How to Make Shredded Chicken

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The step by step directions below show how to make delicious shredded chicken. I’ve included my favorite tips, several cooking methods, and the secret to quick shredding!

It can be cooked in the oven, crockpot, instant pot, or even on the stove. It’s always great to have ready to go for adding to recipes or even for making soups, salads, and sandwiches.

close up of oven shredded chicken breasts

Make Shredded Chicken at Home

  • Chicken is a low-fat, low-calorie, and low-carb protein that can be added to almost any main dish recipe.
  • It’s quick and easy to make at home and costs less than buying it.
  • It’s perfect for soups, salads, chicken casseroles, and more.
  •  Change up the seasonings to change up the flavor.

Ingredients assembled to make oven shredded chicken

Ingredients Needed for Shredded Chicken

CHICKEN (of course!): Boneless, skinless chicken breast is preferred as they have lots of meat and work well in most recipes. Boneless chicken thighs will work too.

If you have bone in chicken breasts (or split chicken breasts) remove the skin before baking and season the meat. Once cooked, remove the breast from the bone and shred as directed below.

SEASONINGS: This recipe makes an all-purpose shredded chicken so we’ve kept the seasonings simple. This allows for the chicken to blend well in most recipes. Garlic powder, onion powder, and a dash of salt and pepper are flavorful and delicious.

VARIATIONS:

Swap up the seasonings with any of the following:

process of adding spices to raw chicken breasts

How to Make Shredded Chicken

  1. Toss the chicken with a bit of olive oil and season.
  2. Bake (in the recipe below) the seasoned chicken in a covered dish with a splash of water or broth.
  3. Remove the chicken from the oven and shred per the directions below.

Crockpot Shredded Chicken:

  1. Place ingredients in a slow cooker along with 1 cup of broth.
  2. Cook on high for 2 ½ – 3 hours (or on low for 5-6 hours) or just until chicken reaches 165°F.
  3. Using forks or a hand mixer, shred chicken per the directions below.

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken (fresh or frozen):

These make great Instant Pot shredded chicken tacos too!

  1. Place 1 cup of broth or water in the bottom of an instant pot.
  2. Add the trivet and place seasoned chicken breasts on the trivet.
  3. Press “Poultry” and cook for 15 minutes if frozen and 12 minutes if fresh (timing is for 6oz breasts. Larger/smaller may need more/less time).
  4. Once done, release pressure and shred as directed below.

Other Ways to Cook Chicken for Shredding:

cooked chicken breasts sitting in a baking dish

How to Shred Chicken

There are many methods for shredding chicken. The secret to shredding chicken quickly is a hand mixer (or stand mixer).

For finer shredded chicken: If you’d like a finer texture, the best way to shred chicken is with a mixer because it is both easy and fast. Place the warm chicken in a bowl and use a hand mixer (the same one you use for creaming butter for cookies) on low speed.

Shred the chicken with the mixer just until shredded (this goes really fast, do not over-shred). This also works in a stand mixer.

For chunky shredded chicken:  If you’d prefer thicker bits of shredded chicken, use two forks (like you would shred pulled pork) or break the chicken breasts apart with your hands.

Storage and Freezing

FRIDGE: Keep shredded chicken in the refrigerator in an airtight container and use it for meal prep throughout the week. It will stay fresh for 4-5 days.

FREEZER: Make an extra batch (or three) and freeze in individual zippered bags for quick and easy meals on the go. Chicken can be frozen for up to 2 months.

chicken breasts in a baking dish being shredded

What to Do with Shredded Chicken

What’s your fave way to make Shredded Chicken? Leave us a comment below!

close up of oven shredded chicken breasts
5 from 1 vote
Review Recipe

Oven Shredded Chicken

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 3 cups
Author Holly Nilsson
Perfectly seasoned, shredded chicken breast made in the oven comes out tender & juicy every time!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • teaspoon onion powder
  • teaspoon garlic powder
  • teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon pepper

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Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Coat chicken with oil and seasonings.
  • Place the chicken in a baking dish with a ¼ cup of water and cover with foil.
  • Cook covered for 30-35 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Remove from the oven and rest 5 minutes.
  • For a thicker shred, shred chicken using two forks to pull apart the strands. For a finer shredded chicken, place warm chicken in a bowl and use a hand mixer on low. Shred until chicken reaches desired consistency.
  • Optional: Stir in some of the cooking juices if desired. This adds flavor and keeps the chicken juicy.
Slow Cooker
  • Place ingredients in a slow cooker along with 1 cup of broth or water (and herbs if desired). 
  • Cook on high for 2 ½ - 3 hours (or on low for 5-6 hours) or just until chicken reaches 165°F.
  • Using forks or a hand mixer, shred chicken per the directions above. Stir in some of the juices if desired.
Instant Pot (fresh or frozen)
  • Place 1 cup of broth or water in the bottom of an instant pot. Add the trivet and place seasoned chicken breasts on the trivet.
  • Press “Poultry” and cook for 15 minutes if frozen and 12 minutes if fresh (for 6oz breasts, larger/smaller may need more/less time).
  • Once cooked, quick release pressure and shred as directed above. Stir in some of the juices if desired.

Recipe Notes

  • Any seasonings you'd like can be used in this recipe.
  • Use any cut of chicken you'd like, bone-in chicken will require a longer cook time. 
  • Chicken shreds best when it is still warm.
  • With any cooking method, the chicken should reach 165°F on an instant read thermometer.
  • Shredded chicken can be stored for up to 5 days in the fridge or up to 2 months in the freezer.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 185, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 32g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 97mg, Sodium: 272mg, Potassium: 563mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 46IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 8mg, Iron: 1mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword how to make shredded chicken, how to shred chicken, Oven Shredded Chicken, Shredded chicken recipe
Course Chicken, Dinner, How To, Lunch
Cuisine American
oven shredded chicken breasts in a dish with text
oven shredded chicken breasts and forks with text
close up of oven shredded chicken breasts with text
oven shredded chicken breasts and the ingredients needed to make it with text
About the author

Holly

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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