Behold the single food that has revolutionized my weekly meal plan! From taco night to bulking up salads and grain bowls at lunchtime, the simplicity and versatility of shredded chicken really can't be beat.
Thanks to the slow cooker and a fail-proof ratio, making a large quantity of shredded chicken at once is possible. Here's how you do it.
Get Started with Two Ingredients
It doesn't get much easier or more versatile than slow-cooker shredded chicken. It's a set-it-and-forget-it superstar, and requires just two ingredients. Start with boneless, skinless chicken breasts and your choice of water or chicken stock. I prefer stock, if I have it handy, because it adds a little more flavor, but water works equally well. Adding some liquid to the slow cooker is an essential step, and ensures that the chicken cooks up to be super-tender and juicy.
The Easy Way to Scale Up or Down
Whether you're making just a few servings or enough to feed a crowd, the effort remains the same. The important thing to remember is keeping the right ratio of chicken to liquid.
1/2 cup stock or water for every pound of chicken
Shred Chicken While It's Still Warm
While this technique is super-simple, the chicken doesn't actually fall apart into shreds on its own (wouldn't that be nice!). The most important thing to know is that it's best done when the chicken is still warm, preferably right after it's done cooking. Transfer the meat to a plate or cutting board and use two forks to pull it apart. The chicken will be so soft and tender that it will practically fall apart with just a little prodding.
As the chicken cools, the muscle fibers start to tighten up, which makes it a little tougher to shred. It's not impossible and it still works, but it takes some more effort and the meat tends to pull apart in larger chunks rather than thin, wispy shreds.
Your Solution to a Week of Chicken-Filled Meals
The very best thing about cooking up a batch of shredded chicken is all the possibilities it brings to mealtime. It can mean a week's worth of lunches — everything from wraps and burritos to a hearty grain bowl topping to a simple salad made more satisfying with this protein topper. It's also an easy solution for weeknight dinners. When you have a staple like shredded chicken in the fridge, the possibilities are nearly endless.
Recipes That Use Shredded Chicken
How To Make Easy Shredded Chicken in the Slow Cooker
What You Need
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
1 cup chicken stock or water
4-quart or larger slow cooker
Cutting board or large plate
- Add the ingredients to the slow cooker: Place the chicken and stock or water in the bowl of a 4-quart or larger slow cooker.
- Cook the chicken: Cover the slow cooker with the lid. Cook until the chicken is tender and registers an internal temperature of 165°F, 4 to 5 hours on low, or 2 to 3 hours on high.
- Shred the chicken: While the chicken is still warm, transfer it to a cutting board or large plate and use 2 forks to shred the meat.
- Storage: Store shredded chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
- Food styling by Ayda Robana