An easy how-to for making perfectly cooked, shredded chicken in the oven or Instant Pot for use in any recipe calling for shredded chicken 🙂
Having a good shredded chicken recipe to use in soups, stews, casseroles, or for meal prep is essential. I used to skip over recipes that called for cooked chicken because it seemed like so much work – especially if I only had frozen chicken – but no more!
I have 2 methods below that will outline how to make perfectly cooked shredded chicken in the oven or in the Instant Pot that are fast, easy, and make dinner a breeze. No more skipping recipes that call for shredded chicken! Plus, in both methods you can use frozen chicken – woot woot!
This is my fool-proof method for perfectly cooked, shredded chicken in the oven that’s REALLY easy! It still takes about 45 minutes to an hour to go from frozen to perfectly cooked in the oven, 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 cold water for 20 – 30 minutes or until thawed.
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!!!!
Instant Pot method:
Ever since I bought an Instant Pot, my cooking world changed forever – it’s AMAZING!!! Instant Pot cooking is the easiest and fastest way of cooking by far, and shredded chicken is no exception.
First, when making shredded chicken in the Instant Pot I always use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, not breasts. I find that chicken thighs in the Instant Pot turn out really moist whereas chicken breasts are on the drier side – especially if you’re adding them to a dish that will be cooked again. But if chicken breasts are what you want to use that’s fine too!
All you do is add about a cup of chicken broth or water to the Instant Pot.
Then, season the chicken with salt, pepper, or any seasonings that you like and add to the Instant Pot.
Close the lid, turn the valve to sealing, and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. And don’t worry if your chicken is frozen – the only difference is that it will take longer for your Instant Pot to come to pressure 🙂
Once the time is up, press “Cancel” and turn the valve to venting. Once the pressure is released, remove chicken to a large bowl and shred with 2 forks. Return to the Instant Pot and toss with the liquid to keep the chicken moist… since no one wants dry chicken!
Here’s the easy printable:
Perfectly Cooked, Shredded Chicken
- 3 Large Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts or as many as will comfortably fit
- Salt and Pepper To Taste (or seasonings of choice)
- 1/4 C Chicken Broth (preferred) or Water
Instant Pot Ingredients:
- 2-4 Lbs. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs fresh or frozen (chicken thighs can be also be used)
- Salt & Pepper To Taste (or seasonings of choice)
- 1 Cup Chicken Broth (preferred) or Water
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- 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.
- Bake for 25 -35 minutes, depending on thickness of chicken, or until chicken is cooked through.
- 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.
Instant Pot Method:
- Pour the chicken broth or water into the Instant Pot.
- Season the chicken with salt, pepper, or whatever seasonings you prefer and place in the Instant Pot.
- Secure the lid, seal the pressure valve and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. If your chicken is extremely large or thick, you may need to add 2 or 3 minutes.
- Quick release pressure then shred with 2 forks.
- Store chicken in air-tight container with the liquid to keep moist.
Nutritional information is approximate and may vary.
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