The Best Shredded Chicken

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Rest Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
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This Shredded Chicken Recipe is my tried-and true, most flavorful way to make juicy shredded chicken in just 25 minutes. Make up a batch today, freeze a batch for next week, and use it for just about everything!

Why You’ll Love This Perfect Shredded Chicken

There are tons of reasons to love this stovetop shredded chicken recipe – once you try making it, you’ll want to have it in your fridge at all times!

  • Closest to Rotisserie: With its mixture of tender, soft and juicy chicken with crispy edges, cooking chicken on the stovetop gives the most similar results to a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
  • Versatile: Shredded chicken works in so many dishes. You can use it as a filling for tacos, add it to salads, use it in soups, or casseroles, make a great sandwich… The possibilities are endless!
  • Quick and Easy: I’ve tried all the methods, and this stovetop-plus-stand mixer makes the best shredded chicken, with the easiest prep. Plus, it’s ready to use in just 25 minutes!
  • Freezer Friendly: I always make a double or triple batch and freeze shredded chicken for quick and easy dinner prep during the week. It’s so much cheaper than always buying a rotisserie chicken.

If you’re looking for a tasty way of using this shredded chicken recipe, add it to chicken taquitos or salsa verde chicken!

Chicken breasts, olive oil, broth, salt, and pepper.

What You’ll Need

To make a basic recipe of this shredded chicken, you need just five ingredients. Scroll down to the recipe card for exact amounts.

  • Olive Oil: Or avocado oil, or whatever cooking oil you prefer.
  • Chicken: Boneless and skinless chicken breasts or thighs.
  • Salt and Pepper: Or you can season it with seasonings to match what you are going to use the chicken in. Some taste examples would be adding Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning, taco seasoning, Greek seasoning, etc.
  • Chicken Broth: Or chicken stock.

How To Make Shredded Chicken

Using this easy stovetop method, your chicken will have so much flavor! Plus, it’s incredibly fast – just 20 minutes, including shredding time. Check out the recipe card for detailed instructions.

  • Heat the Oil: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat up a healthy drizzle of olive oil. 
  • Cook the Chicken on the First Side: Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Lay them in the pan and cook for 5 minutes without moving.
  • Flip, Add Broth, and Cover: Lower the heat just a smidge to medium, and flip the chicken breasts. Add 1/3 cup chicken stock or broth. Cover, and cook for another 6 to 8 minutes, until done. (I use a meat thermometer for this.)
  • Cool and Shred: Once your chicken has reached 165°F inside, uncover the pan and take it off of the heat. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes, then shred it!
Lifting the mixing attachment out of the chicken.

How To Shred Chicken

If you’ve ever wondered how to make shredded chicken, you’re in luck! Here are the top three ways to shred chicken:

  • Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer: This is the quickest method! Add your slightly-cooled chicken to a stand mixer (or bowl, if using a hand mixer) with the paddle attachment. Turn it on medium speed for literally about 30 seconds, and you’re done! I have the larger size stand mixer and it can handle up to 10 large chicken breasts at a time…the standard size can do about 5 breasts at a time. Just remember to watch it closely, because it takes just seconds!
  • Forks: Easy method with simple clean up. Use the prongs on the two forks to pull the slightly-cooled chicken apart, making sure to pull through the chicken in opposite directions.
  • By Hand: Best for larger pieces. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, use your hands to pull apart the chicken breast apart into even pieces. This method is great if you want larger pieces of chicken.
Cooked chicken meat in a bowl.

Helpful Tips

Want more tips for perfect shredded chicken? I’ve got you covered! Here’s all the inside info.

  • Thermometer: I consider using a meat thermometer to be one of the most important steps. You do not need an expensive one – a cheap one will do just fine – but it makes a world of difference. Perfectly cooked chicken every. Dang. Time. You can use an instant read meat thermometer if you want to check when you think they are close. Or, use a meat thermometer with a wired probe that you can leave in the entire time and tell you as soon as the chicken reaches the correct temperature.
  • Chicken Thighs vs. Breasts: Boneless, skinless thighs also work in this recipe. You will want to cook them a minute or two longer to achieve tender chicken – thighs have a bit more fat and connective tissue than breasts, so a tiny bit of extra cooking time can pay off. Chicken breasts are done when they reach an internal temperature of 165°F, but chicken thighs aren’t done until they reach 175°F.
  • Rest Time: It’s very important to let your chicken rest for 5 minutes before shredding it. This allows the meat to relax and release it’s juices, making it easier to shred, but also juicier!
  • Instant Pot: If you are looking for other methods of cooking shredded chicken, I also recommend using the Instant Pot. It’s great for ensuring moist, tender chicken – pressure cooking uses a lot of steam which helps keep the chicken moist. Check out this tutorial for instant pot shredded chicken for more details.
Overhead shot of a large bowl of shredded chicken meat.

What To Make With Shredded Chicken

This shredded chicken recipe is perfect for making all of your favorite chicken dinners, quickly and easily. These are just a few!

  • Chicken and Biscuits: This feel-good meal is sure to bring all of those cozy vibes to your table. southern chicken and biscuits is a classic shredded chicken recipe!
  • Taquitos: Crispy rolled tacos for the win! These air fryer chicken taquitos are simple and hassle-free in the air fryer, and have the best filling starring – you guessed it – basic shredded chicken.
  • Enchiladas: You could use this in just about any enchilada dish, but we really love these sour cream chicken enchiladas! They combine classic enchilada flavors with spicy buffalo chicken for a dish that’s out of this world. 
Lifting a bite of chicken toward the camera on a fork.

Freezing Instructions

To freeze your shredded chicken, you’ll want to cool it down first, and then package it in usable portions. Some people like to do one-cup portions, while others might do larger portions to make family-sized recipes with. It’s up to you!

Either way, seal the portions tightly in freezer friendly bags, containers, or a double layer of plastic wrap or foil. Freeze for up to three months, and thaw in the fridge overnight before using for best results!

Close-up of juicy shredded chicken.

FAQs

What’s the easiest way to shred a lot of chicken at once?

If you are shredding a lot of chicken at once, a stand mixer, or a hand mixer is the easiest and fastest way at only 30 seconds! After I shared this method for shredding a bunch of chicken on Facebook, I realized that not many people know about this trick.

How do I shred 1 or 2 chicken breasts?

If you are shredding only one or two chicken breasts, then two forks is the easiest method. It will take about the same amount of time that it would take you to wash your stand mixer. Full directions on three different ways to shred chicken are listed above!

How long does shredded chicken last in the fridge?

Shredded chicken is like any other cooked chicken – it will keep for roughly 4 days in the refrigerator, safely stored in an airtight container, zip-top bag, or tightly covered dish. You can serve it cold, or warm it up if you prefer.

More Easy Shredded Chicken Recipes

A white serving dish full of chicken shreds.
4.4 from 37 votes
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Yield: 4 Servings

Best Shredded Chicken

The Best Shredded Chicken recipe is exactly that! This is the absolute best and most flavorful way to make tender and juicy shredded chicken in just 25 minutes.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Rest Time5 minutes
Total Time25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or thighs
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, or avocado oil
  • cup chicken stock, or broth

Instructions 

  • Season chicken with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and let warm for a minute.
  • Place chicken breasts top side down. Let cook for 5 minutes without moving.
  • Lower the heat just a smidge to medium heat and flip the chicken breasts. Add 1/3 cup chicken stock.
  • Insert your thermometer and cover pan with lid. Let chicken cook until the meat thermometer reaches 165°F for chicken breasts or 175°F for chicken thighs. This takes about 6-8 minutes for chicken breasts and 8 to 10 minutes for chicken thighs, depending on the thickness. (If your broth simmers down completely, add just a little more as needed.)
  • Once your chicken has reached temperature, remove the pan from the heat. Take out the thermometer probe and keep the lid off. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes. (Important step to ensure juicy, tender chicken!)
  • Shred your chicken breasts as desired. Use shredded chicken immediately, or cool completely and freeze for later!

Notes

Ways To Shred Chicken:
  • Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer: This is the quickest method! Add your slightly-cooled chicken to a stand mixer (or bowl, if using a hand mixer) with the paddle attachment. Turn it on medium speed for literally about 30 seconds, and you’re done! I have the larger size stand mixer and it can handle up to 10 large chicken breasts at a time…the standard size can do about 5 breasts at a time. Just remember to watch it closely, because it takes just seconds!
  • Forks: Easy method with simple clean up. Use the prongs on the two forks to pull the slightly-cooled chicken apart, making sure to pull through the chicken in opposite directions.
  • By Hand: Best for larger pieces. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, use your hands to pull apart the chicken breast apart into even pieces. This method is great if you want larger pieces of chicken.
Storage: Store shredded chicken in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. You can serve it cold, or warm it up if you prefer.
Freeze: Seal shredded chicken tightly in freezer friendly bags, containers, or a double layer of plastic wrap or foil. Freeze for up to three months, and thaw in the fridge overnight before using for best results!
Thermometer: I consider using a meat thermometer to be one of the most important steps. You do not need an expensive one – a cheap one will do just fine – but it makes a world of difference. You can use an instant read meat thermometer if you want to check when you think they are close. Or, use a meat thermometer with a wired probe that you can leave in the entire time and tell you as soon as the chicken reaches the correct temperature.
Rest Time: It’s very important to let your chicken rest for 5 minutes before shredding it. This allows the meat to relax and release it’s juices, making it easier to shred, but also juicier!
Seasonings: I use just salt and pepper, but you could definitely add different seasonings if you prefer. Montreal chicken, lemon pepper, Cajun seasoning, or taco seasoning would all be amazing! For a basic but still zesty flavor profile, use salt and pepper along with paprika, garlic powder, and oregano.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 167kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 160mg, Potassium: 441mg, Sugar: 0.3g, Vitamin A: 35IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 6mg, Iron: 0.5mg

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Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.