Perfectly Cooked, Shredded Chicken

I can’t tell you how many times I run across a recipe that calls for cooked chicken and all I have are frozen chicken breasts in my freezer ~UGH~ it seems like SO much work!  I used to keep canned chicken in my pantry for just such an occasion, but I now try to use as few cans as possible and use fresh as much as I can. Hence, my frozen chicken dilemma.

But I now have a fool-proof method for perfectly cooked, shredded chicken that’s REALLY easy! It still takes about 45 minutes to an hour to go from frozen to perfectly cooked, but it’s crazy easy and always turns out perfect. Here’s my method:

First, take the chicken out of the packaging and place in a very large bowl or container (I didn’t take a picture of this because I’m an airhead I guess!). Then cover chicken with warm water for 20 – 30 minutes or until thawed.

*Update- Per reader recommendation, I now use cold water to prevent any food-born illness


Then, place chicken in a small baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Add 1/4 C of water and cover with foil or oven proof lid. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 -35 minutes or until cooked through.


It will look really unappetizing when you first take it out of the oven, but hang in there with me! … Now transfer the chicken to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat the chicken on medium-high until perfectly shredded 🙂 If you don’t have a stand mixer, just shred with 2 forks. That’s it!!!!

I use this recipe regularly for my chicken enchiladas, chicken pot pie, chicken ranch tacos, hearty chicken soup, chicken tortilla soupchicken salad sandwiches, and chicken taco salad – YUM 🙂

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Here’s the easy printable:

5 from 3 votes
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Perfectly Cooked, Shredded Chicken

This easy method comes out perfect every time!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 3 or 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste
  • 1/4 C Water


  1. If frozen, place chicken in a sealed, waterproof baggie and remove any air. Place in cold water until thawed, about 20 to 30 minutes. Be sure to keep the water under 40 degrees.

  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Remove chicken from water and place in a baking dish. Season both sides with salt and pepper, pour in the water, and cover with foil or lid.
  4. Bake for 25 -35 minutes, depending on thickness of chicken, or until chicken is cooked through.
  5. Transfer chicken to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium-high until perfectly shredded. If you do not have a stand mixer, shred with 2 forks.

this post is part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesday Gluten Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Fridays, Healing With Food FridaysAllergy Free Wednesdays, and Fat Tuesday

Posted December 3, 2013 by Cassidy in AIP, Egg Free, Nut Free, Paleo, Uncategorized, Whats For Dinner?, Whole30 / 8 Comments


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8 responses to “Perfectly Cooked, Shredded Chicken

    • Cassidy

      Thanks Laura, I use this recipe at least once or twice a week now when making dinner, it’s been a lifesaver 🙂

  1. You don’t have to thaw it! I cook mine – for a meal (don’t know why I never thought to do it this way when I need shredded chicken) – for 45 minutes at 375 straight from frozen. You just have to make sure they’re frozen *separately* and not in one big lump. 🙂 I never remember to take something out to thaw, either, so I had to figure out SOMETHING!

    Here’s the way we season them to eat as-is:

  2. Angelika

    Thank you for posting this! While this may sound like the simplest thing any cook should know how to do, I actually had to Google “perfect shredded chicken” before I started on my thawed chicken breasts because I didn’t want to mess them up! Who would have thought about the stand mixer… Great idea! Using the forks is TEDIOUS work (in my opinion.. I’d rather be doing something else, ha!)

  3. Elizabeth Ford

    Hi…never ever ever put frozen chicken in warm water. This is a breeding ground for bacteria. Keep it tightly wrapped, as in a ziploc bag with no air, and place it in a bowl. Trickle COLD water over it gently until thawed.

    • Hi Elizabeth, thank you very much for your input. I always thought that since it thaws in less than 30 minutes that there wasn’t enough time for bacteria to grow – I had always thought it takes 2 hours for bacteria to grow. But after reading your comment then doing some research you are correct – THANK YOU! I will update the recipe to use cold water.


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