Rodeo Chicken Sandwiches

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I’m always looking for new and creative ways to use up leftovers. I hate wasting food and leftovers are a great opportunity to transform one meal into an entirely different dish. These rodeo chicken sandwiches are the perfect example – they take boring leftover chicken and turn it into something fun and crave-worthy!

The name says it all – these sandwiches are packed with big, bold barbecue flavors that will make you feel like you’re chowing down at a rodeo fair. Shredded barbecue chicken, peppery arugula, creamy ranch slaw, and crispy onion rings all get stacked between a buttery toasted brioche bun for maximum enjoyment.

I love making a big batch of these rodeo chicken sandwiches on the weekend to enjoy throughout the week for quick lunches or dinners. Almost everything can be prepped ahead of time too, so putting them together is a cinch. Even kids gobble these fun sandwiches up!

With fresh, zesty flavors and a satisfying combo of crispy, creamy, and tender textures in every bite, these just might become your new favorite way to repurpose leftover chicken.


Why You’ll Love These Rodeo Chicken Sandwiches

They transform boring leftovers

  • Made with shredded leftover chicken, these sandwiches breathe new life into a tired protein. Genius!

They’re packed with flavor

  • Savory barbecue chicken, creamy ranch slaw, peppery arugula, and crispy onion rings – these have it all.

They’re fun and crave-worthy

  • Kids and adults alike will love the rodeo fair-inspired stacked sandwich concept. So clever!

You can prep them ahead of time

  • Make the slaw and shred the chicken up to 3 days ahead. Quick assembly required.

They’re satisfying but not too heavy

  • Loaded with flavor and texture without weighing you down.

They’re customizable

  • Swap any ingredients to suit your tastes – chicken, cheese, toppings and bread.

Tips for Making Amazing Rodeo Chicken Sandwiches

Shred the chicken by hand

Use two forks to shred and break the chicken up into long thin strands for the best consistency.

Toast the brioche buns

Buttery, sweet brioche is ideal. Toast the buns for 1-2 minutes to achieve a crispy exterior.

Make the slaw at least 30 mins ahead

Letting the shredded veggies marinate in the dressing softens them up.

Don’t skimp on toppings

Pile the fillings high! Soft shredded chicken on the bottom, slaw and cheese in the middle, onion rings up top.

Brush onion rings with oil or spray

Before baking, coat the onion rings in oil or nonstick spray so they get extra crispy.

Add a sauce for moisture

Drizzle the chicken and slaw with bbq sauce or ranch dressing before stacking for extra moisture.

Wrap extras airtight and refrigerate

Store leftovers for up to 4 days. Reheat in the oven at 375°F for 10 minutes, rotating halfway.

The Ingredients


Choose leftover roasted, baked, or rotisserie chicken. Remove skin then shred by hand into long thin strands.

Brioche Buns

Fluffy, buttery brioche buns are ideal for these sandwiches. Soft and sturdy enough to hold the fillings.

Barbecue Sauce

Your favorite bbq sauce adds sticky sweetness. Use it to moisten the shredded chicken.

Ranch Dressing

Mixed with shredded cabbage and carrot, ranch makes a fast creamy slaw topping.

Cheddar Cheese

Melty cheddar adds another layer of cheesy richness. Provolone or pepper jack work too.


Peppery arugula gives fresh contrast to the rich fillings. Crisp lettuce also works.

Onion Rings

Store-bought onion rings crisp up in the oven for the perfect topper.

Mayo and Mustard

Slather mayo and mustard onto the toasted brioche buns for a tangy foundation.

How to Make Rodeo Chicken Sandwiches

Step 1 – Shred the Chicken

Start with about 2 cups of cooked, chopped chicken. Use two forks to shred and break it up into long thin strands. Toss with a little bbq sauce to moisten.

Step 2 – Make the Slaw

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup ranch dressing, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Toss with 3 cups shredded cabbage and 1 grated carrot. Let sit for 30 mins.

Step 3 – Prep Remaining Ingredients

Slice brioche buns in half and toast if desired. Rinse and pat dry arugula. Open a package of onion rings and divide onto a foil lined baking sheet.

Step 4 – Bake Onion Rings

Bake onion rings at 400F for 5-7 minutes until crispy and browned. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Step 5 – Build the Sandwiches

Slather both bun halves with mayo and mustard. Layer bottom buns with chicken, top with slaw, cheese slice, arugula, and onion rings. Top with bun tops and serve.

What to Serve with Rodeo Chicken Sandwiches

Substitutions for Rodeo Chicken Sandwiches

Instead of chicken:

  • Pulled pork
  • Shredded bbq brisket
  • Plant-based chicken or beef

Instead of brioche buns:

  • Pretzel rolls
  • Hawaiian rolls
  • Potato rolls
  • Ciabatta rolls

Instead of cheddar:

  • Provolone
  • Pepper jack
  • Swiss
  • Blue cheese

Instead of onion rings:

  • Crispy fried onions
  • Jalapeño poppers
  • Mozzarella sticks
  • Fried pickles

Instead of arugula:

  • Shredded lettuce
  • Baby spinach
  • Sliced tomato
  • Sliced onion


How long do these sandwiches last?

Store assembled sandwiches refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat before serving.

Can I use rotisserie chicken?

Absolutely! Rotisserie makes these sandwiches even easier. Just remove skin and shred meat.

Do I need to toast the buns?

It’s recommended for texture, but not required. Soft buns work too.

What’s the best cheese for these?

Cheddar is classic, but provolone, pepper jack, and Swiss all work well too. Get creative!

Can I make the slaw ahead of time?

Yes! It holds up very well made 1-3 days in advance. Just store it refrigerated.







Rodeo Chicken Sandwiches

Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course, Snack
Keyword: chicken, sandwich
Servings: 4 sandwiches


  • Baking sheet
  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • Grater
  • Knives and cutting boards
  • Spatulas or tongs
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Foil or parchment paper


  • 2 cups shredded chicken cooked (seasoned with salt and pepper)
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce plus more for serving
  • 4 brioche buns split
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter for toasting buns
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon or yellow mustard adjust to preference
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar adjust to taste
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 large carrot grated
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1 10 oz package frozen onion rings baked


  • Prepare Chicken: If your chicken isn't already cooked and shredded, do so. Season with salt and pepper. Once ready, toss the shredded chicken with barbecue sauce and set aside.
  • Make Slaw: In a mixing bowl, combine ranch dressing and apple cider vinegar. Stir in shredded cabbage and grated carrot until well-coated. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Toast Buns: Lightly butter the cut side of each brioche bun. Toast them in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown or in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  • Spread & Assemble: On the toasted side of the buns, spread a layer of mayonnaise and a thin layer of mustard. Build your sandwiches by layering the following: barbecue chicken mixture, a slice of cheddar cheese, a good helping of slaw, a handful of arugula, and a few onion rings.
  • Serve: Plate your sandwiches and serve with extra barbecue sauce on the side. Enjoy!