How to Shred Chicken + 8 Must Try Chicken Recipes

If how to shred chicken is at the top of your learn-to-do list, this post is for you. Shredded chicken can fill everything from tacos to soups, making dinner a snap.

shredded chicken in large cast iron skillet

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The Easiest Ways to Shred Chicken

Shredded chicken is a great basic to prepare in advance for use in any number of recipes. Just think how much faster it would be to make up a batch of your favorite chicken enchiladas or chicken tortilla soup (Yes, I’ve got Mexican food on the brain!) if you already have the chicken prepared!

Aside from dinner recipes, having a small stock of shredded chicken is great for making a quick lunch – you can add it on top of a salad, whip up a quick chicken salad sandwich, or add it to a simple quesadilla.

how to shred chicken with forks

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How to Shred Chicken

Well, first you have to cook it. You can do this several different ways – in the crockpot, in the oven, or poach it stovetop. Leftover roasted or rotisserie chicken also works well.

Cook it in the Crockpot

The slow cooker is great because you can leave the chicken unattended and because you can add other ingredients to season the chicken. For example, if you know you want a batch of Mexican shredded chicken, you might add some cumin, chile powder, chipotle peppers, salsa, cilantro, or other ingredients. I love this Crock Pot Mexican Chicken.

Bake it in the Oven

Baked chicken can be shredded as well. You can season it as heavily and distinctively as you’d like or you can keep it simple with a basic salt and pepper.

Poach the Chicken

If you don’t know how to poach, check out this great tutorial from TheKitchn.

Now that you’ve cooked the chicken, you can shred it! Keep scrolling for detailed instructions on the three BEST ways to shred chicken.

how to shred chicken with two forks

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Easy Shredded Chicken — 3 Ways!

After you’ve cooked the chicken that you plan to shred, there are a few ways you can proceed with shredding the meat:

If you used bone-in chicken, first you’ll want to pull all of the meat off the bones. Save the bones for making homemade chicken stock (yum!). If you aren’t going to make stock right away, just put all the bones in a freezer-safe storage bag and freeze until you’re ready.

How to Shred Chicken: With Your Fingers

All you do here is use your fingers to pull the chicken apart into chunks. They can be as big or as small as you like. If you end up with bigger pieces, just pull them apart into smaller ones.

How to Shred Chicken: With 2 Forks

Hold one fork in each hand. I like to use the fork in my non-dominant hand to hold the piece of chicken steady. With the fork in my dominant hand, I scrape at the piece of chicken to pull it apart.

How to Shred Chicken: With a Stand Mixer

This is a method that I didn’t hear of until a couple of years back (thanks, Pinterest!). It is definitely the fastest and easiest way to shred chicken.

Why is that? Because all you do is dump the meat into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix over low speed until the chicken reaches whatever shred-size you want. The mixer does all the work!

Does it Matter if I Use Chicken Breasts or Thighs?

Nope! It doesn’t even matter if you use boneless or bone-in chicken. As long as you’ve removed the chicken bones, you can shred either chicken breasts or thighs.

Can I Freeze Shredded Chicken?

Absolutely! In fact, for purposes like these, I find it best to prepare a large batch of shredded chicken ahead of time and freeze it in the portions that I most often use.

This will depend on your personal preference, so take a little time to think about how you think you’ll use the chicken, what recipes you might make with it, and how much chicken will be utilized. I find that 1, 2, and 3 cup portions are ideal.

shredded mexican chicken in a white bowl

Leftover Shredded Chicken Recipes:

Unsure what to make with shredded chicken? Chicken is one of the most versatile and inexpensive meats to have on hand. Here are a few recipes to experiment with now that you’ve learned how to shred chicken.

Chicken Pot Pie with Buttermilk Biscuit Crust is winter comfort food at its finest!

If you’re feeling under the weather, this Lemon Chicken and Orzo Soup will make you feel better.

Pineapple, Chicken, Quinoa Salad is easy to make and packed with both flavor and nutrients.

Need a hearty winter recipe? Try this White Bean Chicken Chili Verde.

These Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chile Gravy are one of my favorites!

When I’m craving a lighter enchilada, I love these Chicken, Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas with Roasted Tomatillo Sauce.

Garlic Chicken, Black Bean and Spinach Quesadillas make whipping up dinner a breeze.

Someday…when it is summer again…I’ll be making these Chicken Soft Tacos with Tomato Corn Salsa.

What is your favorite way to use shredded chicken?

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How to Shred Chicken

How to Shred Chicken

Yield: 2 pounds
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Never learned how to shred chicken? Here are the BEST and EASIEST ways to shred chicken. No special equipment needed!

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Cooked chicken (any type will work)

Instructions

    Using Your Fingers

    1. All you do here is use your fingers to pull the chicken apart into chunks. They can be as big or as small as you like. If you end up with bigger pieces, just pull them apart into smaller ones.

    Using 2 Forks

    1. Hold one fork in each hand. I like to use the fork in my non-dominant hand to hold the piece of chicken steady. With the fork in my dominant hand, I scrape at the piece of chicken to pull it apart.

    Using a Stand Mixer

    1. Dump the meat into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix over low speed until the chicken reaches whatever shred-size you want. The mixer does all the work!

Notes

  • If you used bone-in chicken, first you’ll want to pull all of the meat off the bones. Save the bones for making homemade chicken stock (yum!). If you aren’t going to make stock right away, just put all the bones in a freezer-safe storage bag and freeze until you’re ready.

Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 249Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 129mgSodium 112mgCarbohydrates 0gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 47g
GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

Tag @goodlifeeats and include the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you’re cooking up in YOUR kitchen!

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This post about How to Shred Chicken originally appeared on Food Fanatic.