How to Make Shredded Chicken

An easy, fast and flavorful shredded chicken recipe that’s incredibly versatile. It’s my favorite method because it keeps the chicken moist, shreds in seconds and infuses more flavor than other methods, such as boiled or poached chicken.

Shredded chicken in a bowl next to plates and a napkin.

Shredded chicken (also known as pulled chicken) is one of those recipe basics that everyone should learn to master. It’s used in many recipes, from salads to appetizers to main dishes – yet those recipes usually never tell you how to make it. They just tell you you need 3 cups of shredded chicken.

Of course, you could easily buy a rotisserie chicken at the supermarket (or make one yourself) and shred that chicken with two forks. But there’s really no need when I show you how incredibly easy it is to make shredded chicken at home.

Shredded Chicken Recipe Video

Once you learn this method you’ll never make it any other way. Watch the video below!

The Best Chicken to Use

You can use boneless skinless chicken breast or boneless skinless chicken thighs. The thighs are naturally more moist but either one works. You just don’t want skin or bones for this method, given how we’ll shred the chicken.

How to Make Shredded Chicken

After testing several methods including boiling, poaching, slow cooker/Crockpot and Instant Pot, this stovetop method is my favorite. And here’s why – it’s far more flavorful (as you’re searing one side), it’s moist (as you do a half poach/steam), and it shreds in seconds (yes, seconds). So let’s break it down.

How to make shredded chicken that's easy, fast and flavorful. It's my favorite method for making shredded chicken.

How to make shredded chicken that's easy, fast and flavorful. It's my favorite method for making shredded chicken.

Sauté the Chicken

You’ll start by drizzling a little olive oil into a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and sprinkle salt and pepper generously on the top side. Let this cook for 5 minutes (it should be slightly golden), then use tongs to flip the chicken over.

Cover and Poach

Once the chicken is flipped over, add 3/4 cup of chicken broth to the pan and cover with a lid. This will keep the chicken moist while cooking it fast. Cook the chicken for another 7-10 minutes. Chicken thighs will require a little more time than chicken breasts. You can also use an instant read thermometer to ensure your chicken is cooked through (to 165 degrees Fahrenheit).

How to Shred Chicken – 2 Ways

Once your chicken is cooked, there are two ways you can shred the chicken. My favorite method is to use a stand mixer as it’s extremely fast and easy. But you could also use two forks if you don’t own a stand mixer.

  • Two Forks: If using this method, place your cooked chicken breast on a plate or cutting board. Use two forks to separate the chicken meat and shred as you separate. Continue this process with each chicken breast.
  • Stand Mixer: If you have a stand mixer, this is by far the fastest and easiest way to shred chicken. Place all of your chicken breasts in the bowl of stand mixer. Add the paddle attachment and make sure to lock the tilt head (if you have one) to prevent it from bouncing up. Turn your stand mixer on low and in 15 seconds you’ll have shredded chicken. Watch the video below to see how I do this.

The stand mixer method for shredding chicken is one of my favorite kitchen hacks. It saves your wrists from the tedious two fork method and takes a fraction of the time to shred your entire batch of chicken. It’s seriously mind-blowing.

If you like your chicken extra moist, you can also add a little bit of the liquid from the pan to the chicken and toss to combine.

How to make shredded chicken that's easy, fast and flavorful. It's my favorite method for making shredded chicken.

How to make shredded chicken that's easy, fast and flavorful. It's my favorite method for making shredded chicken.

How to Store It

Shredded chicken is great for weekly meal prep. You can shred several chicken breasts on a Sunday, store them in a container and have healthy meals throughout the week. It will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge and up to 2 months in the freezer.

I frequently make a large batch, freeze it in small containers and then just thaw as needed. It makes my daily recipes a breeze.

A bowl of shredded chicken on a table.

Recipes That Use Shredded Chicken

A bowl of shredded chicken on a table.

Shredded Chicken Recipe (Super Easy!)

4.98 from 44 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
Learn how to make shredded chicken that's easy, fast and flavorful. This is my favorite method for making shredded chicken. Watch the video above to see how easy it is to make!

Ingredients

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

Instructions 

  • 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, then use tongs to flip the chicken.
    Chicken breasts searing in a pan.
  • 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 degrees fahrenheit. You can easily measure this with an instant read thermometer.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and shred the chicken. There are two ways to do this - you can use two forks to shred the chicken or you can place the chicken in the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment on the stand mixer, lock the tilt-head down (if you have one) and increase the speed to 2. The chicken will be instantly shredded in 15 seconds. If you'd like extra moist chicken, you can add any remaining liquid from the pan to the shredded chicken and toss to combine.
    Shredding chicken breasts in a stand mixer.
  • Use the shredded chicken in your favorite recipes or freeze in storage containers for future use.
    Shredded chicken in a bowl.

Lisa's Tips

  • If you have a tilt-head stand mixer make sure to lock the tilt-head, otherwise it will bounce up when it hits the chicken.
  • These are the storage containers I use when making a large batch of shredded chicken.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of recipe, Calories: 158.7kcal, Protein: 24.8g, Fat: 5.9g, Saturated Fat: 1.3g, Cholesterol: 68mg, Sodium: 64mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to make shredded chicken, shredded chicken
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128 comments on “How to Make Shredded Chicken”

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am making hot chix sandwiches for 6, and it seems I always cook the chix until it is dry. Just these easy tips should work great. Did I say thank you?5 stars

  2. Thanks for a wonderful recipe! I’ve used the crockpot and instant pot in the past, but when I only need a few breasts shredded, this is a much easier (and tastier) method! One thing I’ve always noticed about sauteeing breasts, however, is that they create their own cooking juices and if you start with too much oil or butter, they won’t get that seared, browned flavor on the first side.

  3. Just what I needed, quick and easy for immediate use or for prep. I stored it with the remaining liquid to keep the moisture as suggested. Worked great in a pasta dish and salad this week.5 stars

  4. Made this and went perfectly with the quesadilla i used it for :))5 stars

  5. BEST hack ever! Chicken is tender, moist, flavorful, and quick n easy!! What more could you want! Followed as directed. No alterations. Perfect texture shredded chicken for my Awesome Chicken Tinga! I thank you and my guests thank you!! This will be my ONLY way to make excellent shredded chicken!5 stars

  6. I’ve used your recipe/technique several times. Always perfect! Thank you for sharing!5 stars

  7. Will have to try this. Thanks for posting! When it comes to the chicken broth though, how do you make this? Do you buy chicken broth store bought ? Do you make it on the spot before making this shredded chicken recipe ? 

    • Hi Jess – I normally will just buy chicken broth. But I will eventually create a chicken and veggie broth recipe :)

  8. The mixer method of shredding chicken is amazing! I never would’ve thought of it. It shredded the chicken perfectly and this chicken is so incredibly moist. Thanks for the tips!5 stars

  9. I made this for the white chicken chili recipe, and it worked like a charm! I will definitely use this method again. Lisa, you’re amazing.5 stars

  10. Would a food processor work instead of a mixer??

  11. What a great and time saving idea!  I made shredded chicken for egg rolls last night and I would never have known you can do this with chicken!  Does it work with other meats, like pork or beef?5 stars

    • Hi Barbara – This will work for cuts of meat that will shred easily with a fork, such as my carnitas or barbacoa.

  12. Could yu explain what you mean by “use two forks”? Do what with them, exactly? I don’t have a mixer, and we’re on lockdown where I live. I can’t go buy one. Thanks.

    • Hi Nina- Use the two forks to poke the chicken then pull it apart. In other words “shredding it”. You can also reference my recent barbacoa recipe video to see how I shred the meat with forks.

  13. I don’t normally comment on blogs, but this technique is miraculous!!! Every other time I have attempted shredded chicken: crockpot, instant pot, stovetop…. it is rubber. THIS actually works and has flavor!!!! Thank you so much for a technique that I will use time and time again. Now I am going to stalk your blog for the rest of the morning :-)5 stars

    • I’m thrilled to hear you’ve found a winning method for shredding chicken now! Can’t wait to see what other recipes you make :)

  14. This was amazing, perfect shredded chicken in a few minutes!5 stars

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