Crockpot Shredded Chicken is a versatile and easy-to-make recipe that should be a staple in everyone’s meal prep toolkit. In this post, I will explain everything you need to know about making mouth-watering pulled chicken in your crock pot. From the best cooking times and seasonings to how to shred and store your chicken, I’ve got you covered. I’ll even share some of my all-time favorite recipes that use this tasty slow cooker shredded chicken.
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I’m thrilled to share one of my all-time favorite crockpot shredded chicken recipes with you. This recipe is a total game-changer when it comes to weekly meal prep and makes weeknight dinners a breeze.
Once you have a batch of shredded chicken in your fridge or freezer, you’re just a few minutes away from whipping up a variety of dishes like chicken tacos, enchiladas, soup, salad, casseroles, and so many more healthy chicken recipes.
Having slow cooker shredded chicken on hand means you can easily add lean protein to any meal without the fuss of cooking chicken from scratch. Plus, it’s a great way to use leftover chicken or bulk chicken purchases. Trust me, once you try this recipe, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
I have a whole list of healthy chicken recipes that I love, including Crockpot Buffalo Chicken, Slow cooker Mexican shredded chicken, Crockpot shredded chicken tacos, Slow cooker balsamic chicken, and Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki.
- Reasons You’ll Love This Recipe
- How to Make Crockpot Shredded Chicken
- The Ingredients
- Shopping Tips
- The Directions
- Tips for Shredding Chicken Breasts
- Cooking Tips
- Substitutions & Variations
- How to Use Shredded Chicken in Recipes
- Make-ahead & Storage Tips
- Crock Pot Shredded Chicken
- Have you tried this recipe?
Reasons You’ll Love This Recipe
- Minimal ingredients: With just boneless skinless chicken breasts, chicken stock, and a few seasonings, this recipe is simple yet flavorful.
- Healthy: This chicken recipe is an excellent choice for anyone following a gluten-free, paleo, keto, or low-carb diet.
- Easy to make in the crockpot: In less than 5 minutes, you can put all the ingredients into your slow cooker and let it do the work. It’s that easy!
- Super versatile: This shredded chicken is perfect for all your favorite recipes. The possibilities are endless, from tacos to salads, soups, casseroles, and more.
- Freezer-friendly: You can make a big batch of shredded chicken ahead of time and freeze it to use in recipes later on. It’s a great way to save time and always have a healthy protein source on hand.
How to Make Crockpot Shredded Chicken
This shredded chicken recipe made in the crockpot is one of my all-time favorite go-to recipes. It’s incredibly easy to make and has become a staple in my weekly meal prep routine.
I usually make a big batch over the weekend and store it in the fridge for easy weeknight dinners on busy nights, but I also freeze some for future meals. It’s one of those must-have recipes that every busy parent should have in their arsenal to make mealtime a breeze.
Making shredded chicken in the crockpot is super easy, and the best part is that you probably already have all of the ingredients you need in your pantry!
Here are the simple ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe:
- Organic boneless skinless chicken breasts will give you the best results, as they will turn out tender and juicy every time!
- Chicken broth: This will help to add some extra flavor to the chicken as it cooks.
- Seasoning blend: To add an extra layer of delicious flavor, you’ll need a combination of onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. These seasonings are perfect for enhancing the natural taste of the chicken without overpowering it.
I highly recommend using organic boneless skinless chicken breasts for the best results when making shredded chicken in the crockpot. You can usually find organic chicken at large grocery stores like Wegmans or Whole Foods or even wholesale stores like Bj’s Wholesale or Costco.
But if you’re having trouble finding high-quality organic chicken near you, don’t worry! One of my favorite places to purchase organic chicken online is Butcher Box. They offer a wide variety of high-quality chicken, beef, pork, and seafood at affordable prices, and everything gets delivered straight to your door. I’ve been using Butcher Box for a while now, and I’m always impressed with the quality of their products.
So if you want to try out some high-quality organic chicken, check out Butcher Box. And if you want to learn more about my experience with them, I’ve written a Butcher Box Review that you might find helpful.
Making shredded chicken in the crockpot is super easy!
- Add your chicken breasts to the bottom of a 5-6 quart slow cooker. Next, sprinkle your seasonings (onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper) on the chicken. Then, pour in the chicken broth to add some extra flavor.
- Cover your slow cooker and let the chicken cook on low heat for 5-6 hours. If you’re short on time, you can cook the chicken on high for 3-4 hours instead, but keep in mind that cooking it on low will give you more tender, flavorful chicken.
- Once your chicken is fully cooked, please remove it from the crockpot and place it into a bowl.
- Then, use a fork or a hand mixer to shred the chicken. If you want your shredded chicken to be a little juicier, add some liquid from the slow cooker to the chicken.
And that’s it! Your shredded chicken is now ready to be used in many delicious recipes. I love to use mine in tacos, salads, soups, casseroles, and more. The possibilities are endless!
Tips for Shredding Chicken Breasts
Shredding chicken can be intimidating but don’t worry; there are three easy ways to do it! Each method will give you a different texture and size, so choose the one that fits your preference.
- Using two forks: Take two forks and start pulling the chicken apart until it shreds into pieces. This method is excellent if you want larger chunks of shredded meat.
- Using a hand mixer: Turn the hand mixer on low and place it in the center of the chicken breasts, moving it around until the chicken is shredded. This method will give you smaller pieces of shredded chicken, so use a larger bowl to avoid making a mess.
- Using a stand mixer: Place the cooked chicken breasts in the mixing bowl and use the paddle attachment to shred the chicken on low speed. This method gives you more control over the size of the pieces as you shred the chicken.
Add some cooking liquid from the slow cooker to keep the chicken moist and flavorful.
I’ve been making crockpot shredded chicken for years and have picked up some tips for making it juicy and delicious. Here are my recommendations:
- Stick to boneless skinless chicken breasts for the best results. While chicken thighs will work, they’re fattier and can result in greasier shredded chicken. Plus, chicken breasts are a blank canvas that can absorb the flavors of your recipe.
- Avoid cooking chicken breasts for more than 6 hours on low or high for more than 2-3 hours for the juiciest shredded chicken. In most cases, 5 hours on low should do the trick. Keep an eye on the chicken if you must cook it on high, as it can dry out quickly.
- Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the crockpot and place it in a separate bowl before shredding it. The liquid at the bottom can make the chicken mushy if it’s shredded directly in the crockpot. You can always add some of the cooking liquid back in if needed.
If you’re looking for expert advice on slow cooker cooking, I highly recommend the American’s Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution cookbook. This cookbook is a treasure trove of tips and tricks to help you get the best results when cooking chicken and other dishes in your slow cooker. You’ll learn everything from how to prep your ingredients to the best cooking times, temperatures, and more.
Substitutions & Variations
This easy crockpot shredded chicken recipe doesn’t require a lot of ingredients, so there aren’t many substitutions you can make. However, if you’re curious about trying something different or if you’re out of a particular ingredient, here are some suggestions I’ve experimented with:
- Use bone-in chicken breasts: If all you have is bone-in chicken breasts, go ahead and use them! Just keep in mind that they might take longer to cook. To be safe, use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit before removing it from the slow cooker.
- Use chicken thighs. If you prefer, you can also use chicken thighs in this recipe. However, remember that cooking times may be longer, and chicken thighs are typically fattier than chicken breasts, resulting in a different texture and sometimes a greasier outcome.
- Use water instead of broth: Chicken broth adds extra flavor to the shredded chicken, but if you don’t have any on hand, don’t worry! Water will work just fine. If you want to switch things up, try using vegetable broth instead. Just be aware that beef broth has a more robust flavor and might not work as well in this recipe.
- Switch up the seasonings: If you’re feeling adventurous, experiment with different seasonings to add more variety to your shredded chicken. Instead of onion and garlic powder, use onion flakes or dried minced garlic. You could also add some Italian seasoning or chili powder for an extra kick of flavor. And if you run out of dried herbs, don’t worry! Just cook the chicken in broth and add more flavor when you use it in other recipes.
How to Use Shredded Chicken in Recipes
Once your shredded chicken is ready, you can use it in many different recipes! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Chicken salad or sandwiches. This Greek yogurt chicken salad is a tasty and healthy option.
- Chicken enchiladas. Mix things up using chicken instead of beef in this easy enchiladas recipe.
- Buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese. For delicious and indulgent comfort food, stir some hot sauce into your baked mac and cheese.
- Healthy buffalo chicken dip. Swap out the greasy buffalo chicken dip for a lighter and healthier version.
- Mason jar salads. Adding shredded chicken to salads, like this southwest chicken salad or chicken caesar salad, is a great way to add protein and flavor.
- Chicken wraps. Make a wrap with bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and ranch for a fun twist on a classic BLT.
- BBQ chicken sandwiches. Mix with barbecue sauce and put in a crust bun with cheddar cheese for a delicious chicken barbecue sandwich.
- One-pot dinners or casseroles. This one-pot chicken and rice recipe is perfect for a quick and easy meal.
- Soups. Use your shredded chicken to make Italian chicken soup, buffalo chicken soup, creamy chicken and rice soup, or easy chicken tortilla soup.
- Creamy Mexican chicken. Perfect for taco night! Mix in lime juice, beans, corn, cilantro, homemade taco seasoning, pico de Gallo or salsa, and some sour cream or Greek Yogurt to make a delicious creamy Mexican chicken over rice or in flour or corn tortillas. Serve with avocados or guacamole.
Make-ahead & Storage Tips
Here are some tips for storing your shredded chicken:
To store in the fridge: You can keep your shredded chicken for up to 4 days. It’s best to store it in glass containers to help keep it fresh.
To freeze: If you want to freeze your shredded chicken, it can last up to 6 months in the freezer. To make it easy to use in recipes, freeze it in 1 ½ – 2 cup portions. I recommend using Souper Cubes, which you can see pictured below. You purchase Souper Cube Trays here.
To reheat: If possible, it’s best to thaw your chicken overnight in the fridge. When you’re ready to reheat, you can use the microwave. Just place the frozen or thawed chicken in a microwave-safe dish and heat it for 1-2 minutes or until it’s hot.
No. Frozen chicken won’t get up to temperature fast enough when cooked in the slow cooker. Cooking the chicken this way can form bacteria, making you sick. Start this recipe with completely thawed raw chicken breasts for health and safety reasons.
There are two main reasons people end up with tough chicken. First, you overcooked it. Chicken breasts can overcook easily in the crockpot, so it’s important to watch it the first time you make it. Some crock pots can cook hotter than others.
Also, even though many recipes call for cooking on high, I don’t recommend cooking chicken breasts on high in the crockpot because it’s too easy to overcook.
The second reason for tough chicken, which goes along with the first, is that you’re cooking in too large of a crockpot. If your crockpot is larger and the chicken breasts have more room to cook, they will cook faster, so if you use a large crockpot, make sure to plan for a lesser cooking time.
Absolutely. Slow cookers were designed to cook raw chicken and other meats.
It’s super easy for chicken breasts to dry out while cooking in the slow cooker. As I said, cooking on low for no longer than 6 hours will help create juicy chicken.
Another tip is to ensure enough liquid covers the chicken breasts. Chicken breasts should be more than halfway covered with liquid; if not, you’ll run the risk of dried-out rubbery chicken breasts.
Crock Pot Shredded Chicken
- 5 1/2 quart Crockpot
- Mixing bowl
- Hand Mixer
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts about 3 to 4
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 cups chicken broth can use water
- Start by adding the chicken breasts to the bottom of a 5 – 6 quart slow cooker.
- Sprinkle the seasonings on top of the chicken breasts.
- Then pour in the chicken broth.
- Cover and cook the chicken breasts for 5-6 hours on low. If you must cook the chicken on high, I recommend cooking on high for 3-4 hours.
- Remove the cooked chicken from the crockpot and place it into a bowl.
- Then, using a fork or a hand mixer, shred the chicken. Add some of the liquid from the slow cooker into the chicken.
- Use in your favorite recipes that call for shredded chicken.
- To store. You can store the shredded chicken in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Glass containers work best to keep cooked chicken fresh.
- To freeze. You can store shredded chicken in the freezer for up to 6 months. Freeze into 1 ½ – 2 cup portions to have ready for recipes. I like using Souper Cubes for this (pictured below).
- To reheat. If you can, thaw chicken overnight in the refrigerator. You can also reheat the chicken in the microwave. Place the frozen chicken, or thawed chicken, in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 1-2 minutes or until hot.
Have you tried this recipe?
Have you tried this Crockpot Shredded Chicken recipe yet? If so, I’d love for you to rate this recipe and leave a comment below. We all learn from each other’s experiences. Also, it would be awesome if you could share a picture on Instagram and tag it #organizeyourselfskinny. I can’t wait to see it!
This looks perfect for my meal prep. I have a 4qt crockpot, how would you suggest I adjust the amount of chicken I use?
Tammy Overhoff says
Hi Bari! I haven’t made this in a 4qt crockpot but I’d use a little less in a small crockpot. 1-2 chicken breasts and then 1/2 the spices and then just enough liquid to just cover the chicken. Cooking time will probably be less too so keep an eye on it around 3 hours. Remember the chicken needs to have an internal temp of 165. Enjoy!
Do you know how many ounces a serving would be? Made this Sunday and it’s really good! My 13 yr old (who tasted chicken for the first time when I made it!) loves it!
Tammy Kresge says
About 3-4 ounces.
Thank you for the easy chicken recipe. I like the idea of setting and forgetting while you work out or do something fun. Sometimes my family likes to eat junk food and I want to eat healthy and this is great to have in the freezer ready to create something fabulous! I’m going to do this this weekend!
Thanks again, and have a good week everyone!
I’ve been making this and the Mexican one for a whiles always delish! Tonight for the first time I used the kitchenaid method to shred. One word: WOWEE!! So easy and such perfect shreds! Thanks.
First of all, thanks for this site!! My doctor recently told me that I needed to increase my vegetable intake because im on the very low end risk for diabetes. So I stumbled onto the Mason Jar Salads which I’ll start next week!!
One question though: where can I find dried garlic and onion flakes?? I didnt want to have to go to every grocery store in Philadelphia looking for them. Any suggestions?? If i have to use Garlic and Onion flakes, I will, but I rather stick to the recipe. Thanks in advance!!
Tammy Kresge says
Those spices can be found in the spice section of any major grocery store.
Dollar Stores have those spices as well, if you find it is cheaper than you local grocery store.
You can boil/poach it in a pot on the stove.
Every time I try chicken breasts in the crockpot, they dry out. Thinking this recipe with the broth will eliminate that problem. In they go, this week!!!
Trish Howeth says
I weight my protein by ounces, so how many ounces is is 1/3 cups of chicken?
Love this so much! After I shred it I put it in snack size bags then put them in a quart freezer bag for protection. In the morning I just throw one in my lunch bag. By lunch it’s mostly thawed and helps keep the rest of my food cold till I’m ready to eat.
great idea. itll save me on freezer bags and Itll keep the rest of my stuff cold
using the beater on your kitchenaid to shred your chicken works wonderfully. I have done it many times.
At what speed?
I use mine at low speed and it shreds wonderfully!
Can you use the chicken “water” as a broth afterward or do you just have to dump it? I cook my chicken all the time in a crockpot but have never added water and it always turns out moist…I just add Italian seasoning to it and it is scrumptious. My kids have a plain palate but they love this…
Yes I have use it for broth in other meals. I will have to give your recipe a try. Have a great night.
Is this for boneless skinless chicken breast? And if not how would I adapt for that? Thanks
Yes this is for boneless chicken breast. Thanks for pointing that out.
Is this for boneless skinless chicken breast or the regular split breat? And if using boneless how would you adapt it? Thanks.
I made this tonight. I used about 1.5 lbs of chicken, no salt, and it took about 5 hours. It shredded beautifully. Can’t wait to use it this week! And I am using the water for chicken broth. Next time I’ll add in some veggies before I turn on the chicken to make it more nutritious. Great basic recipe!
That is awesome so glad it worked out!
I made this yesterday, it cooked for 6 hours while I was at work. When I got home, the chicken was so tender, it basically fell apart. easiest shredding ive ever had to do! thanks so much for the great idea! i am new to your site, and have already started using many of your freezer cooking meal starter ideas. I am loving them!
That is great Melissa! Meal starters are my favorite freezer cooking recipes.
Jackie brown says
I share your love for freezer cooking, ran across your post on moneysavingmom. I just prepped 40 lbs of chic this weekend and did the kitchen aid shredding tip, worked great. I blog about freezer cooking for family and communit at momonamission.me. Hope you stop by. Blessings.
Hi Jackie! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I will certainly check yours out.
Laura Jane @ Recovering Chocoholic says
I love having cooked shredded chicken and cooked ground turkey or beef in the freezer on hand at all times. It really doesn’t take too much time to cook/freeze the meat, but it saves so much time when I’m trying to put dinner together on busy weeknights.
Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes says
I love this idea! The chicken probably comes out so much more tender than boiling/poaching. Thanks!
Thanks so much for this great idea! Seriosly, I was just thinking what to do with all the chicken I bought today (Aldi had split breasts for 89¢/lb). I will be putting some in the crockpot tomorrow!
Just used shredded chicken yesterday. 🙂 I added a small can of tomato sauce and a healthy dose of our homemade taco seasoning. Kids said they were the best tacos ever. I think I will do this next week and cook up a bunch of shredded chicken! Thanks for the reminder that I can use a crockpot…and cook extras!! 🙂
I love having taco chicken and plain chicken available for recipes now. That way I can use it other recipes besides mexican inspired ones. It is really nice to have both. And the crockpot makes life so much easier!