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Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

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This slow cooker shredded chicken recipe is one of my favorite kitchen shortcuts! Slow cooker chicken takes just minutes to prep, and can be used in a wide range of dishes.

Easy Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken |

The results of our Gimme Some Oven reader survey are in! It was so awesome to hear from you and read all of your great (and encouraging) feedback about the site. So thank you to everyone who responded!

As far as your recipe requests go, the top two requested categories amongst many choices ended up being slow cooker and chicken recipes.

Like, by far. :)

So since you all apparently love your chicken and slow cookers as much as I do, I figured why not combine the two and start with a simple recipe for slow cooker shredded chicken!

If you are new to cooking or slow cookers, or if you are just looking for ideas to make weeknight meals all the speedier, I can’t recommend this slow cooker chicken enough. It is one of my favorite cooking time-savers! Your crock pot will do all of the work for you (I set mine for during the day while I’m at work!). Then all you have to do is spend literally less than 5 minutes before and after on prep. And voila — many meals’ worth of shredded chicken will be prepped and ready to enjoy whenever you need it.

I have included a few tips below on what chicken to buy, how to shred, how to store. And then I have also included a few quick recipes so that you can put it to use! This is definitely a staple in my kitchen that I regularly make once every few months, so I hope you might give it a try!

Easy Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken |

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Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 480 minutes
  • Total Time: 490 minutes


A foolproof recipe for easy slow cooker shredded chicken!


  • 6 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • (optional) 1/2 cup water or chicken broth (**see note below**)


  1. Place chicken breasts in slow cooker, and sprinkle with seasonings (and liquid, if using). Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until the chicken shreds easily with a fork. (*If making a smaller batch, keep an eye on your slow cooker as the chicken will likely need less cooking time.)
  2. Remove the chicken with tongs, and shred using two forks or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer. Use immediately, or freeze in ziplock bags or a sealed container.
  3. **I almost always use frozen chicken when I make big batches of slow cooker shredded chicken like this. And the chicken has always released LOTS of extra juices while cooking, making plenty moist. Some of that extra liquid may be from the chicken breasts being a little icy and frozen. But if you are worried about chicken being dry, feel free to add in a little liquid while cooking.

What Chicken To Buy:

You can either buy fresh or frozen chicken for this recipe. If you buy frozen, though, you need to be sure to thaw it to room temperature before adding it to the slow cooker. (Edited: apparently adding frozen meats to a slow cooker is unsafe!)  You can use other cuts of chicken if you’d like, but I would just avoid any chicken with bones so that you don’t have to pick them out.

How To Shred Chicken:

My favorite method is the old fashioned two-forks method. Even with a really large batch of slow cooker shredded chicken, I can shred it all in about 2 minutes since the meat is so tender and easily pulls apart.

You can also add the chicken to a stand mixer and (very briefly!!) mix it with the paddle attachment to break it up.

How To Store Shredded Chicken:

If you are not using the chicken right away, I recommend freezing it in small ziplock bags or sealed containers. Be sure not to put the chicken all together in one huge ziplock bag, because then it is harder to separate and thaw in small batches.

How To Use Shredded Chicken:

I add mine to all sorts of recipes!!! Shredded chicken is awesome in soups, tacos, pastas, quesadillas, sandwiches, enchiladas, appetizers, you name it!

Recipes For Shredded Chicken:

Here are a few of my favorites from the blog:

5 Ingredient Green Chicken Chili |

5 Ingredient White Chicken Chili

Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza |

Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza

Chipotle Chicken and Rice Soup |

Chipotle Chicken and Rice Soup

Chicken Enchilada Cups |

Chicken Enchilada Cups

Roasted Garlic and Chicken Soup |

44 Clove Garlic and Chicken Soup

Easy Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken |

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103 comments on “Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken”

  1. I mean honestly, what can’t you do with shredded chicken?? Love this!

  2. So many options with this shredded chicken!! It can provide a weeks worth of different meals! I love that!

  3. My slow cooker is saving my life right now! Love this Ali.

  4. Love this, Ali! Such an easy method, but opens up sooooo many possibilities for dinnertime!! Thanks for sharing! :)

  5. Thank you for this great post. I have a quick question. It looks like you have liquid in there with your chicken, perhaps chicken stock or water, but you do not mention it in your recipe. Do you sometimes use liquid for moisture?

  6. I don’t use a slow cooker to cook my chicken for shredding & freezing but I think I will try it. I usually make homemade stock at the same tym. Thanks for the tips.

  7. Great tips, friend! Slow cooker chicken has saved me lately!!

  8. So, you don’t need any liquid? Just chicken breasts, salt, pepper and garlic powder? I’ll give it a try.

  9. I do shredded slow cooker chicken at least every other month. It’s great for soups, quesadillas, and making a quick chicken salad! I LOVE my slow cooker!!

  10. Hi! Maybe a dumb question, but do you add water to the pot? In the pics there appears to be liquid, is that just the juices that cook out? Thanks!!

  11. OMG Ali I LOVE this. I have never done shredded chicken in the slow cooker but I love having it around. In a pinch I always run to the store and get a rotisserie chicken. Now I think I’m just gonna do this. :)

  12. Can you throw the chicken in the crockpot without any cooking liquid? Boneless skinless breasts are so lean, I can’t imagine them producing the amount of liquid you show in the photo. Please explain! I want to try this at home but would hate to waste all that chicken if it turns out dry.

  13. Love how you can use the chicken from this recipe in EVERYTHING!

  14. Is there supposed to be some liquid in the recipe? The top picture shows the chicken pieces sitting in some liquid – water or chicken broth?

  15. Who knew it was so easy to make right in the slow cooker?!

  16. Wow, this looks so perfect for dinner. Actually, I’d love this for dinner tonight … mmmm!

  17. I am so glad you posted this Ali! I’ve always wanted to do shredded chicken in the slow cooker but haven’t yet. Now I must. I love shredded chicken so much – we eat it more often than I’d like to admit!

  18. I love this! One of the things that keeps me from making recipes on busy evenings is having to cook the chicken first. And the crockpot makes it so tender and juicy! I’m going to do a big batch of this and freeze them for easy dinners. Thanks!

  19. I absolutely love prepping a ton of shredded chicken to keep in my freezer for easy meals down the road. Great tutorial, Ali!

  20. Such a great idea! I need to use the slow cooker more often!

  21. So perfect! And I love that you can do it with shredded chicken!

  22. I don’t do a lot of meal prep for my week (I should do more), but I do this almost every Sunday. It makes for quick dinners and easy lunches when I have this done already.

  23. This recipe is genius! I’m going to make a huge batch ASAP.

  24. Looks delicious and easy!

    I will have to disagree with using frozen chicken. Though the USDA is always super-cautious, they advise to never use frozen meat in a slow cooker.

  25. I loveee the Crock Pot! This rocks!

  26. If you use frozen chicken breasts, do you thaw before throwing them into the slow cooker?

  27. I did this for a football game, added a can of cream of mushroom soup & 1can water with some spices… Let’s just say I didn’t have any left to freeze. The boys loved it on hamburger buns and I wasn’t busy in the kitchen all day :)

  28. Awesome! Can’t wait to try this!

  29. When you use frozen chicken do you thaw the meat first? This will be awesome to use on those days we manage to get all the kids and grands here on a Sunday afternoon…Spicy S.W. chicken and black bean soup…yum!

    • I did not thaw the meat first, the chicken way perfectly render and still juicy after 6.5 hours on low.

  30. Can you use a whole roasting chicken for this recipe?

  31. Thank you for this recipe! So simple, its in my slow cooker right now and it smells delicious

  32. QUESTION: So if I am making 3 lbs do I cook on high for 4 hours?

    • Yes, that will probably work. But I would keep an eye on the chicken around the 3 hour mark or so to start checking on it. When it shreds easily with a fork, it’s ready to go. Good luck!

  33. I’ve used this method SO MANY TIMES since I found this page. The chicken literally falls apart – you barely have to shred it. A few hours on high does the same trick but obviously if you wanna throw it in and leave it all day you’d want to use low. Thanks again!

  34. I know one lady who does this and freezes it on a cookie sheet and then puts it in bags, so she can pull out as much as she wants… for a salad or a recipe.

  35. Is it possible to cook this on high if I didn’t start it early enough for same day dinner? How long would I do it for so I don’t overcook it?

    Thanks in advanced.

    • Hi Sheree,

      The chicken would need to cook on high for 3-4 hours, until it shredded easily with a fork. Good luck!

  36. How long would you cook the chicken if using fresh – not frozen – chicken? TIA!

  37. If using fresh chicken, how much chicken broth or water do you add?

  38. Thank you for adding that you typically use frozen chicken. I’ve been looking at recipes for at least an hour now, trying to figure out if I could safely prepare some frozen chicken to shred for enchiladas tonight! Can’t wait to try this method!

  39. Great idea on shredded chicken. I am 60 and raising my step-son’s 10 & 11 yr old daughters, this will make meal planning much easier! Thank you!

  40. Thank you so much for this fantastic recipe! I buy my chicken in bulk so this was a great way to use the extra. I had frozen bone-in half chickens which needed to be used before they went bad and this was a perfect solution. I don’t mind getting my hands alittle dirty by separatingnthe bone from the chicken, however, the meat fell right off the bone! If you use bone-in I would suggest running your fingers through pulled chicken for any small bones that may have remained. I used water instead of broth, which was fine, because after I separated chicken and bones, I strained the extra liquid and now have some chicken broth to use when I make soup! (my cats were also excited for a small treat from the extra clippings)
    Highly recommended to those out there who love to cook but don’t have much time on your hands, like me! Now I have lots of chicken to made quick, delicious and healthy recipes for my husband and I.

  41. So easy to make and very tasty. My kids loved it. Trying the chicken taco recipe next.

  42. So easy and so flavorful. My favorite so far has been to use it in Chinese chicken salad! Amazing…

  43. How many chicken breast can cook in slowcooker for 8 hours? I’m making chicken tacos for about 16 people. I would like to just use one cooker if possible. Thanks!

    • Hi Bree,

      Depends on the size of your slow cooker. I did a batch the other day (in a large slow cooker) with 9 chicken breasts, and they were ready in 8 hours (although I cooked them on high for half of the time). I would just keep a close eye on them!


    • I really appreciate your time! Thanks!

  44. So it is safe to just put my frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot? No need thaw them before?

  45. Making this tonight and will definitely pin your other shredded chicken recipes for future dinners. Thanks for sharing and compiling this great post!!

  46. Great idea! Will use bone-in chicken and patiently take out bones because will have more flavor. Think of all the wonderful recipes u can do with this way of cooking chicken. Thanks:)

  47. What a great idea. I’ve been buying shredded chicken at Sprouts, but never thought of doing it myself. Great way to save money and have healthy protein around for lunches.

  48. My friend brings this to work. After shredding, she adds brown sugar, mustard & ketchup to taste for barbecue chicken sandwiches. Yum

  49. It is a known rule to NEVER put anything frozen in the slow cooker. This puts food in the danger zone (41°-140°) for too long and creates food hazard and makes people sick.

  50. Wow, what a simple yet flavorful recipe! I couldn’t stop eating the chicken right out of the crock pot! My husband added BBQ sauce and he loved it! I will make this all the time for future recipes.  Thanks so much for your help and advice! Great !!!