How To Make Easy Shredded Chicken in the Slow Cooker

updated Aug 31, 2022
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Behold the single food that has revolutionized my weekly meal plan! From tacos to salads to grain bowls, the simplicity and versatility of shredded chicken really can’t be beat. Thanks to the slow cooker and a foolproof ratio, making a large quantity of shredded chicken at once is possible. Here’s how you do it.

Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

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.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

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, low-sodium chicken broth, or water for every pound of chicken

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

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 are 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

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Add the ingredients to the slow cooker. Place the chicken and stock, broth, or water in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. (Image credit: Leela Cyd)

How To Make Easy Shredded Chicken in the Slow Cooker

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 2 hours to 5 hours

Makesabout 4 cups

Nutritional Info


  • 2 pounds

    boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4)

  • 1 cup

    chicken stock, low-sodium chicken broth, or water


  • Measuring cup

  • 4-quart or larger slow cooker

  • Cutting board or large plate

  • Forks


  1. Add the ingredients to the slow cooker. Place the chicken and stock, broth, or water in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker.

  2. Cook the chicken. Cover and cook until the chicken is tender and registers an internal temperature of 165°F, 4 to 5 hours on the LOW setting, or 2 to 3 hours on the HIGH setting.

  3. Shred the chicken. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board or large plate. While the chicken is still warm, use 2 forks to shred the meat. If not using immediately, store the shredded chicken with some of the cooking liquid to keep it moist.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate the shredded chicken in an airtight container for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

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