This slow cooker shredded chicken recipe is so easy and makes the best shredded chicken every time — only 4 ingredients needed!
I love having shredded chicken on hand for easy meal prep. It’s a lean protein and is so dang versatile, I feel like it can be added to most meals! With that said, there are so many different ways to cook shredded chicken and I’ve tried just about every method, but using the slow cooker is hands-down my favorite method.
I first shared my slow cooker shredded chicken method in the post for my healthy curried chicken salad, but the instructions are kind of hidden in that post, so I figured I’d create this post as a resource so it’s easy to find whenever you want to make shredded chicken. That said, once you make it for the first time you likely won’t need to look at a recipe again — it’s that easy.
While this method takes longer than the rest, I still love shredded chicken made in the slow cooker. It cooks up perfectly every time. It’s not too dry, not too wet… and it’s easy to shred.
To make it, simply put your boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs in the slow cooker, season with any seasonings you want to add, cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high for 2 hours. That’s it! I know it’s tempting to want to add liquid, like water or broth to the slow cooker with your chicken, but you don’t need it — the chicken will release it’s own juices and it won’t dry out! I do like adding a little apple cider vinegar to help tenderize the meat, but it’s optional.
Once the chicken is cooked let it cool down a bit and then it’s time to shred it. I recommend shredding the chicken while it’s still warm because it’s much easier than shredding cold meat.
This method is new to me as I didn’t get on the Instant Pot train until about a year ago, but it’s awesome because it is SO FAST! Place four boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the Instant Pot and add 1 cup broth or water and any seasonings you’d like. Put the lid on, turn to seal, cook for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken breasts. Once done cooking, quick release the pressure. Remove the chicken and shred with two forks or by hand. Shredded chicken in under 30 minutes? YUP!
Place chicken and any vegetables or seasoning in a sauce pan or pot. Cover the chicken completely with broth or water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and shred with two forks or by hand. This method is awesome because you can cook tender, shredded chicken without any kitchen appliances on the counter!
Place chicken in a baking dish and add any seasonings you’d like. Add a little bit of water to the bottom of the pan and cover with foil or an oven-safe lid. This makes sure your chicken doesn’t come out super dry! Bake at 375ºF for 25-35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven and shred away!
Oh my! There are so many different ways to use shredded chicken in recipes including:
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 to your soup, skillet or sauce.