This shredded chicken recipe is very simple to make and can be used in 100 different ways. This easy recipe makes a batch of tender shredded chicken on the stove in less than 1 hour. Jump to the Shredded Chicken Recipe or watch our quick recipe video showing you how we make it.
Watch Us Make The Recipe
How to Make Juicy, Tender Chicken in Under 1 Hour
This is how we make a batch of tender and flavorful shredded chicken on the stove in less than 1 hour. If you’d prefer to use a slow cooker to make shredded chicken, see our Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Recipe.
By gently simmering boneless chicken thighs in a flavorful cooking broth, they become tender and very moist. Use this simple recipe for shredded chicken tacos, perfect enchiladas, soups, chicken salad, chicken sandwiches and more!
This Recipe Calls For 4 Simple Steps
- Gently simmer chicken thighs or chicken breast in a broth made with water or stock, spices, onion, and garlic.
- Shred the cooked chicken.
- Simmer the cooking liquid until reduced.
- Toss the shredded chicken with the concentrated cooking liquid for extra flavor and moisture.
Our go-to ingredients for making shredded chicken at home are onion, garlic, a bay leaf, cumin, salt, and pepper. We love using chicken thighs since they are more tender than chicken breasts, but there is no reason why chicken breasts or a combination of both breast and thighs would not work.
Keep in mind that our recipe is more of a guide. Play around with the flavors and spices based on what you love. Adding a dried chili pepper, chili powder, some spice from crushed red pepper flakes or fresh herbs are all excellent ideas.
For the most tender chicken, we simmer it gently. For the cooking liquid, we use water, which quickly soaks up lots of flavor from the onion, garlic, and chicken. We add just enough water to cover the chicken then bring everything to a low simmer and wait about 30 minutes until the chicken is very tender.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the now incredibly flavorful cooking broth and shred it. Then place the cooking broth back over the heat and simmer down by about one-third, concentrating the flavor. Spoon about a cup of the concentrated broth over the chicken and toss.
It’s this last step that is our real secret to the juiciest shredded chicken! And that’s it, now you have chicken ready for chicken nachos, buffalo dip, chicken-topped pizza, quesadillas, soup, sandwiches and more.
NOTE: Turkey is a great stand-in, here. Shredded turkey is amazing!
By the way, you’ll likely have broth leftover – don’t throw it away. It’s delicious and can be used as a light soup, as broth in other recipes or kept to be added to the leftover chicken.
As the chicken sits in the fridge or freezer, it soaks up any broth you originally added to it. So, spooning a little extra over the chicken before eating it isn’t a bad idea.
And that’s how we make juicy, tender, crave-worthy shredded chicken. I think I’ll go eat one of those sandwiches now.
More Easy Chicken Recipes
- Here’s another excellent way to cook chicken: Our Perfectly Poached Chicken is soft, tender, and flavorful.
- These Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas are so flavorful and this shredded chicken is perfect for the filling. We toss chicken with salsa verde, sour cream, garlic and cheese.
- If you are wondering whether or not you can make this in a slow cooker, you can! Hop over to our Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Recipe to see how easy it is.
Recipe updated, originally posted June 2015. Since posting this in 2015, we have add a recipe video and tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne