If you want a flavorful dinner that cooks itself, my easy slow cooker chicken leg quarters is a great dish! It has a homemade barbecue sauce and lots of onions to add a ton of flavor. Everyone will love this meal, even your picky eaters!

Barbecue flavored slow cooker leg quarters on a platter.

When days get shorter, and the weather is cold, I turn to my slow cooker more often. It is a great way to make dinner with little work! If you haven’t tried cooking in a slow cooker or Crock Pot yet, I encourage you to do so. There is nothing like dumping ingredients in and coming home to a ready-made hot meal!

These chicken leg quarters are slow-cooked with homemade barbecue sauce. The flavor penetrates the meat, making it absolutely delicious! Chicken legs and chicken leg quarters are also great for those on a budget!

I have delicious gluten free slow cooker recipes if you want even more dinner ideas :-). If you want more slow cooker chicken recipes, here are my top 30 recipes.

Why my kids love this slow cooker chicken quarters recipe:

  1. It cooks while you are away!
  2. Meats cooked in a slow cooker stay tender, moist, and delicious. The barbecue flavor also slowly cooks into the meat, making it so good!
  3. Even your picky eaters will love my homemade mild-sweet barbecue sauce recipe.

If you love these chicken legs in a slow cooker recipe, try my Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken recipe too!

We loved this, thanks! Didn’t brown the chicken, removed the skin though, added sliced red peppers & jalapeño too, served with rice, yum!”

gina, blog comment

Allergen Information:

This homemade barbecue chicken quarters recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, soy-free, and oat-free.

Photos of the chicken leg quarters ingredients.

Ingredient Notes:

For the full list of ingredients and amounts, please go to the recipe card below.

  • Chicken leg quarters – I love these because they have a lot of meat. You can also use regular bone-in chicken thighs or legs too!
  • Ketchup – You can use any brand. Although most ketchup is gluten-free, it is good to read the labels.
  • Mustard – I like to use brown mustard because it adds more flavor. You can also use Dijon if you prefer.
  • Spices – Chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Be sure your spices are gluten-free and not processed on shared equipment if you are sensitive to gluten.

What slow cooker is best?

Any slow cooker will work well. The size is the most important factor for me because I like to cook a big meal so that there are leftovers to freeze. I use this 7-quart Crock Pot and it is big enough for my family of four.

Step-By-Step Photos and Directions:

Photos of steps 1 and 2 making the slow cooker chicken.

Step 1: In a small bowl, add the sauce ingredients and mix well.

Step 2: Add the chicken leg quarters and sliced onions to the slow cooker.

HINT: I created this slow cooker chicken quarters recipe to be a dump-and-go recipe because I wanted it to be the easiest possible. If you like a browned finish for your chicken, I would encourage you to brown it in a hot oiled skillet on each side for 4 minutes before adding it to the slow cooker.

Photos of steps 3 and 4 making the slow cooker chicken legs.

Step 3: Smother the sauce over the chicken and add the water to the slow cooker. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.

Step 4: This easy slow cooker BBQ chicken will be kept in an airtight container for up to 4 days or for up to 4 months in the freezer. Add leftover chicken to a freezer-safe zip-style bag and press the extra air out to freeze it.

Try these tasty flavor variations!

You can vary the flavors in this barbecue slow cooker chicken legs recipe.

  1. You can make this slow cooker chicken with mushrooms or add veggies like carrots and potatoes.
  2. Add some spice by adding 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red peppers to the barbecue sauce.
  3. Use boneless chicken breasts and shred the meat when cooked so you can use it for sandwiches.
  4. Add jalapeños for a kick of spice!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you put raw chicken in the slow cooker?

You can definitely put raw chicken in your slow cooker. That is how it cooks with all of the flavors from the sauce.

Should chicken be covered in the liquid when cooking in the slow cooker?

As the chicken cooks, it will produce a lot of liquid, so covering it in liquid is unnecessary.

Can you overcook chicken in the slow cooker?

Although it’s difficult, you can overcook your chicken in a slow cooker. For the best results, always follow a recipe’s cooking time.

Can you cook frozen chicken in the slow cooker?

Unfortunately, frozen chicken shouldn’t be cooked in a slow cooker. The temperature is too low, and the chicken can spoil if it is cooked too slowly.

The top view of a platter with cooked chicken quarters.

More Gluten Free Chicken Recipes:

Love This Recipe?

If you made and enjoyed this recipe, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a comment below. This will help others know this recipe is delicious. Thank you!

Barbecue slow cooker leg quarters on a platter.

Barbecue Slow Cooker Chicken Leg Quarters

Sandi Gaertner
A delicious easy homemade slow cooker chicken leg quarters recipe that is budget friendly.
4.92 from 35 votes
dairy free allergen icon
an egg free allergen icon
gluten free allergy icon
nut free allergen icon
soy free allergy icon
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 5 minutes
Course Gluten Free Dinner Recipes, Meal Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 4 leg quarters
Calories 487 kcal


  • 1 ½ pounds chicken leg quarters
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons brown mustard Dijon also tastes great
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground paprika
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ cup onion sliced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup water


  • Put the barbecue sauce ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
  • Pour the water into the bottom of the slow cooker. Add your chicken leg quarters to the slow cooker and then top with the sliced onions.
  • Pour the sauce on top of the chicken and onions.
  • Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.
  • HINT: I created this slow cooker chicken quarters recipe to be a dump-and-go recipe because I wanted it to be the easiest possible. If you like a browned finish for your chicken, I would encourage you to brown the chicken in a hot oiled skillet on each side for 4 minutes before adding it to the slow cooker.
  • Enjoy hot. You can add potatoes and carrots if you would like to slow cook some vegetables with the chicken.


  1. You can use chicken leg quarters, chicken legs, or any bone-in chicken pieces you have on hand.
  2. If you like your chicken really saucy, double the barbecue sauce recipe.
  3. This chicken dinner will keep fresh for up to 4 days in an air-tight container. 
  4. You can freeze this chicken easily in a freezer-safe zip-style bag.


Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.


Serving: 1leg quarterCalories: 487kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 25gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 142mgSodium: 1278mgPotassium: 628mgFiber: 2gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 2412IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 52mgIron: 2mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @FearlessDining or tag #FearlessDining!

Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

4.92 from 35 votes (27 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I made this and it was great. However, I am still confused by the chicken measurements for the recipe. Chicken quarters from my store amount to significantly more than 1 1/2 pounds between 4 of them. It’s more like 8-12 of them per 10 pound bag, which leaves me utterly guessing on how to ratio the sauce recipe. Any suggestion on how to calculate it properly? Thanks for a tasty recipe though!

    1. Hi Beth, WOW, I buy two chicken quarters and the two are 1 1/2 pounds. I am not sure how to standardize this if each store/butcher cuts them differently? I will think about what I can do about this. I am glad you loved the recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    I just left a comment and meant to put avocado *oil and also meant that I don’t*plan to brown my chicken beforehand. Sorry for the typos . Fara

  3. 5 stars
    Hello- I’m planning on making this tonight but I have a question. The avocado o that’s in the recipe- does that go into the ingredients for the sauce or is that oil to be used if someone wanted to brown their chicken beforehand in a skillet? Also, if I don’t have avocado oil, would olive oil suffice? I do t plan on browning my chicken first but I’m asking in case it’s supposed to go into the BBQ sauce recipe. Thanks so much, Fara

  4. 3 stars
    I tried the recipe using store bought bbq sauce. Not sure what happened but my sauce, when done was liquidity. I like a thicker sauce. Perhaps it’s the liquid from the chicken. The flavor was good.

    1. Hi Mark, it was the liquid from the chicken. The barbecue sauce recipe I include was seasoned for the extra liquid. I haven’t made this recipe with store-bought bbq sauce, but if you use that, you would want to use more and maybe less water.

  5. 5 stars
    This was easy and delicious! I will definitely make it again. I prepared it as per the recipe and it was done perfectly. Served with southern style mashed potatoes and a green veg, it’s a wonderfully comforting dinner that ticks all of the boxes. The sauce was really good and made the house smell scrumptious too. I am going to try slow cooking a pork tenderloin in the same BBQ sauce tomorrow. 😉

  6. You most certainly can cook frozen chicken in the slow. It’s better to cook it on high, not low. Make bbq chicken leg quarters from frozen all the time in the slow cooker.

  7. 5 stars
    We loved this, thanks! Didn’t brown the chicken, removed the skin though, added sliced red peppers & jalapeño too, served with rice, yum!

  8. 4 stars
    That is strange. I have been cooking frozen chicken in my slow cooker for well over a decade and have never had it go bad on me. I guess I have just been lucky?

    Great recipe! Very delicious.

      1. Hi , like Robert am a bit confused too. There are a lot more ingredients than the picture of them, happy with that but how much water please and is it put in the bbq sauce or in bottom of cooker?

  9. This sounds like a good recipe, but I am confused as to which ingredients go into the BBQ sauce, and which just go into the slow cooker.

  10. 5 stars
    My first time cooking BBQ chicken. It was so delicious! Definitely will be making this again. I didn’t change anything in the recipe.

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed the chicken recipe! It is one of my favorites because it is so easy. Thank you for taking the time to come back and let me know you enjoyed it!!