Barbecue Chicken Bowls are a super easy and fresh take on BBQ chicken sandwiches. Meal prep these bowls for a week of lunches or make as your main course. Either way, you’ll be sure to adore them.
The best part? I prepare my shredded BBQ chicken in a slow cooker (and that’s the only part of this meal you have to actually cook!). You can sit back and enjoy all of the BBQ-y, smoky aromas without even having to work for it.Jump to Recipe
If you like this recipe, check out my:
What makes Barbecue Chicken Bowls so good?
- Your favorite BBQ sauce. This recipe simply uses your favorite BBQ sauce as the base flavor for the shredded chicken. Feel free to get bold here and whip up your own homemade sauce. In this recipe, I’m using Woodstock Hickory Bar-B-Q organic BBQ sauce. (Not sponsored) It is seriously so good and smoky, not to mention free of all of that high-fructose corn syrup nonsense!
- Warm quinoa makes up the bed of our grain bowl.
- A bag of coleslaw mix makes up our “lettuce”. I like the crunch and variety of nutrients this mix gives. Another reason I prefer to use coleslaw mix is because it’s so inexpensive. Want to swap it? Slice up some purple cabbage instead.
- Black beans. I used canned organic beans to make it extra heathy and quick as can be.
- Diced red onion always goes perfectly with any kind of BBQ.
- Avocado w/ lime brings in both some zippiness and a cool creaminess to this dish. I. Love. It.
- Fresh cilantro seriously elevates this dish by giving it a refreshing, aromatic flavor. I highly recommend leaving fresh cilantro in, unless you’re one of those people who taste soap when they eat it. (That used to be me, so no judging here.)
- Shredded Mozzarella cheese or shredded Monterey jack cheese is a must in this bowl. Tip: If making for meal prep or heating up leftovers; keep cheese separate. That way when you go to heat up the quinoa and shredded chicken, you don’t melt the cheese. I prefer to eat my cheese cold in lunch bowls (think of it like getting Chipotle out).
How to Make BBQ Shredded Chicken Bowls:
- Rinse chicken breasts and trim of excess fat.
- Pour water (to thin the sauce some) into the bottom of a slow cooker. Place chicken down, then salt and pepper.
- Pour BBQ sauce overtop of chicken.
4. Meanwhile, prepare rest of ingredients for the lunch bowls.
For meal prepping: Cook quinoa. Then, assemble a large meal prep container with coleslaw mix, diced red onion, black beans, shredded cheese, a slice of lime, and cilantro – this container is to be eaten cold. In another smaller container, place quinoa and shredded chicken (once done) – this container is to be heated up. Set aside an avocado for each serving. Instructions for when ready to eat: Set aside slice of lime. Heat up quinoa and Shredded BBQ Chicken. Pour over container with cold ingredients. Slice avocado fresh and squeeze lime juice overtop.
If making for dinner/not meal prepping: Begin to cook quinoa about 30 minutes before chicken is done. Dice red onion and chop cilantro. Right before serving; slice avocado and drizzle with lime juice. Assemble BBQ bowls on a large plate or bowl.
5. Shred chicken once it has cooked for the full amount of time and is falling apart tender (I do this right in the slow cooker.) Stir to work all of the BBQ juices into the shredded chicken until saturated. Set slow cooker to Warm until ready to be served.
6. Add shredded chicken to a plate and top with desired fixings. Drizzle with more of your favorite BBQ sauce. Tip: Sour cream would also be a good addition.
- Quinoa and black beans can be eaten hot or cold, depending on preference.
- Switch up the protein by making this with shredded pork or shredded beef!
- This recipe works for either lunch or dinner!
- If making for meal prep or heating up leftovers; keep cheese separate. That way when you go to heat up the quinoa and shredded chicken, you don’t melt the cheese. I prefer to eat my cheese cold in lunch bowls (think of it like getting Chipotle out).
- This recipe is naturally gluten-free (as long as your BBQ sauce brand is GF).
- Easily make a larger portion of this recipe by cooking more quinoa, chicken, and adding more BBQ sauce. This is a very forgiving recipe that doesn’t really need exact proportions.
Barbecue Chicken Bowls
For the Shredded BBQ Chicken:
- 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts - rinsed and trimmed of excess fat
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups your favorite BBQ sauce - (I used Organic Woodstock Hickory Bar-B-Q Sauce that has sweet and smoky notes)
- 1/4 cup water - (to thin sauce)
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Bowls:
- bag of coleslaw mix
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 15 oz. can organic black beans
- shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 red onion - diced
- freshly chopped cilantro
- 4-6 avocados - diced or sliced into bite-sized chunks
- 1-2 limes - (cut into slices for squeezing onto the avocado)
- more of your favorite BBQ sauce for serving
- For the Shredded BBQ Chicken: Rinse chicken breasts and trim of excess fat. Pour water into the bottom of a slow cooker. Place chicken down, then salt and pepper to taste. Pour BBQ sauce overtop of chicken. Cook on Low for 6-7 hours or on High for 3-4 hours, until falling-apart tender. Using two forks, shred chicken right in the slow cooker. Stir to allow the chicken to absorb all of the BBQ-y juices.
- Bowl Prep: See recipe notes for meal-prepping instructions. Otherwise, cook quinoa according to package instructions about 30 minutes before chicken is done. Dice red onion. Rinse and chop cilantro. Right before serving; slice avocado and drizzle with lime juice. Assemble bowls on a large plate or bowl with: quinoa on the bottom, coleslaw mix, shredded chicken, black beans, shredded cheese, diced onion, avocado with lime, cilantro, and more BBQ sauce for drizzling on top.