Whether it’s stuffed in tacos, topped on salad greens, or baked in casseroles, a batch of this simple shredded chicken will help make mealtime happen in minutes!
Shredded chicken hits my weekly menu once if not twice a week. I usually bake a big batch of shredded chicken on Saturday or Sunday and use it in soups, casseroles, skillet dinners, salads, or sandwiches during the week ahead. I know it sounds boring, but shredded chicken can be super versatile and tasty if you change up sauces and sides you serve it with.
My Mom recently told me she’s never shredded chicken. I couldn’t believe that the most organized, efficient woman I know doesn’t know how to prep one of the easiest recipe staples. Hence, the inspiration for THIS post! Thanks Mom! So for starters, here’s how I make my shredded chicken:
Shredded Chicken in the Oven
Preheat your oven to 350. Place the chicken breasts on a lined jelly roll pan or casserole dish. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add additional herbs for extra flavor [Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, rosemary, basil, etc.] Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165. Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Shred with two forks.
Shredded Chicken in the Crock Pot
Cooking chicken in the crock pot requires a little liquid, which I use the juice of one lemon, and extra herbs if you’d like something more than my salt and pepper combo!
Chicken Breasts: Season the chicken breasts with olive oil, salt, pepper, and the juice of one lemon. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.
Whole Chicken: Season the chicken with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stuff the cavity with lemons and garlic. Cook on low for 6 hours.
Either cooking method that you choose results in a moist chicken breast that can easily be shredded with two forks! I also know people poach chicken breasts in boiling water and shred them that way. I haven’t done that method yet, mainly because I like seasoning the chicken before it cooks. Poaching the chicken in water would defeat that purpose!
Before I get to some of my favorite recipes for using shredded chicken I want to let you in a little secret: shredded chicken tastes better if you cook it in the sauce you’ll be using it with. What do I mean by that? Well if you want shredded chicken for tacos or enchiladas, cook it in salsa and shred it with the salsa before assembling the meal. If you want BBQ chicken sandwiches, cook the chicken in the BBQ sauce before shredding it and assembling your sandwiches. There’s more than one way to make and dress shredded chicken!
5 Ways to Use Shredded Chicken
- Baked Chicken Casserole
I love making pasta casseroles because they made a lot of food, reheat well, and can be made ahead of time! For this one all you need is cooked rigatoni or ziti, your favorite sauce, shredded chicken, and mozzarella cheese! I like to add in zucchini or spinach for extra color and nutrients. I cooked the pasta, the chicken in marinara sauce and sautéed some spinach and onion on the side. Once I shredded the chicken mixture I assembled the casserole, topped with parmesan cheese, and baked it at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until it’s heated through. You could also use this filling for chicken parmesan subs!
- Chicken Pillsbury Pockets
Store bought rolls have helped me get dinner on the table in a flash—- more times than I’d like to admit. For these Pillsbury Pockets you need the extra large crescent roll dough. The pocket itself iss one large square of dough [2 triangles to make 1 square]. The filling is sautéed shredded chicken, asparagus, onion, and Boursin cheese. I filled the pockets, folded up the four corners, top with parmesan cheese, and baked at 375 for 15 minutes. You could also use the pocket filling with ravioli or tortellini.
- BBQ Chicken Salads
For this meal instead of baking and shredding my chicken in the usual olive oil, salt and pepper, I baked and shredded it in BBQ sauce [as suggested above]. Once the chicken was cooked I added it to salad greens that had everything I love on a BBQ salad! Onion, red cabbage, avocado, corn, and carrots! I even crushed a few BBQ chips to go on top. You could also use this mixture for BBQ chicken sandwiches.
- Chicken Burrito Skillet
Take my Beef Burrito Skillet, swap the cook chicken for beef, and voila! Dinner is ready in less than 30 minutes. You could also use this filling in whole wheat tortillas.
- Cherry Almond Chicken Salad Sliders
Shredded chicken isn’t just for skillet dinners or salads. It goes great on sandwiches too! I recently shared this recipe for Cherry Almond Chicken Salad Sliders over on Healthy Aperture— a forum for delicious food. You could also use this shredded chicken mixture on salad greens.
And there you have it! How I make shredded chicken and use it for easy AND healthy weeknight dinners. Oh and before I forget, if you are short on time, just head to your local grocery store and pick up one of their precooked rotisserie chickens and shred that at home!
Stay tuned because this week I’ll be sharing two NEW ways to use shredded chicken!