How to Shred Chicken

5 from 1 vote

Shredded chicken is a staple in many different recipes. Learn how to shred chicken with multiple different methods. Choose what is easiest for

Shredded chicken breast with herbs in a bowl with a wooden spoon.
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How to Shred Chicken

Shredded chicken is such a versatile ingredient! It can be used in soup, salads, casseroles, main dishes, and so much more. So learning how to shred chicken can really come in handy for many different recipes.

Believe it or not, there's actually multiple methods to making this staple ingredient. Each method has their positives and negatives, but all help to pull that juicy and tender chicken apart into smaller pieces.

I love to make shredded chicken enchiladas, as well as many other staple chicken dinners. So having some shredded pieces of chicken ready to go is very helpful.

So if you need some easy ways to take stress out of dinner prep time, learn how to shred chicken in no time. It can be used in countless recipes and this skill is sure to come in handy more times than you realize!

Why Shredding Chicken is Useful

Aside from the variety of recipes that you can use shredded chicken in, there are tons of other reasons why it's important to learn the easiest way to shred chicken:

  • This is one of the best meal prep items that you can have in your fridge or freezer. Since it's incredibly versatile, you can make dozens of different last minute meals with the chicken that you have stored away. Make a large batch of shredded meat and store it away for later.
  • Chicken is a lean meat that is still packed with protein. Use it to make lots of delicious healthy meals!
  • These methods of making shredded chicken can be used for plain, seasoned and saucy chicken. Whether it's something like BBQ chicken, or plain meat that you plan to add to another recipe, you can choose an easy method to shred it!
Two pieces of cooked chicken breast on a wooden cutting board, ready for shredding.

Ingredients

The only ingredient you need for this little "how to" is cooked chicken breasts:

  • cooked chicken: I recommend using boneless skinless chicken breast or boneless skinless chicken thighs. You'll need to cook the raw chicken via your favorite cooking method — whether that's Instant Pot, Crockpot, oven, or stovetop. If you want to use bone-in chicken pieces or a whole chicken, you'll need to remove the meat from the bone before using these methods to shred it.

How to Shred Chicken

Choose your favorite method and then follow this step-by-step guide to shred chicken. Here are instructions for all the methods:

1. Fork Method

Place cooked chicken onto a sturdy cutting board and grab two clean forks.

Two pieces of cooked chicken breasts on a wooden cutting board.
Shredding cooked chicken breasts with two forks on a wooden cutting board.

Stick the forks into the cooked chicken breasts and pull them in different directions to pull the meat apart into "strands". Keep pulling until all of the meat is in smaller pieces.

Shredded chicken breasts on a wooden cutting board.

If there are some large chunks, use both forks in the same motion to shred the chunks.

2. Electric Mixer Method

Now this is probably my favorite simple trick in the kitchen because it's the fastest way to do this. Did you know you can shred chicken with a stand mixer or hand mixer? Well here's how to do it:

Boiled chicken breasts in a mixing bowl.

Add chicken to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. If you are using a stand mixer, attach the paddle attachment.

Shredded chicken in a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment.

Start the mixer on low speed and slowly up the speed of the mixer as need. Run the mixer until all of the meat is shredded.

3. Use Your Hands

For this method, you'll need to make sure that you chicken has cooled a bit so that you do not burn your fingers:

Grab one chicken breast at a time and carefully pull it apart. Start at one end and pull it in an downward and outward motion to pull apart the strands of meat.

A person shredding chicken breast with their fingers.

Place the meat into a bowl or on a plate, or into a container to store for later!

Uses for Shredded Chicken

Throw this hearty protein into so many different meals. It'd be great in soups and wonderful in chicken chili too. I love to make things chicken broccoli casserole and enchilada chicken sliders too.

You can use it in appetizers like buffalo chicken dip too. Or, swap out the rotisserie chicken in rotisserie chicken enchiladas for some quick shredded chicken!

This meat can even be tossed with seasonings, like taco seasoning, and then used in recipes like Mexican tostadas! It's a great substitute for shredded beef, pork, and other meats.

Shredded chicken garnished with a sprig of thyme and wooden spoon on a plate.

How to Store Shredded Chicken

Transfer the meat to an airtight container or zip top plastic bags and allow it to cool completely. Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

If you need to store it longer, then place into a freezer bag or airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw completely before using!

Tips for Success

Check out these few tips so that you always have the most success when shredding tender chicken:

  • Always check your chicken with a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should be 165°F (74°C). Overcooked chicken will be very difficult to shred, so make sure you cook it to the perfect temp!
  • Allow the meat to cool a bit before shredding with your preferred method. This will ensure you don't burn your fingers!
  • If you have really large pieces of meat, then cut them in half before shredding so that it's easier to get them into tiny chunks.
Plate of shredded chicken with herbs on a kitchen counter.

FAQ

Is it better to shred chicken hot or cold?

It is best to shred chicken when it is still warm. Cold chicken firms up and it makes it much more difficult to shred into small pieces. However, make sure you let the meat cool for a bit before shredding so that you don't burn your fingers.

What attachment do I use to shred chicken in the stand mixer?

Use the paddle attachment, also called the flat beater attachment, if you want to use your stand mixer to shred chicken. The whisk attachment will get chicken stuck in it and won't do as good of a job pulling it into small pieces.

How long should chicken rest before shredding?

For best results, allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes before shredding. This will ensure all the juices redistribute through the meat to make it moist and tender.

A plate of shredded chicken with a sprig of thyme and a wooden spoon.

More Helpful How To's

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Shredded chicken breast with herbs in a bowl with a wooden spoon.

Shredded Chicken

Once you know how to make the perfect shredded chicken, a whole world of delicious recipes opens up! Choose your favorite method and make perfectly shredded chicken that you can use however you want.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb cooked chicken

Instructions

Fork Method

  • Place cooked chicken onto a sturdy cutting board and grab two clean forks.
  • Stick the forks into the chicken and pull them in different directions to pull the meat apart into "strands". Keep pulling until all of the meat is in smaller pieces.
  • If there are some large chunks, use both forks in the same motion to shred the chunks.

Electric Mixer Method

  • Add chicken to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. If you are using a stand mixer, attach the paddle attachment.
  • Start the mixer on low speed and slowly up the speed of the mixer as need. Run the mixer until all of the meat is shredded.

By Hand Method

  • Grab one chicken breast at a time and carefully pull it apart. Start at one end and pull it in an downward and outward motion to pull apart the strands of meat.
  • Place the meat into a bowl or on a plate, or into a container to store for later!

Nutrition

Calories: 189kcal | Protein: 28g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 85mg | Potassium: 260mg | Vitamin A: 46IU | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg
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