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Learn How to Make Shredded Chicken in the Instant Pot, slow cooker, and on the stove! This comprehensive guide includes easy-to-follow instructions, cooking tips and tricks, seasoning and sauce ideas, and easy ways to use shredded chicken.
Why buy shredded chicken when it’s so easy and inexpensive to make yourself? This comprehensive guide on How to Make Shredded Chicken shows you how to make juicy, restaurant-quality shredded chicken using minimal ingredients and no fancy cooking skills. All you need is an Instant Pot, crockpot, or a pot on the stove to get it done!
Shredded chicken is one of my favorites to prepare during Sunday meal prep because it’s a healthy lean protein that can be used in endless recipes. Salt and pepper give it plenty of flavor, but feel free to mix things up with the seasonings or sauces of your choice! Once it’s ready, you have a delicious protein to use in chicken salad, tacos, casseroles, and so much more.
- This comprehensive guide walks you through 3 failproof cooking methods to cook chicken breasts that taste great and shred with ease.
- It’s the most versatile protein you can jazz up with the seasonings, herbs, condiments, and sauces of your choice!
- A must-have meal prep recipe that you can serve with all of your favorite lunches, snacks, and dinners.
Chicken breasts - Boneless and skinless chicken breasts are my favorite for homemade shredded chicken because they’re lean, tender, and absorb flavor easily. Boneless chicken thighs can also be used. In fact, their higher fat content helps keep the meat juicy for longer, producing more flavorful chicken.
Salt and pepper - For flavor. There are plenty of other seasonings and condiments you can use to season the shredded chicken, which you can learn more about in the Tips and FAQS below!
Chicken broth - Liquid is needed to soften and tenderize the meat when you’re making shredded chicken in the Instant Pot and on the stove. Chicken broth is my liquid of choice but you can use homemade chicken bone broth or water instead.
There are three ways to cook chicken so it pulls apart effortlessly: in the Instant Pot, crockpot, or on the stovetop. Here are the instructions for each beginner-friendly method:
How to make shredded chicken in an Instant Pot
Step 1: Season and assemble. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Pour the broth into the pot, then add the seasoned chicken.
Step 2: Pressure cook. Lock the lid in place and pressure cook for 10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before turning the valve to the “vent” position.
How to make shredded chicken in a crockpot
Step 1: Season and assemble. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper before placing them in the slow cooker.
Step 2: Slow cook. Place the lid on top, then cook the chicken on Low for about 2 to 2.5 hours, depending on the thickness of the chicken.
How to make shredded chicken on the stove
Step 1: Submerge in water. Place the chicken in a large pot or saucepan, then add enough water to cover the chicken by at least 1 inch.
Step 2: Boil the chicken. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken.
Tips and FAQs
- Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels to help the seasonings stick.
- You’ll know the chicken breasts are ready and done cooking when their internal temperature reaches 165ºF. Chicken thighs, on the other hand, are best when they’re cooked between 175ºF to 195°F.
- Let the chicken rest off of the heat for 5 to 10 minutes before you shred it.
How do you shred chicken?
Once the chicken is fully cooked and tender, you can shred it with two forks OR with an electric mixer (the easy way!):
- Shredding chicken with two forks: Transfer the cooked chicken to a clean cutting board. Then, holding a fork in each hand, insert them into the chicken and pull the forks apart in opposite directions. Continue shredding until you achieve your desired consistency.
- Shredding chicken with an electric mixer: Cut the cooked chicken into smaller pieces and place them in a deep mixing bowl. Insert the beaters into the bowl and mix on low speed until the chicken is evenly shredded.
Can you make shredded chicken with frozen chicken?
You can make this recipe with frozen chicken if you’re using the Instant Pot method, but you’ll need to add a few extra minutes to the cooking time. As for the crockpot or stovetop method, it’s best to thaw the frozen chicken in the refrigerator beforehand.
Do you season the chicken before or after cooking?
If you plan to cook the chicken in the Instant Pot or slow cooker, you can apply dry herbs and spices before or after cooking. If you’re boiling the chicken on the stove, it’s best to season it after cooking. Otherwise, the ingredients will wash off when you add water to the pot.
What seasonings go well with shredded chicken?
There’s no limit to the dry seasonings you can use to add flavor to the chicken! Here are some ideas to help spark your inspiration:
- Mexican - If you plan on using the chicken in Mexican-inspired meals, such as enchiladas, nachos, tacos, or quesadillas, use your favorite taco seasoning or a mix of cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne.
- Smoky BBQ - Use your go-to BBQ dry rub or make your own with smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, chili powder, and cayenne.
- Asian - Mix the shredded chicken with soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic powder, sesame oil, and rice vinegar for a savory and slightly sweet Asian-inspired twist.
- Italian - Use an Italian seasoning blend or a mix of basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes.
- Greek - For a light and bright Mediterranean twist, use Greek seasoning or a mix of dried oregano, thyme, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, and lemon zest.
What sauces go well with shredded chicken?
The easiest way to add flavor to a batch of cooked shredded chicken is by tossing it in a sauce, such as barbecue, buffalo, honey mustard, and teriyaki sauce. For a creamier consistency, use ranch dressing, Caesar dressing, or spicy avocado dressing instead.
How many people does this recipe serve?
A typical serving size of one cooked and shredded chicken breast is 3 to 4 ounces per person, but this can depend on the size of the chicken breast or your preferred portion size. If each breast weighs between 6 and 8 ounces, you can expect 2 chicken breasts to be enough for 2 to 4 servings.
Ways to use shredded chicken
This easy shredded chicken recipe makes dinner time an absolute breeze! Here are some of the many dishes you can make with it:
- Cottage Cheese Chicken Salad
- Pesto Chicken Salad
- Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Salad
- Mango Chicken Salad
- Chicken Brussels Sprouts Salad
- Chicken Lentil Soup
- Chicken Orzo Soup
- Chicken Quinoa Soup
- Chicken Broccoli Ziti
- Buffalo Chicken Pasta
- Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Chicken Alfredo Pizza
- BBQ Chicken Sliders
- Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip
Refrigerator: Once the shredded chicken is cool, transfer it to an airtight container or ziplock bag and store it in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Freezer: Store the chicken in a freezer-safe container and freeze for 2 to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating it the next day.
More helpful how-to guides
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How to Make Shredded Chicken (3 ways!)
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Pour the chicken broth into the bottom of your Instant Pot, then add the chicken on top.
- Close the lid, ensuring the valve on top is in the “seal” position, then pressure cook the chicken for 10 minutes. Natural release the pressure for 10 minutes before turning the knob to “vent”.
- Place the chicken on a cutting board and shred with two forks. Enjoy!
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place it into your crockpot.
- Place a lid on top, then cook the chicken over LOW heat for 2-2 ½ hours (cook time varies depending on thickness of the chicken).
- Use two forks to shred the chicken directly in the crockpot. Enjoy!
- Place the chicken in a large pot or saucepan, then fill it with water so the water is covering the chicken by at least one inch.
- Bring the chicken to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes (cook time varies depending on the thickness of the chicken).
- Use a fork to remove the chicken and place it into a large bowl. Use an electric hand mixer to shred the chicken (trust me, it’s a lot easier this way) and enjoy!