I love making shredded chicken as part of my meal prep for the week. It’s so easy to make and can be used in a ton of different ways! I’m sharing a bunch of ideas below but let’s start with how to make shredded chicken…
Here’s What You Need
boneless, skinless chicken breast – the main ingredient! I like to look for high-quality, organic chicken breasts.
water or broth – makes sure that your chicken doesn’t dry out during cooking.
sea salt and pepper – a little seasoning!
apple cider vinegar – this is optional but I do like adding it to help tenderize the meat.
How to Make Shredded Chicken in the Instant Pot
Add ingredients – Place the chicken breasts in the Instant Pot along with the liquid, sea salt and pepper.
Pressure cook – Put the lid on, make sure the steam valve is sealed and cook for 10-12 minutes depending on the size of your chicken breasts. When the chicken is done cooking, use a towel or tongs to quick release the pressure by opening the valve. Be careful not to burn yourself from the steam!
Shred chicken – Remove the chicken and shred with two forks or place the chicken breasts into a large bowl and use a hand mixer to shred the chicken.
The Best Way to Shred Chicken
Once the chicken has finished cooking let it cool down a bit. I recommend shredding the chicken once cooled, but not cold. It’s much easier to shred warm meat rather than cold. You can shred…
with two forks – place cooked chicken on a plate or shallow bowl and use two forks to pull apart pieces of the meat.
with your hands – sometimes it’s easier to use your hands to pull the pieces apart! Just be sure the chicken is cool enough to touch.
with a mixer – just place the cooked chicken in a large mixing bowl and use a hand mixer on low to break the chicken into pieces. You can also use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. This is a big time saver, especially if you’re shredding a large quantity.
Ways to Use Shredded Chicken
There are so many different ways to use shredded chicken in recipes! Here are some of my favorites:
BBQ Chicken – Add BBQ sauce to your shredded chicken and enjoy on a sandwich or salad.
Stir Fry – Toss shredded chicken into a stir fry for a delicious, protein-rich meal.
Tacos or Fajitas – Tacos just got so much easier with pre-cooked chicken! Add taco seasoning and salsa to your shredded chicken and enjoy in tacos or as a taco salad. I love using it for my chicken enchiladas too!
Soup – Add shredded chicken to pretty much any soup for added protein and flavor. I love adding chicken to veggie and broth based soups like my white bean chicken chili.
Can You Use Frozen Chicken?
I can’t be the only person that is about to start making dinner and then realizes that I forgot to defrost the meat! Lucky for us, you can cook frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot!
Make sure your frozen chicken breasts aren’t stuck together – if they are just defrost them for a bit in a bowl with cool water. Arrange the chicken breasts along the bottom of the pot, season with salt and pepper and add 1 cup of liquid, I like to use chicken broth. Pressure cook for 10-12 minutes and then let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes before quick releasing the rest. Check the temperature of the chicken. If it is not 165ºF, pressure cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
Can You Freeze Shredded Chicken?
Yes! This is a great meal planning hack – shred your chicken ahead of time and freeze for the week (or weeks!) ahead. Pro tip: portion out your chicken rather than putting a whole bunch in one freezer container, that way you can just take out the container or ziplock and add the meat as you need it to your soup, skillet or sauce.