How to Make Tender Flavorful Shredded Chicken

This shredded chicken recipe is so easy to make and can be used 100 different ways. This easy recipe makes a batch of tender, stovetop-cooked chicken in under an hour. Skip to Shredded Chicken recipe


How to cook juicy, tender chicken in under an hour

This is how we make a tender and tasty portion of shredded chicken Fire in less than an hour. If you prefer to use a slow cooker to make shredded chicken, check out our slow cooker shredded chicken recipe. By gently simmering boneless chicken thighs in a flavorful cooking broth, they become tender and very juicy. Use this easy recipe for shredded chicken tacos, perfect enchiladas, soups, chicken salads, chicken sandwiches and more!


This recipe requires 4 easy steps.

  • Simmer chicken thighs or chicken breasts in a broth made from water or broth, spices, onions and garlic.
  • Shred the cooked chicken.
  • Let cooking liquid simmer until reduced.
  • Toss the shredded chicken with the concentrated cooking liquid to add flavor and moisture.


Our basic ingredients for making shredded chicken at home are onion, garlic, bay leaf, cumin, salt and pepper. We like to use chicken thighs because they’re more tender than chicken breasts, but there’s no reason chicken breasts or a combination of breast and thighs wouldn’t work.

Please note that our recipe is more of a guide. Play with flavors and spices depending on what you like. Adding dried chili, chili powder, seasoning made from crushed red pepper flakes, or fresh herbs are great ideas.

More tips

For the most tender chicken, cook over low heat. We use water as the cooking liquid, which quickly strips a lot of flavor from onion, garlic and chicken. We add enough water to cover the chicken, then bring everything to a simmer and wait about 30 minutes until the chicken is very tender.


Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the now incredibly delicious broth and shred it. Then put the broth back on the stove and let it simmer for about a third to concentrate the flavor. Pour about a cup of the condensed broth over the chicken and toss.


This final step is our real secret to the juiciest chicken cutlet! Voila, now you have chicken ready for chicken nachos, buffalo sauce, chicken pizza, quesadillas, soup, sandwiches and more.

MONITORING: Turkey is a great substitute here. The pulled turkey is amazing!

By the way, you’ll probably have some leftover broth, don’t throw it away. It’s delicious and can be used as a light soup, as a broth in other recipes, or as an addition to leftover chicken.

If the chicken is in the fridge or freezer, it will soak up all of the broth you originally added. So it’s not a bad idea to put a little more on top of the chicken before eating.

And that’s how we make juicy, tender, crave-worthy shredded chicken. I think I’m going to go get one of those sandwiches now.

Easier Chicken Recipes

Updated recipe originally posted June 2015. Since posting in 2015 we have added a recipe video and changed the recipe to make it clearer. – Adam and Joanne

How to make tender and flavorful shredded chicken

  • COOK

This is our favorite way to cook shredded chicken. Gently simmering boneless chicken thighs in a flavorful cooking broth helps them get tender and juicy. We go one step further to ensure the chicken is as juicy and flavorful as possible. After the chicken is cooked, we boil the cooking liquid by a third and then pour the concentrated broth over the chicken.

Makes about 5 cups shredded chicken

Watch us at the recipe

will need

3 pounds boneless chicken thighs (or a combination of thighs and breast)

1 medium onion, peeled and sliced

4 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly chopped

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon of salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper



  • cooking the chicken
  • In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine chicken, onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt, cumin, and pepper. Add enough water to cover the chicken. Increase the heat, bring to a boil, then skim off any froth or foam that floats to the top.

    Adjust the heat so the water is very gently simmering around the chicken. Cook until chicken is very tender, about 30 minutes.

    Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. When cool enough to touch, use two forks or your fingers to shred the meat.

    • End
    • After removing the chicken, simmer the remaining liquid in the saucepan until reduced by a third or until its flavor is concentrated.

      Pour about 1 cup of the concentrated cooking liquid over the shredded chicken, tossing to coat evenly. Use within 2-3 days.

Advice from Adam and Joanne

  • Be prepared: the chicken and broth will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days and can be frozen for 1 month.
  • Chicken with Skin: We made this recipe using boneless, skinless chicken thighs and chicken thighs with the skin still attached. They both work very well. If using chicken with skin, simply remove and discard the skin before shredding the chicken. You may also need to skim some fat from the cooking broth before pouring it over the chicken.
  • Leftover cooking liquid: You will have leftover cooking liquid. As a light soup, it is very tasty on its own. You can also use it as a broth for other recipes. If you plan to keep the chicken for more than a day, add a tablespoon or two to add a bit more moisture.
  • To make this chicken in a slow cooker, simply add all the ingredients to the slow cooker, then cook on LOW heat until chicken is cooked through and tender, 4 to 6 hours. Shred the chicken and add the broth to a saucepan. Simmer the broth until reduced by a third, then pour over the chicken.
  • Nutritional Information: The nutritional information below is an estimate. We use the USDA Supertracker Recipe Calculator to calculate approximate values.

If you make this recipe, take a picture and use the hashtag #inspiredtaste. We love seeing your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutritional value per serving: Part 1/2 cup / calories 139 / protein 18 grams / carbohydrates 2 g / fiber 0g / total sugar 1g / total fat 6g / Saturated Fatty Acids 2 g / cholesterol 99mg / sodium 356mg

AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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