BBQ Chicken Sliders
Cheesy BBQ Chicken Sliders are always a hit! Soft Hawaiian rolls are stuffed with tender shredded chicken that’s mixed with sweet-savory barbecue sauce and topped with melty cheese. Who can resist?!
Easy BBQ Chicken Sliders Recipe
My family goes crazy for baked, cheesy sliders – and this BBQ Chicken Sliders recipe is our latest, greatest rendition! These little sandwiches feature soft Hawaiian rolls stuffed with tender shredded chicken in sweet, smoky barbecue sauce, plus lots of melty cheese. The buttery sandwiches toast a bit in the oven and get just slightly crisp over the top. Perfection!
Why You’ll Love These Pulled Chicken Sliders
If you love barbecue sauce and you love chicken, you will definitely love BBQ chicken sliders. Here are a few reasons why we make these pulled chicken sliders again and again:
- Simple ingredients list. No fussy ingredients here! You’ll be able to get everything you need at your grocery store.
- Delicious contrasting flavors and textures. The tender, juicy chicken coated in flavorful BBQ sauce is truly hard to resist. Then the sweet rolls and meltry cheese add another layer of texture and flavor!
- Easy to make! This is a super simple recipe to make. You can even save yourself some prep time by using pre-cooked chicken (or you can make the chicken in advance).
What You’ll Need
Here’s a quick overview of the ingredients needed for these pulled chicken sliders. Scroll down to the printable recipe card below this post for the exact ingredient amounts.
- Chicken – I use boneless skinless breasts.
- Salt & pepper
- Olive oil – Use a little bit of olive oil to cook the chicken in a skillet.
- Barbecue sauce – Uses your favorite store-bought sauce or make my homemade barbecue sauce.
- Water – This helps form the sauce for the chicken.
- Worcestershire sauce – This adds a little more savory flavor.
- Smoked paprika – To add a bit of smoky spice.
- Garlic powder – To add even more flavor to the sauce.
- Onion powder – I use onion powder rather than onion for easy, concentrated onion flavor.
BBQ Chicken Sliders
- Hawaiian bread rolls – Or another soft, sweet roll of your choice.
- BBQ shredded chicken – Made from the recipe included in this post.
- Cheese – You can also use sharp cheddar or mozzarella, or your own favorite melty cheese.
- Fresh cilantro leaves – For a pop of fresh color and flavor.
- Red onion – This gives a nice fresh crunch to the sliders.
- Butter – For brushing over the top of the rolls. This adds delightful browning and flavor.
- Thyme – Fresh thyme leaves are best but you can use dried thyme if necessary.
- Salt & ground pepper
How To Make BBQ Chicken Sliders
First, let’s make the BBQ shredded chicken – then we’ll use it to make the sliders!
BBQ Shredded Chicken
- Season the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt & pepper on both sides.
- Cook the chicken. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the chicken breasts and cook for about 5-6 minutes on each side, or until they are cooked through and no longer pink in the center. Remove chicken breasts from the skillet and let them cool.
- Make the barbecue sauce. In the same skillet over medium heat, add the barbecue sauce, water, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder – stir to combine. Add salt and pepper, if desired.
- Shred the chicken. Using two forks, shred the cooked chicken into smaller pieces.
- Combine chicken and barbecue sauce, and simmer. Add the shredded chicken back to the skillet and mix well with the sauce. Let simmer for about about 5 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the heat. The BBQ shredded chicken is now ready to use for the BBQ Chicken Sliders.
BBQ Chicken Sliders – let’s put it all together!
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Prepare the rolls. Slice the Hawaiian bread rolls in half horizontally (leave the rolls connected) and place the bottom halves in a baking dish.
- Add the chicken. Spread the BBQ Shredded Chicken evenly over the bottom of the rolls.
- Assemble the sliders. Top the chicken with cheese, red onion, and fresh cilantro.
- Brush rolls with melted butter mixture. Place the top halves of the rolls over the filling. Then mix together the melted butter, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper, and brush it over the top.
- Bake. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the sliders are heated through and the cheese is melted.
- Remove the foil and bake a bit more. Remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 5 minutes to lightly toast the tops of the rolls.
- Serve them warm. Remove the BBQ chicken sliders from the oven and serve them warm and gooey-melty!
Tips & Variations
I’ve included a few tips plus some variation suggestions below to help you make these chicken sliders on Hawaiian rolls.
- Use homemade barbecue sauce. You can use a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce. But I love making my own homemade barbecue sauce (linked above) – it’s so flavorful and elevates these sliders into something extra special.
- Cover the sliders with foil. When baking the sliders, be sure to cover them for the first 10-15 minutes or so. This holds the heat in so the cheese gets melty, plus it doesn’t let the tops of the buns start to brown.
- Make them spicy. You can add jalapenos to the chicken mix if you want a kick of spice.
- Buy rotisserie chicken. Save yourself some time and buy a pre-cooked chicken!
- Or cook your chicken in advance. You can also make the chicken up to 3 days in advance so it’s ready to go when you need it. Keep the cooked chicken in an airtight container in the fridge until you make the slider filling.
- Substitute pulled pork. For a pork version of BBQ chicken sliders, make pulled pork. Then substitute it for the chicken in the recipe and follow the same method as you would for making the sliders with chicken.
Sometimes a slider or two is enough! But they also are wonderful with a lot of other dishes, including:
- Salad. Go a little lighter and serve sliders with salad! My arugula beet salad or Italian Chopped Salad are good options.
- Potatoes. For a heartier side, serve my potatoes with roasted garlic vinaigrette alongside the sliders. Or make truffle fries!
- Soup. Serve a small bowl of warming vegetable soup, like my potato soup or squash soup alongside pulled chicken sliders.
- BBQ sides. Classic BBQ sides like coleslaw, and macaroni salad are just right with BBQ chicken sliders! You can also serve my Hawaiian Macaroni Salad or my mom’s macaroni salad with ham and cheese or bacon ranch pasta salad.
- Simple dips. Offer tortilla chips and homemade dips, like my guacamole, pico de gallo, and roasted chili corn salsa recipes. Potato chips and dill pickle dip would also be fantastic!
- Fruit. Simply cut up a watermelon and serve cold, juicy slices with BBQ chicken sliders or make my mojito fruit salad!
- As an appetizer. BBQ chicken sliders make a terrific appetizer, served with simple cocktails like a Classic Gin and Tonic or a refreshing Mojito!
Can These Be Assembled In Advance?
Yes, you can make the filling in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready to assemble the sliders, remove the filling from the fridge and proceed with the recipe.
Store leftover pulled chicken sliders tightly wrapped in plastic or foil in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat them, place the sliders on a baking sheet and heat on low heat in the oven until the cheese is melted and the chicken is warmed through.
BBQ Chicken Sliders
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon Morton kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup barbecue sauce (use my homemade barbecue sauce if you like!)
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- salt & pepper, to taste
BBQ Chicken Sliders
- 12 Hawaiian bread rolls (1 12-ounce package)
- 3 cups BBQ shredded chicken
- 12 slices sharp cheddar cheese or mozzarella cheese
- 3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed
- salt & pepper, to taste
- BBQ Shredded Chicken: Season the chicken breasts with salt & pepper on both sides.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil.
- Add the chicken breasts to the skillet and cook for about 5-6 minutes on each side, or until they are cooked through and no longer pink in the center. Transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board or plate. Let them cool slightly, then shred into smaller pieces.
- In the same skillet over medium heat, add the barbecue sauce, water, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir to combine. Add salt & pepper, if desired.
- Add the shredded chicken back to the skillet and mix well with the sauce. Let the chicken simmer in the sauce for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is heated through and well coated. Remove skillet of BBQ Shredded Chicken from the heat.
- BBQ Chicken Sliders:Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Slice the rolls in half horizontally, all the rolls still attached to each other. Place the bottoms in a 9×13-inch baking dish.
- Spread the BBQ Shredded Chicken evenly over the bottom of the rolls.
- Top the chicken with cheese slices, red onion, and cilantro. Place the top halves of the rolls over the filling.
- In a small bowl, mix the melted butter, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper together. Brush this mixture over the tops of the rolls.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the sliders are heated through and the cheese is melted.
- Remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 5 minutes to lightly toast the tops of the rolls.
- Remove from the oven and serve the BBQ Chicken Sliders warm and melty-gooey.