Instant Pot Shredded Chicken cooked to perfection for fork-tender shredded chicken! Use fresh or frozen chicken breasts and make all kinds of shredded chicken recipes like enchiladas, chicken sandwiches, shredded chicken tacos, nachos, pasta dishes, salads, and Mexican quesadillas! Perfect for meals throughout the week or keep frozen for easy dinner ideas!
Watch How To Make Shredded Chicken in an Instant Pot:
Shredded Chicken Recipes
My favorite recipes with shredded chicken are these Chicken Salad Sandwiches or my friend’s Shredded BBQ Chicken with Italian dressing stuffed into Hamburger Buns! Leftovers freeze well and you can use this chicken meat just like you would rotisserie! So, make these popular White Chicken Enchiladas, Taco Bell Shredded Chicken Burritos, and Shredded Buffalo Chicken for this Buffalo dip or Buffalo Shredded Chicken Salad.
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken:
Shredded chicken in the instant pot is one of the easiest ways to shred chicken! It’s almost silly to make a shredded chicken recipe because of how easy it is to make Instapot shredded chicken! I’ve tried to shred chicken in the instant pot at different cooking times for 20 minutes, 45 minutes, and 10 minutes. The best way to make shredded chicken is 20 minutes! It’s failproof and you’ll have it memorized real quick. Here is an overview of the Instant pot cooking times and results;
- 10 minutes: chicken breasts are tough to shred but fully cooked.
- 20 minutes: chicken breasts are fork-tender and moist.
- 45 minutes: meat is fall apart and can tend to dry out in certain areas.
Best Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker?
I own and love the 6-Quart Instant Pot. It has all the basic cooking features and is a reliable electric pressure cooker. Generic brands may be cheaper but a brand new pressure cooker from another brand didn’t even last me the second use. I’ve had this Instant pot for years now and love to cook dried beans, rice, shredded chicken, and tender meat for a fraction of the time!
What Kind of Chicken Should I Use?
Chicken breast is the meat of choice for shredded chicken. It is thicker than chicken thighs and yields more meat when cooked. I typically buy the skinless and boneless chicken breasts at the grocery store but you can use any cut of chicken meat including a whole chicken or leg quarters for shredded chicken. Bone-in cuts like a whole chicken (3-4 pounds) will take 25 minutes to pressure over high and 15 minutes to depressurize. Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. You can also cook chicken in the instant pot using a trivet rack instead of water.
Ingredients For Shredded Chicken:
Cook chicken the easy way from frozen or fresh chicken breast fillets! The instant pot makes quick shredded chicken that you can freeze, add to casseroles, soups, sauce or gravies, or even omelets with shredded chicken! I keep my seasonings pretty neutral so I can add them to any recipe (which in most cases calls for certain spices and seasonings anyways.)
- Water- chicken broth can be used to flavor the chicken, however, I prefer to use water since it basically makes a chicken broth. Also, make sure to add enough liquid! Water is very important when cooking with an instant pot to prevent the burn signal from going off.
- Salt- is the only spice you’ll really need to make this versatile for many dishes. Feel free to use seasoning salt or garlic salt for extra flavor.
- Chicken Breasts- use boneless chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs for these cooking times. Bone-in meats will take an extra 5 minutes to cook for every 2-3 pounds. You can also use a mixture of both to equal 2-3 pounds.
How To Shred Chicken:
The key to great shredded chicken is to cook it fork tender! For easier shredding allow the chicken to cook for at least 20 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked you can shred chicken 4 ways! I like to use tongs and a fork but you can go so many different ways!
- Meat Chopper- break up beef or chicken with this handheld chopper.
- Hand Mixer– place cooked chicken breasts into a bowl and mix over medium-low speed to make shreds.
- Forks- use one fork to hold down the chicken meat and the other to pull off the meat.
- Hands- if the meat is cool enough to handle simply use your hands to pull it apart.
How To Make Shredded Chicken:
The ease of how to shred chicken will depend highly on the cooking time of your meat. Ideally, you can boil chicken to shred (poach), use an instant pot, or the crockpot if you wish. However, the easiest way to shred chicken is in the Instant Pot! A pressure cooker locks all the moisture into the meat and tenderizes it in a steam chamber.
Not enough cooking time will require more arm strength to shred the chicken breast meat and can be rather tough even though the meat is fully cooked. This is usually at a 10-minute mark. Chicken breasts cooked for around 20 minutes start tenderizing. You’ll know the chicken is perfect for shredding when it pulls apart easily with a fork. Be careful not to over-cook the chicken as that can get chewier.
How Long to Pressure Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts for Shredding?
If you’re starting with frozen chicken breasts, no problem. Simply cook over high pressure for 25 minutes and proceed with the recipe. Ideally, you’ll want to add 5 extra minutes to the regular cooking time to ensure they cook thoroughly.
Can I use Chicken Thighs or Bone-in Chicken?
Chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs will cook for the same amount of time, for this shredded chicken recipe. You can use a combination of both cuts when cooking.
Shredded Chicken Calories:
One shredded chicken breast cooked in water and salt is 258 calories.
Crockpot Shredded Chicken Instructions:
Cooking chicken breasts in a slow cooker will take about 6-8 hours to cook over low heat. This works great for bulk meal prep overnight. My friend Susanna places 5 large chicken breasts into a crockpot almost covered with water and salt to taste. She starts on Hi then turns the crockpot down to low overnight. Then in the morning she cools and shreds (or chops) the chicken into smaller pieces. This yields about a heaping quart of shredded chicken that you can use and partly freeze.
You could also cook chicken breasts over High in a Crockpot for 3-4 hours. Slow cooker shredded chicken is ideal for cooking low and slow which is why it’s wise to make it in bulk for other meals too.
How Long To Boil Chicken Breast To Shred?
The best way to make shredded chicken without an instant pot is to poach the chicken breasts in water on the stovetop. All you need is some water, chicken meat, salt, and a medium saucepan. Bring the water to a boil; add the chicken and salt and simmer over medium-low until tender (about 20 minutes.)
Storing Shredded Chicken:
What do you do with leftover shredded chicken? Freeze for more healthy shredded chicken recipes! There are so many dinner ideas to choose from when you have a freezer bag full. Cooked shredded chicken can keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Freeze anything after that and thaw before adding to recipes.
Can You Freeze Cooked Shredded Chicken?
Cooked and shredded chicken freezes well and can be kept in the freezer for up to 4 months or more (if vacuum sealed.) To freeze cool completely before packing into freezer bags. Try to get as much air out as possible to prevent frost. It is best to portion out the amounts into 1 or 2 cup portions for easy thawing, otherwise, you’ll have a block of chicken meat to thaw.
Do I Use The Instant Pot Trivet?
A trivet is the round rack that comes with the instant pot. Ideally, it’s to place the food on the rack that doesn’t call for that much liquid so the bottom doesn’t scorch. However, you should poach the chicken breasts in the liquid and its juices during the cooking time for juicy fall-apart chicken. So, no a trivet is not needed to make this chicken.
Best Shredding Tips:
- Did you know you can make baked shredded chicken? Simply smother 4 chicken breasts with a little oil and place them into a casserole dish with a lid or baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for 20-25 minutes. Don’t forget to season to taste before baking.
- Shred chicken with a mixer if you making a big batch for the freezer. Simply mix over medium-low speed using a hand mixer or standing mixer to shred. I like to use forks or my hands if cool enough to handle.
- Allow the meat to rest and settle in its juices before shredding (about 10 minutes.)
- Leftover shredded chicken recipes are best in soups, casseroles, sandwiches, sauces, tacos, or enchiladas.
- Pressure cooker shredded chicken is best cooked at 20 minutes. Shredded chicken breasts are ready when the internal temp reads 165°F.
- How to shred chicken breasts? Use two forks, a mixer, or hands to pull apart the chicken meat. When cooked right the meat should be easy to pull apart.
- One Chicken breast yields approximately 1 cup of shredded chicken.
- You need to try this Shredded Chicken Sandwich Recipe!
More Instant Pot Recipes:
- Instant Pot Chili
- White Chicken Chili (Instant Pot)
- Instant Pot Mississippi Chicken
- Potato Stew Recipe (Pressure Cooker)
How To Make Instant Pot Shredded Chicken:
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
- 1 6-quart pressure cooker
- 4 chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
How to make shredded chicken in Instant Pot:
- Combine the water, salt, and chicken breasts into the Instant Pot. (No trivet needed.) Seal valve and pressure cook over HIGH for 20 minutes. Depressurize for 10 minutes, then open the valve and allow steam to escape.
- Remove and rest the chicken breasts for 10 minutes before shredding with 2 forks. Each chicken breast yields about 1 cup of shredded chicken.
- Crockpot Shredded Chicken: Combine the water, salt, and chicken breasts. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or Hi for 3-4 hours.
- How to Boil Chicken to Shred: combine everything into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Then simmer over low for 20 minutes.