You can make tender, succulent Shredded Chicken made in your slow cooker with just 3 ingredients (chicken, salt and pepper) and 10 minutes of active time with this easy recipe. The secret to it’s juicy, rotisserie chicken like texture is to use bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves instead of boneless skinless chicken breast that can easily dry out.
There is no need to add liquid to your slow cooker or crockpot, though you’ll be rewarded with a cup or so of glorious, flavorful broth when your chicken is done. A perfect liquid to moisten this shredded chicken when reheating or adding to soups, stews and sauces. And this method makes shredding a breeze.
When you're working with chicken breasts on the bone, use two forks to shred the meat, as shown in the recipe video and photo below.
It's easier to shred chicken when it's warm. Once your chicken is cooked, let it stand for 10 minutes before shredding. If you plan to cut it up for a salad or sandwich, let it cool completely first.
How to use Shredded Chicken
There are endless ways to use shredded chicken (that also happens to be gluten free). It's perfect for busy weeknight meals and meal prep. Use in any dish that calls for cooked chicken: add heft to green salads and pasta or grain salads, use to make main dishes like Chicken Pot Pie or Chicken Pot Pie Soup. Toss into chicken soup (like Chicken Noodle Soup or in place of turkey in Turkey and Rice Soup) or stew, chop instead of shred it to make Curry Chicken Salad or Chicken Salad with Grapes. Or pile onto comfort foods like chicken sandwiches, chicken tacos or burritos, in place of pulled pork in these Pulled Pork Quesadillas, and in my Chicken Tinga recipe to make Chicken Tostadas (try these amazing homemade Tostada Shells). Or make my favorite Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas (made with homemade Green Enchilada Sauce)!
I typically stick with neutral seasonings in this easy shredded chicken recipe, just salt and pepper. But if you know how you’re planning to use this, feel free to add appropriate spices to permeate the meat as it cooks.
How to Make Shredded Chicken
Step 1: Place 2 large bone in, skin on chicken breast halves in a slow cooker or crock pot. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on high until tender and almost falling off the bone, 3 to 4 hours, depending on size of the chicken breast halves.
Step 2: Remove chicken breasts from slow cooker and, when cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin and bones. Use two forks to shred meat to your desired consistency.
Step 3: Strain cooking liquid into a jar for another use. (see recipe notes for ideas)
How to Make Shredded Chicken
- 2 bone-in skin-on chicken breast halves 2 to 2 ½ pounds
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Place chicken breast halves in the bottom of a slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours (see recipe note #1) until very tender.
- Transfer chicken from the slow cooker to a cutting board until cool enough to handle.
- Strain liquid from slow cooker into a jar for another use. (see recipe note #2)
- Remove and discard skin and bones from chicken breast halves. With 2 forks, shred chicken to desired consistency. Enjoy as desired!
- In my slow cooker, 3 hours on high is perfect for 2 1-pound bone in, skin on chicken breast halves. If the chicken breasts are larger, they can take up to 4 hours. Check for tenderness every 15 to 30 minutes once you pass the 3 hour mark.
- Use strained liquid to moisten shredded chicken when reheating or as you would chicken broth. You can also freeze it for a later use.
- The recipe states that this chicken serves 6 people, but it depends entirely on how you serve it. You'll end up with ~15 ounces of shredded chicken from 2 1-pound bone in skin on chicken breast halves.