Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Recipe

By: Cassy Joy Garcia

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Slow cooker shredded chicken has 2 ingredients and yields 5 lbs of cooked chicken that can be easily repurposed for multiple meals throughout the week!

a white bowl on top of a red napkin sitting on a grey wooden table filled with cooked shredded chicken

Not owning any diamonds of my own, I’m here to say that slow cooker shredded chicken is a girl’s best friend. Yes it is! Nothing makes me happier than to open my refrigerator when I’m desperate with a “what am I going to make for dinner” panic, to find a bowl of already prepped shredded chicken.

The key to making meal prep a healthy, not overwhelming, pleasant experience is to try and thread the same ingredients through multiple meals. Last week we talked about how Basic Cauliflower Rice is a great meal component to make in advance, and in bulk, and this week, we're turning our kitchen's attention to chicken!

Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

It’s the perfect meal protein starting block! A whole WORLD of possibilities can come from simple slow cooker shredded chicken. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to showcase three recipes that are great for you back-to-school parents, busy working professionals, and devoted meal prep'ers. Sneak peek at what's coming up:

  1. Chicken Teriyaki Bowl
  2. Twice Baked Loaded Sweet Potatoes
  3. Chicken Taco Casserole

Three totally different flavor profiles, three dinners your family will love, and three meals that you’ll find are really simple to whip up.

Ingredient for Shredded Chicken Crockpot

4 ingredients, y'all (and that's counting salt and pepper as two separate ingredients), one of which can be substituted for water. Here's exactly what you'll need to bring this ready-to-go protein together:

  • Chicken Breasts – to start, you'll need 56 pounds of chicken breasts – this is about 12 breasts.
  • Salt + Pepper – to season the chicken, you'll need 1 teaspoon of sea salt and a 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
  • Chicken Broth – you'll also need to grab 5 cups (or 40 fluid ounces) of chicken broth, but feel free to substitute the broth with water if you need to!

How to Make Shredded Chicken in Crockpot

We love this method because it is completely fail-proof and SO easy! Here's how you'll make simple shredded chicken in the slow cooker:

  1. Season the Chicken + Place it in the Slow Cooker – dust the chicken with sea salt and black pepper, then lay all breasts in the slow cooker.
  2. Add the Broth + Cook – add the broth to the slow cooker with the chicken, place the lid on top, and cook on low/medium for 6-8 hours.
  3. Shred the Chicken – once the time us up, pull the chicken breasts from the liquid and place them in a bowl. Using two forks OR the paddle attachment on a stand-mixer, shred the chicken.
    • Two Forks Shredding Method – we recommend going this route when you have a small to moderate amount of chicken to shred. Shredding with two forks is really easy, but can be a little bit time-consuming if you're shredding, say, 5 pounds of chicken at a time.
    • Stand Mixer Shredding Method – this is definitely our preferred method! We like to go this route no matter what, but it is especially helpful when you're making enough chicken for several meals throughout the week and need an easy way to get it shredded QUICKLY! This method is a real life-saver for Cook Once-style meals!
  4. Store – store the shredded chicken in an airtight container for up to one week or freeze.

overhead view of a white bowl on a grey wooden table filled with cooked shredded chicken

Is it Ok to put raw chicken in slow cooker?

Absolutely! The slow cooker cooks the chicken for you, so you'll need to put it in raw. We don't recommend putting frozen chicken in the slow cooker, though, as the slow cooker does not heat the chicken quickly enough to avoid possible contamination.

What is the best way to cook chicken to shred it?

We love cooking our chicken in the slow cooker because the final product is juicy, tender, and SO easy to shred!

How do you moisten shredded chicken?

Cooked in the slow cooker, your chicken should be pretty moist all on its own, but when paired with a yummy sauce or put into a casserole, it'll be perfect!

How long should I put chicken in the Crockpot?

The general rule of thumb here is about 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Be sure to check your chicken for doneness (no pink in the middle) before transferring it all to a bowl to shred!

That’s it, folks! Pretty simple way to meet your week’s protein needs.

I hope you find this recipe as useful as I do!

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Shredded Chicken Crockpot

a white bowl on top of a red napkin sitting on a grey wooden table filled with cooked shredded chicken
  • Author: Cassy
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6-8 hours
  • Total Time: 52 minute
  • Yield: ~12 cups

Ingredients

Scale
  • 56 pounds air-chilled chicken breasts (equates to approx. 12 breasts)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 cups chicken broth (may substitute with water)
  • *2 tablespoons butter, divided (stovetop only)

Instructions

Slow Cooker Directions:

  1. Dust the chicken with sea salt and black pepper. Lay all breasts in the slow cooker. Add the broth, place lid on top, and cook on medium for 6-8 hours.
  2. Pull the chicken breasts from the liquid and place in a bowl. Using two forks OR the paddle attachment on a stand-mixer, shred the chicken.
  3. Store in an airtight container for up to one week or freeze.

Stovetop Directions:

  1. Dust the chicken breast with sea salt and black pepper.
  2. Working in two batches or with two separate pans, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Lay the chicken breasts in the hot pan and sear on one side for approximately 3 minutes. Flip the chicken breasts over to sear for an additional minute on the other side. Cover the breasts with half of the chicken broth, using water to make up any difference. Place lid on pan and let them simmer for 15-20 minutes. Repeat for the second batch.
  3. Pull the chicken breasts from the liquid and place in a bowl. Using two forks OR the paddle attachment on a stand-mixer, shred the chicken.
  4. Store in an airtight container for up to one week or freeze.

Notes

Instant Pot Version:

  1. Add all of your ingredients to the instant pot.  Secure and seal the lead, and select 15 minutes for manual cooking.
  2. Once done cooking, perform a quick release of pressure.
  3. Pull the chicken breasts from the liquid and place in a bowl. Using two forks OR the paddle attachment on a stand-mixer, shred the chicken.
  4. Store in an airtight container for up to one week or freeze.

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Recipe rating

  1. Kiersten says:

    I’ve been buying whole chickens at Costco lately and cooking one up in the crockpot each week (and then making broth with the carcass of course) so I always have cooked chicken for easy meals. But lately I’ve been at a loss as to what to do with the cooked chicken and I’m getting a little tired of just tossing it in BBQ sauce or throwing it on a cobb salad. Can’t wait for the recipes you have planned which are sure to spice up my pre-cooked chicken dinners 🙂

    1. Cassy says:

      Heck yes! Two of the three are up now 🙂

  2. Cheryl says:

    Do you use boneless, skinless breasts or whole breasts with skin on?

    1. Cassy says:

      Hi Cheryl! I usually opt for boneless, skinless breasts.

  3. Andrew says:

    If there is no medium setting on my crockpot, what is the best approach to cook this?

    I am already 3 hours into cooking the chicken and just started it on high. Turned it to low for about an hour and now back to high. Realized that might be a bad idea.

    1. Cassy says:

      You could cook it on low for 8-10 hours OR your method might work, too! Test to see if they’re ready to be shredded by poking with a fork and trying lightly to pull them apart. If they start to separate easily, then you’re done.

  4. Colleen says:

    Mine came out perfectly, I’m excited to try the 3 recipes this week! Can you use the leftover broth for a soup or something? I’m not am expert cook, but I feel like it’s going to waste!

    1. Kelly says:

      So glad it came out for you Colleen! And yes, use the leftover broth for whatever you like. If you can’t find a use for it right away, you can freeze it in ice cube trays and then have it handy whenever a recipe calls for broth.

  5. This sound so good, thanks for sharing this delicious looking recipe.

    Simon

    1. Kelly says:

      Thanks Simon, hope you like it!

  6. Jennifer says:

    If using water will it still taste ok!?Realized didn’t have any broth on hand!

    1. Kelly says:

      Yes Jennifer that would work fine! I would just suggest adding some additional spices for some extra flavor.

  7. Laura says:

    I tried making this quickly: 4 hours on high. It came out very dry. Please don’t make this mistake like I did! I will try cooking it for longer on low next time.

  8. penny says:

    is it fattening

  9. Heather says:

    Hi. Question. How long and what temp do you reheat the shredded chicken in the oven for? Thank you!

  10. Cristina says:

    Hi! For freezing up hat is the best way to pack it for freezing

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      I like freezing my shredded chicken in Ziplock bags. It saves space in the freezer and allows me to portion according to my needs!

  11. star says:

    Ingredient list includes butter but recipe instructions don’t guide you on what to do with butter and when.
    Am I missing something?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      The butter is in the directions for the stovetop version only! You don’t need it for the Instant Pot or slow cooker variations!