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BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

This is such an easy meal at our house! As long as you have some cooked chicken ready to go, these quick BBQ Chicken Sandwiches have a simple, almost-from-scratch, sauce that comes together in less than 30 minutes. It’s like the gold standard of chicken dinners.

Shredded BBQ chicken filling shown with skillet profile.

Streamlined Dinner

Keep it simple. For those busy dinner times on the way to and from soccer practice and dance team. Trying to feed your family when the grocery budget doesn’t stretch as far as it used to. Rather than resort to fast food, prep some chicken ahead of time (or use leftovers from the night before) and whip these yummy sandwiches together. You can mimic fast food and serve fries on the side with some applesauce for dipping. Go healthy with hummus and fresh veggies. Or pull some frozen veggies and more leftovers.

BBQ Chicken with the sauce in a skillet.

The Recipe

I still use chicken breast to make these, but chicken thighs are becoming more popular. Any piece you prefer will work. I often cook a whole boneless breast in the air fryer and then shred and refrigerate it until needed. Or rotisserie chicken works great as well and is a wonderful time saver.

The sauce is made primarily from ketchup and salsa. We love the flavor of these, but you can also be flexible here substituting other sauces.

You do get to add hide some onion, garlic and celery in this saucy chicken filling.

A bun opened to show juicy shredded BBQ chicken.

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Yield: 4-6 sandwiches
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

These easy, budget friendly sandwiches come together quickly with shredded chicken, ketchup and salsa. The perfect dinner for busy families.


  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup salsa
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 6 hamburger buns


  1. Sauté onion, celery and garlic in butter until tender. Stir in salsa, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire, chili powder, salt and pepper.
  2. Add chicken and stir to coat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Serve on buns.

This budget-friendly recipe for BBQ Chicken Sandwiches was orginally published in Quick Cooking in 2002. Our family has regularly prepared them ever since which means over 20 years of enjoying them! So easy. So fast. So economical. The perfect meal solution for the busy family.

So whether it’s a fast meal you need, something to make the troops happy, or a yummy use for leftover chicken, I hope you will love and rate this recipe! I’m sure you’ll be adding it to your family favorites just as we did.

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