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Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Root Beer Barbecue Chicken Sandwich
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5 from 3 votes

Root Beer Barbecue Chicken {Slow Cooker + Instant Pot}

This Root Beer Barbecue Chicken is an easy dinner recipe with just 5 minutes of prep! Use the slow cooker or the Instant Pot and just a handful of pantry staples!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword barbecue chicken, instant pot chicken, slow cooker chicken
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 5 minutes
Servings 6 - 8 people
Calories 232kcal
Author Blair Lonergan


  • 2.5 - 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • ½ cup root beer soda
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Optional, for serving: sandwich rolls; coleslaw; additional barbecue sauce



  • Place chicken in bottom of a large slow cooker that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Season with salt, garlic powder, and pepper on all sides.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together barbecue sauce, root beer, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Pour sauce over chicken.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours. I like to remove the lid of my slow cooker during the final hour of cooking to allow the sauce to thicken a bit.
  • Remove chicken from slow cooker and place on a cutting board. Shred the chicken with two forks, return to the slow cooker, and stir to combine with the sauce.


  • Spray Instant Pot insert with cooking spray. Place chicken in Instant Pot. Season with salt, garlic powder and pepper on all sides.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together barbecue sauce, root beer, Worcestershire sauce and ¼ cup water. Pour sauce over the chicken (do NOT stir – you want the sauce on top of the chicken to prevent scorching on the bottom).
  • Seal the release valve, place the lid on the Instant Pot, and turn to lock the lid.
  • Press the “Manual” button on high pressure, and then set the timer to 10 minutes.
  • It will take about 10 minutes for the pot to heat up and build up pressure, then the chicken will cook for an additional 10 minutes. Once the 10-minute timer is done, quick release the pressure from the pot, sliding the steam release handle to the “Venting” position, releasing all of the steam until the float valve drops down.
  • Open the lid and press the “cancel” button.
  • Remove the chicken and allow to rest on a cutting board for 5-10 minutes before slicing or shredding. Return shredded chicken to the pot, toss with sauce, and serve.


  • Use plenty of seasoning! I know that it seems like a lot of garlic powder and salt, but this is a lot of meat, and the seasoning will also get diluted by the liquid in the pot. You want flavorful chicken, so don't be shy.
  • Be careful not to overcook your chicken breasts. I find that the chicken breasts have the best texture when cooked in my slow cooker on HIGH for about 2-3 hours or in the Instant Pot for 10 minutes. That keeps them moist and juicy, and prevents them from drying out. If you would like a dish with a longer cooking time, try using 2.5 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of the breasts. The thighs tend to stay juicy when left in a Crock Pot for extended periods.
  • Also remember — every slow cooker runs at a slightly different temperature (which is why the recipe gives you general time ranges, rather than exact times). Since my slow cooker tends to cook at a relatively high temperature, I find that the meal is best when cooked on HIGH for about 2 hours or on LOW for about 4-5 hours. Just get familiar with your pot and adjust accordingly.


Serving: 1/8 of the chicken and sauce | Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 845mg | Potassium: 628mg | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 125IU | Vitamin C: 2.2mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.9mg