This BBQ chicken sandwich recipe is made with homemade BBQ sauce. The sauce takes just 5 minutes to make and then it’s simmered with soft and tender shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken.

A perfect side to a BBQ chicken sandwich would be crispy baked potato wedges, boiled corn, and cookie salad or grape salad.

A BBQ chicken sandwich set on a wooden cutting board.

Why This Recipe Works

Homemade meals with good flavors don’t always have to be complex. The great thing about this BBQ chicken sandwich is how easy it is to make. Have some leftover rotisserie chicken? (I frequently get the rotisserie chicken from Costco, so it’s common for us to have leftovers). This is a great recipe to use that up! 

Ingredients Needed

Ingredients used to make BBQ Chicken Sandwiches.
  • Shredded chicken: This part is the key to a simple dinner. Using precooked and shredded chicken will make your dinner prep so much easier. That’s why I recommend using the rotisserie chicken for this recipe. It’s a great way to use up your leftover chicken in a new and delicious way.
  • Salsa: This is one of the ingredients in the barbecue sauce recipe. You’re welcome to use whatever level of spice you’d like (mild, medium, or hot).
  • Cider vinegar: It’s important it’s cider vinegar and not white vinegar. The cider aspect give a nice depth of flavor to the barbecue sauce that you wouldn’t get with normal white vinegar.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. To make the sauce add diced onion, celery, garlic, and butter to a saucepan. Sauce the veggies over medium heat until the onion is tender and translucent.
A saucepan with diced onion and celery in it.
  1. Next, stir in some salsa, ketchup, brown sugar, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
A saucepan with ingredients to make BBQ Chicken Sandwiches.
  1. Add cooked, shredded chicken to the pot and stir to combine.
Shredded chicken in a large pot with BBQ chicken sandwich sauce.
  1. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes.
BBQ Chicken Sandwich sauce and filling in a saucepan.

To serve, portion the chicken on toasted buns and serve immediately.

Recipe Tips

If you’re cooking and shredding your chicken on the day of making this recipe, cook the chicken separately. Be sure to add cooked, shredded chicken to the barbecue sauce mixture prior to simmering. 

We love toasting the hamburger buns before serving. 

Variation: You can use cooked, shredded pork in place of chicken as a variation.

To freeze the shredded BBQ chicken, cool the meat and sauce mixture (after simmering it) and place in a freezer safe container. This will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Heat the mixture in a saucepan and add 1/4 cup water or more to the saucepan if needed.

FAQs

What goes good with BBQ chicken sandwich?

Crispy baked potato wedges are a perfect side for this dish. You may also enjoy a tuna macaroni salad or acini di pepe pasta salad, which are great sides for this summer meal.

How do you keep BBQ chicken from drying out?

Add a little bit more of the homemade barbecue sauce to the chicken if you find the leftovers aren’t as saucy. If you’ve frozen the BBQ chicken and are preparing to serve it, add a little water to the saucepan you use to warm up the meal. 

Do you put the BBQ sauce on the chicken before grilling?

While this recipe doesn’t use grilled chicken, if you were to grill the chicken before, I’d recommend grilling the chicken without the sauce. You can add some of the sauce to the chicken when the chicken is about 5 minutes from being done. This will keep the chicken from burning with the sauce on it but will allow the chicken to grab onto some of that flavor from the sauce. 

A BBQ chicken sandwich on a wooden board, with hamburger buns stacked in the background.

More Quick Dinner Recipes:

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A BBQ chicken sandwich on a wooden board, with hamburger buns stacked in the background.
Print Review
5 from 1 vote

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Soft shredded chicken marinated in a delicous homemade BBQ sauce, perfect for any time of year.
Prep Time: 7 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 27 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
 

  • 1/2 cup onion - diced
  • 1/2 cup celery - diced
  • 1 garlic clove - minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • hamburger buns - toasted

Instructions
 

  • In a saucepan over medium heat saute the onion, celery, garlic, and butter until the celery and onions are tender about 7 mins.
  • Stir in the salsa, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, and salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes. 
  • To serve, portion the chicken on the toasted buns and serve immediately. 

Notes

If you’re cooking and shredding your chicken on the day of making this recipe, cook the chicken separately. Be sure to add cooked, shredded chicken to the barbecue sauce mixture prior to simmering. 
We love toasting the hamburger buns before serving. 
You can use cooked, shredded pork in place of chicken as a variation.
To freeze the shredded BBQ chicken, cool the meat and sauce mixture (after simmering it) and place in a freezer safe container. This will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Heat the mixture in a saucepan and add 1/4 cup water or more to the saucepan if needed.
Note: hamburger buns are not included in the nutritional information.
recipe source: adapted from Taste of Home

Nutrition

Calories: 193kcal (10%)Carbohydrates: 20g (7%)Protein: 17g (34%)Fat: 5g (8%)Saturated Fat: 2g (10%)Cholesterol: 56mg (19%)Sodium: 817mg (34%)Potassium: 561mg (16%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 15g (17%)Vitamin A: 550IU (11%)Vitamin C: 5.4mg (7%)Calcium: 37mg (4%)Iron: 0.8mg (4%)
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
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