How to Make Tender Flavorful Shredded Chicken

This shredded chicken recipe is very simple to make and can be used in 100 different ways. This easy recipe makes a batch of tender shredded chicken on the stove in less than 1 hour. Jump to the Shredded Chicken Recipe or watch our quick recipe video showing you how we make it.

Watch Us Make The Recipe

How to Make Juicy, Tender Chicken in Under 1 Hour

This is how we make a batch of tender and flavorful shredded chicken on the stove in less than 1 hour. If you’d prefer to use a slow cooker to make shredded chicken, see our Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Recipe.

By gently simmering boneless chicken thighs in a flavorful cooking broth, they become tender and very moist. Use this simple recipe for shredded chicken tacos, perfect enchiladas, soups, chicken salad, chicken sandwiches and more!

This Recipe Calls For 4 Simple Steps

  • Gently simmer chicken thighs or chicken breast in a broth made with water or stock, spices, onion, and garlic.
  • Shred the cooked chicken.
  • Simmer the cooking liquid until reduced.
  • Toss the shredded chicken with the concentrated cooking liquid for extra flavor and moisture.
Shredded Chicken Recipe: How to Make Juicy, Tender Chicken in 1 Hour


Our go-to ingredients for making shredded chicken at home are onion, garlic, a bay leaf, cumin, salt, and pepper. We love using chicken thighs since they are more tender than chicken breasts, but there is no reason why chicken breasts or a combination of both breast and thighs would not work.

Keep in mind that our recipe is more of a guide. Play around with the flavors and spices based on what you love. Adding a dried chili pepper, chili powder, some spice from crushed red pepper flakes or fresh herbs are all excellent ideas.

More Tips

For the most tender chicken, we simmer it gently. For the cooking liquid, we use water, which quickly soaks up lots of flavor from the onion, garlic, and chicken. We add just enough water to cover the chicken then bring everything to a low simmer and wait about 30 minutes until the chicken is very tender.

For the most tender shredded chicken, we simmer it gently.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the now incredibly flavorful cooking broth and shred it. Then place the cooking broth back over the heat and simmer down by about one-third, concentrating the flavor. Spoon about a cup of the concentrated broth over the chicken and toss.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the now incredibly flavorful cooking broth and shred it.

It’s this last step that is our real secret to the juiciest shredded chicken! And that’s it, now you have chicken ready for chicken nachos, buffalo dip,  chicken-topped pizza, quesadillas, soupsandwiches and more.

NOTE: Turkey is a great stand-in, here. Shredded turkey is amazing!

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

As the chicken sits in the fridge or freezer, it soaks up any broth you originally added to it. So, spooning a little extra over the chicken before eating it isn’t a bad idea.

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

How to Make Juicy, Tender Chicken in 1 Hour

More Easy Chicken Recipes

Recipe updated, originally posted June 2015. Since posting this in 2015, we have add a recipe video and tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne

How to Make Tender Flavorful Shredded Chicken

  • PREP
  • COOK

This is our favortie method for making shredded chicken. Gently simmering boneless chicken thighs in a flavorful cooking broth, helps them become tender and very moist. We go the extra step to make sure the chicken is as juicy and flavorful as possible. Once the chicken is cooked, we simmer the cooking liquid down by one-third, and then spoon the concentrated broth over the chicken.

Makes about 5 cups of shredded chicken

You Will Need

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

1 medium onion, peeled and sliced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper



  • Cook Chicken
  • Combine chicken, onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt, cumin and pepper in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add just enough water to cover the chicken. Turn heat to high, bring to a boil then remove any foam or scum that floats to the top.

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

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

    • To Finish
    • After removing the chicken, boil the liquid remaining in the saucepan until it has reduced by one-third, or until its flavor has concentrated.

      Spoon about 1 cup of the concentrated cooking liquid over the shredded chicken and toss to coat. Use within 2 to 3 days.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Make-ahead: The chicken and broth will keep refrigerated up to 3 days and can be frozen for 1 month.
  • Skin-On Chicken: We have made this recipe using boneless, skinless chicken thighs and chicken thighs with skin still attached. Both work very well. If you use chicken with skin, simply remove and discard the skin before you shred the chicken. You may also find that you need to skim some of the fat from the cooking broth before spooning it over the chicken.
  • Leftover Cooking Liquid: You will have cooking liquid leftover. It is quite delicious on its own as a light soup. You can also use it as broth for other recipes. Or, if you’re keeping the chicken more than a day, add a spoonful or two to add a little extra moisture.
  • To make this chicken in a slow cooker, simply add all the ingredients to the slow cooker then cook on LOW until the chicken is cooked and tender, 4 to 6 hours. Shred the chicken and transfer the broth to a saucepan. Simmer the broth until reduced by a third then spoon over the chicken.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size 1/2 cup / Calories 139 / Protein 18 g / Carbohydrate 2 g / Dietary Fiber 0 g / Total Sugars 1 g / Total Fat 6 g / Saturated Fat 2 g / Cholesterol 99 mg / Sodium 356 mg
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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63 comments… Leave a Comment
  • EasyRoast November 21, 2017, 11:23 pm

    Excellent making shredded chicken in a slow cooker, I like it

  • Haley November 4, 2017, 10:10 pm

    I got a bunch of bone-in chicken thighs on sale…think I can use them?

    • Joanne November 14, 2017, 6:34 pm

      Yes, definitely! The broth at the end will be delicious.

  • Pamela Gregory October 31, 2017, 11:41 am

    My new favorite recipe and now in the weekly rotation, so flavorful and easy!

  • AR October 9, 2017, 7:54 pm

    Do you put a lid on while cooking?

    • Joanne October 10, 2017, 1:13 pm

      We leave the chicken uncovered while cooking.

      • Maketa February 5, 2018, 9:20 pm

        That was probably my problem. Put a lid on it.

  • Arielle October 3, 2017, 11:56 am

    This recipe was so simple and SO FANTASTIC! I usually do my shredded chicken in the slow cooker, but I found this method resulted in much more moist and flavorful chicken. I can’t wait to try it in more recipes! Thank you for sharing!

  • Renee September 2, 2017, 1:15 pm

    Hello, I have a question– I recently put 12 chicken breasts in my slow cooker, and they came out hard and kind of weird. Cooked on low about 5 hrs. Any idea why? I threw them out and am afraid to use the slow cooker for breasts!! I really want to try your recipes!

  • Ramona August 8, 2017, 9:53 pm

    Very easy. I was never a fan of chicken thighs when cooking but you made it very simple to prepare the shredded chicken and the last step to keep the meat moist. I made your chicken enchiladas tonight and was a big hit! I saved the extra chicken to freeze for another night of enchiladas! Thank you.

  • Keerthana Sai July 20, 2017, 11:09 pm

    Can’t wait to try this recipe! I was wondering what the red sauce that you used in the sandwiches were. If you could share the recipe of name, that would be great. Thank you!

  • Emily July 20, 2017, 6:51 pm

    I’m currently making this and can’t wait to taste how it turns out – but I had to comment in case you don’t know the most amazing kitchen trick ever. If you have a kitchen aid mixer, toss the boiled chicken in and about 30 seconds on med high (w paddle attachment) will give you the most perfectly shredded chicken ever!

  • Mesa July 3, 2017, 11:13 pm

    This recipe was delicious and the sopa…perfection.

  • Mary May 2, 2017, 2:35 pm

    Made this shredded chicken today to use in soft shell chicken tacos. Very easy recipe with excellent results. This has definitely earned a place in my “cooking basics” recipe file. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  • Maureen May 1, 2017, 9:21 pm

    Hi and thanks for your videos! Wanted to let you know that when I tried to play the video for tender and flavorful shredded chicken, the picture was of your back patio the entire video. Audio was fine. Thanks!

    • Joanne May 12, 2017, 7:22 pm

      Hi Maureen, I’m sorry the video had technical difficulties. If this happens again, try refreshing the page and hitting play again. I promise there is more in the video than our back patio 🙂

  • Amber January 12, 2017, 5:06 pm

    I randomly found this on the internet and it is now a staple recipe I make nearly every week for shredded chicken. Thank you! I use it in enchiladas, chicken and rice soup, burritos, cheesy broccoli soup, on top of pizza and many others 😀

  • Maret January 6, 2017, 11:18 am

    Easy-peasy as they say and very good. I also tried using my new Kitchenaid stand mixer to shred the chicken using the paddle attachment on low (1) speed. That worked really well.

  • Emma Wells December 17, 2016, 3:50 pm

    Made this tonight for myself as a quick dinner before work. Wow it was delicious will definitely be making it again and trying different flavours.


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