How to Shred Chicken

Here, two ways to make it - including a fast hack.

July 20, 2022

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mexican shredded chicken ingredient for traditional food in Mexico

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mexican shredded chicken ingredient for traditional food in Mexico

Photo by: Marcos Elihu Castillo Ramirez/Getty Images

Marcos Elihu Castillo Ramirez/Getty Images

By Fraya Berg and Rachel Trujillo for Food Network Kitchen

Fraya is a chef and a contributing writer at Food Network. Rachel is an associate content editor at Food Network.

If you’re staring at a recipe that calls for “shredded chicken” or "pulled chicken" without any further directions, don’t worry. There are two fast ways to make it. Bear in mind that warm chicken is far easier to shred than cold chicken.

Tacos with pulled chicken, tomato, onion and sour cream and lime wedges on the side on a plate

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Tacos with pulled chicken, tomato, onion and sour cream and lime wedges on the side on a plate

Photo by: chas53/Getty Images

chas53/Getty Images

What’s the Best Cut of Chicken to Shred?

While any cut of chicken can be shredded, boneless, skinless chicken breasts are naturally made for shredding: their fibers are perfectly aligned so the breast shreds easily and quickly. If you want shorter pieces in your shredded chicken, cut the breast in half crosswise before shredding it.

How to Shred Chicken with Two Forks

This is the most traditional way to shred chicken, no fancy equipment necessary. It also takes the longest and creates a bit more of a mess than the second technique.

  1. Place the chicken on a large flat cutting board.
  2. Pierce the chicken with one fork to hold it still.
  3. With your dominant hand, use the other fork to pull off pieces of shredded chicken.

How to Shred Chicken In a Stand Mixer

The process of ripping apart chicken with two forks can be cumbersome and (if the meat is still too hot from cooking) downright painful. Which is why we’re recommending you throw those freshly cooked chicken breasts directly into your KitchenAid stand mixer and let it do all the work for you. In need of a stand mixer? Check out the 5 Best Stand Mixers, Tested by Food Network Kitchen.

While there are plenty of gadgets you could purchase separately that would transform your mixer, this hack is accomplished with the standard paddle or beaters that come with your mixer; no additional equipment required!

How to Shred Slow Cooker and Instant Pot Chicken with a Mixer

Since your meat will be tender and juicy right after cooking, the lowest setting is all you need to quickly shred up into pieces of your desired size.

  1. Place the still-warm chicken in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Beat the chicken on low until the it reaches your desired size; about 1 minute for average shredded chicken.

How to Shred Rotisserie Chicken with a Mixer

The easiest way to shred a store-bought rotisserie chicken in a mixer is to do it as soon as you get home from the store, while the chicken is still warm.

  1. If the rotisserie chicken is cold or has been in the fridge, warm it gently in the oven or microwave before shredding it.
  2. Remove the chicken skin and strip the meat off all the bones; place the meat in the bowl of a stainless-steel stand mixer.
  3. Beat the chicken on low until the it reaches your desired size; about 1 minute for average shredded chicken.

Shredded Chicken Recipes

New Ways with Chicken Breast

Photo by: RYAN DAUSCH

RYAN DAUSCH

Using your Instant Pot to make a big batch of chicken for tacos is one of the best ways to use your multicooker that we can think of. This recipe makes enough for some enchiladas, too. Hello, meal prep.

Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

Photo by: Teri Lyn Fisher

Teri Lyn Fisher

Slow cookers are the best: set it, turn it on and forget it. Use your mixer for the shredding the chicken instead of two forks.


Food stylist: Jamie Kimm
Prop stylist: Marina Malchin

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Food stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop stylist: Marina Malchin,Food stylist: Jamie KimmProp stylist: Marina Malchin

©Con Poulos

Con Poulos

These enchiladas are a great way to use the leftover chicken from the Instant Pot Pulled Chicken recipe above. Skipping the step where you cook the chicken is a real timesaver.

Weeknight Cooking_ Instant Pot

Photo by: RYAN DAUSCH

RYAN DAUSCH

For those who prefer a sweeter take on shredded chicken, this recipe puts a tropical spin on the meat and the accompanying slaw.

Here you get the crunch of a taco, with a flatter surface area so you can pile on as much shredded chicken, lettuce, avocado, etc. as you want – and the ingredients aren’t hidden in a taco shell.

Photo by: Brian Kennedy ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Brian Kennedy, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

There are few things as comforting as chicken noodle soup – except for when you transform the classic flavors into a warm and bubbling casserole.

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