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Shredded Chicken

This simple recipe for tender shredded chicken only has 3 ingredients and takes less than 30 minutes!


perfectly shredded chicken in a bowl with a fork

The Shredded Chicken Recipe!

Save this recipe – it’ll be the only shredded chicken recipe you’ll need! Once the delicious tender bits of chicken are pulled into perfect long pieces, you can make plenty of recipes with shredded chicken all week long with minimal effort. We keep it simple with only a few staples: salt, water, and chicken breast. This way, we can use it for multiple flavor profiles. But, feel free to jazz it up by using chicken stock or adding spices and herbs to your water. And, while sometimes plain chicken gets a bad rap, it’s filled with protein, is inexpensive compared to other cuts of meat (hint: buy in local and in bulk for even bigger savings), and best of all, it works to suck up the flavor with almost any meal! A Win-Win! Once you try this recipe for shredded chicken, you’ll understand the hype.

2 raw chicken breasts ready to be cooked to make shredded chicken
2 raw chicken breasts in a pot with salt and covered with water ready to be boiled to make shredded chicken

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What To Make With Shredded Chicken

If you’re looking for what to do with shredded chicken…we’re here to help! It can be enjoyed on its own or used as the base of recipes. We like to meal prep it at the beginning of the week and then use it to make salads, build and bulk up recipes, and even enjoy it by the handful throughout the week. For a quick and easy lunch, we like to throw it into a Chicken Salad or Chicken Waldorf Salad. Use it to top a Spring Cobb Salad when you’re craving a protein-rich meal. For a timeless classic, add your simple shredded chicken to The Kale Salad – we could eat this every day! We also love this recipe for shredded chicken because it is so versatile. If you’re looking for shredded chicken recipes make Chicken Tinga for the entire family or try your hand at Chicken Empanadas. Another favorite is shredded BBQ chicken: simply add Homemade BBQ Sauce to steaming, juicy shredded chicken! For a perfect fall snack, try adding it to this Butternut Squash Quesadilla with Caramelized Onion. The possibilities are truly endless.

2 cooked chicken breasts on a cutting board that were boiled in water with salt

How Do You Shred Chicken?

Shredded Chicken 101: How do you shred chicken and what type of chicken is easiest to shred? Nail these basics and you’ll be able to make perfectly shredded chicken in a pinch every time. We like to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts to avoid the extra work when it comes to shredding chicken. You can also opt for thighs but they are a richer cut of meat. When it comes to shredded chicken, we’re looking for big, stringy bites of moist chicken. To achieve this, or so we think the easiest way to shred chicken is, when finished cooking, allow them to sit until warm, not cold. Use two forks to carefully shred them apart into chunks. You can also use a kitchen mixer to help pull them apart but do this at your own discretion (and research!)

2 cooked chicken breasts on a cutting board being shredded with two forks that were boiled in water with salt

How Long Does Shredded Chicken Take to Cook?

When it comes to boiled shredded chicken, from start to finish, it only takes around 30 minutes! We’re using whole chicken breasts, about 1 ½ pounds total which takes about 10 minutes once simmering – but depending on the size of the chicken breast, it might take a little less or more time, so be sure to use an internal thermometer to check.

two cooked chicken breasts on a cutting board being shredded with 2 forks

How to Make Shredded Chicken

In as little as 20 minutes, you’ll have moist shredded chicken to enjoy!

  1. Cover! In a large sauce pot, cover chicken breasts with cold water or stock. Pro Tip: Now is a good time to infuse flavor – make it your own by adding bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, or herbs to flavor your chicken! Keep in mind if your plan on using it for other recipes, plain is best. Don’t forget the salt!

  2. Cook! Bring the water to a boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes! Use a thermometer to check when it’s done. Pro Tip: it’ll become an opaque color!

  3. Shred! We wait until the chicken has cooled but is still warm before digging into it with two forks! Try to create big stringy pieces to hold all the juiciness in!

a plate filled with shredded chicken breast on a striped linen

Tools You’ll Need

Our favorite Chicken Breast Recipes are here!

As the seasons begin to change, we’re looking to take the chill off those cold fall nights.

homemade shredded chicken in a bowl sitting on top of a cloth towel

The Most Versatile Protein: Chicken!

How did you use your Shredded Chicken? We want to see it! Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Shredded Chicken

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  15 min
  • Calories: 105


  • 2 large chicken breasts, about 1 ½ pounds
  • 2 quarts water or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt


  1. Place the chicken breasts in a medium sized pot.

  2. Add enough cold water until the chicken breasts are fully submerged, season the water with salt.

  3. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Turn the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer until the chicken has reached an internal temp of 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, about ten minutes.

  4. Remove the pot from the heat. Let the chicken rest in the poaching liquid for 3-5 minutes.

Yields 2.5 cups shredded chicken

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories105
  • Protein19 g
  • Carbohydrates0 g
  • Total Fat3 g
  • Dietary Fiber0 g
  • Cholesterol49 mg
  • sodium469 mg
  • Total Sugars0 g

Shredded Chicken

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Jason Kurdziel

    Can you freeze the shredded chicken for later use?

    Absolutely! We do it all the time!

  • Nina Glickman

    Are these skinless and boneless chicken breasts?

    Yes, hope you enjoy Nina!

  • Jackie

    Great recipe and easy to follow! I've used this several times now and turns out perfect every time

    Thanks Jackie!

  • Jenn

    This turned out very good. I make it all the time now to have on hand for the week.

    That's great to hear!