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How to Make Shredded Chicken in the Oven

How to Make Shredded Chicken in the Oven

Shredded chicken can be cooked in large batches, used in so many different recipes, and eaten on its own. The possibilities are endless! While there are multiple ways to cook chicken for dicing or shredding, using the oven is the quickest and easiest way. Keep reading to learn how to make shredded chicken in the oven.

How to Make Shredded Chicken in the Oven

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless and boneless chicken thighs or breasts (8 to 10 ounces each)
  • ¼ tablespoon of black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of kosher salt

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Chicken

The first step is to place your skinless and boneless chicken thighs or breasts on a large baking sheet and start seasoning them. Don’t forget to use non-stick cooking spray on the sheet before placing the chicken on it.

Use salt and pepper for seasoning if you like to keep things simple. However, you can also use other seasonings such as fresh herbs, poultry seasoning, bay leaf, and so on. It only depends upon your preferences.

Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of your desired flavorings and rub it gently on the chicken. If you’re making a large batch of shredded chicken, then you can slightly overlap them in the baking sheet. But it’s important not to have a lot of overlap.

If you’re facing this problem, consider using a larger baking sheet or split the chicken to make it in two or more batches or you can also use two different baking sheets to prepare two batches of shredded chicken side by side.

Step 2: Add Water to the Chicken

Once you have flavored the chicken, it’s time to add fresh water to your baking sheet. You can also use broth if you want but water will do the job perfectly. It’s all about convenience and you can save yourself an ingredient.

Cover the chicken with one inch of water and then cover the baking sheet with foil.

Step 3: Start the Cooking Process

Now it’s time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Insert the covered baking sheet into the oven and let it cook for about 30 to 35 minutes. You might need to keep it cooking for 10 to 15 minutes more if you’re using a large number of chicken breasts.

The idea of adding water might seem a little unappealing but it’s actually one of the best methods to simmer the meat gently.

Step 4: Check the Doneness of Chicken

Check the doneness of chicken after 30 minutes with a meat thermometer. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, once the internal temperature of the meat is between 160 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Important Note: 160-165F is the magic temperature and after that, the chicken will be overcooked, and its edges will become tough and dry. So, make sure that you remove your chicken before that.

Get rid of the foil, place the chicken on a plate, and let it sit for about 3 to 5 minutes. It’ll allow the meat to redistribute its juices and it’ll cook a bit more in its own heat.

Step 5: Shred the Poached Chicken

Now it’s time to shred the chicken and you can go for your own adventure here. If you have a stand mixer, you can do this job within a couple of minutes. You can also use forks or even your hands to shred the poached chicken. Here’s a list of some ways that you can use it.

Using a Stand Mixer

If you have a stand mixer, you can shred the chicken within a couple of minutes. All you need to do is to place the poached chicken thighs or breast in the stand mixer bowl. Then you’ll need to use the flat beater on a low setting to shred the chicken to the desired texture.

Using a Hand Mixer

You can also use a hand mixer for the same purpose. You’ll need to place your poached chicken breasts in a bowl and start shredding very gently and slowly to turn the meat into small pieces. It’s a little time-consuming process and you’ll need to continue it until the chicken is properly shredded.

Using Forks

Using forks is a convenient way to shred the poached chicken and you’ll need to place one chicken breast on your cutting board. Use two forks, one in each hand, and start pulling the meat apart with its grains (the direction of meat fiber).

Using Your Hands

Shredding the poached chicken with your hands in an old-school method. But you’ll need to make sure that you start it only when the chicken is fully cooked. You’ll need to break the chicken with its grain to speed up the process and achieve the texture of your liking.

Step 6: Add Some Cooking Juices (Optional)

It’s an optional step but it adds more flavor to your shredded chicken and keeps the meat juicier. All you need to do is to add the desired cooking juices after shredding and stir the mixture.

The Serving Sizes and Yields of Shredded Chicken

How to Make Shredded Chicken in the Oven

The shredded chicken amount that the chicken thighs or breasts yield depends upon their size. However, you’ll be able to achieve the following results with the mentioned amounts of ingredients.

  • 1 to 2 pounds of boneless and skinless chicken will produce about 3.5 to 4 cups of shredded chicken.
  • 1 skinless and boneless chicken breast (8 ounces) will produce 1.5 to 2 cups of shredded chicken. It’s the average breast size that you can get from pretty much any grocery store. However, organic chicken breasts usually come in smaller sizes.
  • Half to 1/3 pound of boneless and skinless chicken is more than enough for a single serving. However, if you want to use your shredded chicken in other recipes such as chicken tacos, which also have many other ingredients, you’ll need less shredded chicken per serving. For example, ¼ pound of shredded chicken will do the job for chicken tacos.

How to Store Your Shredded Chicken Cooked in the Oven

Shredded chicken is one of the best options that you should have in your refrigerator. It’ll help you a great deal to save time to prepare different types of meals.

How to Store Shredded Chicken in Your Fridge

You’ll need to let your leftover shredded chicken cool fully if you need to store it in your refrigerator. Once it has come to room temperature, you’ll need to place it in an airtight and shallow container. Then you can place the container in your Fridge.

How Long will Your Shredded Chicken Last in a Fridge?

If you use the method discussed above to store the shredded chicken in your fridge, it’ll stay fresh for up to 5 days. You’ll need to make sure that you use it within that period of time to enjoy the best taste.

How to Freeze Shredded Chicken

You can use the same type of airtight container discussed above to store the shredded chicken in your freezer. However, you can also use a heavy-duty freezer bag, but you’ll need to squeeze the chicken after placing it in the bag to remove the air as much as possible.

How Long will Your Shredded Chicken Last in a Freezer?

Storing the shredded chicken in your freezer is the best method to keep it fresh for a longer period. If you carefully use the method discussed above, it’ll stay tasty and fresh for up to 3 months. Don’t forget to remove air if you’re using a heavy-duty freezer bag.

How to Thaw Shredded Chicken

If you have stored your shredded chicken in your fridge, you’ll need to simply remove it and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes before adding it to your favorite recipe. On the other hand, you’ll need to remove the shredded chicken from the freezer and place it in your fridge for one night to thaw properly.

Don’t use a microwave or stovetop to thaw the frozen shredded chicken. It’ll destroy the texture as well as the juiciness of the meat.

How to Use Shredded Chicken Cooked in the Oven

As mentioned, you can use shredded chicken in a range of different recipes and some of the most popular options are discussed below.

Green Salads

You can add shredded chicken to pretty much all types of green salads such as cinnamon-roasted sweet potato salad, Caribbean chicken salad, BBQ chicken salad, and so on.

Pasta Salads

Shredded chicken goes perfectly well in many types of pasta salads including chicken Caesar pasta salad and Asian pasta salads. You can also come up with your own recipe if you like.

Chicken Sandwiches

Using shredded chicken in chicken sandwiches is pretty common and each region of the world has its own recipes of chicken sandwiches such as the chicken Caesar sandwich.

Frittatas

There are many recipes for brunch that you can make using shredded chicken such as chicken broccoli frittata.

Chicken Tacos

If you like Tex-Mex cuisine, you’ll love tacos with shredded chicken. All you need to do is to perform different experiments to enjoy your shredded chicken in multiple ways such as adding it to burritos and tostadas.

Chicken Casseroles

You can try cheesy corn quinoa and chicken broccoli rice casseroles by adding shredded chicken to enjoy scrumptious and comforting meals.

Can You Use the Same Method to Cook Frozen Chicken?

While using fresh boneless and skinless chicken in thawed form is preferable, you can use the same cooking method for frozen meat as well. But it’ll take a lot more time to complete the process.

You’ll need to heat your oven at a very low temperature and cook the frozen chicken breasts in water for a long time. It’ll ensure that your frozen chicken cooks evenly without losing its juiciness.

Otherwise, you will end up with dry and overcooked chicken pieces. Don’t forget to use the meat thermometer to check the temperature of the chicken.

You can also place your frozen uncooked chicken in your fridge for 10 to 12 hours and then follow the same process.

How to Keep Shredded Chicken Cooked in the Oven Moist

The key to keeping your chicken juicy is to add water or broth and cover the baking sheet with foil before placing it in the oven. Make sure that you add enough water (half to 1 inch) so that it keeps the meat from drying out.

Always use an airtight and shallow container to store your shredded chicken in your fridge or freezer. Never use a microwave or stovetop to thaw the frozen shredded chicken.

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