How to boil and shred chicken to use in your favorite chicken dishes or to keep in the freezer for convenience. The BEST shredded chicken recipe.
Shredded cooked chicken is one of the most used ingredients in my recipe collection. Here’s how I have a large supply of perfectly moist shredded chicken readily available, along with a fabulous homemade chicken broth.
How many of you have a pile of recipes that use shredded cooked chicken as the main ingredient? <Raising my hand very high here.> 🙂 And, how many of you run to the store to buy a rotisserie chicken when you need shredded chicken in a pinch? <Raising hand, again.>
A friend shared her mother’s recipe with me where she boils her chicken in a large pot, along with a few vegetables and seasonings for flavor. After trying this method, I’m sold. It makes A LOT of moist shredded chicken which gets me through at least three or four recipes. A rotisserie will get you through ONE (maybe two) recipe plus the gas and time it takes to get to the grocery store. I have also baked or grilled chicken breasts, but it doesn’t always turn out tender and is sort of a pain to shred, unless you pop it in your food processor. But, then you have all of those little parts to wash. So dirtying one pot to boil the chicken is the way to go. And, you can freeze the extra vegetables you don’t use for the next time around!
Another bonus about prepping your shredded chicken this way is that you end up with a fabulous homemade chicken broth, which can also be frozen. No store-bought chicken broth for me! (Unless I run out of homemade, of course. I don’t want to sound like I’m above store-bought, because I’m definitely not.) 🙂
This is all you need:
This is all you do:
- Cover chicken with cold water in large pot.
- Add rest of ingredients to pot.
- Bring to boil.
- Simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours.
- Remove cooked chicken from pot and shred.
- Strain broth and reserve for later use!
I’m sure I’ll still have days when I pick up a rotisserie chicken or bake up a few chicken breasts, but now that I use this boiling method, my life is much easier and my wallet is a little fatter. You might feel a little intimidated to try this at first, as was I. But, really, give it a shot! It’s SO easy. If you work during the week, take a weekend morning to let it boil (since it takes a few hours) and then strain it, shred it and throw it in a freezer bag. Voila! Shredded chicken is now ready for you to use in these recipes:
Chicken Pot Pie
Buffalo Chicken Bites
BBQ Chicken Pizza
Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos
Creamy Chicken Pockets
Buffalo Ranch Chicken Quesadillas
Green Chile Chicken Empanadas
Easy King Ranch Chicken
Cheddary Chicken Pie
Chicken Ranch Pizza
Tropical Chicken Quesadillas
Chicken Parmesan Pizza
Cherry Barbecue Chicken Pizza
Chicken Pesto Pizza
Balsamic Strawberry Pizza with Chicken, Sweet Onion and Applewood Smoked Bacon
Which recipes do you have where you use shredded chicken? I have more to share in the near future!
How to boil and shred chicken to use in your favorite chicken dishes or to keep in the freezer for convenience. The BEST shredded chicken recipe!
- 4 large bone-in chicken breasts
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- several whole peppercorns (or about 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2-3 tops of celery stalks (or the stalk, itself)
- 1-2 large carrots , cut in half
- 1 whole onion , unpeeled and quartered
Place the raw chicken breasts into a very large stock pot (no smaller than an 8-quart pot). Cover with cold water, then add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, lower the heat and allow to cook at a gentle boil for at least 1 1/2 hours (the longer, the better).
Use a large slotted spoon to remove the cooked chicken breasts from the pot and transfer to a large platter. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for 20 minutes. Use forks or tongs to shred the meat, discarding the skin, bones and fat. Use the chicken immediately in your recipe. Store unused shredded chicken in a sealed tight container in the fridge for a few days, or in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to two months.
After removing the chicken breasts from the pot, pour the remaining ingredients through a mesh strainer and into a large bowl or two, to reserve the broth. Discard the vegetables and store the broth in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze for later use. I recommend to freeze the broth in 2-cup portions then use later in soups, rice, sauces, etc.
Freeze any extra vegetables and their scraps to throw into the pot when you're ready to boil up some chicken and broth! When ready to use the broth, skim the solidified fat from the top.