Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw


Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw is a unique and mouthwatering crock pot recipe. 

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw |

I’m feeling quite refreshed in the culinary department after our trip to KCMO (which I’m now realizing is how all the cool kids refer to Kansas City, Missouri!)

Sometimes when you do the same thing day in and day out – no matter the field – a once free-flowing faucet of fresh ideas can occasionally slow to a mere trickle. That being said, the menus at the eclectic restaurants Ben and I visited last weekend provided me with tons of foodie inspiration, and left me brimming with new and creative recipes ideas.

Take these Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw, inspired by a menu item at The Westside Local, for instance. I was this close to ordering ’em for dinner when I decided it would be more fun to recreate at home. So I did. And I’m dying over them!!

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw |

Chicken breasts are slow cooked in a homemade bourbon-BBQ sauce then shredded and topped with smoky gouda cheese, and tart, Crunchy Apple Slaw. These sandwiches are seriously insane. Mouthwatering. Mind blowing. And made right in the crock pot!

Crock pot recipes seem to slow down in the warmer months, but this is actually the best time of year to bust your crock put out as they don’t heat up the house like cooking with the oven or stove. When they’re used to create a summery dish like this, dripping with smoked gouda cheese (!) all the better. I am in love with these tart & tangy topped, smokey bourbon chicken sandwiches.

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw |

Start by getting the homemade bourbon-BBQ sauce ready, which cooks the chicken to tender, saucy perfection. This may look like a TON of ingredients, which it kind of is, I guess, but I had every single one already on hand.

You’ll need ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce or gluten-free Tamari, apple cider vinegar, red pepper flakes, pepper, brown sugar, dijon mustard, molasses, and garlic and onion powders.

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw |

Oh, and bourbon, of course! Ben’s a bourbon guy. There’s nothing that man likes more than sipping a room temperature glass late at night while listening to hip hop music. I can’t…even.

You only need 1/2 cup bourbon for the recipe, so if you don’t have a bottle on hand and don’t feel like buying one, pick up a couple of those little bottles they have near the cash register in the alcohol department of your grocery store. I wouldn’t substitute anything in place of the bourbon – it gives this dish an unbelievably unique flavor.

That being said, don’t tell Ben I used 1/2 cup of his bourbon.

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw |

Anyway! Combine the bourbon-BBQ sauce ingredients in the bottom of a large crock pot then whisk to combine.

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw |

Next add 2lbs chicken breasts that have been cut in half then smother them in the sauce.

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw |

Cook the chicken on low for 4-6 hours or until very tender (individual crock pot times vary – I only needed 4 hours,) then shred with 2 forks. It should pretty much just fall apart at this point!

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw |

Scoop out 2 cups of the cooking liquid then let it bubble and reduce in a saucepan on the stove top for 15 minutes, or until slightly thickened. It will continue to thicken as it cools, FYI.

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw |

Add the shredded chicken back into the crock pot and stir with the remaining sauce then place a lid on top and keep warm.

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw |

Next make the Crunchy Apple Slaw that goes on top of the Bourbon Chicken Sammies. In a large bowl whisk together 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, and 1 Tablespoon honey. 

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw |

Next add the juice of 1/2 lime and salt and pepper. 

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw |

To the dressing add 3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage, and 1 thinly chopped Granny Smith Apple, then toss everything to combine. I loved the crispy, crunchy, tart, and sweet flavors in this slaw!

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw |

Slice some buns open then top with the shredded chicken…

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw |

Top with a few spoonfuls of the reduced bourbon-BBQ sauce…

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw |

Then place a few slices of smoked gouda cheese on top. Smoked gouda is ma JAM, people. Probably favorite cheese ever. I got a wedge at Whole Foods but you should be able to find some at most major grocery stores.

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw |

Pop the sandwiches under the broiler for a minute to melt the cheese, then top with the Crunchy Apple Slaw and devour.

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw |

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw

serves 6


Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw is a unique and mouthwatering crock pot recipe.


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup bourbon (I used Bulleit)
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons light molasses
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce or gluten-free Tamari
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2lbs chicken breasts, cut in half
  • 6oz smoked gouda, sliced
  • Buns/rolls
  • For the Crunchy Apple Slaw:
    • 2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • 1 Tablespoon honey
    • juice of 1/2 lime
    • salt & pepper
    • 3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
    • 1 large Granny Smith apple, thinly chopped


  1. Combine ingredients from ketchup to pepper in a large crock pot then whisk to combine. Add chicken halves then cover completely in sauce and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until chicken is very tender. (I only needed 4.)
  2. Remove 2 cups cooking liquid then transfer to a saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat slightly and let bubble and thicken, about 15 minutes. Sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Meanwhile, shred chicken with 2 forks then return to crock pot with remaining liquid and stir to combine.
  3. For the Crunchy Apple Slaw: In a large bowl whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, lime juice, salt and pepper. Add cabbage and apples then toss to combine.
  4. Place shredded chicken on top of bottom buns then top with reduced sauce and slices of smoked gouda. Place under broiler until cheese is melted then top with Crunchy Apple Slaw and serve.


Adapted from Bon Appetit.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw |

This is a stand-over-the-sink and inhale kinda sandwich. Which, yes, I freely admit to doing. So worth it. Messy, cheesy, crunchy, and with a deep bourbon flavor, this is one of my favorite recipes to come out of my kitchen in ages. Hope you love it too!

Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw |

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  1. Kristin, this looks mouth wateringly good and your photos are amazing. I want to eat it right off the screen. Nothing like a bit of inspiration. I look forward to more delicious recipes. Thanks x

  2. Jess 07.09.2013

    There’s so much great food in KCMO these days – it’s my hometown and I’m always amazed at how much great food there is these days! These look totally irresistible, Kristin – such unique flavors. My husband is a bourbon guy too – he’ll go crazy over these!!

  3. Sara G. 07.09.2013

    Looks good, and I’m LOVING the morning posts!!

  4. AC 07.09.2013

    When you see recipes you’re inspired to recreate, do you take a pic of the menu? Jot down the details? Or, do you just remember?

  5. basem 07.09.2013

    Schiff beautiful and great food

  6. AshleyCarole 07.09.2013

    This looks delicious! I had some Bourbon chicken over the weekend and was looking to copy it at home so this is perfect timing! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Anne [A Squared] 07.09.2013

    I love a good slow cooker recipe– and the fact that it’s BBQ is even better! Looking forward to trying this.

  8. Tieghan 07.09.2013

    Bourbon chicken! YUM! This looks like one awesome sandwich!

  9. I think about how hard it would be to be a food blogger for years and post as much as you do. Virtually everything out there has been done already so creating something unique can certainly be a challenge! I agree, eating out is the best inspiration!
    Even though I’m a vegetarian, I draw inspiration from you!. Your meals are always easy and tasty, I love them. And I love this apple slaw! :)

  10. I hear you on the idea thing. Sometimes I wonder if there is literally anything else I could possibly post about fitness but then other times, ideas flow like water! :)

    Those sammies look delicious. I need to break out my crockpot!

  11. Looks SO yummy! I love the addition of apple slaw!

  12. Wow, this looks insanely good! I love pulled pork/chicken sandwiches, and love the idea of adding bourbon. Going on my must-make list for next week!

  13. One juicy, delicious looking sandwich!!! Slaw sounds divine!!!

  14. crockpot recipes in the summer FTW! this looks like a fancied up version of a sandwich the mister and i make all the time. i like it.

  15. Kelly 07.09.2013

    These look so good, but I don’t have a crock pot — how would you recommend cooking the chicken to get the most similar effect? I’m always stumped on this when I see awesome crock pot recipes!

  16. Tom T. 07.09.2013

    Love the simplicity of crock pot cooking. That BBQ sauce looks delicious.

  17. Yum! My hubby is from MO and would love this! And I’m always game for anything with smoked Gouda on it… it’s so GOOD-a. (I know…)

    • P.S. I have Southern Comfort on hand do you think that will work as bourbon? I don’t even know what kind of alcohol Southern Comfort is but I’ve seen it in similar recipes.

  18. Oh man that looks good.

  19. Sally 07.09.2013

    Yum! This is going on the list for dinner next week.

    My hubs and I are big rye/bourbon drinkers too. Tell Ben to look for Cedar Ridge’s bourbon whiskey. It’s a local IA distillery and it’s fab (we stock up whenever we come back from DC.) Templeton Rye is also local and amazing, if you can find it!

    • Stephanie 07.09.2013

      I was gonna say the same thing. My husband LOVES Cedar Ridge!

  20. Andi 07.09.2013

    Oh, YUM! Now I know how to use up that bourbon!!!


  21. This apple slaw sounds amazing!! I am going to make it the next time that I make portobello burgers. I think that it would be a fantastic topping!

  22. Looks like I’m going to have to bust out the crock pot!

  23. Chelsea 07.09.2013

    I think this would be FAB for tailgating in a couple of months! No broiler to melt the cheese, but still so yummy!

  24. I am so making this…and SOON! I am a sucker for this type of menu item. Headed to Kansas City next weekend for my birthday and The Westside Local is on my list. I may be ordering this. :)

    Smoked gouda is my absolute fav cheese!! I grab it at Trader Joe’s for super cheap!

  25. Pam E-P 07.09.2013

    Buy that man some Woodford Reserve, stat! It’s made in my hometown. Also, take him to KY to visit the Bourbon Trail. The Woodford Reserve distillery is on an old horse farm and is GORGEOUS!

  26. Lauren Williams 07.09.2013

    I do enjoy any easy recipe for the crockpot! Thanks for the delicious post!

  27. In the crockpot right now…..

  28. YUM! And that is my husband’s favorite bourbon. He too likes to sip it neat and gets a little cranky when I use it for cooking but I’m guessing he would quickly get over it after trying these :)

  29. Nessa 07.09.2013

    This looks insanely good!

  30. kristen 07.09.2013

    Hoping all you vegetarians out there(or non-veggie chefs) can figure out how to do this with TVP? Fake Chicken just not in the crockpot (after the sauce)? need to make this as I live in the land of Bourbon. My fav so far: Heaven Hill 12 year or the top of the line Woodford.

    Looking forward to any and all ideas!

  31. Yum what another great recipe :)

    I am yet to buy a crock pot / slow cooker but I really need to get one ASAP.

  32. […] like that I was better. We came home and had Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw for dinner. SO. […]

  33. Jamie 07.10.2013

    Made these last night. Yummy!

  34. I am in love with this meal!!! Like totally in love!

  35. Mary 07.10.2013

    But…3 pictures for pouring? 3 pictures for squeezing a lime? Your site is becoming unfriendly to the data-using mobile phones and even on wifi is taking a long time load anymore. :(

    • Iowa Girl Eats 07.10.2013

      Hey Mary! I’m sorry to hear that the site is moving slow for you. The pictures you mentioned are actually 1 picture each (they’re collages) but we are always working to make the site faster. Thank you for your feedback.

  36. cassie 07.11.2013

    can you replace some good maple syrup for the molasses? is that a dumb question? i don’t know if i would use the molasses any other time…

    • Iowa Girl Eats 07.12.2013

      It’s not a dumb question at all! I would add an extra Tablespoon of both brown sugar and water to replace the molasses!

  37. Catherine Vander Woude 07.11.2013

    Thanks for a great crock pot recipe! The pepper flakes in the sauce give it a kick! My final product was not as photogenic as yours, but still delicious. I love smoked Gouda, but it really didnlt melt very well… Oh we’ll, topped it with a bun and ate it up!

  38. I am always looking for food crock pot recipes…mine always seem to fall a bit flat, but with some good bourbon, I am sure this could never!

  39. Mindy W 07.12.2013

    Made this for supper tonight. Also cooked up some chicken wings and slathered them with the BBQ sauce. Yum from the whole fam!

  40. […] {Dinner} Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken with Crunchy Apple Slaw. The name is a bit of a mouthful, but one that I want in mine! This sounds a little unusual and SO […]

  41. […] Sunday: Kristin’s Crockpot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with  Crunchy Apple Slaw […]

  42. What a tasty looking sandwich and love it’s crunch!

  43. […] tied me over for a while, so I was good to go until dinner. When I saw Kristin’s recipe for Crockpot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw the week before, I immediately added all the necessary ingredients to the grocery […]

  44. Meredith 07.17.2013

    I have made a ton of recipes from your site, but this one is my favorite hands down! So easy to make. The slaw goes perfect with the flavors of the chicken. I look forward to making this again during football season :)

  45. […] I saw this recipe on Kristin’s {soon to be a new mama!} amazing blog, I immediately started drooling. She’s […]

  46. […] Crock Pot Bourbon Chicken Sammies with Crunchy Apple Slaw […]

  47. […] fat from meat and place meat in crock pot or slow cooker. Add onion, green pepper and water to cover. Add bouillon. Slow cook in crock pot […]

  48. […] saw the recipe on Iowa Girl Eats and adapted it ever so slightly.  What great flavors!  Also, having just returned from the […]

  49. […] forget smoked gouda – this salad is ma jam! ; ) I wouldn’t skip a single ingredient in here, as you can […]

  50. June Friedman 01.17.2014

    Just found this recipe -love to try but can I substitute another cheese for the smoked gouda

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