Now that you’ve learned how to cook the perfect chicken breast, it’s time to use that perfectly cooked chicken in tons of delicious recipes. One of the best ways to use it up? Shred it and add it to enchiladas, salads, grain bowls, soups and more!
In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn exactly how to shred chicken using four different methods: your hands, two forks, a hand mixer and a stand mixer. Store it in the fridge or freezer for easy meal prep and be sure to check out all of our delicious recipes using shredded chicken at the bottom of the post.
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The best ways to cook shredded chicken
Before shredding chicken you’ll of course need to cook it. Head to my full tutorial to learn the best, easy ways to cook chicken breast that you can use as a blank canvas for shredding and adding to a variety of recipes. You’ll learn:
- How to Make Juicy Baked Chicken Breast
- How to Grill Chicken Breast that’s Perfectly Juicy
- How to Make the Best Slow Cooker Chicken Breast
- How to Poach Chicken Breast
Be sure to check out our best chicken marinades to create delicious, unique flavors for your shredded chicken!
So you have some cooked chicken, now what?
It’s time to shred it, baby! I have four methods for shredding chicken that are quick, easy and will save you money by not buying pre-shredded chicken. The four methods use:
- Your hands: recommended for any types of chicken (whole roasted chicken, cooked chicken breasts or thighs and even cooked chicken drumsticks).
- Two forks: this method is also great for the above types of chicken if you’d like to keep things a little cleaners
- A hand mixer: use this method for boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs.
- A stand mixer (not just for cookies anymore!): you can also use this method for boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs.
What types of chicken are best for shredding?
Each of these methods will work for multiple cuts of chicken, but please note that the last two mixer methods are not recommended for bone-in chicken cuts.
- Boneless chicken: I prefer to shred boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but boneless, skinless chicken thighs work very well, too, and you can even use a mix if you’d like!
- Bone-in chicken tips: if you are shredding cooked, bone-in chicken like a whole roasted chicken or chicken drumsticks, I find that using your hands work best to feel around and avoid the bones. You’ll then get all of the meat off the bones very easily. These cuts likely have skin on them, too, so feel free to shred it alone with the chicken meat or discard it.
How much shredded chicken am I getting?
Many recipes call for a certain amount of cooked, shredded chicken, but how much chicken should you then start with?
As a rule of thumb: 1 pound of cooked, boneless chicken (breasts or thighs) will make about 2 ½ cups of shredded chicken.
Method 1: use your hands to shred chicken
Feel free to use cooked boneless skinless chicken breast & thighs or even a full roasted chicken or chicken drumsticks with this method.
Step 1: after you’ve cooked your chicken, be sure it’s cool enough to handle with your hands (but still warm) before shredding. Place your chicken on a clean surface like a cutting board or plate.
Step 2: use your hands to pull the chicken breast apart into even pieces until the chicken is shredded into desired sized pieces.
Step 3: finish shredding all of your chicken breast, use it in your favorite recipe, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for later, or see below for instructions on freezing!
Method 2: use two forks
Feel free to use cooked chicken breast & thighs or even a full roasted chicken or chicken drumsticks with this method.
Step 1: take your warm, cooked chicken breast and place it on a sturdy cutting board (use the code ‘ambitiouskitchen15’ for 15% off my favorite ones!)
Step 2: place two forks at the center of the breast and pull the chicken apart into pieces.
Step 3: continue with step 2 and shred the chicken into smaller and smaller pieces until you have the desired sized shreds.
Method 3: use a hand mixer
I recommend only using boneless cooked chicken breast & thighs with this method.
Step 1: place your cooked chicken breast or thighs in a deep bowl.
Step 2: use a hand mixer on low speed to carefully break apart the chicken into shreds.
Step 3: continue with step 2 until your chicken is evenly shredded. You may need to shred larger pieces apart as you go to get nice, even shreds of chicken.
Method 4: use a stand mixer
I recommend only using boneless cooked chicken breast & thighs with this method.
Step 1: place your cooked chicken in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Step 2: use the paddle attachment, turn the stand mixer on low, and let the stand mixer shred your chicken breast or thighs.
Step 3: continue shredding with the paddle attachment for about 15-20 seconds until all of your chicken is fully shredded.
Store & freeze shredded chicken for later
Meal prep your shredded chicken to have protein on hand for weeks or months!
- To store: store the shredded chicken in airtight containers or resealable bags for up to 3-4 days.
- To freeze: freeze shredded chicken in airtight containers or bags for up to 3 months. Simply reheat the shredded chicken in the refrigerator before using it in recipes.
Recipes using shredded chicken
Once you have some delicious shredded chicken, it’s time to use it up! Here are a few of my fav recipes that use shredded chicken or would be delicious with some in it:
- Pesto Chicken Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- Incredible Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
- BBQ Ranch Chicken Quinoa Bowls
- Skinny Refried Bean & Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Enchilada Sauce
- Healthy Pumpkin Seed & Avocado Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches
- Buffalo Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Chipotle Black Bean Roasted Veggie Enchilada Casserole
- Slow Cooker Yellow Chicken Curry
And be sure to check out all of our delicious chicken recipes here!
I hope you love these easy methods for shredding chicken! If you try any of them leave a comment so I know how it went and how you used your shredded chicken. Enjoy, xo!
How to Shred Chicken (four easy ways!)
The best easy methods for shredding cooked chicken! In this tutorial, you’ll learn exactly how to shred chicken so that you can use it in tons of different recipes. Save time and money with these four simple methods.
- 1 pound cooked chicken* (see notes on the methods in the blog post above for using chicken breast & thighs versus bone-in chicken)
Using your hands: after you’ve cooked your chicken, be sure it’s cool enough to handle with your hands (but still warm) before shredding. Place your chicken on a clean surface like a cutting board or plate. Use your hands to pull the chicken breast apart into even pieces until the chicken is shredded into desired sized pieces.
With two forks: take your warm, cooked chicken breast and place it on a sturdy cutting board. Place two forks at the center of the breast and pull the chicken apart into pieces. Continue with step 2 and shred the chicken into smaller and smaller pieces until you have the desired sized shreds.
With a hand mixer: place your cooked chicken breast or thighs in a deep bowl. Use a hand mixer on low speed to carefully break apart the chicken into shreds. You may need to shred larger pieces apart as you go to get nice, even shreds of chicken.
With a stand mixer: Place your cooked chicken in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment, turn the stand mixer on low, and let the stand mixer shred all of your chicken breast or thighs. This should only take around 15-20 seconds.
Please read the full post to see notes on using these methods for chicken breast & thighs versus bone-in chicken.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
I used to always use two forks — I tried the hand mixer method…it worked surprisingly well. Thanks for the tip!
Nobody likes to shred chicken. The mixer is IT! Quick and so EASY!
The stand mixer was unbelievably easy. It did only take 15-20 seconds! amazing!
Woohooo! So happy it worked well!
I had 4 boneless chicken breasts to shred and was not looking forward in using the two fork method so when I came across your suggestions I went ahead and used my stand mixer and I was so impressed how amazing it worked! Thank you so much for the great tip
So happy you found it helpful! 🙂
Thank you for sharing these useful suggestions, Monique! Shredded chicken, also known as pulled chicken, is a culinary classic everyone should learn to make. This is because shredded chicken is utilized in a variety of dishes, ranging from salads to appetizers to main entrees. Although boneless skinless chicken thighs are preferable, boneless skinless chicken breasts can also be used.
This was SO good – my husband and I both loved it!!!