Apple Cider-Braised Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Apple Cider-Braised Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Tender chicken braised with spiced apple cider, tart apples, onions, garlic, and barbeque sauce; all piled high on toasted pub buns and topped with an easy apple slaw. It’s unapologetically messy and completely delicious!

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We are in full fall mode around here and I am loving all the warm dishes and seasonal fruit and veggies that enhance the autumn vibes. This Apple Cider-Braised Pulled Chicken Sandwiches is a meal made especially for this season.

Inspired by Better Homes and Gardens, this chicken sandwich is both delicious and healthy! The flavors are tart and suitably sweet with just a hint of spice. A simple creamy slaw of red cabbage and grated apple is the perfect cool crunch over the tender warm chicken. You could easily stop there but stacked high on a griddle toasted bun and you have an irresistible sandwich!

What Does It Mean To Braise?

Braising is a cooking method used to tenderize. It usually involves browning the meat and cooking in a small amount of liquid on low. In this case, the chicken is seared on both sides until golden then placed in a mixture of apples, onions, garlic, BBQ sauce, and apple cider. The lid gets popped on and the magic happens! The apples cook down and become the perfect compote like sauce for the chicken to tenderize in.

Use Boneless Skinless Breast Or Thigh Meat.

Using white or dark meat is kind of a preference thing so use what you like or have on hand. A combination of both works nicely because thigh meat is rich in flavor. However, I find it’s equally delicious either way you go.

My Favorite Way To Toast Buns For Pulled Meat Sandwiches.

You’ll want to heat up a griddle (especially if you’re serving a crowd) or a large nonstick pan to medium heat. Spread a little mayo or butter (I like the mayo version best) on the inside of both halves. Place mayo side down on the hot griddle and toast until deep golden brown. Don’t toast the other side. While the inside is rich in flavor and crisp, the outside of the bun stays perfectly soft. It’s the ultimate combination and so good with all the saucy meat and crunchy slaw. My sister-in-law Stephanie showed me this method at a party she had for her daughter and I couldn’t believe how much of a difference it made in texture and flavor. However, you can most definitely toast the buns under the broiler without any spread.

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Let’s eat!🤍

Apple Cider Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Apple Slaw

Tender chicken braised with spiced apple cider, tart apples, onions, garlic, and barbeque sauce; all piled high on toasted pub buns and topped with an easy apple slaw. It's unapologetically messy and completely delicious!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 605 kcal


For the chicken

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 apples, peeled and cut in small 1/4 inch pieces any kind of apple will work
  • 1/4 cup favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1/3 cup fresh apple cider (if in season) otherwise store-bought is just fine
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • sliced mozzarella cheese optional

For the slaw

  • 2 tbsp mayo
  • 2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt, 2%
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 3 cup thinly shredded red cabbage use store-bought slaw mix for a short cut
  • 1 apple, grated use paper towels to squeeze out extra moisture
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 large pub buns or buns of choice
  • mayo or butter for spreading on buns


Braising chicken

  • Heat a large Dutch oven to medium high heat and add olive oil. Season chicken with a little salt and pepper. Sear chicken for 3 minutes on both sides until golden. Chicken does not need to be cooked through at this point.
  • Remove chicken from the pot and add onion, garlic and apples. Sauté for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add BBQ sauce and apple cider. Stir and break up the bits from the bottom. Add chicken back to the pot and turn the heat down to low. Put the lid on and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Once the chicken is cooked and the apples are soft and tender, remove chicken and shred on plate, or shred right in the pot. Place chicken back in pot with sauce and add 1 tsp apple cider vinegar. Toss to coat chicken well. Keep warm.

Apple Slaw

  • While the chicken cooks, make the slaw. In a medium bowl add the mayo, yogurt, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth. Add cabbage and apple and toss until well coated. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Griddle toasted buns

  • This is optional but it really makes these extra special. You can also toast the buns under a broiler, or in the toaster without any butter or mayo.
  • Spread a little mayo or butter (we like mayo) on the inside of each bun half. Heat a griddle or large nonstick pan to medium heat. Place buns mayo side down on hot griddle and toast inside until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. They can burn easily so make sure you don't walk away. Remove from pan and place on paper towels until ready to use.

Assemble sandwiches

  • Top each bottom bun with chicken mixture, making sure you get little bits of the cooked apple. Add slaw to the top of the chicken and place the other bun half on top. Easy!


  • Add a slice of mozzarella cheese after you've placed the chicken on the bun. Place under the broiler in the oven until melted.


Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be understood as an estimate rather than a guarantee. The Menu Maid makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
Keyword Apple Cider, Apples, Balsamic vinegar, Cabbage, Chicken, Garlic, Greek yogurt, Honey, mayo, Onions

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