How to Make Shredded Chicken

An easy, fast and flavorful shredded chicken recipe that’s incredibly versatile. It’s my favorite method because it keeps the chicken moist, shreds in seconds and infuses more flavor than other methods, such as boiled or poached chicken.

Shredded chicken in a bowl next to plates and a napkin.

Shredded chicken (also known as pulled chicken) is one of those recipe basics that everyone should learn to master. It’s used in many recipes, from salads to appetizers to main dishes – yet those recipes usually never tell you how to make it. They just tell you you need 3 cups of shredded chicken.

Of course, you could easily buy a rotisserie chicken at the supermarket (or make one yourself) and shred that chicken with two forks. But there’s really no need when I show you how incredibly easy it is to make shredded chicken at home.

Shredded Chicken Recipe Video

Once you learn this method you’ll never make it any other way. Watch the video below!

The Best Chicken to Use

You can use boneless skinless chicken breast or boneless skinless chicken thighs. The thighs are naturally more moist but either one works. You just don’t want skin or bones for this method, given how we’ll shred the chicken.

How to Make Shredded Chicken

After testing several methods including boiling, poaching, slow cooker/Crockpot and Instant Pot, this stovetop method is my favorite. And here’s why – it’s far more flavorful (as you’re searing one side), it’s moist (as you do a half poach/steam), and it shreds in seconds (yes, seconds). So let’s break it down.

How to make shredded chicken that's easy, fast and flavorful. It's my favorite method for making shredded chicken.

How to make shredded chicken that's easy, fast and flavorful. It's my favorite method for making shredded chicken.

Sauté the Chicken

You’ll start by drizzling a little olive oil into a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and sprinkle salt and pepper generously on the top side. Let this cook for 5 minutes (it should be slightly golden), then use tongs to flip the chicken over.

Cover and Poach

Once the chicken is flipped over, add 3/4 cup of chicken broth to the pan and cover with a lid. This will keep the chicken moist while cooking it fast. Cook the chicken for another 7-10 minutes. Chicken thighs will require a little more time than chicken breasts. You can also use an instant read thermometer to ensure your chicken is cooked through (to 165 degrees Fahrenheit).

How to Shred Chicken – 2 Ways

Once your chicken is cooked, there are two ways you can shred the chicken. My favorite method is to use a stand mixer as it’s extremely fast and easy. But you could also use two forks if you don’t own a stand mixer.

  • Two Forks: If using this method, place your cooked chicken breast on a plate or cutting board. Use two forks to separate the chicken meat and shred as you separate. Continue this process with each chicken breast.
  • Stand Mixer: If you have a stand mixer, this is by far the fastest and easiest way to shred chicken. Place all of your chicken breasts in the bowl of stand mixer. Add the paddle attachment and make sure to lock the tilt head (if you have one) to prevent it from bouncing up. Turn your stand mixer on low and in 15 seconds you’ll have shredded chicken. Watch the video below to see how I do this.

The stand mixer method for shredding chicken is one of my favorite kitchen hacks. It saves your wrists from the tedious two fork method and takes a fraction of the time to shred your entire batch of chicken. It’s seriously mind-blowing.

If you like your chicken extra moist, you can also add a little bit of the liquid from the pan to the chicken and toss to combine.

How to make shredded chicken that's easy, fast and flavorful. It's my favorite method for making shredded chicken.

How to make shredded chicken that's easy, fast and flavorful. It's my favorite method for making shredded chicken.

How to Store It

Shredded chicken is great for weekly meal prep. You can shred several chicken breasts on a Sunday, store them in a container and have healthy meals throughout the week. It will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge and up to 2 months in the freezer.

I frequently make a large batch, freeze it in small containers and then just thaw as needed. It makes my daily recipes a breeze.

A bowl of shredded chicken on a table.

Recipes That Use Shredded Chicken

A bowl of shredded chicken on a table.

Shredded Chicken Recipe (Super Easy!)

4.97 from 61 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
Learn how to make shredded chicken that's easy, fast and flavorful. This is my favorite method for making shredded chicken. Watch the video above to see how easy it is to make!


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, or thighs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth


  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat and place the chicken in the skillet. Season the top of the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, then use tongs to flip the chicken.
    Chicken breasts searing in a pan.
  • Add the chicken broth, cover the skillet with a lid and cook for 7-10 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees fahrenheit. You can easily measure this with an instant read thermometer.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and shred the chicken. There are two ways to do this - you can use two forks to shred the chicken or you can place the chicken in the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment on the stand mixer, lock the tilt-head down (if you have one) and increase the speed to 2. The chicken will be instantly shredded in 15 seconds. If you'd like extra moist chicken, you can add any remaining liquid from the pan to the shredded chicken and toss to combine.
    Shredding chicken breasts in a stand mixer.
  • Use the shredded chicken in your favorite recipes or freeze in storage containers for future use.
    Shredded chicken in a bowl.

Lisa's Tips

  • If you have a tilt-head stand mixer make sure to lock the tilt-head, otherwise it will bounce up when it hits the chicken.
  • These are the storage containers I use when making a large batch of shredded chicken.


Serving: 1/6 of recipe, Calories: 158.7kcal, Protein: 24.8g, Fat: 5.9g, Saturated Fat: 1.3g, Cholesterol: 68mg, Sodium: 64mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to make shredded chicken, shredded chicken
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166 comments on “How to Make Shredded Chicken”

  1. This is AMAZING! Easy, adds flavor, much better then boiling. Wish I had been doing it this way all along, thank you so much! 5 stars

  2. About how many cups of shredded chicken does this make?

    • It depends on how big your chicken pieces are. But typically one chicken breast should make a little over one cup.

  3. This is the BEST!!! The mixer was amazing!! Thank you!
    Question, have you ever tried this mixer approach spreading any other kind of meats?5 stars

  4. This is the best shredded chicken recipe I have ever tried! It was so moist and easy to shred. I seasoned it with garlic salt and some onion powder. It was quick, easy and tasted great!5 stars

  5. I made 3 lbs with this recipe. I did 2 separate batches of 1.5 lbs with 1 cup of chicken broth each. The combination of browning and poaching makes it really tasty and moist. Mine had to brown a bit longer (7 or 8 minutes) before it was ready to flip. I didn’t feel like breaking out my stand mixer so I just used my handheld and it worked fine. I used 1 lb in chicken enchiladas and it was great! I froze the other 2 lbs, we use a lot of shredded chicken in our house and this will make dinners so much easier.5 stars

  6. This was probably the BEST shredded chicken I’ve ever made!  So tender, moist and super flavorful!  5 stars

  7. Do you let the chicken cool before shredding with mixer?

  8. This is the best recipe! No crockpot, no cooking for hours. My skeptical self worried that the minute I turned on my little hand-held mxer, I would have chicken flying all of the kitchen, or that I would destroy my mixer. However, I bravely turned it on and all I can say is WOW!! Shredded chicken (which stayed in the bowl!!) in less than a minute!5 stars

    • I’ve also done it where I set the bowl into the sink, before shredding the chicken w the mixer, to catch any errant bits that fling out, but overall it’s not messy like it seems it would be!

  9. Worked a charm x I didn’t have chicken stock so used some vegetable stock cubes but it turned out delicious either way thank you 5 stars

  10. This was super easy. I used my hand mixer with the skinny wire beaters and it worked great. Thanks!

  11. Never would I have thought to throw Chicken breasts into the KitchenAid – This is a game changer :-)
    Thank you for that hack The chicken came out moist and flavorful and sooooo much easier than the 2 fork method for shredding

  12. I love this recipe!! I really recommend trying this recipe as it was super simple and tasty!! I’m quite new to cooking beyond the basics and had been a little overwhelmed with all the recipes I’d found so far for shredded chicken (with pressure cookers, slow cookers etc). But this one works perfectly!! Before I put the chicken in to cook I shook it around in a bag with a chicken taco seasoning, and it was soooo tasty. Definitely thankful I found this shredded chicken recipe, will be great for work lunches :)5 stars

  13. What a wonderful time-saving technique! I wish I had thought or heard about this 35 years ago. So many minutes, hours even, would have been saved! And the chicken is much more flavorful than when I poach.5 stars

  14. Awesome technique–super easy and with delicious results! I accidentally poured in some extra broth for the poaching, but it wasn’t a problem. I just added the extra liquid that was left at the end into the accompanying black bean soup. Yum!! Thank you!5 stars

  15. I’m planning on freezing the enchiladas to take in the RV.  Do I have to put them in the oven before freezing or can I just freeze after adding the sauce?  Thanks

  16. Would a regular handheld cake mixer work?

  17. Love this recipe! The tips on storage containers was great too! Can I ask about the beautiful grey skillet pictured in this recipe? I would love one!5 stars

    • That is my Staub Cast Iron 3.5 QT Braiser! It’s perfect for cooking up larger quantities on the stove top and you can find it linked in my Shop page :)

  18. Works and tasted good but you can do the exact same thing with the instant pot so I don’t know how you can say it is better than an instant pot method.4 stars

    • Both methods work great, but for those who don’t have an instant pot – you can always use this method!

  19. Holy moly. While I am only commenting on the use of a stand mixer, I want to say that your basic instructions on just that are a game changer.
    I had six breasts, already cooked, and seemingly impossible to shred. I was looking online see if I needed to try cooking them  longer or differently, when I read your recipe.
    Literally within a minute I had grabbed the stand mixer, poured the chicken and juices in, turned it on, and was done. Hallelujah. 5 stars

  20. Thank you so much for this recipe. I followed it exactly.5 stars

  21. The mixer idea was generous! Thinking of trying on pulled pork.5 stars

  22. I looked all over this page for a video of using a stand mixer to shred the chicken as I am a bit hesitant that I am going to make a horrible mess. The link is greyed out and there is no play button. Was the video discontinued?5 stars

  23. My niece made this today. I had never eaten pulled chicken before but I loved it. In fact I asked her how she made it and got this recipe from her. I am going to try my luck at it hopefully, soon.
    Helen5 stars

  24. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am making hot chix sandwiches for 6, and it seems I always cook the chix until it is dry. Just these easy tips should work great. Did I say thank you?5 stars

  25. Thanks for a wonderful recipe! I’ve used the crockpot and instant pot in the past, but when I only need a few breasts shredded, this is a much easier (and tastier) method! One thing I’ve always noticed about sauteeing breasts, however, is that they create their own cooking juices and if you start with too much oil or butter, they won’t get that seared, browned flavor on the first side.

  26. Just what I needed, quick and easy for immediate use or for prep. I stored it with the remaining liquid to keep the moisture as suggested. Worked great in a pasta dish and salad this week.5 stars

  27. Made this and went perfectly with the quesadilla i used it for :))5 stars

  28. BEST hack ever! Chicken is tender, moist, flavorful, and quick n easy!! What more could you want! Followed as directed. No alterations. Perfect texture shredded chicken for my Awesome Chicken Tinga! I thank you and my guests thank you!! This will be my ONLY way to make excellent shredded chicken!5 stars

  29. I’ve used your recipe/technique several times. Always perfect! Thank you for sharing!5 stars

  30. Will have to try this. Thanks for posting! When it comes to the chicken broth though, how do you make this? Do you buy chicken broth store bought ? Do you make it on the spot before making this shredded chicken recipe ? 

    • Hi Jess – I normally will just buy chicken broth. But I will eventually create a chicken and veggie broth recipe :)

  31. The mixer method of shredding chicken is amazing! I never would’ve thought of it. It shredded the chicken perfectly and this chicken is so incredibly moist. Thanks for the tips!5 stars

  32. I made this for the white chicken chili recipe, and it worked like a charm! I will definitely use this method again. Lisa, you’re amazing.5 stars

  33. Would a food processor work instead of a mixer??

  34. What a great and time saving idea!  I made shredded chicken for egg rolls last night and I would never have known you can do this with chicken!  Does it work with other meats, like pork or beef?5 stars

    • Hi Barbara – This will work for cuts of meat that will shred easily with a fork, such as my carnitas or barbacoa.

  35. Could yu explain what you mean by “use two forks”? Do what with them, exactly? I don’t have a mixer, and we’re on lockdown where I live. I can’t go buy one. Thanks.

    • Hi Nina- Use the two forks to poke the chicken then pull it apart. In other words “shredding it”. You can also reference my recent barbacoa recipe video to see how I shred the meat with forks.

  36. I don’t normally comment on blogs, but this technique is miraculous!!! Every other time I have attempted shredded chicken: crockpot, instant pot, stovetop…. it is rubber. THIS actually works and has flavor!!!! Thank you so much for a technique that I will use time and time again. Now I am going to stalk your blog for the rest of the morning :-)5 stars

    • I’m thrilled to hear you’ve found a winning method for shredding chicken now! Can’t wait to see what other recipes you make :)

  37. This was amazing, perfect shredded chicken in a few minutes!5 stars