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All-Purpose Shredded Chicken from the Slow Cooker,

I can’t tell you the last time I did nothing. It seems that lately I’m constantly doing. From the second I get up to the minute I fall into bed, it’s go, go, go. Blame it on work, blame it on after school activities, or blame it on the fact that I would never get an award for best time manager; some weeks are just plain busy.

Just when I think I’m getting ahead, a friend calls and I blow off my to do list in lieu of a gorgeous fall hike and lunch. Or I reluctantly volunteer to make six cakes for the school harvest festival. Or I get roped into coaching little dribblers basketball. Or I……..and so on. Funny that I’m a private chef and people pay me to make dinner for them when I can’t seem to get dinner on the table for my own family. I don’t even want to tell you how many times we’ve eaten cereal in the past week.

But so it goes and all I can do is push forward, count my blessings and make slow cooker chicken.

All-Purpose Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken,

This isn’t so much a recipe to use on it’s own as it is a stepping stone to like a bazillion other dinner ideas. And a total lifesaver if you’re schedules are as busy as ours is right now. This all purpose shredded chicken recipe is pretty darn versatile. The idea behind the master plan is you make it once, freeze the chicken in portions and then have it ready to go for quick weeknight dinners. I use it in quesadillas, to make soups and it makes a mean bbq sandwich in no time at all.

Chicken Noodle Soup,

Yesterday my older son stayed home from school fighting an awful cold. Schedules were shifted and all the things I wanted to get done got put on hold. Instead, I snuggled my little dude, made a big batch of chicken noodle soup and came as close to doing nothing as I’ve done in awhile. It was a much needed day for all of us. Today is catch up day and I know it’s going to be crammed. Good thing I already have dinner made!

What are your favorite quick weeknight meals? Do you have a tried and true that you make ahead and put in the freezer? I’d love it if you’d share your links or ideas in the comment section below.
All-Purpose Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

A versatile, all-purpose shredded chicken that is made in the slow cooker. Perfect for making ahead and freezing until ready to use. Great for soups, stews, quesadillas and quick sandwiches.


  • 4 organic, boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 dried oregano teaspoon


  1. Place chicken in slow cooker. Sprinkle chicken breasts with all the spices. Add chicken stock. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Shred chicken with two forks. Cool completely and if you want to freeze, divide into ziplock baggies. This makes just about six cups total and I like to the shredded chicken into three portions with two cups each.
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108 Responses to All-Purpose Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

  1. Oh man what a timesaver, I know exactly how you feel so I’m all over this. I’ve been on a soup binge and this would come in handy or for my lunch salads too. Or tacos. Or casserole. Or anything! Hope dude feels better.

  2. Karista says:

    Love, love, love this Kelley!! So great for all sorts of recipes and especially chicken soup. I’m so into soup these days. Another score my friend!!

  3. Cassie says:

    I love this Kelley! I have been doing slow cooker chicken every weekend for the last several and then using it all throughout the week. So perfect!

  4. Oh Kelley, I feel your pain! Walkin in your shoes….I am constantly blowing it when it comes to time management. This is a great idea. I have done it with ground beef, but never thought to do it with chicken. Thank you ; )

  5. Yesssss. I’m actually making crock pot stock today. I’m already starving.

    This looks PIMP.

  6. Annalise says:

    I just made a big batch of slow cooker shredded chicken last night! It’s destined for enchiladas, chicken salad, and we had taco soup for dinner last night(which I’m now enjoying for lunch!). It is such a time saver, and so much cheaper and easier than using rotisserie chicken.

  7. John says:

    Everybody is in love! I just want to know what is 1/2 chicken stock!?

  8. Julia says:

    Love this! We make big batches of salsa chicken, but a more ‘plain’ chicken that can be used in so many more things, done deal!!!! I can’t wait to make this!

  9. splendid idea! love that it freezes well and you can just whip it out whenever you need it. i’m busy busy with working full time so this is perfect for that type of lifestyle 🙂

  10. Deborah says:

    I can’t tell you how many times frozen shredded chicken has saved me. I don’t usually make it in the crock pot like this – I definitely need to try it!!

  11. Kalyn says:

    Yaay, love using the slow cooker to make things like this.

  12. Such a great way to get ahead during this busy time of year! Hope your little guy is feeling better.

  13. Im always looking for more ideas for a slow cooker!

  14. Carrie says:

    Ohhhh KELLEY! This is on my MUST make list for the weekend. What an amazing time AND $$ saver. I just love you! (I love you for more that this of course)

  15. Looks great! Haven’t used a slow cooker in ages, maybe I should change that. =)

  16. i love anything that’s stock-pot friendly and can make more than one meal. totally making this next week and using it in EVERYTHING!

  17. My slow cooker has gotten more use in the past couple of weeks than I use to use it in a whole winter…thinks like this are why. I’m making a batch today; I feel ya when it comes to the time thing…and my kids don’t even live at home anymore!

    I just made two soups that are on the blog this week that I made in a slow cooker and then froze portions to be reheated as I need them.

    I love this recipe too; it includes braising an entire bag of onions in the crockpot; then they can be frozen and used as needed. A HUGE timesaver.

  18. I have a bunch of roasted frozen tomatillo sauce, sooooo
    I need to make some of this for green chili tacos!

  19. Love this! I am always so pulled in so many directions too, it’s hard to keep my brain on track. I need to make a big batch of this chicken in the beginning of the week and have it ready for those time when life throws us a curve ball.

  20. Rachel Cooks says:


    Count me in!!!!

  21. Jen says:

    Making this tomorrow…thanks for the great idea to freeze in portions.LOVE!

  22. Thank you for this. I really love the simple “go to” stuff. I like to do make and freeze mini meatballs for similar purposes.

  23. Chris says:

    To easily shred the chicken if you’re in a hurry, you can chuck still warm chicken into your kitchen aid mixer. Put in the paddle blade and mix! Shredded chicken in no time and without burning fingers.


  24. Sarah says:

    I have a small, round, 2qt crock pot (crockette as it’s often called), but I’ve never actually used it. I make shredded chicken all the time, but i usually just bake it. How would I adjust the recipe?

  25. Zoe says:

    I love this recipe.
    Would you consider adding a Pinterest pin? I would love to add this to Pinterest.

    • Kelley says:

      I’m in the processing of giving my site a makeover and a Pinterest pin over the photos will be included. Until then, you can add any picture by using adding the pin it bookmark to your browser!

  26. Marcy says:

    Can I throw my chicken breasts in frozen? Or does it work best with fresh/thawed? Making this today!

    • Kelley says:

      I don’t see why you couldn’t use frozen though I’ve never actually tried it. I usually use fresh. Give it a go and let me know how it turns out!

      • Ben says:

        I usually make my shredded chicken straight from frozen. Takes a bit longer than your quoted time. Usually about 6.5 to 7 hours. I’m going to try your seasonings out. The last batch of chicken I made came out pretty tasteless, not so good for salads…

        P.S A box of Zataran’s Jambalaya mix is a perfect use for shredded chicken.

      • Sheree B says:

        I use frozen all the time just because I usually haven’t thought ahead enough to buy fresh at the store. The way I do it though (because it’s kind of hard to season frozen chicken breasts) is by throwing them in the crock pot on low for about 1 1/2 hrs. To defrost them. Then, you can take them out, trim fat, discard any unwanted fat in crock, season and put them back in crock for another 2 1/2 – 4 1/2 hours. It works great, just takes a little more time up front, but for me, it’s nice to always keep chicken breasts in my freezer!

    • Brittany says:

      Marcy, did you ever try it with frozen chicken breasts? I want to try it, and don’t want to do it if it won’t work. Thanks!

      • Yazmin says:

        Brittany –

        It works great with frozen chicken breasts. Just add an hour to the time like Ben mentioned. My batch last night was great with the seasonings.

  27. Lydia says:

    It’s hard isn’t it, cooking for others and then not having time to make dinner for yourself. When I was a private chef, there were so many nights I would come home from making a beautiful spread for my clients only to have popcorn for dinner by myself.

    I love this idea of making a big batch of plain chicken that you can use for nearly anything. To shred it faster, you can use a potato masher instead of two forks. You don’t even have to take it out of the cooker, but it works best with smaller pieces, like quartered breasts. It’s a big time-saver.

  28. Emily says:

    I discovered your site while looking for a slow cooker shredded chicken recipe – it turned out great! Lots of flavor and I am excited to make it again in the future. Thanks 🙂

    One thing I have used the chicken in is a soup recipe from Cooking Light. The chicken really made this soup awesome! It was a big hit with my husband and our 3 and 1 year old kids. Here’s the link if you want to check it out:

  29. Jenn says:

    This may seem like a dumb question, but can you use broth instead of stock? .

  30. Just what I was looking for. Shredded chicken quesadillas for dinner tonight!

  31. stacey says:

    Can I make a bigger batch? Would I double the whole recipe?

    • Kelley says:

      You could easily double the recipe. I make larger batches all the time and freeze the portioned out cooked chicken for quick use when I need it!

  32. My sister does her chicken like this, but she shreds it in her Kitchen Aid mixer with the big plastic paddle attachment. Works like a charm!

  33. Jennifer says:

    When you say 4 chicken breasts who much is that pound wise?
    I always buy from SAMs and they are huge there so I always go by pounds
    I don’t want to over or under season it

  34. Jamie says:

    The chicken is in the slow cooker as we speak. I am going to use some tonight for a chili bean rice casserole and freeze the rest. How do I reheat the frozen shredded chicken without it becoming dry? I would assume the microwave would dry it out. I’m kind of new to the cooking thing, but I’m learning! Thank you!

    • Kelley says:

      I would pull it out of the freezer the morning before you intend to use it and let it defrost in the fridge. When it’s totally thawed out, heat the chicken on medium-low in a sauté pan. If it seems dry, add a tablespoon or two of chicken stock or water.

  35. Melody says:

    Just wanted to let you know that this was a HUGE hit at our gathering yesterday. My son plays in a band, and they were doing a show with a bunch of other bands who had been on the road for a while, probably living off of ramen noodles and the Dollar Menu. I made your chicken for sandwiches (brought along barbecue sauce and hot buffalo sauce), sloppy joes, mac and cheese, baked beans and coleslaw. The chicken was the first thing gone, along with the mac and cheese – turns out they were mixing the chicken and mac. Thanks so much for sharing – this is going into my permanent recipe file.

  36. Sara says:

    This is my go to recipe now for chicken! It’s so easy to make, easy to stock my freezer, and best of all, easy to make delicious meals with! I’ve used it in all sorts of casseroles and pasta dishes, cold and reheated…it brings all my dishes up a notch with its seasoning. Love it! I’ll never use another recipe for basic, all-purpose chicken again!

  37. Amy says:

    This recipe has come in so handy for me. Easy, hassle-free, tasty, all-purpose. I like all those words. I’ve been recommending it to all!

  38. Alisa says:

    Can I double this recipe? Does the cooking time change? Thanks!

  39. Kim T says:

    I had no idea that slow cooked plain chicken could taste so good! I will never buy another rotisserie ever again! It’s in the slow cooker again as we speak! Thanks so much – this is a huge (and delicious!) time saver!

  40. Christina H says:

    Just finished this — WOW! I mean i know it said there would be a lot, but somehow 4 chicken breasts doesn’t seem like so much until I shredded it lol.

  41. Jodie Lee says:

    I know this is an older recipe, but I’m currently making it, and I had a question: Is the chicken stock suppose to completely cover the chicken? A lot of the chicken is sitting, uncovered, in the crock pot, and I didn’t know if it would cook evenly not being fully in the liquid. Thanks!

  42. Laurie Wisecup says:

    Hi, how long will cooked shredded chicken last in the freezer? thanks!

  43. Renae says:

    If frozen, when defrosted does it taste ok still in salads???? Also is the half a cup of stock enough or do I need to cover with more water???? Thanks

  44. susan says:

    How do you keep your shredded chicken from getting freezer burn? That is my biggest issue with freezing chicken.

  45. Dominique says:

    Found this recipe this morning, bought chicken, going in the slow cooker in 5 minutes. Thanks!!!

  46. Whitney says:

    I made this chicken for several of my go to recipes. Soups, pot pies, tacos, etc. After making this wonderful and delicious chicken I no longer buy a rotisserie chicken. I used thyme instead of oregano bc thats what I had in my pantry. It was beyond delishious. I’m actually making more today and love freezing it for grab and go meals in the future.

  47. Sara says:

    This is in my crock pot right now. We use a food saver to portion out everything. We have also used this recipe for shredded beef and pork. Just change out the seasonings and the kind of broth.

  48. Katie says:

    I made this today!!!! 7/10/2015…. So tender, so juicy and I used the “mixer trick”. Egg beaters to shred the chicken.. So easy even I could do it! This is a game changer for sure this fall. Beef , chicken, pork… Oh my

  49. Lori says:

    Do you use the juices or discard them?

  50. Anna says:

    I just did this, but with a bottle of dark lager beer for the liquid instead of chicken stock (didn’t have any of the good stuff and didn’t want to use a cube). It’s still a winner. Thanks for the recipe!

  51. Sumit says:

    Delicious Recipe!
    Thanks kelley
    love Shredded Chicken!
    I will give 100 out of 100 points to the Slow cooker.slow cooker is the perfect tool for this task.

  52. Penny says:

    Is there any reason this needs to be cooked on low? Could I cook it on high to reduce the time needed?

  53. Heather Anderson says:

    Used this for BBQ chicken my LO is still under the honey age and was perfect to pull some out for her, and add honey BBQ sauce to the rest!

  54. Lindsay H says:

    How long does it store in the fridge for? If freezer, how do you defrost?

  55. Sheila says:

    Hi there! I’m not really a fan of oregano, can you please suggest a substitute? Thank you!

  56. Amber Smith says:

    Hi– I’ve been making your shredded chicken recipe for so long! It’s excellent! I’m wondering if you have tried one of the Instant Pots? I would like to try your recipe in one.

    • Kelley says:

      Hi! I’ve been loving my Instant Pot and using it a ton. I don’t really like to cook chicken in it though. I think it dries out too easily. For shredded chicken, the slow cooker is the way to go!

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