How to Shred Chicken

So, you want to shred some chicken, ha? It’s fun, it’s easy, and you can use it for a wide variety of easy-to-make tasty recipes.

Perfectly seasoned and moist shredded chicken breast or thighs can be used for Chicken Tacos, Chicken Enchiladas, Shredded Chicken Coleslaw, BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, and many more.

What Chicken To Use For Shredding?

You can use boneless skinless chicken breast or boneless skinless chicken thighs for shredded chicken. The thighs are naturally moister but either one works. For chicken shredding, you don’t want bones or skin.

How To Prepare Chicken For Shredding

At Gastronomo we recommend poaching, as a way of cooking the chicken and getting it ready for shredding. It is by far the best method because it keeps the chicken moist and tender, making it easy to shred later on.

You can boil the chicken in a large pot of water. In addition, you can add broth, spices, herbs, and anything to your liking. However, it is better to season the chicken once it is boiled – which only takes 10 minutes, and a few extra minutes for the meat to cool off.

Boneless and skinless chicken is what you are after. You can boil and shred bone-in breasts and thighs with skin, but this will only add to the post-boiling prep time.

If you are cooking skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut them in halves and cook them for between 20 and 25 minutes. For skin-on, bone-in breasts, boil them for about half an hour. Whatever you choose to make, it’s important that you use fully cooked meat as raw or half-cooked chicken doesn’t shred well.

prepare chicken for shredding

How To Shred Chicken Easily

Shredding chicken can be done in several different ways, just make sure it is well-cooked before you proceed.

When it comes to shredding, you have a few options in terms of tools.

Meat Claws

Meat claws are designed to interlock in two different positions and are shaped for turning and lifting shredded meat. The handles are ergonomically designed in order to offer a comfortable grip and allow the user to have full control of the shredding process. And because a quality meat claw is heat safe, you will not be forced to wait for the chicken to cool before you begin the shredding. Meat claws are also excellent for shredding frozen chicken.

You can expect effortless and quick shredding when using this tool that closely resembles bear claws. You can use meat claws to shred chicken, lift or even for tossing a salad.

Generally, this is a handy kitchen tool to have around, especially if you love barbecues. After the shredding, the meat chunks and juices easily wash off, especially when using a meat claw with a stainless-steel handle.  

Regular Forks

Because it’s easy and quick, this is the most widely used method for shredding chicken. But, that doesn’t mean it is the best one.

Before you begin shredding, it’s best to let the chicken cool after removing it from the pot or pan as it can be too hot to handle with bare hands. Using one fork for holding the chicken steady and the other for scrapping, you should easily tear the chicken into shreds. Of course, using forks will be a bit harder compared to shredding with a pair of meat claws (bear claws) described above.

Stand-Mixer

A stand mixer is by far the easiest and fastest way of shredding chicken. Once fully cooked, the chicken is transferred to a mixer bowl. Just make sure you have cooked skinless chicken, or you have removed all bones from your chicken before placing them inside the mixing bowl.

Use a standard paddle attachment for the mixer, turning it to the lowest setting before beginning the process of shredding. The paddle attachment prevents it from bouncing up. It could get a bit messy if you forget to lock the paddle attachment.

A stand mixer is not only fast but safe for your wrists and hands. Although it will depend on how fine you want the shreds, it should take you not more than a single minute to complete the shredding.

Now with your tender, juicy and tasty shredded chicken ready, go ahead and prepare an awesome shredded chicken meal or store them in your freezer or fridge for later use.

shredding chicken with mixer

Shredded Chicken Recipe

As noted at the beginning, there are endless recipes that can use shredded chicken. Let’s look at a simple one. When you gently simmer boneless chicken in a flavourful broth, it helps them become moist and very tender to give a delightful meal. 

For that, you will need:

  • 3 pounds chicken thighs or breast (boneless) or a combination of both
  • 1 medium-size onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • Water

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed large saucepan. Add enough water that just covers the chicken. Turning the heat to high, bring the mix to a boil and then remove any scum or foam that is floating to the top.

Adjust the heat level so that the water is gently simmering around the chicken pieces. For about 30 minutes, cook the chicken until it’s very tender. You can then transfer it to a cutting board for shredding. You can choose to either use your fingers or two forks. Alternatively, for best results, use a quality meat claw.

FAQs About Shredding Chicken

Some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to shredded chicken include:

Can You Use A Food Processor To Shred Chicken?

To shred chicken and indeed any meat with a food processor only takes seconds.  However, wrongly used, you could end up having a gooey glop or crumbles instead of shreds. Proper use of the blade and technique is required for best results.  You specifically need a “slicer” disk blade – the single slit type of top-blade. The slicer blade, when combined with “no pushing” technique, produces the perfect shreds.

How Do You Shred Cold Chicken?

Although it’s hard to shred cold chicken, it’s still possible. With a blender, using the paddle attachment, on medium speed, mix the chicken for about half a minute or until you achieve the desired shredding. You can also use a meat claw to shred cold chicken.

Can You Shred Cooked Chicken In A Blender?

While one might want to buy a meat grinder if they frequently grind or shred a great deal of meat, for the majority, a regular blender is perfect for shredding cooked chicken. The important point is to use the pulsing option for turning the chicken breasts into shreds.

Can You Shred Chicken With A Cheese Grater?

Your cheese grater can be used for much more than simply grating cheese. It makes shredding food items easy without getting your fingers caught. If you have any leftover chicken, simply place chunks in the cheese grater and shred it up to make a wrap or sandwich.