All Purpose Shredded Chicken

This recipe for all purpose shredded chicken is a great way to meal prep a healthy protein. It will show you how to cook shredded chicken in your instant pot, stove top and slow cooker. A great option for tacos, enchiladas, chicken sandwiches and chicken salads. 

all purpose shredded chicken in a white bowl

The all mighty shredded chicken is a powerhouse when it comes to healthy meal prep. It can be used for so many different dishes across the board making it extremely versatile. 

One of the best things about shredded chicken is that it could be cooked 3 different ways depending on what kitchen tools and equipment you have.

This recipe will show you how to make shredded chicken in your instant pot, on your stovetop or in your slow cooker. 

🐔Ingredients For Making Shredded Chicken

Chicken Breast or Chicken Thighs: Either or can be used to make shredded chicken. Keep in mind that chicken breast is more lean and chicken thighs are a much fattier cut. Depending on how you would like to use your chicken, choose what’s best for you. I recommend using boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs so you don’t have the extra task of picking meat off the bone. 

All Purpose Seasoning: Even though this chicken will be put into other dishes with various flavors, it’s wise to season it simply with an all purpose seasoning. This could be any custom blend of salt, pepper and garlic powder or it could also be a pre-made all purpose seasoning blend. My current favorite is the All Purpose blend from The New Primal.

Water Or Chicken Stock: The chicken does need some liquid in all cooking methods to cook correctly. If you are making it on the stovetop, you could use water. If you are making it in the instant pot, feel free to use some bone broth or chicken stock. I like making my bone broth easily from a rotisserie chicken

Instant Pot, Stock Pot or Slow Cooker: You’ll need one of these to make the perfect shredded chicken. 

🧊How To Cook Frozen Chicken

The only method I would use to cook chicken from frozen is by cooking it in the instant pot.

Using the stove top or slow cooker will leave it in a dangerous temperature zone for too long which may cause bad bacteria to form that could make someone sick.

If you have frozen chicken you’d like to cook on the stove top or crock pot for shredded chicken, defrost it in the fridge overnight until you are ready to cook. 

🍲Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

1️⃣ Add Chicken Stock or Water: Add 1 cup of chicken stock or water to the bottom of your slow cooker. While water is fine to use, stock or bone broth will add additional flavor and nutrients to the chicken. 

2️⃣ Prep Your Chicken: Add 2 pounds of chicken breast or thighs to your instant pot. Your chicken does not need to be on top of a trivet and can cook right in the liquid.

3️⃣ Add Seasonings: Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder or your favorite all purpose seasoning on top of the chicken. 

4️⃣ Pressure Cook The Chicken: Set the valve to SEALING and cook the chicken on manual HIGH pressure for 12 minutes. A quick or natural release is ok.  Chicken should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to be safe to consume.

5️⃣ Shred Chicken: Remove from pressure cooker and shred using any of the methods below. Add back in some cooking liquid to keep it moist and flavorful. 

6️⃣ If Cooking Frozen Chicken: Follow all steps in this recipe except add 3 minutes of pressure to your cooking time making it 15 minutes of manual HIGH pressure. Be sure that the chicken is cooked all the way through as if the chicken breasts are too thick, it could not reach the proper temperature. If this happens, place back in the instant pot to cook for another 3-5 minutes. 

🥘Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

1️⃣ Add Chicken Stock or Water: Add 1 cup of chicken stock or water to the bottom of your slow cooker. While water is fine to use, stock or bone broth will add additional flavor and nutrients to the chicken. 

2️⃣ Prep Your Chicken: Add 2 pounds of chicken breast or thighs to your crock pot or slow cooker.

3️⃣ Add Seasonings: Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder or your favorite all purpose seasoning on top of the chicken. 

4️⃣ Cook The Chicken: Cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or LOW for 4-6 hours. Chicken should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees fahrenheit to be safe to consume.

5️⃣ Shred Chicken: Remove from slow cooker and shred using any of the methods below. Add back in some cooking liquid to keep it moist and flavorful. 

all purpose shredded chicken

🔥Stove Top Shredded Chicken

1️⃣ Season Your Chicken: Season your chicken with an all purpose seasoning or a simple custom blend of salt, pepper and garlic powder. 

2️⃣ Add To Pot: Add chicken to a large sauce pot tall enough to fit chicken, liquid and that won’t boil over. 

3️⃣ Cover With Liquid: Cover your seasoned chicken with enough chicken stock or water to about 2 inches above the chicken. Water works, but broth or stock is more flavorful.

4️⃣ Cook The Chicken: Heat the water over medium high heat until a rolling boil is achieved. Once the water begins to boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 15-18 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked through and internal temperature reads 165 degrees. If you filet your chicken in half, it may take less time for it to cook completely.

5️⃣ Shred Chicken: Remove from cooking liquid with tongs and serve. 

💧Sous Vide Shredded Chicken

If you have a Sous Vide, you could also make perfect pulled chicken using a Sous Vide Immersion Circulator. My Easy Recipe for Sous Vide Chicken Breast

sous vide chicken breast

🍗How To Shred Chicken Easily

There are 3 ways to shred chicken easily. 

Use A Stand Mixer: I learned this trick while working in a restaurant. Add the chicken to the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment start mixing on low speed as chicken shreds. Make sure you keep an eye on it as the higher the speed, the more it will shred the chicken and dry it out. Feel free to add some cooking liquid into the bowl while mixing. 

Using Meat Claw Shredders: Not sure if that is a technical term, but this plastic claw tool is one of the best ways to shred chicken, pork or beef. You can buy them here for under $10 and clean up is easy! 

Two Fork Method: Take two forks and use one in each hand to shred the chicken. This is my least favorite way to shred chicken as it takes a long time but it’s good in a pinch and you’ll have the tools on hand!

all purpose shredded chicken on a wooden cutting board

👩🏻‍🍳Chef’s Tips

Save the liquid: Once chicken gets cooked, it will start drying out over time. Make sure you save some of the cooking liquid as you store it to make sure it stays moist and tender once it is reheated.

How Long Will It Last? In an airtight container, shredded chicken will last up to 7 days in the fridge.

Can I Freeze Shredded Chicken? Yes! This is a great recipe to make in bulk for meal prep as you can freeze some for later use. Add the shredded chicken along with some cooking liquid to a freezer safe bag or vacuum sealed bag and freeze it for up to 5 months. 

Recipes That Use Shredded Chicken: 

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all purpose shredded chicken in a white bowl

All Purpose Shredded Chicken

This recipe for all purpose shredded chicken is a great way to meal prep a healthy protein. It will show you how to cook shredded chicken in your instant pot, stove top and slow cooker. A great option for tacos, enchiladas, chicken sandwiches and chicken salads.
4.67 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 -10 servings
Calories: 179kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 Pounds Chicken Breasts or Chicken Thighs
  • 2 tsp All Purpose Seasoning
  • 1 cup Bone Broth Chicken Stock or Water

Instructions

INSTANT POT SHREDDED CHICKEN

  • Add Chicken Stock or Water: Add 1 cup of chicken stock or water to the bottom of your slow cooker. While water is fine to use, stock or bone broth will add additional flavor and nutrients to the chicken. 
  • Prep Your Chicken: Add 2 pounds of chicken breast or thighs to your instant pot. Your chicken does not need to be on top of a trivet and can cook right in the liquid.
  • Add Seasonings: Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder or your favorite all purpose seasoning on top of the chicken. 
  • Pressure Cook The Chicken: Set the valve to SEALING and cook the chicken on manual HIGH pressure for 12 minutes. A quick or natural release is ok.  Chicken should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees fahrenheit to be safe to consume.
  • Shred Chicken: Remove from pressure cooker and shred using any of the methods below. Add back in some cooking liquid to keep it moist and flavorful. 
  • If Cooking Frozen Chicken: Follow all steps in this recipe except add 3 minutes of pressure to your cooking time making it 15 minutes of manual HIGH pressure. Be sure that the chicken is cooked all the way through as if the chicken breasts are too thick, it could not reach the proper temperature. If this happens, place back in the instant pot to cook for another 3-5 minutes. 

SLOW COOKER OR CROCK POT SHREDDED CHICKEN

  • Add Chicken Stock or Water: Add 1 cup of chicken stock or water to the bottom of your slow cooker. While water is fine to use, stock or bone broth will add additional flavor and nutrients to the chicken. 
  • Prep Your Chicken: Add 2 pounds of chicken breast or thighs to your crock pot or slow cooker.
  • Add Seasonings: Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder or your favorite all purpose seasoning on top of the chicken. 
  • Cook The Chicken: Cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or LOW for 4-6 hours. Chicken should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees fahrenheit to be safe to consume.
  • Shred Chicken: Remove from slow cooker and shred using any of the methods below. Add back in some cooking liquid to keep it moist and flavorful. 

STOVE TOP SHREDDED CHICKEN

  • Season Your Chicken: Season your chicken with an all purpose seasoning or a simple custom blend of salt, pepper and garlic powder. 
  • Add To Pot: Add chicken to a large sauce pot tall enough to fit chicken, liquid and that won’t boil over. 
  • Cover With Liquid: Cover your seasoned chicken with enough chicken stock or water to about 2 inches above the chicken. Water works, but broth or stock is more flavorful.
  • Cook The Chicken: Heat the water over medium high heat until a rolling boil is achieved. Once the water begins to boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 15-18 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked through and internal temperature reads 165 degrees. If you filet your chicken in half, it may take less time for it to cook completely.
  • Shred Chicken: Remove from cooking liquid with tongs and serve. 

Video

Notes

HOW TO SHRED CHICKEN

There are 3 ways to shred chicken easily. 
  • Use A Stand Mixer: I learned this trick while working in a restaurant. Add the chicken to the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment start mixing on low speed as chicken shreds. Make sure you keep an eye on it as the higher the speed, the more it will shred the chicken and dry it out. Feel free to add some cooking liquid into the bowl while mixing. 
  • Using Meat Claw Shredders: Not sure if that is a technical term, but this plastic claw tool is one of the best ways to shred chicken, pork or beef. You can buy them here for under $10 and clean up is easy! 
  • Two Fork Method: Take two forks and use one in each hand to shred the chicken. This is my least favorite way to shred chicken as it takes a long time but it’s good in a pinch and you’ll have the tools on hand!

RECIPE TIPS:

  • Save the liquid: Once chicken gets cooked, it will start drying out over time. Make sure you save some of the cooking liquid as you store it to make sure it stays moist and tender once it is reheated.
  • How Long Will It Last? In an airtight container, shredded chicken will last up to 7 days in the fridge.
  • Can I Freeze Shredded Chicken? Yes! This is a great recipe to make in bulk for meal prep as you can freeze some for later use. Add the shredded chicken along with some cooking liquid to a freezer safe bag or vacuum sealed bag and freeze it for up to 5 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 179kcal | Protein: 31g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 487mg

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