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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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Healthy Recipes that Use Shredded Chicken

Watch the Video to See How Quickly I Make Shredded Chicken

How to make shredded chicken that's easy, fast and flavorful. It's my favorite method for making shredded chicken.
5 from 10 votes

Shredded Chicken (How to Make Shredded Chicken)

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
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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.
  • 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.

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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44 comments on “How to Make Shredded Chicken (Easy and Flavorful)”

  1. This is a great way to make chicken breast if you have a tendency to overcook them and dry them out. The broth really helps the chicken stay moist!

    • I agree! The broth really does keep the chicken moist and then it’s shredded and ready to be used in so many different recipes. I’m happy you love it as well Devon!

  2. I was hoping you would comment on why this method says dark meat would require less time than breast meat. I have always thought it was the exact opposite. Hoping to use this today.
    Thanks!

  3. I almost NEVER leave comments, but I just had to!!
    These instructions were great; this is the best my shredded chicken has ever turned out. Two thumbs WAY up.
    The only difference I had to make was to put my broth in the pan before I flipped the chicken; it helped loosen up the parts that were a little stuck. The meat shredded easily was was nice and moist.

    Great job and thanks so much!

  4. genius! the product you end up with is perfect and to have more prepped is why we want these great machines. thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you for the kind words, Susan! I’m so glad you loved the shredded chicken! :)

  5. Hi Lisa
    Whats your take on shredding chicken in the Vitamex?

    • Hi Ghada – I’ve never tried shredding chicken in a Vitamix, but my initially thought is that it may not come out the same way. You can use a hand mixer or two forks to shred by hand.

  6. Hi,
    Any thoughts about a Vitamix blender for shredding???  I don’t hv a stand mixer, just a hand-held one. 

    • Hi Joni – You can definitely use the hand mixer for shredding the chicken. I would make sure you have a sturdy grip of the bowl and I’ve thrown a hand towel over my mixer so the occasional chicken piece doesn’t fly up.

  7. Can you use water instead of chicken broth? Just watching the additional calories/sodium. 

  8. I don’t have chicken broth. Can I use water instead. 

  9. Can you just use a hand mixer or a food processor?

    • Yes, you can use a hand mixer as well. Just be careful that it doesn’t jump back on you. I wouldn’t recommend a food processor as it will pulverize it too much.

  10. THANK YOU! wow this was SO much better than the crockpot chicken breast I made last week. Much quicker and easier too.

  11. I’m making enchiladas for the first time and have never shredded chicken, always just bought the rotisserie and burned my fingerprints off!  This chicken is moist and delicious and shredding with the mixer is THE BEST cooking hack.  GENIUS!  Now what to do with all this chicken?!  Chicken Nachos, chicken salad, salad topped with chicken…my brain is on overload. 

  12. Best shredded chicken I’ve ever made Lisa, thanks for the great tips on how to cook and then shred the chicken. I used my kitchenaid and I am delighted with the results. So I have some great meal prep for this week. Thanks to you xx

  13. This past Sunday we cooked chicken using this method for the broccoli mushroom chicken casserole and the bbq chicken sweet potatoes. It’s amazing and so fast! The chicken still has a pan-seared flavor and is so soft and easy to shred. Cooking it this way makes it easy not to overcook (something I’m guilty of). Now I don’t hate cooking chicken hehe.

  14. Just learning to eat healthier. Your site is just what I need to help me get started. I am almost 70 and have always cooked comfort food . Love the advance preparation. Thank you so much. This is a life changer.

  15. Hi Lisa!
    A random question – what brand is your saute pan? I’ve been looking for a cast iron version for a glass lid for an age!
    Thank you :)

  16. Just tried this and it’s really good and easy! One thing I did different was, I put the remaining braising liquid (about 1/4 cup) back into the chicken after shredding…added a lot of flavor and moistness.

    Rating: 5
  17. Omg a stand mixer to shred chicken?! Genius. You just changed my chicken shredding world!

    Rating: 5
  18. Such a versatile use of chicken. I love doing this for soups, stews and even on top of pasta such a time saver!

  19. Love this method! I always have some shredded chicken stored away, it is so handy for so many different dishes!

    Rating: 5
  20. This just solved half of my problems while cooking! Thanks a lot!

    Rating: 5
  21. Thank you, thank you! Can’t believe I’ve went this long without knowing to do this. So simple for weeknights and sure to please the whole family! Everything taste better simple and made at home!

    Rating: 5