Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken takes just minutes to prep and can be used in a wide range of dishes from salads, sandwiches, soups and main meals.
- Easy: Very little prep is required, just place your chicken breasts in the slow cooker (with a little liquid), remove when cooked and shred.
- Versatile: Can be used in a large range of dishes (see below)
- Great for Meal Prep: Make a batch at the start of the week to use in a variety of meals.
- Good for young kids/children with textural issues: Some children struggle with chunks of chicken, often finding it dry or difficult to chew. However, many will happily eat shredded chicken.
What Cut of Chicken Should You Use?
This is a personal choice but I would remove skin and avoid bones so that you don’t have to pick them out.
Breast and thigh meat both work well and you can use either or a combination of both. I personally prefer shredded breast.
Can You Use Frozen Chicken in the Slow Cooker?
No, it is not recommended to use frozen chicken in the slow cooker, especially if you are cooking for young children.
Slow cookers are slow to warm up and it can take several hours to reach a temp that’s considered “bacteria-killing.”
Chicken needs to reach an internal temp of 74°C (165°F) before it’s considered safe to eat. The concern with using frozen chicken is that it spends too long in the danger zone, between 5°C -60°C (41°F – 140°F), when bacteria can multiply.
Instead, safely thaw your chicken overnight in the refrigerator.
Read more about food safety using slow cookers in these USDA slow cooker food safety tips.
How to Shred Chicken
Shredding chicken is best done while the chicken is still warm, preferably straight after cooking.
Personally, I prefer just to shred the chicken using two forks. It saves taking mixers out and there is less clean up required. However, everyone is different so I have detailed different methods below.
- Double Fork Method: Transfer the chicken to a chopping board or large plate. Use two forks to shred the meat, hold the chicken with one fork and pull apart with the other one. If shredding straight after cooking the chicken should tear apart easily.
- Stand Mixer Method: (Chicken must still be warm) Transfer chicken to the bowl of a stand mixer. Attach the paddle attachment and turn the mixer on at a slow speed. Always keep an eye on the chicken because it shreds very quickly.
- Hand Mixer Method: (Chicken must still be warm) Transfer chicken to a large, deep mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer on low speed to break the chicken into shreds
Instead of shredding the chicken you can also slice or dice it.
Shredded chicken can be used in so many ways, here are just a small example of the ways you can add it to your meals.
- Salads: Shredded chicken is a great addition to many salads.
- Sandwiches: Much nicer than pre-packed cooked chicken.
- Soups: Chicken noodle soup is always a favourite.
- Pasta / Quinoa Bakes: Great for adding to various bakes and casseroles.
- Curries: Replace the egg in this egg curry with the shredded chicken – yum!
- Stir-Fries: Throw in some shredded chicken to your next stir fry.
- Lettuce Cups: Fill lettuce cups with shredded chicken and some favourite toppings for a quick lunch option.
- Tacos / Fajitas: Spice up the chicken, add some favourite veggies, sauces and toppings and let your kids make their own meal.
- Fried Rice: Try adding some to this Veggie Fried Rice for a protein boost.
- Pizzas: Great for topping a pizza
- Refrigerate: Let the cooked and shredded chicken cool completely. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 -4 days.
- Freeze: Let the cooked and shredded chicken cool completely. Place in a freezable, airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken
- Slow Cooker
- 4 Large Chicken Breasts (mine were approx. 350g/12oz each) SEE NOTE 1
- 125ml (½ cup) Water / Chicken Stock
- Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour the water (or chicken stock) over the chicken.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
- Remove chicken from the slow cooker, and while still hot, shred the meat with two forks