them, if not all of them, you probably already have in your fridge and cupboard. If you are looking to try a new dish that is enticingly delicious and fully amazing your going to want to try this sandwich! Share and enjoy!

Serve it with or without green onions (I liked it with):



Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches (Slow Cooker Recipe)

Yield: 6 servings


  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup pineapple juice (apple juice could be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 1/2 tsp molasses
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 Tbsp cold water
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste

Glazed Pineapple

  • 6 fresh pineapple rings (cut about 1/2" thick)
  • 4 Tbsp brown sugar , divided
  • 1 Tbsp butter , divided


  1. Place chicken in a 6 or 7 quart slow cooker. In a mixing bowl, whisk together ketchup, pineapple juice, low sodium soy sauce, honey, molasses, liquid smoke, coconut extract, ginger, onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper. Pour sauce over chicken in slow cooker, cover with lid and cook on low heat for 5 - 6 hours. Remove chicken from slow cooker, shred and set aside. In a medium saucepan, whisk together cold water and cornstarch, pour in sauce from slow cooker and add tomato paste. Bring mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently, then reduce heat and simmer 30 seconds, stirring constantly, until thickened. Return chicken to slow cooker (or the mixing bowl) and pour sauce over chicken, toss to evenly coat. Serve warm on hamburger buns, along with optional glazed or grilled pineapple and optional diced green onions (grilled red onions would be good too).
  2. I served with glazed pineapple and this is how I did it:

Glazed Pineapple

  1. Working in 2 separate batches, melt 1 Tbsp butter in a 10 inch non-stick skillet. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp brown sugar among one side of 3 pineapple rings (about 1 tsp per each), add pineapple to skillet (brown sugar side down) and saute over medium high heat until golden on bottom about 3 minutes. Sprinkle another 1 Tbsp over the tops of pineapple rings in pan (again 1 tsp per each), then flip and cook opposite side until lightly browned about 3 minutes. Repeat this process with remaining 3 pineapple rings.
  2. Recipe Source: Cooking Classy


  • Cupcake Crazy Gem: Wow this sounds so amazing! I definitely want to try this soon! June 13, 2012 at 9:17am Reply

  • Jen @ Jens Favorite Cookies: Yum, this looks really yummy! I’m imagining the sweetness from the pineapple, and in my imagination, it’s delicious! Can’t wait to try it! June 13, 2012 at 9:27am Reply

  • Jenny: I am going to try this tomorrow! Sounds delicious!!! June 13, 2012 at 9:59am Reply

  • Sara: This looks fantastic! I love the glazed pineapple on the bottom – looks so tasty! :) June 13, 2012 at 10:08am Reply

  • Naperville Chiropractor: I love anything in the crock pot.. especially in the summer!
    This sounds delicious!! June 13, 2012 at 11:03am Reply

  • Lauren Williams: This looks sooo good!! I love slow cooker meals…definitely adding this to my “to make” list for summer! June 13, 2012 at 12:11pm Reply

  • Steph: This looks so delicious! I love pulled pork, can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing June 13, 2012 at 12:23pm Reply

  • Brittany: Yay! This sounds delish and it’s currently in the slow cooker for tonight’s dinner. Thanks so much for sharing!! June 13, 2012 at 12:57pm Reply

  • Jaclyn: I hope all of you love these sandwiches! Thanks for the comments!
    Brittany – it’s what we had for dinner too =), I hope you thought it was delicious! June 13, 2012 at 7:15pm Reply

  • MyFudo™: Something I would want anytime of the day…The pineapple in the sandwich is really awesome! June 14, 2012 at 1:05am Reply

  • Kevin: That sandwich is looking really good! June 14, 2012 at 3:34am Reply

  • Anonymous: what could you use as substitution for the liquid smoke and coconut extract? this recipe looks so yummy but I don’t have the ingredients June 14, 2012 at 8:53am Reply

  • northierthanthou: The BBQ itself sounds like it has a few uses. June 14, 2012 at 9:34am Reply

  • Jaclyn: Anonymous – there aren’t really substitutes for these those ingredients (other than imitation coconut extract), so my recommendation would be to purchase them or omit them (although I think they give the sauce a subtle yet excellent flavor). The liquid smoke I think was about $1.50 and the coconut extract was about $4. If you do buy it you can use the coconut extract for the coconut cupcakes listed on my site and the liquid smoke for Paula Deen’s pulled pork sandwiches I also have posted. I even added it to the mac and cheese posted on here too. Enjoy.
    northeirthanthough- yeah I’m excited to try the sauce over other things like ribs and grilled chicken/pork. June 14, 2012 at 10:42am Reply

    • Anonymous: thank you so much :) I will try this June 14, 2012 at 1:30pm Reply

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious: Awesome recipe. I love that it can be made in the slow cooker and the pineapple stuff just sends me to the moon! June 14, 2012 at 12:11pm Reply

  • Franchise Brisbane: It looks beautiful on photos, so tasty! I was looking for something fast-making for today, this sandwich recipe looks exactly what i need :) June 18, 2012 at 4:55am Reply

  • Christag_banners: Thanks for the recipe. I made this today, simple and very yummy. Next time I’m thinking I’m going to add in some crushed red pepper flakes to give it a little kick to suite my husband’s need for the HOT. Other than that my family LOVED it. June 23, 2012 at 5:30pm Reply

  • Anonymous: We gave it a try tonight but found it too salty and too sweet for our palates but otherwise it had good texture, tenderness and big flavors. With a bit of flavor balancing on my part I am going to nail this recipe next time ;) July 12, 2012 at 7:33pm Reply

  • Anonymous: Could this be frozen once made? I am looking for some great make ahead recipes for my college age kids . Any suggestions? July 14, 2012 at 6:16am Reply

  • Jaclyn: Anonymous – yes I think this would do well frozen then thawed overnight in the refrigerator and reheated the next day. I would recommend that you freeze it in the individual serving sizes you want so you don’t thaw it all at once (unless you will be eating it all at once). Also, I would highly recommend to you that you make the lasagna roll ups listed on my site, those are a great make ahead and freeze meal and everyone loves them. Another thing I love to make and freeze is home made been and cheese burritos, so simple yet they are amazing when fried in olive or veggie oil, they are like chimichangas and you can easily jazz them up with a little sour cream, guacamole and salsa and serve with a side of rice and you have a meal in no time. I have like 2 dozen in my freezer =). If you do make those I have a recipe for bean dip listed on my site, you just reduce the amount of water in the beans if making refried beans. Oh and thaw the burritos before frying, you can also heat them in the micro rather than frying. Sorry I’m going on and on =). Potato soup would probably be another good on to freeze, I always see it in the frozen foods section and want to do my own at home. I also have a recipe for that here. July 14, 2012 at 9:45pm Reply

  • Raven: I love that you use chicken! I have a similar recipe but with pork, but I definitely will have to try yours soon! Thanks! http://www.cookeatdelicious.com/meat-recipes/hawaiian-pulled-pork-recipe.html September 14, 2012 at 7:14pm Reply

  • Blog » Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches (Slow Cooker Recipe …: […] Read the original here: Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches (Slow Cooker Recipe … […] December 22, 2012 at 2:12am Reply

  • Allison: Is there a reason for the boneless skinless breasts? With a slow-cooked recipe, I would normally use the cheapest chicken possible, like a whole bird or leg quarters, then skim off fat at the end. Have you tried other chicken cuts? June 11, 2013 at 2:44pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I haven’t but you definitely could if you’d like. I just always have chicken breasts on hand :). June 11, 2013 at 9:25pm Reply

  • Joni Spring: I made this for a summer cookout yesterday and it was delicious and a hit. Would make it again. The grilled pineapple makes this awesome. July 15, 2013 at 2:48am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so happy it was enjoyed, thanks for your comment Joni! July 15, 2013 at 10:10am Reply

  • Carrie: Would it be ok to cook on high for a bit to speed it up? Normally I do shredded chicken in the crockpot on high for 4 hours. July 24, 2016 at 1:03pm Reply

  • Leah Nolan: I made a mistake and accidentally mixed everything in the first column but the chicken together to make the sauce… do you think I could still make it with the same result, or should I discard the sauce and start over? August 15, 2016 at 10:01pm Reply

  • Sean: Please do yourself a favor and skip the entire “glazed pineapple” section. Every other part of this recipe is delicious but cooking pineapple (Already naturally loaded w/ sugar) with more sugar!!! Holy diabetic shock! Crazy sweet. Pan fry pineapple w/ cooking spray & 1/4tsp redpepprer flake. Or better yet gill pineapple rings with a some of black pepper. Get a nice peppery char to balance out the sweet. Otherwise a good recipe. February 26, 2017 at 6:47pm Reply

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