Slow Cooker Apple Cider Pulled Chicken You Can Make in Your Crock Pot or Instant Pot
Slow cooker pulled chicken simmers in your crockpot all day with apple cider, apple slices, and onions. Or make this family-friendly dinner in a flash in your Instant Pot. Then pile the shredded chicken on bread or rolls and top with cheddar cheese for yummy sandwiches. The perfect quick and easy autumn meal on a busy night.
Did you ever flip through a cookbook or magazine or browse the web and find a recipe you really wanted to try, then you want to change one ingredient, don’t like another, ran out of something else, and by the time you are eating it, it is absolutely nothing like the recipe you just HAD to have? Yeah, that happened here.
I was checking out How Sweet It Is, one of my favorite blogs, and saw Jessica’s Crockpot Cheesesteak Pulled Chicken, and it sounded awesome. Only it had beer, and, you know, wheat allergy here. So I figured I’d use hard cider.
I don’t really like green peppers, and I didn’t think red ones would taste really good with the cider. So instead I went with sliced apples.
Then once I put in apples, I thought garlic would not be a good addition, so I left it out.
And I didn’t really want to melt the cheese into the chicken, so I just shredded it and put it on top. And there you go, this is NOT the Crockpot Cheesesteak Pulled Chicken from How Sweet It Is.
But it’s still really, really good…
Crockpot Apple Cider Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
I loved the fall flavors in my version, and it was super easy and super delicious. The sweet apple and sweet onion played so nicely together. In addition, the hard cider as a cooking liquid imparted so much flavor.
Do you have to use hard cider?
If you choose not to cook with alcohol you CAN use sparkling cider. If you cannot find 12 oz. bottles of sparkling cider, just use 1 1/2 cups from a full-size bottle of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider, or your favorite brand
- Peel and slice your apples, then slice your onions. Lay them in the bottom of your slow cooker.
- Place chicken breasts on top.
- Sprinkle salt, pepper, dry mustard, and paprika over the chicken, then pour hard cider or sparkling cider over the top.
- Cover and cook until the chicken is tender.
- Grab some tongs and forks, shred the chicken, and return to the slow cooker with the apples, onions, and juices.
- Make your sandwiches and enjoy!
How do you serve Apple Cider Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken Sandwiches?
After it has cooked, shred up the tender chicken, mix it back in with the onions and apples. Then pile it all onto some toasted rolls, as shown in most of the photos, or on crusty bread as you’ll see below. Finally, top it with sharp cheddar cheese and enjoy.
Perhaps you’d like some Herbes de Provence Baked Sweet Potato Fries or Baked Cauliflower Tots as a side dish. Or for a soup and sandwich dinner enjoy with a steamy bowl of my favorite butternut squash soup recipe.
Can you make Apple Cider Pulled Chicken Sliders?
Yes, this would make the perfect party or potluck food. Similar to these Slow Cooker Salsa Pulled Chicken Sliders, you can buy Hawaiian rolls or small slider rolls like Martin’s Potato Rolls. Have your chicken cooked in advance, and then party guests can make their own sliders or you can prepare them and put them out on a platter.
Can you make Apple Cider Pulled Chicken in an Instant Pot?
Yes, yes you can make Instant Pot Pulled Chicken. While this was originally developed as a crockpot pulled chicken recipe, I have tested it in my Instant Pot and it works great. The apples and onions do get a bit softer, but they still hold up and it’s still delicious.
You’ll just use the Manual setting for 15 minutes. It only takes about 10 minutes to cook the chicken through, but those extra few minutes will ensure it is super tender and shreds easily. However, feel free to adjust as you try this recipe based on the size of your chicken breasts.
Additionally, I would NOT recommend using frozen chicken for both food safety reasons and because it will take longer to cook, so the apple slices likely will not hold up.
Is Apple Cider Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken gluten free?
Yes, the pulled chicken itself is gluten free. As always, be sure to read labels on your spices, and make sure to get hard apple cider or sparkling cider, not an Apple Ale. I’ve used Strongbow and Angry Orchard to make this shredded chicken.
If you are making the Apple Cider Pulled Chicken Sandwiches, just be sure to use gluten free bread or rolls.
Alternatively, you could enjoy it over rice or Browned Butter Cauliflower Rice, or stuffed into baked sweet potatoes. Also, this chicken is delicious on top of a salad, especially when you drizzle it with Creamy Greek Yogurt Maple Dijon Salad Dressing.
What other recipes can you make with hard cider or sparkling cider?
- Apple Cider Cheddar Cheese Butternut Squash Soup
- Sparkling Apple Cider Chutney
- Sparkling Apple Cider Floats (cocktail or mocktail)
- Gluten-Free Sparkling Apple-Cranberry Bundt Cake
- Slow Cooker Hard Cider Barbecue Pork from The Magical Slow Cooker
- Apple Cinnamon Cranberry Mimosa or Faux-mosa from Honey and Birch
Apple Cider Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken Recipe for your Crockpot or Instant Pot
When you walk in the door after a long day of work or errands or running around with the kids, Apple Cider Pulled Chicken Sandwiches are a perfect dinner because they are easy, comforting, and not too heavy. That is why they are a delicious meal to warm you up and calm you down. Whether you let it cook all day in your slow cooker or make it fast in your Instant Pot, this is sure to be a dinner the family will love.
I hope you’ll leave a comment and give it a FIVE STAR rating or share a photo on this pin on Pinterest!
Apple Cider Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken
- 1 apple, peeled and sliced
- 1 large sweet onion, sliced
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 12 oz. bottle of hard apple cider or 12 oz. (1 1/2 cups) non-alcoholic sparkling cider
- 12-16 slices of sourdough or your favorite bread, or 6-8 rolls toasted
- 8 oz. shredded sharp white cheddar cheese (about 2 cups)
- Place the onion and apple slices on the bottom of your slow cooker or Instant Pot.
- Lay the chicken breasts on top of the apples and onions, and sprinkle on the salt, pepper, paprika, and mustard. Pour the hard cider over the top.
- Cook on in the slow cooker low for 6-8 hours, or until chicken is cooked through and shreds easily. Or set the Instant Pot to Manual for 15 minutes and, after the cooking time is completed, use the Quick Release to release the pressure.
- Remove the chicken from the slow cooker or Instant Pot, shred with two forks, and return to the slow cooker or Instant Pot.
- Using tongs, toss together the chicken, apples, onions and cooking liquid until evenly distributed.
- Top one slice of bread or bottom of a roll with the shredded chicken mixture, sprinkle with about 1 oz. (1/4 cups) shredded cheddar cheese, and top with the other slice of bread or top of the roll.