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brown sugar pulled pork in a blue plate.
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4.55 from 31 votes

Brown Sugar Pulled Chicken

This Brown Sugar Pulled Chicken is the most tender and delicious chicken you'll ever have. Perfect for tacos, burritos, quesadillas or sandwiches, this mouthwatering dish is slowly cooked to perfection in one single pot! Can be easily made in a slow cooker or Instant pot!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time3 hrs 40 mins
Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pulled chicken, slow cooker chicken
Servings: 6
Calories: 415kcal


For Chicken

  • 2 pounds chicken thighs boneless, skinless
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon oregano dried
  • ½ cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce low sodium
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


Instant Pot Instructions

  • Mix chicken with all the ingredients: Add the chicken to the instant pot. In a small bowl mix together the rest of the ingredients and pour over the chicken. Toss everything together.
  • Cook: Close the lid (follow the manufacturer’s guide for instructions on how to close the instant pot lid). Set the Instant Pot to the Manual setting on high and set the timer to 8 minutes. Use quick / manual release to release the pressure.
  • Shred: Transfer the chicken from the Instant Pot to a bowl. Shred the chicken with two forks then pour some of the sauce leftover in the IP, toss and let it rest for a couple minutes for the chicken to soak up the sauce.
  • Serve: Serve on buns with coleslaw.

Slow Cooker Instructions

  • Prepare the chicken: Add the chicken to the slow cooker. In a small bowl mix together oregano, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup of the water. Pour over the chicken. Cook on high for 2 1/2 hours.
  • Combine glaze ingredients: After 2 1/2 hours, mix the remaining ingredients with the 1/2 cup water left, in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the mixture starts to thicken. It should start to thicken as soon as it comes to a boil.
  • Add sauce over chicken: Pour the mixture over the chicken in the slow cooker and toss, so that the chicken is covered in the sauce thoroughly.
  • Continue cooking: Cook for an additional hour in the slow cooker on low.
  • Shred chicken: Remove the chicken from slow cooker into a big bowl and carefully pull it apart using two forks.
  • Serve: Serve warm with remaining glaze on the side, if preferred.


  1. It is not really recommended to use frozen chicken in the slow cooker, since there's risk of bacteria contaminating the meat before it reaches a safe temperature.
  2. If you prefer a tender, juicier chicken, I recommend using chicken thighs instead of chicken breast. The meat from the thighs is much more juicier than that from the breast and contains more flavor as well.
  3. When using soy sauce, make sure you are using a high quality soy sauce that has a lower sodium grade. This way you are able to control the amount of sodium intake and get a tastier flavor as well.
  4. When prepping the chicken, if you find you'd like a little extra smoky flavor, you can always add 1 tsp of liquid smoke to boost up the flavors.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 415kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 148mg | Sodium: 497mg | Potassium: 362mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 133IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg