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Crockpot Shredded Chicken is a simple, all-purpose chicken recipe made in your slow cooker!

This recipe makes a ton and is perfect for portioning out and meal prepping or freezing. When your recipe calls for cooked chicken breast, you’ll already have some on hand.

Everyone loves this easy crockpot chicken meal prep idea! It’s great for all kinds of recipes, from Chicken Taquitos to Chicken Salad Sandwiches. It freezes well and is great for weekly meal prep.

Shredded chicken in the crockpot
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Why This Crockpot Shredded Chicken Recipe Works

  • Saves Time – Making shredded chicken in the crockpot is a real time saver. Toss it in soups, chicken casseroles, on tacos or in burritos.
  • Freezes Beautifully – Any time your recipe calls for cooked chicken breast, all you have to do is pull the amount you need out of the freezer and it’s ready to go.
  • Use Fresh or Frozen Chicken – This crockpot chicken method works for fresh or frozen chicken breasts, making it perfect for when you forget to thaw chicken for dinner. Frozen chicken breasts take just 4 hours in the crockpot, and fresh takes about 3 hours.
  • Budget Friendly – No need to spend $10 for a rotisserie chicken to shred when you already have this easy shredded chicken on hand.
  • Makes a Ton – 3 pounds of chicken (about 4 chicken breasts) makes about 6-7 cups of shredded chicken. That’s enough for at least 2-3 meals. And you can double that in a 6-quart slow cooker and get enough meat for up to 6 meals in just a few hours!

How To Make Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

In three easy steps, you’ll have shredded chicken ready to go whenever you need it.

  1. Place chicken breasts in the slow cooker.
  2. Add chicken broth and seasonings.
  3. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  4. Shred and use as desired.
Crockpot filled with chicken

How long does it take to cook chicken in a crockpot?

Timing is everything when you’re cooking chicken in a slow cooker. It’s so easy to dry out chicken breasts by overcooking them.

My recommendation is to cook chicken on high for 3 hours, then test the temperature with a digital meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165℉. While you can cook on low, in my experience a higher temperature yields better results.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Smaller pieces will cook faster; larger pieces will take longer. I recommend using evenly sized pieces for the best and most consistent results.
  • Some slow cookers can run hotter than others. If you’re unsure about yours, keep a digital meat thermometer handy to test the internal temperature at the 3-hour mark.
Crockpot brand slow cooker

The Best Slow Cooker

This Crock Pot 6 Quart slow cooker is my all-time favorite slow cooker! It’s a total workhorse, cooks evenly and the lid lock is super helpful for locking in steam or for transporting.

How To Shred Chicken Breast

Once cooked the meat is really easy to shred. There are three methods you can use when shredding chicken:

  1. Use two forks and shred it right in the slow cooker (carefully, as the liquid is very hot).
  2. Shred it using two forks or your hands on a cutting board or into a bowl. If you want to shred with your hands (this gets the most even sized chunks), be sure to let it cool for 20 minutes or so first.
  3. Shred the meat right in your stand mixer, a method that’s much easier on the hands!
Chicken breasts cooked in a slow cooker then shredded on a cutting board

Storage

Store shredded meat in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. For meal prepping, portion into smaller resealable bags and keep in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

How to freeze shredded chicken breast: Divide chicken into even portions, usually 2-3 cups for meals and 1/2-¾ cup for individual portions. Place each portion in a freezer bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, and be sure to label before putting into the freezer.

Slow cooker shredded chicken breasts portioned into bags

Expert Tips

  • Frozen Chicken – If using frozen chicken, omit the chicken broth; added liquid is not needed.
  • Evenly-Sized Pieces – Keep the pieces of chicken as evenly sized as possible.
  • Seasoning – Feel free to use whatever seasoning you want, like my Chicken Seasoning, taco seasoning, or your favorite dried herbs.
  • Skinless Chicken Thighs – You can definitely use chicken thighs in place of the chicken breasts. Omit the liquid as they do tend to release quite a bit, and cook at least 4 hours on high.
  • Bone-in Chicken – You can use bone-in chicken if preferred, with the understanding that the cook time will be extended by at least 1-2 hours.
  • Sauce – Once cooked and shredded, add your favorite sauce to the slow cooker with the chicken, cover and cook on high for 30 minutes. Like barbecue sauce for BBQ chicken sandwiches, salsa, and lime juice for Mexican chicken, or marinara for an Italian flare.
Shredded Chicken in the slow cooker

Recipes Made with Shredded Chicken


Recipe
shredded chicken in a crockpot

All-Purpose Crockpot Shredded Chicken

4.58 from 7 votes
Crockpot Shredded Chicken is a simple, all-purpose chicken recipe made in a slow cooker! Perfectly tender and juicy and great for meal prep!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes
Servings 6 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (fresh or frozen*)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
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Instructions
 

  • Pour chicken broth into the slow cooker. Place chicken in the slow cooker and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. *If using frozen chicken, you do not need the chicken broth.
  • Cook on high for 3 1/2-4 hours or on low for 5 hours. Shred chicken with two forks.
  • Return shredded chicken to the slow cooker and cook for an additional 30 minutes on low. This step helps to keep the chicken moist and tender and adds a little more flavor.
  • Divide chicken into 2 cup (or more/less, depending on your needs) portions and place into freezer bags and store in the freezer for up to 4 months. Add chicken to sandwiches, soups, tacos and casseroles!

Notes

  • This recipe yields approximately 6 cups of shredded chicken. Exact amounts will vary. 
  • Easily double the recipe – make as much chicken as will fit in your slow cooker! Just make sure to check the internal temperature so chicken is properly cooked.

Nutrition

Calories: 303kcalProtein: 51gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 142mgSodium: 504mgPotassium: 865mgCalcium: 11mgIron: 1.3mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Disclosure – this post contains affiliate links.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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Comments

  1. Rose says:

    I recently tried cooking frozen chicken breasts (for casseroles) in the instant pot and it came out extremely chewy. I had to throw it away. So this time, I decided to try the slow cooker but wanted to know if you get better results using thawed or frozen chicken breasts? I love your idea of putting the shredded chicken back in the broth. Hanks in advance fir your help.

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Hi Rose, While you can cook chicken breast from frozen, I don’t really recommend it. The outside cooks much faster than the inside so it can get tough. The chewiness you experience might not be because of the instant pot, though. It can depend on the type of chicken you buy. Even so, I highly recommend using the slow cooker method and checking the temperature.

    2. Rose says:

      I followed your recipe to a T and it worked perfectly. Believe me not all recipes do. Thank you for your help!!

  2. LeeAnn says:

    This is now my go to shredded chicken recipe. So simple but so good! Thank you for sharing this I’m glad I found it!

  3. Melissa says:

    The recepie says to cook on low, but somewhere in the post and in the comments it says on high. Which one?

    1. Kristin says:

      I recommend to cook on high. But you can cook on low. The time caries slightly.

  4. Nicole C Davis says:

    I was looking up slow cpoker chicken and Boston butt , We have a family of 4 and 2 are children, Our family meals are 100% Made with some type of sugar, Glaze, Honey , Brown sugar, Syrup, butter We love it sweet So… I am sitting here with my fridge open looking at what infant to put in the cooker tonight since I can not sleep it is 1:30 am. I have young Chicken thighs, & 4.330 off of SF chicken thighs value pack and a bag of Tysons Boneless skinless chicken thighs , boneless skinless chicken thighs fillets , Bone in thick cut pork chops, pork bone in loin thin cut chops value pack, Pork chop boneless center cuts, A whole chicken , Cooked ham that is wrapped in a tube lol, Pork shoulder blade steak boneless, Bone in thick cut pork chops. I only know how to slow cook Since I never had to cook . Since we love out sweets We usuallly go with our whole Boston butt which is covered in brown sugar and maple syrup and all those goods but I want to do pulled chicken so Ed of every type of chicken and I named I’m wondering if you would have any thoughts on the best way to make in the slow cooker that I’ll take a little bit more time since I’m going to make it over night what is the best type of chicken to use in the slow cooker now that you know everything that I have in the freezer I hope that I can get a reply from if not you anybody on what I can do what should I add I have pretty much everything I need except for lemon juice the only thing that is not frozen is the Boston butt God bless all of you know how to cook these amazing meals

  5. Jessica says:

    If I’m using less chicken, let’s say 2 breasts, would I still use the same amount of chicken broth?

    1. Kristin says:

      I wouldn’t, I would divide the recipe appropriately.

  6. Abby says:

    When using the frozen shredded chicken for tacos and sandwiches, do you unthraw it first?

    1. Kristin says:

      Depending on how you are preparing it, I’d say yes.

  7. Gabriela says:

    How long do I cook the chicken if it’s frozen?

    1. Kristin says:

      Takes 3 1/2 to 4 hours on high.

  8. Angela says:

    I don’t have chicken broth on hand, do you think I could just add a little water to it?

    1. Kristin says:

      Sure!

    2. Jordyn says:

      You could donwater and one of those chicken flavored cubes ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Becky says:

    How is the best way to thaw the frozen chicken? Especially if needed ASAP.

    1. Kristin says:

      I try to refrain from using the microwave, but if you’re in a real hurry you could thaw in the microwave. I would use the defrost function so it doesn’t cook the chicken. If you have a little more time I would defrost in a bowl of room temperature water. Takes about an hour. However, if you are making the chicken in the slow cooker you don’t even need to defrost (I actually prefer NOT defrosting).

    2. Shari says:

      Can I mix up my thighs and breasts, both of them boneless and skinless? Is there any difference in cooking time for thighs vs. breasts?

      1. Kristin Maxwell says:

        You can, however thighs may take longer to cook then breasts, so you may need to remove the breasts sooner. Id test to be sure. Or, cut the thighs into small pieces.

  10. Sue says:

    How long should I cook the chicken if I’m using 6 pounds?

    1. Kristin says:

      I would add 30 minutes to an hour to the time. Just check for doneness then continue cooking if needed.

  11. Cynthia says:

    If frozen, do I need to add any chicken broth ? What about after the chicken is shredded?

    1. Kristin says:

      Hi Cynthia, I mentioned it in the post, but neglected to add it to the recipe. You do not need to add the liquid if using frozen chicken. It comes out juicy on it’s own!

  12. Anisha says:

    Hello! If I wanted to reduce the amount of chicken to 1.5-2 lbs, how much would I reduce the cooking time?

    1. Kristin says:

      It would be about the same time. Slow Cookers are pretty forgiving. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Bird says:

    That chowder looks incredible!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Kristin says:

      It really is!