How To Make Shredded Chicken

Learn how to make shredded chicken easily and quickly with this simple and delicious recipe. Perfect to use in salads, casseroles, tacos, and more!

Shredded chicken breast in a bowl with forks

Quick and Easy Shredded Chicken

I use shredded chicken in so many recipes, as I am sure that you do as well. The easiest and most versatile chicken to have on-hand is shredded chicken. Having a cooked protein in your fridge during the week saves time at dinner, while also makes meal prep a breeze. You can use it in so many dishes from salads, tacos, pasta, and casseroles, to sandwiches, soups, stir fry, and rice bowls. The possibilities are endless. 

While I regularly purchase the pre-made rotisserie chickens at my local supermarket, I have found that with prices increasing everyday, making shredded chicken at home is really quick and easy while also being cost effective. 

I’m going to show you how easy tender, shredded chicken is to make at home!

What Kind Of Chicken To Use

You can use any type of chicken you prefer. Dark meat, light meat, boneless skinless chicken breasts, or boneless skinless chicken thighs. It’s really up to you! The cooking method I am going to share with you today is fast and I like to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, because they cook up quickly and are lower in fat. Whatever type you choose, this method will work.

Note: Bone-in chicken takes longer to cook, and also requires the bones to be removed, which you will do before shredding it.  

Tools You’ll Need:

Cooking tools: My method only requires a skillet with a lid. 

Shredding tools: Stand mixer with a paddle attachment OR forks. They sell fancy shredding forks, and while they are handy, they are completely unnecessary. 

How to Make Shredded Chicken/Instructions:

Step 1: Cook the Chicken: 

Season your chicken with salt, pepper, or any other seasonings you prefer.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat and brown the chicken on each side. 

Add in some chicken broth or water to the skillet and cover with a lid and simmer for 7 – 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F on a meat thermometer.

Step 2: Shred the Chicken:

You can do this a few ways. Allow the cooked chicken to cool a bit and use two forks to pull it apart. OR to save time you can simply put the chicken in the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment and turn it on to medium-low and watch how the chicken shreds quickly!

And yes you can also use an electric hand mixer too if you don’t have a stand mixer. Just mix it on low until the chicken shreds!

Add a little of the liquid from the pan that you cooked the chicken in back into the shredded chicken. This adds moisture and flavor.

cooked and shredded chicken in a bowl

How To Season Your Chicken

I have written this recipe as simply as possibly, producing the most versatile chicken for all recipes. But if you can absolutely get creative with the spices you use. Here are a few seasoning ideas I love paired with salt and pepper:

  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Cumin
  • Italian seasoning blend
  • Steak Seasoning
  • Chili Powder

Can You Boil Chicken for Shredded Chicken?

Sure! boiling chicken is another easy way to cool chicken to shred, but I prefer this skillet/stovetop method because it packs in more flavor than boiling chicken. You season the chicken however you prefer and when you brown the chicken in the oil it creates that delicious crust…which is flavor! I also find that boiled chicken can get a little rubbery in texture, so this method prevent that!

Other Cooking Methods:

Oven Shredded Chicken:

Season the boneless, skinless chicken breasts and place in a baking dish. Drizzle with a tablespoon or two of olive oil at and bake at 400°F for 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Shred with 2 forks or in the stand mixer as outlined here.

Crock Pot Shredded Chicken:

Season your boneless, skinless chicken breasts and place in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add in 1 cup of chicken broth, cover, and cook for 3 – 4 hours on high. Shred with 2 forks or in the stand mixer as outlined here.

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken:

Season your boneless, skinless chicken breasts and place in the bottom of your pressure cooker. Add in 1 cup of chicken broth, cover and set the pressure cooker lid valve to sealing. Cook on high for 10 minutes, followed by a 5 minute natural release. Next quick release any steam/pressure that remains. Shred with 2 forks or in the stand mixer as outlined here.

What To Make With Shredded Chicken 

I have so many recipes here on my website to make with shredded chicken. Browse around using my search bar up top to see them all! But here are a few of my favorites shredded chicken recipes:

How To Store and Reheat Shredded Chicken

Keeping shredded chicken on-hand and ready to be used is key to making your week easier. 

Refrigerator Storage:

Cook and shred a bunch of chicken at the beginning of the week and it will be good stored airtight in the refrigerator for 3 – 4 days. You can use plastic or glass containers as well as zip-top bags.

Freezer Storage:

If stored in an airtight container or a freezer bag, your shredded chicken will be good for 3 months in the freezer. Thaw the frozen chicken in the refrigerator prior to using.

Reheating Shredded Chicken:

  • The microwave is probably the easiest method. You can add a few splashes of water or broth, cover with plastic wrap and heat for 30 seconds.
  • On the stovetop place the chicken in a saucepan with a little broth, cover and heat on medium-low for 5 – 6 minutes, depending on the amount you’re reheating.
  • In a skillet, follow the same method you would for the stovetop: a few tablespoons of water or broth, cover and simmer until cooked.
pulled chicken in a bowl

FAQs:

How Long Is Cooked Chicken Good For In the Fridge?

The USDA says stored properly chicken will be good for 3 – 4 days. I usually play it safe and throw it out after 3 days.

How To Make Dry Shredded Chicken Moist?

If you have over-cooked your chicken in the skillet or the oven, go ahead and shred it, but then add a few splashes of chicken broth onto the chicken before storing. The added broth will impart flavor and moisture. In this recipe I recommend adding some of the liquid from the skillet back into the chicken after shredding. 

What’s the Difference Between Shredded Chicken and Pulled Chicken?

No difference! The two phrases can be are are used interchangeably. 

Is Chicken Easier To Shred Hot or Cold?

Warm for sure! If you have ever bought a rotisserie chicken at the store and decided to shred it off the bone later, you will know this to be true. Same goes for this shredded chicken recipe as well, although if you use my stand mixer trick it shreds pretty easily warm or cold!

Print

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Description

Easy shredded chicken can be made in under 25 minutes, perfect for meal prep, dinner ideas and more!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat and place the chicken in the skillet. Season the top of the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes until browned. Flip the chicken over, season the other side with salt and pepper and cook for 4 – 5 more minutes until browned on both side. 
  2. Add the chicken broth, cover the skillet with a lid and cook for 7-10 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F. This time will vary depending on the thickness and size of the chicken breasts.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pan to shred. You can use two forks to shred the chicken on a plate or  place the chicken in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Lock the mixer head and start on low speed, increasing to medium-low. The chicken will shred in under 20 seconds. The longer you mix, the smaller the chicken shreds will be. Alternately you can use an electric hand mixer for this step as well. Just shred on low speed. 
  4. Add a little juice from the pan back into the chicken to add moisture and flavor. 
  5. Use the shredded chicken as needed, or store for later use.


Notes

store airtight in the refrigerator for 3 – 4 days.

freeze airtight for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

Keywords: cookies and cups, chicken recipe, shredded chicken, dinner idea

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