Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs

When it comes to crowd-pleasing comfort food, few dishes can compete with the classic barbecue chicken. The smoky, tangy, and slightly sweet flavors are simply irresistible. If you’re looking for a hassle-free way to enjoy this BBQ goodness, our Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs recipe is the answer. It’s perfect for busy weekdays, family gatherings, picnics, or game day parties. With minimal effort, you can achieve tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken legs coated in a finger-lickin’ BBQ sauce. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through every step, from ingredients and equipment to the cooking process, pro tips, delicious variations, and even keto and low-carb options. Get ready to delight your taste buds and impress your friends and family with the best Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs ever.

Table of Contents

  1. Ingredients
  2. Equipment
  3. Instructions
  4. Cooking Notes
  5. Variations
  6. Keto and Low-Carb Versions
  7. Conclusion


For Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs, you’ll need:

  • 12 chicken legs
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Cooking spray (for greasing)


Before we begin, make sure you have the following equipment ready:

  • Slow cooker (Crock-Pot)
  • Mixing bowls
  • Tongs
  • Baking sheet
  • Basting brush
  • Aluminum foil


Let’s dive into the step-by-step process of creating Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs.

Preparing Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs:

  1. Start by preparing the barbecue sauce. In a mixing bowl, combine the barbecue sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  2. Grease the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray. This prevents the chicken legs from sticking.
  3. Place the chicken legs in the slow cooker. You can use a slow cooker liner for easy cleanup, but it’s optional.
  4. Pour about 2/3 of the barbecue sauce mixture over the chicken legs. Ensure they are evenly coated. Reserve the remaining sauce for basting.
  5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and cook on the low setting for 4-5 hours. You want the chicken to be tender and fully cooked. Cooking times may vary, so use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F (74°C).

Finishing the Dish:

  1. Preheat your oven’s broiler.
  2. Carefully transfer the cooked chicken legs to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Make sure they’re not crowded to allow for even broiling.
  3. Brush the reserved barbecue sauce over the chicken legs. This step adds an extra layer of flavor.
  4. Place the baking sheet under the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until the chicken legs develop a slightly caramelized and crispy exterior. Keep a close eye on them to prevent burning.
  5. Once the chicken legs have the desired texture, remove them from the oven.
  6. Serve the Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs hot, garnished with chopped fresh parsley or cilantro, if desired.

Cooking Notes

Here are some tips to ensure your Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs turn out perfectly:

  • Sauce Thickness: If you prefer a thicker sauce, transfer the sauce to a saucepan after cooking the chicken in the slow cooker. Simmer it over low heat until it thickens to your liking.
  • Charcoal Flavor: To achieve that classic barbecue flavor, add a pinch of smoked sea salt to the chicken before cooking.
  • Alternative Spices: You can experiment with different spices in the sauce to customize the flavor to your liking. Try adding cayenne pepper for heat or a dash of cinnamon for a unique twist.


Take your BBQ chicken legs to the next level with these tasty variations:

  • Spicy Kick: If you love heat, add a touch of hot sauce or red pepper flakes to the sauce for a spicy barbecue kick.
  • Lemon Zest: Enhance the flavor with a bit of lemon zest or juice for a citrusy twist.
  • Honey Glazed: Swap the brown sugar for honey in your barbecue sauce for a sweeter glaze.
  • Maple Infusion: For a unique taste, substitute maple syrup for the brown sugar in your sauce.
  • Herb-Infused: Add fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or basil to the sauce for an herbal twist.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions

If you’re following a keto or low-carb diet, you can still enjoy the deliciousness of Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs. Here’s how:

  • Choose Low-Carb BBQ Sauce: Opt for a low-carb or sugar-free barbecue sauce to reduce carb content.
  • Moderate the Sugar: Reduce or omit the brown sugar entirely in the sauce to cut down on carbs.
  • Serve with Low-Carb Sides: Pair your chicken legs with keto-friendly sides like cauliflower rice, a crisp salad, or grilled vegetables.
  • Sugar-Free Sweeteners: Use sugar substitutes like erythritol or stevia in your sauce to maintain the sweet flavor without the sugar.


Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs are the epitome of delicious, fuss-free comfort food. With the magic of your slow cooker and a homemade BBQ sauce, you can achieve tender, succulent chicken legs that fall off the bone and are bursting with flavor. Whether you’re serving a hungry family, hosting a BBQ party, or simply craving some classic BBQ goodness, this recipe has you covered. The smoky, sweet, and tangy notes in every bite are guaranteed to please the palate. So, follow the recipe, explore the variations, and don’t forget the keto and low-carb alternatives for dietary preferences. Prepare for a barbecue feast that’s finger-lickin’ good!

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