These easy slow cooker buffalo chicken sandwiches are perfect for busy weeknights (or as game day appetizers during football season!) With blue cheese and arugula.
This might be the easiest dinner of all time. It takes five minutes to throw together in the morning, and requires very little assembly when you're ready to eat. This is also my go-to recipe when we have friends over for football games: You get all the flavor of classic buffalo chicken wings, with none of the mess.
If you want something more substantial than a chicken slider, this pulled chicken is also great for full-sized sandwiches. We frequently serve it on burger buns or larger ciabatta rolls for a heartier dinner!
Scroll to the recipe card below for a full ingredients list with exact quantities.
Before you jump in, there are a few things we want to highlight:
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts are our go-to in this recipe, but it also works with boneless skinless chicken thighs. You can use bone-in chicken if you prefer, but you may need to extend the cook time.
- Use your favorite store-bought Buffalo Sauce! (Our favorite brands have been Frank's Buffalo Sauce, Primal Kitchen Buffalo Sauce, and Blonde Beard's Buffalo Sauces lately.)
- Blue Cheese adds depth to these sliders. (Not a fan? Use goat cheese, white cheddar cheese, or mozzarella cheese in its place!)
- Slider Rolls make delicious, bite-sized sandwiches: Hawaiian rolls, potato rolls, or mini burger buns are all tasty here. Use burger buns (or whole wheat buns) for full-size sandwiches.
- Arugula lends a pop of color (plus, y'know, vegetables or whatever) and brightness to these chicken sandwiches. We like tossing the greens with a bit of lemon juice and olive oil for a more complex bite.
Variations and Substitutions
This recipe is fairly forgiving: It's easy to customize with whatever you have on hand! A few of our favorite riffs:
- Swap the protein. Use boneless, skinless turkey breast or your favorite cut of pork in place of chicken. (You can also use turkey meal prep meatballs here: cook them right in the crock pot with the sauce!)
- Mix up the veggies. Use a store-bought slaw mix instead of the arugula salad in this recipe (à la our barbecue chicken sandwich recipe!)
- Skip the bread. Pile the chicken and toppings into a large lettuce leaf for a twist on a chicken salad lettuce wrap. (This is also a great option if you're hosting any low-carb guests).
- Add toppings. Coleslaw, pickles, tomatoes, ranch dressing, and extra buffalo sauce are all tasty here.
- Replace the buffalo sauce with your favorite BBQ sauce or salsa (just like our crock pot salsa chicken!) You can also make plain slow cooker chicken and add the buffalo sauce to each sandwich individually.
Cook the Chicken
Throw some boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the slow cooker (we love our 5 qt. Crock-Pot!), along with your favorite buffalo sauce and a pinch of kosher salt (Image 1, above).
Cover the crockpot and cook for 6-8 hours on low heat, until chicken is cooked through and tender (Image 2).
Pro Tip: If you're in a hurry, cook the chicken on the crock pot's high heat setting for 3-4 hours.
Use two forks to shred the chicken right in the bowl of the slow cooker. Set it aside while you prep the rest of the slider ingredients. Don't worry if the buffalo sauce looks a little watery: The chicken will soak up a lot of that sauce as it sits, and it'll help keep the sandwiches moist.
Pro Tip: Taste the shredded chicken and add seasonings as necessary. Depending on the buffalo sauce used, you may find the chicken needs a bit of extra salt, black pepper, garlic powder, or a splash of apple cider vinegar to help the flavors pop.
Toast the Slider Rolls
When you're ready to eat, toast your slider rolls. Don't skip this step - it adds SO much texture to these sandwiches!
How to Toast Slider Rolls: In these photos, we laid our slider rolls on a sheet pan, drizzled them with olive oil, and baked them in the oven at 400° F for about 7 minutes until they were lightly browned. You can also toast your slider buns in a toaster oven, or in a cast iron skillet with a bit of butter. Use whatever method you like best!
Toss the Arugula
Toss a few handfuls of arugula with a drizzle of lemon juice, olive oil, and a pinch of kosher salt. This light dressing ties all the flavors together really nicely and helps the arugula feel more "on purpose."
Skip this step if you're ultra short on time, but we promise it's worth the extra effort!
Top one half of each toasted slider roll with a scoop of the buffalo chicken mixture. Add a few crumbles of blue cheese and a handful of the dressed arugula, then top with the other half of the roll and serve!
A Few FAQs
Yes. Toss chicken with buffalo sauce in a large baking dish and bake at 375° Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit. Keep in mind that quickly baked chicken may not shred as easily as slow cooker chicken: If you cook your chicken in the oven, you may find it's easier to slice it than to shred it. You can also cut baked chicken into several large pieces and use one piece per sandwich (instead of specifically making shredded buffalo chicken sliders).
If your chicken is hard to shred after a few hours of cooking, it may need more time at low heat in the slow cooker. That low + slow cook time is key to creating moist chicken that easily falls apart. For food safety, always be sure to cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit.
No. We always recommend thawing your chicken before cooking it in a crock pot! Slow cookers use a low temperature, which means frozen chicken defrosts slowly and can linger in the USDA's temperature "danger zone" (between 40-140°F) where bad bacteria thrive. If you only have frozen chicken handy, you can thaw frozen chicken in the fridge overnight or submerge an airtight bag of frozen chicken in a dish of cold water for 30 minutes until it thaws, then proceed with the recipe as written.
If you're making these crockpot buffalo chicken sliders as an appetizer for a crowd, we recommend pairing them with other fun, game-day style finger foods (like our bacon cheese tater tots, bbq chicken nachos, a tray of carrots and celery sticks with some ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing for dipping, or greek yogurt twice baked potatoes). If you're serving these sandwiches as part of a full meal, add a side like our arugula lemon salad, greek yogurt potato salad, or some baked broccoli and parmesan!
Yes! Once the chicken is shredded, stir a few generous scoops of cream cheese into the crock pot and let the heat of the chicken melt it into a thick dip (don't forget to taste and add any seasonings as necessary!) Top with blue cheese and serve with chips, carrot sticks, or crackers. You can also add extra cheese (white cheddar, goat cheese, mozzarella) to the chicken if you'd like a richer, cheesier dip. If you prefer to serve this as a dip, we recommend leaving out the arugula and instead topping the dip with a handful of sliced green onions.
Yes! It's easy to scale this buffalo chicken sliders recipe up for more servings: just plan to use about ⅔ cup of buffalo hot sauce or wing sauce for every 1 pound of chicken you cook.
(Fun fact: You can also hit the handy "1x", "2x," or "3x" buttons in the recipe card below to scale any recipe for you!)
If you're feeding a big group, save time by setting out each component on its own to make a build-your-own sandwich bar instead of assembling everything yourself. If the food will be out for more than half an hour or so, skip dressing the arugula so it doesn't wilt.
Yes! This chicken is easy to make in advance. Cook the chicken in the slow cooker as directed, shred it, then let it cool completely. Transfer cooled chicken to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months (you may want to toss it with a bit of extra buffalo sauce after defrosting to help restore some of the flavor!)
Video: How to Make Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Sliders
More Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes
When it comes to easy weeknight chicken recipes, a crockpot is our secret weapon!
Did you make this recipe? Leave a comment and star rating below to let us know how it turned out!Print
Slow cooker buffalo chicken is the star of these easy sliders - perfect for game day or busy weeknights!
For the Chicken:
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 large pieces)
- ⅔ cup buffalo sauce
- kosher salt, to taste
To Assemble the Sandwiches:
- 8-10 slider buns, halved
- 3 heaping cups fresh arugula
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- kosher salt, to taste
- ⅓ cup crumbled blue cheese
Make the Slow Cooker Chicken:
- Toss chicken breasts, buffalo sauce, and a pinch of salt together in the bowl of a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours, until chicken is cooked through and tender.
- Use two forks to carefully shred chicken (do this right in the bowl of the slow cooker: this helps the chicken soak up any extra buffalo sauce as it cools!) Set aside while you prep the rest of the sandwich ingredients.
Assemble the Sandwiches:
- Toast slider buns using your preferred method. You can use the oven (lay the buns out on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 400° F for 4-8 minutes until toasted), a toaster oven, or a cast iron skillet over medium high heat for this! Just don't skip the toasting step: Toasting the slider rolls adds some much-needed texture to these sliders.
- In a medium bowl, toss arugula with olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.
- Time to assemble! Top each toasted slider bun with a scoop of shredded buffalo chicken, a few crumbles of blue cheese, and a handful of dressed arugula. Serve immediately.
Additions and Substitutions. Use sharp white cheddar, pepper jack, gorgonzola, or mozzarella in place of the blue cheese. Add pickles, coleslaw, ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing, or extra buffalo sauce to the sandwiches during assembly if you like. Swap the arugula for spinach or mixed greens. Use BBQ sauce in place of buffalo sauce if you prefer. Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs in place of breasts.
Which rolls should I use? Pretzel slider rolls, potato rolls, Hawaiian rolls, or mini burger buns are all good here (this is also great with our salted dinner rolls!). For larger sandwiches, use four regular-sized hamburger or sandwich buns (or try our whole wheat burger buns). Whatever rolls you use, be sure to toast them before assembling the sandwiches!
In a hurry? Cook chicken on the crockpot's high heat setting for 3-4 hours.
Store cooled chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. This chicken also freezes well - it will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for 3-4 months (you may want to toss it with some fresh buffalo sauce once it's defrosted for extra flavor!)
Ingredients and Equipment. We used a 5 quart Crock Pot slow cooker in these photos. We've tested this recipe with a variety of buffalo wing sauces - use whatever you like! We typically have Frank's or a generic store brand of hot sauce on hand.
Food Safety Tip: Always make sure chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165° Fahrenheit.
- Serving Size: 2 sliders
- Calories: 557
- Sugar: 6.8 g
- Sodium: 1608.9 mg
- Fat: 18.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 45.7 g
- Protein: 49.8 g
- Cholesterol: 132.5 mg
Keywords: crock pot, meal prep, chicken recipe