Shredding chicken can turn ordinary pieces of poultry into a flexible ingredient that can be used in lots of recipes. Before you get started it's crucial to nail down the how-to of shredding chicken from which pieces to use, what tools are required, and how to use it in meals. Our extensive list includes all the information you need to shred chicken and make your dinners a success.

Tools You Need To Shred Chicken

a glass bowl full of shredded chicken

When it comes to how to shred chicken you will need a few things to help you in the kitchen. But, as we mentioned before, you don't need a bunch of cookware or an arsenal of materials.

One of the first things you should get yourself is a meat thermometer. For the most part, you'll be able to gauge on your own when the chicken is done, but if you want to be extra sure you can always get yourself a good thermometer. Stick it into the thickest part of the chicken and ensure that the temperature reads at least 165 degrees F.

Depending on how you want your pieces done you'll also need a slow cooker. There are lots of different slow cookers you can look into based on your personal tastes and price point. Do your homework to see which one will work best for you and will serve as a great tool to use for future dinners to come.

You'll also want to make sure you have two good forks used for shredding the pieces.

How To Shred A Whole Chicken

a whole chicken in a crock pot

Shredding chicken isn't difficult and doesn't require very much cookware either. The first thing you'll need is a whole chicken; some people only use chicken breasts, but it depends on the flavor you're going for. If you go with chicken breasts then you'll have an abundance of white meat, whereas a full chicken will give you white and dark. It's up to you and your personal tastes!

It should also go without saying that you shouldn't shred raw chicken. It might seem like a good idea to shred first and then cook later, but raw chicken will take much longer to shred due to the toughness. It's best to cook your chicken first and then shred with two forks.

There are a few different ways you can cook your chicken first:

  • For a whole one, you can place it inside a slow cooker and leave it to simmer for 7-8 hours.
  • As soon as the chicken is ready, you can take two forks and shred the whole bird while it's still warm. Feel free to use whatever kind of dry rubs or marinades you like beforehand.

How To Shred Chicken Breasts

Using A Pan

two chicken breasts in a pan
  • If you're working with pieces like breasts, you can either cook them in a pan or boil them in pots of water first.
  • When making them in a pan, you'll only need to add about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan and let it simmer for a few minutes.
  • Then add the breasts and cook on each side for about 5-8 minutes each.
  • You can use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F before shredding it.

Using A Pot

  • You should submerge the pieces in water and let the water reach a boil.
  • When it boils, you only need to let the breasts sit for about 10-15 minutes.
  • You can use a meat thermometer here too to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F before shredding it.

Once your chicken is finished all you need to do is use two forks to shred the pieces while they're still warm.

One more important thing to remember is that you can also season the chicken however you like using popular marinades or dry rubs you've grown to love over the years. One of the great things about shredded chicken is being able to make it your own.

Shredded Chicken Recipes

shredded chicken dish in a cream coloured bowl

Now that we covered everything you need to make the chicken, let's talk about how to use it. There are dozens of recipes out there that use shredded chicken in many different ways, which guarantees you'll find a dish that suits you and your tastes.

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is already a classic staple for many families, but adding something different with a bit of meat really jazzes it up. For this recipe, you'll need to make your traditional mac and cheese and then spread shredded chicken overtop of it for a nice spin.

Chicken Caprese Pasta

Caprese salad is a yummy side dish you can use to accompany a grand entree. You won't need very many ingredients for this salad and mixing linguine with shredded chicken, tomatoes, and garlic brings lots of flavor to a simple meal.

Tortellini Soup

For a healthier recipe, you can use this recipe for a hearty soup. You'll be able to mix shredded chicken with spinach, garlic, tortellini, and chicken broth for a delicious soup you can indulge in throughout the week.

Keep in mind that there are lots of recipes out there for you to try. Shredded chicken can be used to top various dishes or included in their own meals like salads, pastas, and even sandwiches. Get out there and mix things up with your own interpretations of recipes or new spins on traditional meals.

shredded chicken in burgers

Learning how to shred chicken so you can use it in all kinds of recipes will help you bring new meals to the dinner table. With just a few simple tools and your own dry rub creation, you'll be able to make as many delicious dinners as your heart desires!

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