Crockpot Shredded Chicken

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Crockpot Shredded Chicken is easy to make and incredibly versatile — a two-for-one deal!! With the simplest seasonings (that I’m sure you have in your spice cabinet right now!), a touch of liquid, and your trusty crockpot, you can make scrumptiously succulent shredded chicken in the slow cooker while you go about your day.

Titled image: Crockpot Shredded Chicken


Crockpot Shredded Chicken

I usually make a whole bunch of shredded chicken in the slow cooker when I’m food prepping or have a lot of mouths to feed….

After all, this crockpot shredded chicken recipe makes 20 servings!

Serve a platter of tacos, bowls of steaming tortilla soup, or some spicy and saucy buffalo sandwiches!

Mix it into veggie and pasta salads to add a little bit of protein to these light, simple meals.

crockpot shredded chicken ingredients

Best Cuts for Making Shredded Chicken in the Slow Cooker

Just to note, I always make slow cooked shredded chicken with skinless cuts. 

  • Boneless Breasts – My number one choice! You get more bang for your buck, they’re super easy to shred, and the light meat is packed with protein. 
  • Boneless Thighs – Now this is a great cut because of its natural moisture content.

    And because thighs are fattier, you’ll definitely get a lot of flavorful liquid seeping out into the cooking liquid and seasoning the meat as it slowly cooks. 
  • Bone-in Thighs or Breasts – Bone-in cuts will always add more flavor to whatever you’re making.

    There’s a ton of flavorful, fatty stuff in them that flows out as it cooks and melts. The flip side is that you’ll have to work around the bone to shred.
seasoned chicken breasts in crockpot

Tips, Tricks, and Things to Know 

  • Stock or broth will keep the meat moist and add tons of flavor. 

It absolutely isn’t necessary to add liquid to the slow cooker.

There are natural juices and fats that leak out during the “low and slow” cooking process, and so it will moisten itself as time passes.

However, it is a great way to enhance and customize flavor! Regular or low-sodium poultry-based broth is my go-to, but sometimes I like to use vegetable broth. 

Think about what recipes you’ll be making with the meat and let that influence your decision.

  • Even though we’re slow cooking… Let the meat rest!

As with any meat, it’s super important to let it rest once it’s done cooking. 

15 to 20 minutes later, you’ll be glad you waited when your slow cooker shredded chicken is moist, succulent, and ready to go!

pouring chicken broth in crockpot with chicken breasts

Favorite Flavor Variations

My crockpot shredded chicken recipe is pretty basic: salt, pepper, garlic, and onion. Sometimes simple is best, and it makes it easy to use the meat in different ways.

But don’t hesitate to spice it up! Some other spice and seasoning combinations you might try include:

chicken breasts, seasoning and chicken broth in crockpot

How to Shred

There are two methods I use: the stand mixer and the trusty two-fork method.

The quickest way is to toss all of the cooked meat into a stand mixer bowl.

Use the paddle attachment and run it at low speed for a minute or so, and the meat will be totally shredded!

Alternatively, you can tear the meat apart with two forks–pulling in opposite directions. This takes longer, but leaves you with fewer dishes to clean!

cooked chicken breasts in crockpot

Storing and Reheating Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

I recommend portioning the meat in several storage containers for ease of use (I go with 12-ounce packages). 

Freezer bags are a really helpful way to not take up too much space, and you can even label the bags with the date and recipe you plan on using it in!

The meat will last up to 4 days in the fridge or 4 months in the freezer. If freezing, let thaw in the fridge overnight before using.

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Slow Cooker – Great for soups, roasts, slow cooker shredded chicken, and more!

    I love it in the cooler months, but it’s also great in the summer when you don’t want to heat up the whole house with the oven.
  • Stand Mixer or two forks to shred the meat.

Crockpot Shredded Chicken Recipe FAQ

Why is my crockpot chicken hard to shred?

It’s possible that you overcooked the meat. When you decide to make crockpot shredded chicken on high rather than low, this can happen easier than you might think! 

Check on the meat after 2 ½ hours and see if it’s easy to shred. If not, give it just 15 minutes or so longer and continue checking. 

How do you keep chicken moist after shredding?

I find that storing shredded chicken from the slow cooker in the cooking liquid really keeps it moist. 

So even if you didn’t use it as a cooking liquid, a bit of broth in the storage container is a surefire way to keep it moist and flavorful.

Can I put raw chicken in the crockpot?

Yes, of course! That’s how I make slow cooked shredded chicken every time. 

shredded chicken in a crockpot

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shredded chicken on a plate

crockpot shredded chicken on a plate

Crockpot Shredded Chicken

Donna Elick
Crockpot Shredded Chicken is perfect in sandwiches, soups, and so much more! Don’t wait to try my juicy slow cooker shredded chicken recipe!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 20


  • 5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste


  • Add chicken to crockpot and top with remaining ingredients. Stir and cover. Cook 6-7 hours on low or 3 hours on high. After 5 – 6 hours (or about 2 1/2 hours on high) use 2 forks to pull chicken apart and submerge into cooking liquid. If chicken does not pull apart easily it is not ready to pull apart. If this happens. Allow 30 minutes to cook and try again.
  • Taste and add an additional 1/2 teaspoon salt IF NECESSARY (it will depend on how salty your chicken stock is). Allow to cook 1 more hour on low (1/2 hour more on high).
  • Serve and enjoy or portion out for future use.

Donna’s Notes

Portion in 12 ounce packages (which is about 1 pound pre-cooked weight) to use in quick recipes.
Add whatever spices you like. A teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes is fabulous. A tablespoon dried parsley adds great flavor.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 139cal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 224mg | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Crockpot Shredded Chicken

Originally published February 2015, updated and republished September 2023

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  1. Loving this! I love my slow cookers to pieces (yes, plural; I own 4!). The only thing I'd add is that it really pays to know your slow-cookers… mine largest one (a Rival) cooks hot and I know from sad experience that cooking 5 pounds of chicken breast for longer than 6 hours yields really dry, mealy chicken every time. Anyone who is unsure of theirs or new to slow cooker cooking should probably use an instant-read thermometer to start checking for doneness (which I believe is internal temp of 165*F) at the 6-hours-on-low mark, especially given the need to cook the chicken for the additional hour after shredding. 🙂

    1. best advice EVER! all kitchens sold have an instant read thermometer…walmart has them for not so much dinero

    2. I just read my comment above…duh! Sold should read SHOULD! Sorry…btw, my chicken is simmering now in the slow cooker with all the spices suggested..smells outstanding!

  2. @Sarah. I have had the same experience cooking chicken breasts on low for long periods of time. I found better results for chicken breasts cooking them on high for shorter periods. The low cooking temp is better suited for chicken thighs. The extra fat in the thighs help prevent the chicken from drying out during the prolonged cooking times. -my 2 cents…

  3. Got a ? – confused on "high" directions, you say…

    Cook… 3 hours on high.
    After… 3 on high use 2 forks to pull chicken apart

    Should it be 2 hours – then shred – cook 1 more hour [for total cooking time of 3 hours]?

    Just curious – thanks!

    1. Hi Sandy,

      Yes the high times would be a total of 3 hours on high. After 2 hours shred chicken using 2 forks. Then continue to cook for another 1/2 hour on high.


  4. This turned out great after 4.5 hours on low (my old crockpot runs hot I think). I doubled all the seasonings, shredded the chicken with my stand mixer, and poured about half the remaining juices onto the chicken before splitting into Ziploc bags.

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