Crockpot shredded chicken is majorly tender and juicy – perfect for hands-off weekly meal prep, super versatile, and even freezer-friendly! Paleo, Keto, Whole30.
Oven-baked chicken breasts and boneless chicken thighs make for a great last-minute addition to any weeknight meal. But this easy crockpot shredded chicken is the perfect meal-prep protein ready to add to hundreds (if not thousands) of meals – like tacos, soup, wraps, salad, and casseroles – or freeze for later.
Instant Pot chicken breast is great for those in a rush (or who forgot to thaw their chicken) who want the meat on their table in a flash. But this slow cooker shredded chicken method is perfect for those wanting to just set it and forget it while you get on with your day. It’s one of the easiest chicken recipes ever!
Choose from bone-in or boneless chicken breasts or thighs, season them, and throw everything in a crockpot to work its magic. The slow cooker will do all the work, leaving you with super flavorful meat that’s juicy, melt-in-the-mouth tender, and so easy to shred.
What you’ll need
You don’t need much to make delicious, all-purpose shredded chicken in crock pot.
- Chicken: I prefer using boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs as they cook quicker and are easier to shred, though you can use bone-in (and even skin-on) chicken if preferred.
- Chicken broth/stock: You can use store-bought or homemade chicken broth – regular or low-sodium. Vegetable broth would also work, or even water, but the chicken won’t be as flavorful.
- Garlic powder,
- Onion powder,
- Salt (sea salt/kosher salt),
- Black pepper.
The best chicken to use
I prefer to use boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs for shredding.
- Chicken breasts will cook the quickest and are lean meat for those requiring that.
- Chicken thighs contain more flavor and fat but can take a little longer to cook.
You can also use bone-in and skin-on chicken, but you’ll need to discard the skin before shredding it and shred around the bones – meaning it’s a longer/fiddly process.
How to make shredded chicken in crockpot
First, pat the chicken dry and rub the spices into the meat.
Then, transfer the meat to the crockpot in a single layer.
Pour in the chicken broth, cover the crockpot with a lid, and cook until tender and juicy (times listed below).
Once ready, remove the meat from the slow cooker and leave it to rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to settle and redistribute. It’s then ready to shred (or dice) to your liking!
How long to cook chicken in crock pot?
The exact time it will take to cook chicken in a crockpot will depend on the cut, whether it contains bones, how stacked the pieces are in the crockpot, and the thickness of the meat. As a general guideline, though:
- Boneless chicken breasts: Work best on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 2-4 hours.
- Boneless chicken thighs: Follow a similar timeline to the above, but towards the higher end as they make take slightly longer.
For bone-in chicken, it may take up to an hour or two longer to fully cook. To ensure it’s safely cooked, use a meat thermometer.
Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken (avoiding bones). It needs to reach 165ºF/74ºC to be safe to consume. I recommend checking it 30-60 minutes BEFORE the lowest time when first trying the recipe, as all crockpots vary.
To avoid overcooked chicken, I usually aim for 160ºF/71ºC. The residual heat will finish cooking it while it rests, leaving it super moist.
Can I use frozen chicken in a crockpot?
It’s technically doable, but it isn’t recommended to use frozen chicken in a crockpot. If you want to make shredded chicken from frozen chicken, I highly recommend using this Instant Pot method instead.
How to shred chicken – 3 ways
- By hand: If the meat is cool enough to handle, it’s easy to shred into your desired consistency by hand. Note that warm chicken is easier to shred.
- Two Forks: This is great if the meat is too hot to handle (it becomes tougher when cool) while keeping your hands clean. Holding a fork in each hand so the fork tines are facing downwards, use one fork to hold the meat steady and the other to scrape across the meat to tear it to your desired size.
- Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer: If you have a big batch of chicken, this method is super quick and easy. Use a deep bowl (or the crockpot) to avoid mess, and use the mixer over a low speed to shred the chicken into a fine texture in practically seconds.
If you use a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix over low speed to your desired consistency.
What to make with shredded chicken?
This crockpot shredded chicken is a fabulously juicy and tender protein ready to add to dozens of meals:
- Casseroles – like Million Dollar Chicken Casserole,
- Make shredded chicken tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and quesadillas,
- Make chicken sandwiches or add it to wraps,
- Chicken ramen and other chicken soups,
- As a pizza topping or nachos topping,
- Creamy chicken salad,
- Adding it to leafy green salads and grain bowls,
- Pasta salads and warm pasta dishes,
- Stir in some barbecue sauce or buffalo sauce.
How to store crockpot shredded chicken
To refrigerate: Allow the chicken to cool but ensure it’s transferred to an airtight container (or Ziplock) in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking for food safety reasons. Once there, you can store it for 3-4 days.
To Reheat: There are several ways to reheat this easy shredded chicken. For the most juicy results, add it to a lidded saucepan with a large splash of chicken broth (or water) and heat over medium-low until piping hot. Alternatively, you could wrap it in foil to bake at 350ºF/175ºC until hot (about 10-15 minutes).
How do you freeze leftover shredded chicken?
Store it within 2 hours of cooking, in portions (so you only need to thaw exactly how much you require) in freezer-safe containers or Ziplock bags for 3-4 months. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using/reheating it.
More slow-cooker recipes
If you try this easy crockpot shredded chicken recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
Crockpot Shredded Chicken (Super Easy!)
- Pat the chicken dry and rub the spices into the meat.
- Transfer the meat to the crockpot in a single layer. Pour in the chicken broth.
- Cover the crockpot with a lid, and cook until tender and juicy. – For boneless chicken breasts, I recommend cooking them on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 2-4 hours. – Chicken thighs should cook within that time frame – LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 2-4 hours – but on the upper end (or maybe slightly more). – For bone-in chicken, it can take 1-2 hours extra. No matter which cut you use, use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat (avoiding bones) to test that it's safely cooked. It needs to reach 165ºF/74ºC to be safe to consume.
- Once ready, remove the meat from the slow cooker and leave it to rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to settle and redistribute. It's then ready to shred (or dice) to your liking!
- Seasoning is optional: Feel free to omit the onion and garlic powder depending on how you plan to use the crockpot chicken (i.e., within a casserole or sauce, etc.).
- The cooking time may vary: Based on the thickness/size of the chicken, whether it contains bones, your batch size, and even individual crockpot – so check on them 30-60 minutes BEFORE the earliest recommended time when first trying the recipe.
- Use the leftover juices: You can drizzle it over the chicken, thicken it with cornstarch into a gravy, or reduce it to add to sauces.
- The yield: This can vary, though 1lb of chicken meat will generally make about 2 cups of shredded chicken.