Save tons of time and stock your freezer with this easy slow cooker shredded chicken. Boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs turn out perfectly tender and with a mild flavor that will go well with just about any recipe.
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Sure, this chicken may seem pretty boring. And in truth it really is. But, thanks to its plainness, it is perfect for just about any recipe that calls for cooked chicken, and keeping it on hand saves SO much time and makes dinner a breeze.
Again, I want to stress that this chicken is very plain on purpose so don't come at me for the lack of seasoning 😅 It is meant to just be added to other recipes and further seasoned accordingly.
- Boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs
- Olive oil or any mild flavored oil that you like
- Garlic powder and Onion powder or any seasoning that you like.
- Chicken Broth or water
- Salt and pepper
See the recipe card for quantities.
This chicken is seriously easy and thanks to a slow cooker, it basically cooks itself!
Simply coat the chicken pieces in the oil, seasonings, salt, and pepper and place them in the slow cooker along with about a half of a cup of chicken broth.
Cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 3 hours. Ensure that the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees.
Hint: If you would like to use frozen chicken simply increase the cooking time to 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
When the cooking time is complete, remove any excess liquid (Don't throw it out, Check out the FAQ section for ideas on how to use it!) Allow the chicken to cool for 10-15 minutes and then shred the chicken with 2 forks OR using an electric mixer.
From this point, the chicken is fully cooked and ready to eat. You can add it to your favorite recipe immediately, or allow it to cool and then store it for later or use it to make my delicious Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad. (Check out the section 'How to Store Shredded Chicken' for details)
Note: While shredding is the easiest way to prep this chicken, you can also keep the breasts whole, or dice them.
- Instant pot - to make this chicken in the instant pot, add everthing to the pot along with 1 cup of water or broth and cook at high pressure for 8-10 minutes with a natural release (15-20 minutes for frozen chicken)
- Whole Chicken - You can use a whole chicken (or even bone-in chicken pieces) simply remove the skin and bones before shredding the chicken.
For this recipe you will need a slow cooker (duh), measuring cups and spoons, and forks or an electric mixer for shredding.
I know that using a mixer on chicken breast seems crazy, but it really works so well. Just keep your mixer speed closer to the slow side. Also, I find that using the mixer results in chicken that is finely shredded. If you want the chicken to have larger pieces, you may want to stick with forks.
If you plan to store the chicken for later use, you will also need a fridge or freezer-safe storage container depending upon how you wish to store it.
Hint: Add a little bit of the cooking liquid back to the chicken for storing. This will help keep the chicken moist and flavorful. I usually add about 2 tablespoons of the liquid per cup of chicken.
How to Store Shredded Chicken
Cooked chicken can be safely stored in the fridge for up to 5 days in a sealed container. I like to use glasslock containers (affiliate) in the fridge since they are safe for heating in the microwave or oven. But I don't suggest using them in the freezer.
This chicken can be stored in the freezer for up to six months. I like to freeze it in one cup portions for easier serving. I usually just use Ziploc freezer bags.
Yes. Chicken can become overcooked in a slow cooker. However, thanks to the nature of slow cooking, chicken generally retains its moisture even if it is slightly overcooked. Also, chicken breasts are much more affected by overcooking so if you are concerned that your chicken will be dry, opt for chicken thighs instead!
Raw chicken can certainly go into a slow cooker to be cooked. There is some debate on whether it is safe to put frozen chicken breast in a slow cooker. The USDA advises against it, but slow cooker manufacturers insist that it is completely safe as long as the chicken is heated to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F. I personally have no problem using frozen chicken in a slow cooker, but you will have to make the best decision for your family. You can read this article for more info!
You can use this pre-cooked and shredded chicken for so many things. I have a longer list below, but some of my favorite quick uses include adding some barbecue sauce for quick, pulled barbecue chicken, making chicken salad, adding taco seasoning and salsa for chicken tacos, and adding it to canned soups to make them heartier.
Don't toss out those juices! The liquid leftover from cooking chicken is loaded with flavor and can be used in several ways.
First, I like to add a few tablespoons back into the chicken after shredding it. This keeps the chicken from being dry and adds some extra flavor. After this, here are some of my favorite ways to use the remaining liquid:
- Broth - mix one part of the liquid with water for a delicious broth. (add less water for more flavor) You can store this broth in the fridge for several days or freeze it for up to 6 months.
- Use it to make gravy
- Add some to sauces, mashed potatoes, or rice for an extra flavor boost!
Recipes that use Shredded Chicken:
This chicken will work in just about any chicken recipe, but sometimes a little adjusting is necessary. Feel free to ask about specific recipes in the comments, but here are some of my favorites:
- Low Carb Chicken Enchiladas
- Keto Chicken pot pie or Chicken Pot Pie Soup
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Loaded Cauliflower Casserole with Chicken
- Crack Chicken Quiche
- Poppyseed Chicken Casserole
- Keto Chicken Parmesan Casserole
- Low Carb Chicken Pesto Lasagna
- Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Soup
- Baked Chicken Alfredo Casserole
Don't toss out the liquid leftover when the chicken is finished cooking. This liquid is loaded with flavor and can be used in several ways. Add a few tablespoons to any shredded chicken that you aren't using immediately to prevent the chicken from becoming dry then, check out the FAQ section for more ideas on how to use the rest!
Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken
- Slow Cooker
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Coat each piece of chicken with olive oil and then season with the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Place the chicken and broth in the crock of a slow cooker and cover.5 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, ¼ cup Olive Oil, 1 tablespoon Onion Powder, ½ tablespoon Garlic Powder, Salt and Pepper, ½ cup Chicken Broth
- Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours OR until the chicken reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165° F.
- When the cooking time is complete remove the chicken from the crockpot and shred it with 2 forks or using an electric mixer.
- At this point, the chicken is ready to use in your favorite recipe or you can allow it to cool and then store it in the fridge or freezer for later.
The nutrition information listed here is only an estimate and is simply provided as a courtesy. It nor any other information within this post should constitute medical or nutritional advice. Be sure to read all packaging and ingredient labels for potential allergens. Optional ingredients are not included unless otherwise specified.