Whether you cook the chicken yourself or buy pre-cooked chicken, there are a few easy methods to shredding it. It's a fantastic way to add some protein to your favorite dishes and perfect for meal planning and make-ahead recipes. Here's everything you need to know about making and shredding chicken in no time at all.
How to Make Shredded Chicken
As we touched on above, making shredded chicken is super easy but before you get started, you'll need some cooked chicken. There are several quick ways to make cooked chicken for shredding, or if you're short on time or not in the mood to cook, you can always pick up pre-cooked chicken from your local deli or supermarket.
Buy a Rotisserie Chicken
Picking up a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket is the fastest, no-fuss way to make shredded chicken. It's a great option if you don't want the hassle of cooking or are looking to make a quick dinner.
Roast the Chicken
If you have time, roast a chicken for shredding. Roasting chicken will give you fantastic flavor and making it yourself allows you to season it to your tastes. Lemon-herb, garlic butter, anything you want!
If you're short on time, you can boil pieces of chicken for shredding. Thighs, legs, and breast meat all work best for this method and you can add other ingredients to the water to help subtly flavor the chicken. Fresh chopped herbs, onions, carrots, citrus, and spices are all delicious options.
You can also cook the chicken in a skillet, a pressure cooker, Instant Pot, or grill it. It's entirely up to you!
How to Shred Chicken
Making shredded chicken at home requires little work. There are a few tried and true methods you can use. Each way to shred chicken is equally effective – how you do comes down to a matter of preference.
Method One: Use Forks
Take two forks. Use one as an anchor and use the second to pull the chicken. Alternate between the two and before you know it, you'll have a neat little pile of shredded chicken.
Method Two: Use Your Stand Mixer
Remove the bones from the chicken and cut the chicken into pieces. Place the chicken in the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix the chicken on medium-low for several seconds. That's it! Perfectly shredded chicken, every time.
Method Three: Use Your Hands
Let the chicken cool down enough where you can handle it. Pull the meat apart. This hands-on method is ideal for controlling how large you want the pieces of shredded chicken to be.
Tips for Shredded Chicken
Let the chicken cool slightly but not completely before shredding. It's easiest to shred the chicken while it's still warm but not too hot.
Use any type of cooked chicken. Roasted, pan-cooked, pressure cooked, and Instant Pot chicken can all be shredded with ease.
Shredded chicken is wonderful in a chicken noodle casserole, a quick, light cabbage and chicken salad, mixed with cheese and spices to make a stuffed avocado or added to stir-fry or fried rice. It's so versatile you can cook all sorts of hearty main meals with shredded chicken. Tacos, stromboli, and so much more!
How to Store Shredded Chicken
To keep it fresh, put your shredded chicken in an airtight container. Pop it in the fridge and use it within 3 days.
Can I Freeze Shredded Chicken?
Not ready to use your shredded chicken right away? No problem! You can freeze shredded chicken very easily. Place it in an airtight container or freezer bag and stash it in the fridge. It'll stay good for 4 months. To defrost it, put the container on a plate and leave it in the fridge overnight.