It doesn't get much easier than this! With just two ingredients and one pot, you will be making this shredded chicken recipe weekly!
Kids even love this chicken by itself... or simply dressed! In fact, just today my daughter said "this chicken is so good, can I have it in my lunch?" She topped it with a small sprinkle of cheese and packed it up - so easy!
Also known as 'poached chicken', this chicken is your answer for when recipes call for "cooked chicken".
And, just in case you are wondering how I use this chicken to make meals that my kids love, here you go! I use this shredded chicken to make my Salsa Verde Enchiladas and to top my kale salad. I also add this chicken to casseroles and sometimes I use this instead of ground turkey when making my turkey chili.
Oh, and for an easy chicken salad to send along with my kids for lunch, I mix this chicken (once cooled completely) with a mixture of mayonnaise and plain Greek yogurt, celery pieces, and garlic salt. So easy!
About this recipe
This is the perfect 'meal prep' shredded chicken recipe because it keeps the flavor simple so that the chicken can take on the flavor of whatever you add it to.
- Shredded chicken is cooked chicken that has been shredded.
- Made in a pan on the stovetop.
- Can be eaten alone, made into a chicken salad, or used in casseroles, soups, wraps, and more.
- This shredded chicken can be frozen to be used at a later time.
- This chicken recipe is easily doubled.
How to make this shredded chicken
Thankfully you can make cooked chicken without using a slow cooker or Instant Pot - its super easy and so delicious!
Here’s a quick overview of the steps to make easy shredded chicken. For the full list of ingredients and instructions, scroll down to the recipe.
- Simply place the boneless skinless chicken breasts on the bottom of a pan and cover the chicken with about 1 ½ - 2 inches of water.
- When the water starts to boil, turn the heat down so that the water stays at a slow boil.
- Cook the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once the chicken is fully cooked, carefully remove the chicken from the water and place it on a plate.
- The chicken is ready to shred!
How to shred chicken
Shredding chicken is easy! Here are a two easy ways to shred chicken:
Option 1: You can shred chicken using two forks. Simply hold one fork in each hand and use them to pull the chicken apart.
Option 2: If you have a hand mixer on hand, place the cooked chicken breasts in a mixing bowl, and, with the hand mixer on low speed, break the chicken apart.
Expert Tips and FAQs
- Do not overcook the chicken. Overcooked chicken is tough to chew and harder to shred.
- Kids often prefer the texture of shredded chicken over cubed or cut up chicken.
- Make shredded chicken to freeze for those times when you are in a bind!
- Shredded chicken stores well in the refrigerator. Just be sure to use or freeze it within 3-4 days.
- Have you noticed how many recipes called for "cooked chicken"? This is it!
- One pound of chicken makes about 2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken.
Let the chicken cool completely and then place it in a sealed freezer-safe container or resealable freezer bag. According to the USDA, Cooked chicken will taste best when frozen up to four months, longer if covered in broth.
To keep the chicken from drying out, I suggest adding a small amount of the water the chicken was cooked in (you can call this broth) to the chicken before it is completely cooled.
I highly recommend making shredded chicken to freeze for those times when you are in a bind!
Be sure to let the chicken cool and then place it in a sealed freezer-safe container or resealable freezer bag.
To keep the chicken from drying out, I suggest adding a small amount of the reserved water (now broth) to the chicken before it is completely cooled.
According to the USDA, Cooked chicken will taste best when frozen up to four months, longer if covered in broth.
EASY Shredded Chicken
- 1-2 lbs boneless chicken breast skinless chicken breast
- water enough to cover the chicken by 1.5 - 2 inches
- Lay the chicken breasts on the bottom of the pot
- Pour water in, being sure to cover the chicken with 1.5 - 2 inches of water
- Using medium-high heat, bring the water to a boil
- Once the water begins to boil, turn the heat down so that a slow boil is maintained (also known as simmering).
- Cook chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165° Fahrenheit.
- Remove the chicken from the water and place on a plate to let cool. Reserve the water
- Once chicken cools slightly, shred the chicken into pieces
- If you will be storing/freezing the chicken, pour about 2oz per pound of chicken of the remaining water (now broth) over the shredded chicken while it is still warm
- Optional step: while the water (now broth) is still hot, you can add a small amount of salt and pepper to the water. Let the water/broth cool, and store for later use as chicken broth.