Crockpot shredded chicken is just a few simple ingredients and a few minutes to prep. This tender, flavorful chicken is great for tacos, enchiladas, salads, sandwiches, grain bowls and more!
Today, I am finally, finally sharing my crockpot shredded chicken recipe that is an absolute go-to in my kitchen.
I’ve made this recipe dozens and dozens of times. Maybe a hundred times or more at this point.
Basically, I’ve made it on the regular ever since I’ve had a slow cooker, and that’s been at least 15 years.
This chicken comes out perfectly cooked, tender and flavorful every single time. With so very little effort.
And we really only need the chicken and a few very basic seasonings that I guarantee you have on hand in your pantry. So it’s easy to make any time.
Plus, you can set this to cook and walk away and go about your day. You can run errands, take the dog for a walk or visit a friend and not worry about leaving a stove or oven on.
That freedom is one of my favorite things about slow cookers.
But, if you’re pressed for time, check out this Instant Pot shredded chicken. Same results, but ready in about 30 minutes. 👍
My favorite thing about this chicken? It’s so crazy convenient and versatile to have this on hand!
I love to make a batch of this shredded chicken in the slow cooker and use some of it that night for dinner – for shredded chicken tacos or chicken enchiladas for instance – and then store the rest for later in the week.
I’ll use it for chicken salad, sandwiches or sliders, grain bowls or salads, or make another entire meal with this chicken another night.
(See my post on ideas for shredded chicken for more ways to use it, plus recipes!)
You can also freeze the extras – or make an entire batch to freeze, as I’ve done before – to have some cooked chicken ready to go in the freezer.
Having some protein prepped and ready to go is one of my favorite tricks for pulling together a weeknight meal with very little notice.
And while picking up a rotisserie chicken breast is convenient, it’s a bit expensive and you won’t get nearly as much meat as you do here.
Yup, I think you’re going to fall in love with this method just like I did so long ago.
OK, let’s get cooking!
Now, I’ve got some notes and substitutions coming up on how to make slow cooker shredded chicken. Just tryin’ to be helpful.
If you want to jump on down to the recipe, simply scroll right on through the rest of the text. The recipe card is near the bottom of the page, above the comments section.
Notes on making crockpot shredded chicken:
- The recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You could substitute bone-in chicken breasts or chicken thighs, but you’ll need to adjust your cooking time.
- You can use either fresh or frozen chicken breasts, both work fine.
- I’ve included a very basic seasoning mix that makes really flavorful chicken that can be used ANY way you want it. Keep reading for some other seasoning ideas.
- Nope, you don’t need to add any liquid to your slow cooker. The chicken will release liquid as it cooks and there’s no concern about a burn notice, so it’s fine to start it dry.
- The cooked, shredded chicken will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freezer for up to 5-6 months. Be sure to label and date your container.
Also, to be on the safe side, I highly recommend using a digital thermometer to check the temperature of your chicken. This eliminates the guessing game of whether or not it’s cooked through to a safe temperature. (Reminder: it should be 165.)
(Though I’ve never had a problem with this not cooking through all the way. It’s also easy to tell by just seeing if the chicken pulls apart easily with a couple of forks.)
OK, let’s talk flavor.
As written, this recipe just calls for salt, pepper and garlic powder. This is my go-to standard for a classic, versatile shredded chicken. You can use this for anything!
But, if you want to season the chicken differently, that’s absolutely an option. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
Flavor options for crock pot shredded chicken:
- Taco seasoning
- Southwest seasoning
- Italian seasoning or an herby mix (or herbs de provence seasoning)
- Masala or Indian spice mix
- Lemon pepper seasoning
- Ranch seasoning
- Cajun seasoning
Really, the sky is the limit. It depends on your tastes and partly on how you want to use the chicken.
Or if you’re looking to season it up a bit more, check out this 3-ingredient Mexican shredded chicken made in the slow cooker.
Now, let’s talk how to use this shredded chicken.
It’s so versatile! Which is part of the reason I love having it on hand so much.
Ways to use crock pot shredded chicken:
– Use in place of rotisserie chicken for pretty much any recipe
– Make chicken enchiladas, nachos, tacos, quesadillas, burritos, etc.
– Use as the protein for grain bowls
– Mix with a dressing and add to a salad
– Or use to layer into a mason jar salad
– Combine with your favorite pasta salad or quinoa salad to make it a main dish
– Use in soups or stews
– Use for stuffed pitas with some hummus or tzatziki and fresh veggies
– Mix with BBQ sauce for BBQ chicken sandwiches
– Make chicken salad (I do this with leftovers)
You’ll be making this on repeat just because it’s so convenient to have it ready to go!
And kinda fun to find new ways to use it. 😊
OK, last thing: A few extra details on how to handle leftovers.
How to store leftover shredded chicken:
– Once cooled, leftover shredded chicken can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Use cold or reheat in the microwave or stovetop.
– Extra shredded chicken can also be frozen. Place in a freezer-safe bag or container — that’s been labelled and dated! — and freeze for up to 5-6 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and it’s ready to use.
Pro tip: Add a few tablespoons of the liquid from the crockpot into the storage bag or container with the chicken before you refrigerate or freeze it. It helps prevent it from drying out too much.
OK, I think you are all set. And I’m betting you’ll be making this for years and years to come just like me.
Stay tuned, too, because I have a recipe coming up next week that uses shredded chicken. (Update: Check out these baked shredded chicken tacos.)
You can sign up for my free e-newsletter to get all of my new recipes delivered straight to your inbox so you never miss a thing. I’ll even send you my free e-cookbook, Healthy Weeknight Dinners, as a thank you!
In the meantime, I hope you give this easy shredded chicken a try. I think it’ll be come a staple in your house, too!
- 2 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Season both sides of the chicken breasts with the salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- Add the chicken to the bottom of the slow cooker insert. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the chicken is cooked through and shreds easily. (If your breasts are frozen or especially thick, use the upper end of timing here.)
- Remove the chicken breasts from the slow cooker and shred with two forks.
- Use immediately or store until ready to use. (See notes below.)
Chicken: The recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You could substitute bone-in chicken breasts or chicken thighs, but you’ll need to adjust your cooking times.
You can use either fresh or frozen chicken breasts, both work fine.
Seasoning: I’ve included a very basic seasoning mix that makes really flavorful chicken that can be used ANY way you want it. But you could also use taco seasoning, southwest seasoning, Cajun seasoning, Ranch seasoning, Italian seasoning blend, lemon pepper seasoning, etc.
Liquids: Nope, you don’t need to add any liquid to your slow cooker. The chicken will release liquid as it cooks and there’s no concern about a burn notice, so it’s fine to start it dry.
Leftovers: The cooked, shredded chicken will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freezer for up to 5-6 months. Be sure to label and date your container.
- Pro tip: Add a few tablespoons of the liquid from the Instant Pot into the storage bag or container with the chicken. It helps prevent it from drying out too much.
Ways to use crock pot shredded chicken:
- Use in place of rotisserie chicken for pretty much any recipe
- Make chicken enchiladas, nachos, tacos, quesadillas, burritos, etc.
- Make chicken and rice casserole or chicken divan or another casserole
- Use as the protein for grain bowls
- Mix with a dressing and add to a salad or use to layer into a mason jar salad
- Combine with your favorite pasta salad or quinoa salad to make it a main dish
- Use in soups or stews
- Use for stuffed pitas with some hummus or tzatziki and fresh veggies
- Mix with BBQ sauce for BBQ chicken sandwiches
- Make chicken salad
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 188Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 296mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 35g