Need an easy way to make juicy and delicious shredded chicken? I have the perfect answer. This easy Slow Cooker Chicken Shredded Recipe always makes tender and juicy chicken that is easy to shred.
It only takes 5 minutes to prep, and then your slow cooker does the rest of the work for you. If you want to know how to make juicy shredded chicken be sure to save this recipe!
This shredded chicken is one of my favorite slow cooker recipes that I make over and over. After making this easy recipe so many times, I have discovered some great tips that I want to share with you.
I am going to give you the following tips for making shredded chicken in the crockpot:
- The best way to shred chicken
- Safety tips for using a slow cooker
- Teach you how long to cook raw chicken breast using a crock pot
- How to freeze and thaw shredded chicken for easy meal prep
If you want your shredded chicken done quicker than the time it takes in a slow cooker, be sure to visit my recipe for How To Make Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Recipe, Easy Instant Pot Pulled BBQ Chicken Recipe or this Quick Air Fryer Chicken Legs Recipe.
Great Reasons To Make Slow-Cooker Shredded Chicken
- Make Your Life Easier Appliance: Slow cookers are designed to slowly and gently cook food over long periods of time, resulting in moist and flavorful meals that the entire family can enjoy.
- Always Juicy: With a slow cooker, you don’t have to worry about overcooking the chicken or having it come out dry – the low heat ensures that it stays moist throughout the cooking process.
- Healthy Cooking Method: No extra oil, sugar, or carbs are needed for great-tasting, moist, tender chicken. This recipe makes lean chicken breast meat for a healthy addition to all your favorite recipes.
- 5-Minute Prep Time: Additionally, slow cookers are easy to use and require very little recipe prep time. Add your ingredients to the crock pot, set a timer, and let it do its magic.
- Don’t Heat Up The Kitchen: I live in the south, and during the summer, we avoid heating up our kitchens by cooking by not cooking in the oven. Using a slow cooker to make shredded chicken is gaining popularity due to its convenience and ease vs. cooking in the oven. You can also run some errands without worry.
- Easy Meal Prep: As a bonus, double the recipe so you will have plenty of leftovers that can be used the next day or frozen for a week’s worth of easy meal prep.
What Type Of Chicken Is Best For Shredding?
When it comes to shredding chicken, some types of chicken are more suitable than others. Here are a few types of chicken that work well for shredding:
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: These are probably the most commonly used type of chicken for shredding. They are lean and have a mild flavor, making them versatile for use in various recipes.
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs: These are a great alternative to chicken breasts if you want richer, more flavorful shredded chicken. They are also more forgiving when it comes to overcooking, so they can be a good option if you’re new to shredding chicken.
No matter what type of chicken you choose, be sure to cook it until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure that it’s safe to eat. Additionally, using a slow cooker or pressure cooker can help make shredding easier as the meat will be more tender and easier to pull apart.
Should I remove the skin before putting chicken breasts in a slow cooker?
Removing the skin from chicken breasts before cooking them in a slow cooker is generally recommended. Here’s why:
- Better texture: The skin can become rubbery and unappetizing when cooked in a slow cooker for an extended period of time. Removing the skin can help the meat stay tender and moist.
- Healthier option: Chicken skin is high in fat and calories; removing it can help make your dish healthier overall.
- Easier to shred: Removing the skin beforehand can make the shredding process easier if you’re planning on shredding the chicken.
- Flavorful cooking liquid: Removing the skin allows a lot of liquid to penetrate the chicken breasts more effectively, resulting in more flavorful shredded chicken meat.
That said, if you prefer to leave the skin on, you can certainly do so. Just be aware that the skin will have a rubbery texture, and you will need to remove it before shredding the chicken.
Simple Ingredients for Easy Slow Cooker Chicken
You will need these basic ingredients to make juicy shredded chicken in your slow cooker. However, I will share with you further down the page some great seasoning change-up ideas.
- Boneless chicken breast: You will need about 4 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts. You could also use boneless chicken thighs and tenders.
- Chicken Broth: I use boxed chicken stock. However, if you prefer, you could use chicken bone broth instead of regular broth.
- Bay Leaf: When finished cooking, be sure to discard the bay leaf. The leaf is a choking hazard, and it is not tasty.
- Spices: Garlic powder, Onion Powder, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper
⭐️The full ingredients list and proportions are in the recipe card below.
How to Make Crockpot-Shredded Chicken
- Place chicken breasts on the bottom of the crockpot. Try not to overlap or stack on top of each other. You want your chicken to cook evenly and not dry out.
2. Sprinkle onion powder, garlic powder, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper over the chicken. Turn the chicken over and repeat on the other side. Add the bay leaf.
3. Pour the broth around the sides of the chicken breasts.
4. Place the lid on the crock pot. Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.
⏲TIP: If you are in a hurry, you can cook on high for 2 to 3 hours. However, a low-temperature setting will give you more tender, juicy chicken. Just be sure to check you check your chicken after a few hours for doneness. You do not want to overcook and have your chicken dry out.
🌡Reminder: Slow cooker brands vary in their temperature settings. Also, older crockpots do not heat as efficiently as the newer models today.
🔪Quicker Cooking Time Tip
Are you running short on time but still want hands-off cooking? When preparing the chicken for cooking in the slow cooker, you can cut it into smaller pieces or strips using a cutting board and sharp knife. The smaller pieces will cook faster and more evenly. Just remember, the chicken is done when it breaks apart on reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Slow Cooker Chicken Bonus 🎉
Be sure to save the broth. You can freeze it into broth ice cubes. Discard the bay leaf and all the broth to cool. Pour the broth into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, remove the cubes from the freezer cube trays and place them in a zip-lock freezer bag.
Chicken Thigh Cooking Tips For A Slow Cooker
If you prefer, you can substitute the breast meat for chicken thighs. Slow-cooking chicken thighs is a great way to get a flavorful and tender result. Here are some tips to make the most of your slow cooker:
- Liquid: The amount of liquid you use in your slow cooker will depend on the number of chicken thighs in your slow cooker, but as a general rule, you’ll need enough liquid to cover the chicken thighs about halfway. Don’t add too much liquid, as this can dilute the flavor.
- Seasoning: Chicken thighs have a lot of flavor on their own, but remember to enhance the taste by adding herbs, spices, and aromatics to the slow cooker. Some great options include garlic, onion, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves.
- Remove Skin: The chicken thigh meat tends to have more fat. If you want a lower-fat broth to use in other recipes after the chicken is done, remove the skin before cooking.
- Thigh Cooking Time: Cook chicken thighs on low for 3-4 hours. If you are in a hurry, you can cook on high for 2 to 3 hours. However, a low-temperature setting will give you more tender, juicy, and flavorful dark meat.
Can you use bone-in chicken breast in a slow cooker?
Cooking bone-in chicken breasts in the slow cooker can be a great way to get tender, flavorful meat that falls off the bone. The cooking times will be the same as boneless chicken breasts. Removing the bones from chicken breasts cooked in a slow cooker can be a bit tricky, but here are some steps to follow to help you do it safely:
- Allow the chicken breasts to cool slightly: Remove the cooked bone-in chicken breast to a cutting board. Before removing the bones, allow the chicken breasts to cool for a few minutes, so they’re easier to handle.
- Locate the bone: Use a knife to find the bone in the chicken breast. The bone should be easy to locate, as it will be in the center of the breast.
- Cut along the bone: Use a sharp knife to cut along the bone, using the bone as a guide. Be careful not to cut too close to the bone, as this can leave pieces of bone in the meat.
- Separate the bone from the meat: Once you’ve cut along the bone, use your fingers to pull the bone away from the meat gently. It should come out easily, as the meat will be very tender from slow cooking.
- Check for any bone fragments: After removing the bone, check the meat for any small pieces of bone that may have been left behind. Use a pair of kitchen tweezers to remove any bone fragments.
- Serve and enjoy: Once the bones have been removed, the chicken breasts are ready to be shredded and served. You can serve them as they are or use the meat in a variety of recipes, such as sandwiches, salads, or casseroles.
Note: Be very careful when handling knives and bones to avoid injury. Always use a sharp knife and keep your fingers away from the blade.
How To Shred Chicken With Forks
Shredding cooked chicken with two forks is a common and easy technique. Here are the steps to shred cooked slow cooker chicken with two forks:
- Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and place the cooked chicken on a cutting board or a flat surface.
- Allow the cooked chicken to cool down for a few minutes so that it’s easier to handle. This also locks in the juices so your chicken is moist.
- Take two forks and hold one in each hand.
- Hold the chicken steady with one fork and use the other fork to gently pull the meat away from the bone or in the direction of the meat’s grain.
- Use the two forks to shred the chicken into small, bite-sized pieces. You can also use a cutting motion with the forks to make the pieces smaller.
- Once you have shredded all the chicken, discard any bones or unwanted bits and pieces.
Tips For Using Your Hands To Shred Chicken
Shredding cooked chicken with your hands can quickly and easily prepare it for your favorite recipes. Additionally, shredding the chicken by hand allows you to control the texture and size of the pieces, ensuring that they’re just right for your recipe. Here’s how:
- Remove the cooked chicken from the slow cooker or oven, and let it cool for a few minutes until it’s safe to handle.
- Put on food-safe rubber gloves to keep your hands from getting messy and ensure safe hygiene.
- Pull the chicken meat apart and shred it into bite-sized pieces using your fingers. Start at one end of the chicken breast and use your fingers to pull the meat apart in the direction of the grain.
Using A Mixer To Shred Cooked Chicken
While it is possible to pull chicken with an electric mixer, it may not be the most effective or efficient method. Here are the steps to follow if you decide to use a mixer to shred your cooked chicken:
- Start by cutting your cooked chicken into small pieces or strips to fit easily into your mixer bowl.
- Place the chicken pieces into the bowl of your mixer, ensuring not to overload it.
- Attach the paddle attachment to your mixer and turn it on to the lowest setting.
- Mix the chicken on low speed for a few seconds at a time, stopping the mixer frequently to check the consistency of the shredded chicken.
- Once the chicken is shredded to your desired consistency, turn off the mixer and remove the shredded chicken from the bowl.
Note that using a hand mixer to shred cooked chicken can be messy, and you may end up with small pieces of chicken flying out of the bowl. Additionally, it may be more difficult to achieve a consistent shred using a mixer compared to shredding the chicken by hand with a fork or your fingers.
How To Store and Freeze Shredded Chicken
Here are some tips for storing and freezing shredded cooked chicken breasts:
- Refrigerating Shredded Chicken: If you plan to use the shredded chicken within a few days, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should be used within 3-4 days.
- Freezing Shredded Chicken: First, allow the shredded chicken to cool completely before freezing. (this helps avoid icy crystals from building up on your frozen meat) Once cooled, transfer the shredded chicken to a freezer-safe container or freezer bag, and squeeze out any excess air. Label the container or bag with the date and contents, and place it in the freezer. Shredded chicken can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- Portion control: It’s a good idea to portion out the shredded chicken before freezing so you can easily defrost only the amount you need for a recipe. This will help you avoid food waste and ensure the chicken stays fresh.
- Defrosting shredded chicken: To defrost the frozen shredded chicken, transfer it to the refrigerator the night before you plan to use it. Alternatively, you can defrost it quickly in the microwave using the defrost setting.
- Reheating Shredded Chicken: You can reheat shredded chicken by gently reheating it in a pan on the stove or in the microwave, being careful not to overheat it as this can dry out the meat.
By following these tips, you can store and freeze your shredded chicken so that it stays fresh and ready to use in a recipe on busy nights.
How-To Thaw and Reheat Crockpot Shredded Chicken
- Remove the frozen shredded chicken from the freezer and transfer it to the refrigerator the night before you plan to use it. This will allow it to thaw slowly and safely.
- If you need to thaw the chicken more quickly, you can use the defrost setting on your microwave. Place the frozen chicken in a microwave-safe dish and defrost it in short increments, frequently stirring until the meat is fully thawed.
- In a skillet: Heat a skillet over medium heat and add a small amount of oil or butter. Once the skillet is hot, add the shredded chicken and frequently stir until heated through. You can add seasonings or sauce as desired.
- In the microwave: Place the shredded chicken in a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high in 30-second increments, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is heated.
- In the oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Place the shredded chicken and a few tablespoons of broth or water in a baking dish. Cover it with foil. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.
🌡Remember to always heat shredded chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure it’s safe to eat. Avoid overcooking the chicken, as this can make it dry and tough. Following these tips, you can safely and easily thaw and reheat shredded chicken meat.
Seasoning Ideas For Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken
It’s easy to change up the flavor of your cooked shredded chicken. Omit the garlic and onion powder and put in a teaspoon of one of these tasty homemade seasonings instead.
- Mexican Shredded Chicken: Mexican Seasoning (great for all Mexican chicken recipes like tacos and burritos)
- Cuban Shredded Chicken: Cuban Sazon Seasoning ( Use in one of these yummy Sazon Recipes)
- Italian Shredded Chicken: Sprinkle one tablespoon of Homemade Zesty Italian Seasoning Mix. This will be great when making Chicken Pesto Flatbread with Naan.
- Thai Shredded Chicken: Thai Seasoning
- Shredded BBQ Chicken: Mix in this BBQ Seasoning, then top with Bacon and Whiskey BBQ Sauce.
- Basic Shredded Chicken: Use this homemade All Seasoning Salt if you want a mildly flavored chicken.
Dinner Ideas Using Shredded Chicken
You will find it very helpful to make extra crockpot shredded so you can freeze some for later. Pop your shredded chicken in your microwave to defrost when you need a quick dinner. Having pre-shredded cooked chicken on hand is perfect in any of the following recipes.
- Famous Masters Chicken Salad
- Mix shredded chicken in this yummy, Quick Mexican Brown Rice Salad & Dressing or this Easy One-Dish Mexican Nacho Casserol.
- Add shredded chicken to a salad to make it a hearty one-bowl meal. My favorites are Fuji Apple Salad Recipe and Crisp Mediterranean Quinoa Salad.
- This shredded chicken will make preparing soups easier. Try it in this Greek Lemon Chicken Rice Soup.
Tips and Questions About Cooking Chicken In A Slow Cooker
How can I tell if the crockpot chicken is done?
To tell if your crockpot chicken is done, check if the juices run clear when you cut into it. Your chicken should pull apart easily using a fork when it is done. Additionally, the internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C)
Can you overcook chicken in a crockpot?
Yes, you can overcook chicken in a crockpot since it takes a long time to cook at low temperatures. If you’re unsure how much longer it needs to cook, here are some tips to ensure the meat is not overcooked.
- Be sure the internal temperature is at least 165°F (74°C) in the center of the chicken breast.
- Pull at the chicken breast using a fork to see if it falls apart easily. If so, it is done and should be removed from the crock pot.
- Life gets busy, so I suggest using a programable slow cooker so it will turn off when done or convert from cooking to warm.
- A single layer of chicken breasts should not take more than a few hours in your slow cooker. If you leave the chicken cooking for as long as 6-8 hours, it will tend to dry out and get tough.
Can you put raw chicken in a crockpot?
If you want to make your recipe the night before and keep it in the fridge to cook in the morning, do not put raw meat in the crockpot and refrigerate. Wait until you are ready to start cooking to add any raw meat. This will help prevent salmonella. For more crockpot safety tips be sure to read through my Slow Cooker Safty Questions and Answers.
Can I use frozen chicken in a slow cooker?
Yes, you can use frozen chicken in a slow cooker, but it’s important to take certain precautions to ensure that it’s cooked safely and thoroughly. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Use a meat thermometer: When cooking frozen chicken in a slow cooker, it’s important to use a meat thermometer to ensure that it’s cooked to a safe temperature of 165°F (74°C). This will ensure that any harmful bacteria present in the meat are destroyed.
- Allow extra cooking time: Frozen chicken will take longer to cook than fresh chicken, so you’ll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. As a general rule, you should add an extra 1-2 hours of cooking time for frozen chicken.
- Use enough liquid: When cooking frozen chicken in a slow cooker, you’ll need to use enough liquid to ensure that it cooks evenly and doesn’t dry out. A good rule of thumb is to use 1/2 cup of liquid (such as broth or water) for every pound of chicken.
- Don’t overcrowd the slow cooker: When cooking frozen chicken in a slow cooker, make sure that you don’t overcrowd the pot. The chicken should be in a single layer and not stacked on top of each other, to ensure even cooking.
- Be mindful of food safety: It’s important to follow proper food safety guidelines when cooking frozen chicken in a slow cooker. This includes keeping the chicken at a safe temperature (below 40°F/4°C) until you’re ready to cook it, and not letting it sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Overall, while you can use frozen chicken in a slow cooker, it’s important to take extra precautions to ensure that it’s cooked safely and thoroughly.
What is the best Crock-Pot for cooking chicken?
When it comes to choosing the best slow cooker for cooking chicken, there are a few factors to consider, such as size, cooking features, and ease of use. Here is my favorite:
Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker: This slow cooker is a popular choice for cooking chicken, as it has a large 6-quart capacity and offers programmable cooking options, including a digital timer and temperature settings. It also has a locking lid for easy transportation, and the stoneware pot is dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning. The programmable cooking options are important if you are busy to ensure you do not overcook your chicken.
Need to make a big batch? I can help. In the recipe card below, all you have to do is tap 2X to double or 3x to triple this recipe. The amounts for each ingredient will change, then hit the print button. Here is another tip: slide over the sleep mode tab in the recipe card to prevent your phone screen from going dark while you are making the recipe. It’s that easy!
5 Minute Prep; Juicy Slow Cooker Chicken Shredded
Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.
- 4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional – salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 bay leaf, small 2 inch size
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Place chicken breasts on the bottom of the crockpot. Try not to overlap or stack on top of each other. You want your chicken to cook evenly and not dry out.4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
- Sprinkle onion powder, garlic powder, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper over the chicken. Turn the chicken over and repeat on the other side.½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Add bay leaf1 bay leaf
- Pour the broth around the sides of the chicken breasts.1 cup chicken broth
- Place the lid on the crock pot.
- Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours. If you are in a hurry, you can cook on high for 2 to 3 hours. However, a low-temperature setting will give you more tender, juicy chicken. Just be sure to check you check your chicken after a few hours for doneness. You do not want to overcook and have your chicken dry out.