How to Make Shredded Chicken (Easy and Flavorful)
An easy, fast and flavorful shredded chicken recipe that’s incredibly versatile. It’s my favorite method for making shredded chicken because it keeps the chicken moist, shreds in seconds and infuses more flavor than other methods, such as boiled or poached chicken.
Shredded Chicken (pulled chicken recipe)
Shredded 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.
The Best Chicken to Use
You can use boneless skinless chicken breast or boneless skinless chicken thighs for shredded chicken. 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.
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 less 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 shredded chicken and toss to combine.
How to Store Shredded Chicken
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. Shredded chicken will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge and up to 2 months in the freezer.
I frequently make a large batch of shredded chicken, freeze it in small containers and then just thaw as needed. It makes my daily recipes a breeze.
Healthy Recipes that Use Shredded Chicken
- Whole30 Chicken Broccoli Casserole
- Zucchini Noodles with Chicken, Spinach and Parmesan
- Mini Chicken Pot Pies (gluten-free, paleo)
- Apple Chicken Salad
Watch the Video to See How Quickly I Make Shredded Chicken
Shredded Chicken (How to Make Shredded Chicken)
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, or thighs
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 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.
- 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.
- Use the shredded chicken in your favorite recipes or freeze in storage containers for future use.
- 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.