BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

If you’re the one who always orders BBQ pulled pork sandwiches at restaurants or BBQ joints, you probably also crave it at home too! Well, pulled chicken is a great decoy for pulled pork and if you’re ok with the switch, you’ll want to see how the Trader Joe’s BBQ Pulled Chicken has saved my booty at mealtime when tensions are at their highest.

Pulled chicken sandwich on a brioche bun topped with jalapeño pieces and pickles slices. The sandwich is on a teal plate and there are potato chips next to it.

Hands down, my favorite way to eat pork is in a BBQ pulled pork sandwich. I mean, all that tender, slow cooked pork bathed in BBQ sauce on a buttery bun? Add some coleslaw to the sandwich and I’m in utter heaven!

But, what do you do when you’re craving a home cooked BBQ dinner and you don’t have a pork roast in the house already, don’t have 12 hours to slow cook it, it’s too expensive to buy, or you just don’t eat pork? Chicken to the rescue!!

What is BBQ Pulled Chicken?

One of my favorite ways to cook chicken is pressure cooked in the Instant Pot. It’s SO much faster than the crock pot and it makes THE BEST shredded chicken!

Pulled chicken is simply slow-cooked or pressure-cooked chicken that is shredded into pieces. If you want BBQ pulled chicken, you’ll stir some BBQ sauce into the shredded chicken. Pretty straightforward, right?

Front of a package of Trader Joe's Pulled Chicken in Hickory Smoke Flavored BBQ Sauce.

However, there are some nights when I can’t get dinner on the table fast enough for my hungry little family and rather than ordering take-out, I like to keep a few fast meals in the fridge and freezer. These are the types of meals I can simply pull out and have dinner on the table in under 15 minutes.

Trader Joe’s has a TON of options for these types of fast meals, including pulled chicken in a hickory smoke flavored BBQ sauce.

Read more about the Pulled Chicken in Hickory BBQ Sauce!

We’ve reviewed it and gave it the Two Cousins’s Exclusive Cart Rating.

How to Make BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

At the root of it, you only need 3 ingredients to make BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches:

  • Shredded chicken
  • BBQ sauce
  • Rolls or bread
Ingredients for BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches. Brioche buns, crispy jalapeño pieces, and pulled chicken in hickory smoke flavored BBQ sauce.

Here’s how I made pulled chicken sandwiches using Trader Joe’s Pulled Chicken in Hickory BBQ Sauce! (Be sure to keep scrolling down for the full list of ingredients and recipe instructions!)

STEP 1: Warm up the pulled chicken. The Trader Joe’s Pulled Chicken comes ready to heat with the BBQ sauce already mixed in to the chicken.

STEP 2: Split the buns in half. If you going to toast the buns, I’d also recommend buttering them up after they’re toasted – butter-toasted buns are the best!

STEP 3: Top the bottom buns with the hot pulled chicken and close up the sandwich.

MY GOODNESS, can that BE any easier?!

The Best Buns for Pulled Chicken or Pulled Pork

So, let’s take a moment to discuss the buns you’re going to want to use for BBQ pulled chicken or even pulled pork sandwiches.

Most importantly, you need sturdy buns. Forget anything that resembles a thin, soft hamburger bun or any kind of sandwich thin. These types of buns will just fall apart and you’ll end up with BBQ sauce down the front of your shirt. Not fun. Trust me.

You also don’t want a dense, crusty bun, like a Portuguese roll, because the pulled chicken is going to shoot out the back of the bun into your hands and down your shirt. Again, not fun.

The best bun for BBQ pulled chicken or BBQ pulled pork is one that’s soft and thick. Think: brioche, potato buns, Bulky rolls, or fresh Kaiser rolls.

Of those 4 types, brioche buns, like the Trader Joe’s Brioche Buns I used here, and potato buns are my 2 go-tos for this type of messy sandwich. They’re both really squishy and yet sturdy enough so that they don’t fall apart in your hands.

Toppings Ideas

If you know me, I can’t leave well enough alone and I NEED toppings on my burgers and sandwiches.

So for these sandwiches this time, instead of the traditional coleslaw or shredded cabbage piled on top of pulled chicken sandwiches, Kyle and I both reached for sliced dill pickles and crispy jalapeño pieces.

And let me tell you! The combo of sweet BBQ sauce with tangy pickles and mildly spicy jalapeños was AWESOME! I absolutely love coleslaw on top of pulled pork or chicken sandwiches but I may have just ruined all of that with the pickles and crunchy jalapeño pieces!!

Review: Trader Joe’s Crispy Jalapeno Pieces

Other ideas for crunchy pulled chicken sandwich toppings are Fritos, Trader Joe’s Elote Corn Chips, potato chips, tortilla chips, onion rings, or even fried onion strips like what you’d put on top of green bean casserole.

What to Serve with Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

No sandwich meal is complete without sides, right? So let’s dig in here with some side dish suggestions.

Since we ate our sandwiches for lunch on the day I took these pictures, we ate chips on the side. I had some of Trader Joe’s Patio Chips and Kyle went with the Trader Joe’s Ridged Chips. Trader Joe’s Chips in a Pickle Chips or Lidl’s Dill Pickle Chips would also be outstanding with these sandwiches!!

A bowl of homemade Panera's Mac and Cheese on a white plate with a spoon resting against the bowl. This is the perfect side dish for BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches.

Here are a few other suggestions for great side dishes to go with pulled chicken sandwiches:

The Result

Needless to say, we absolutely devoured these sandwiches!

The pulled chicken on its own is fantastic – better than than any store-bought or restaurant pulled chicken I’ve ever eaten – so it wasn’t at all difficult to expect greatness from these sandwiches.

But let me tell you, the crunchy dill pickles and crispy jalapeño pieces took these BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches to an entirely new level. If you’re going to be at Trader Joe’s to pick up this pulled chicken, I’m pleading with you to toss a container of the jalapeño pieces into your cart as well! They’re not super spicy and they add exactly the right amount of heat and crunch to these sandwiches.

We’ll be keeping Trader Joe’s pulled chicken in the fridge all summer long for quick and easy lunches and dinners – both for these sandwiches and for things like nachos and cheesy dips too!

Pulled chicken sandwich on a brioche bun topped with jalapeño pieces and pickles slices. The sandwich is on a teal plate and there are potato chips next to it.

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches are an excellent alternative to pulled pork sandwiches, especially if you don't eat pork. Trader Joe's Pulled Chicken makes lunch or dinner SO EASY and all you'll need to do is heat it up, add some crunchy toppings, and dig in!


  • 1 package of BBQ pulled chicken
  • 4 soft hamburger buns, like brioche or potato
  • Salted butter
  • Crispy jalapeño pieces
  • Dill pickles (chips, ovals, or sandwich slices)


  1. Heat the pulled chicken according to package instructions.
  2. While the chicken heats, slice the buns in half and toast them. Spread a little butter on top of each of the toasted buns.
  3. Divide the pulled chicken between the 4 buns. Top the chicken with jalapeño pieces and pickles. Close up the sandwiches and devour!


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