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Easy Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

  • Author: Jessie
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 depending on use 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Easy shredded chicken made with a slow cooker or crock pot!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 large chicken breasts)
  • salt and pepper to taste (don’t be stingy here!)
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Put everything in a slow cooker and give it a toss to evenly distribute seasonings.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until chicken is tender and cooked through.
  3. Remove lid and let chicken cool for 10 minutes or so before shredding (so we don’t burn ourselves!)
  4. Use two forks to shred the chicken right in the crockpot. The chicken will absorb any liquid in the pot as you shred it.
  5. Serve immediately or let chicken cool completely before transferring to airtight containers. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 3-4 months.


Notes

Equipment. We love our Crock Pot slow cooker for this recipe! We store cooled chicken in a Pyrex container or Stasher Bag (a reusable, dishwasher-safe alternative to ziploc bags).

Chicken cuts: We use boneless, skinless chicken breasts in this recipe, but you can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs or bone-in chicken if you prefer. Always make sure your chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees for safety. 

To scale this recipe for a crowd, use as many chicken breasts as you like – just plan to use about 1/2 Tablespoon of olive oil per chicken breast and make sure to liberally season with salt and pepper. With more chicken, you may also have to extend the cook time – so keep an eye on it and make sure to test the internal temperature before serving.

Freezing and storing shredded chicken. This chicken will last up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge or 3-4 months in the freezer. You can freeze in portion sized helpings or a larger container – just remove the chicken to the fridge the day before you plan to use it so it can defrost.

In a hurry? Cook chicken on high heat (instead of low) for 3-4 hours. The chicken will typically be cooked through after 3 hours, but the additional hour of cooking time makes it much easier to shred.

Seasoning adjustments. This is a great “blank canvas” recipe – it’s great as-is, or you can mix it up with additional flavors. Add some fresh thyme sprigs (remove them before shredding the chicken), garlic cloves, rosemary leaves, dried basil, seasoning salt, or any of your other favorite herbs and spices (don’t forget to check out our salsa slow cooker chicken, buffalo slow cooker chicken, and pesto slow cooker chicken recipes!)

Use this slow cooker chicken in your favorite salads, pasta, pizza, burritos, tacos, soups, and more! We love a simple arugula walnut chicken salad, a quick chicken alfredo, or a bowl of lemony orzo chicken soup. Shredded chicken is also delicious as a mix-in for your favorite mac and cheese recipe!

This post was originally published in 2016. It has been updated for clarity.

Keywords: slow cooker, crock pot, meal prep, meal planning