Shredded chicken is one of the best tricks for making meal prep easy and it doesn't require a lot of time or effort! Check out how we make the perfect Instant Pot shredded chicken.
We absolutely love having shredded chicken on hand because it helps with meal prep in a pinch! If there is a crazy day where we just don't have much time to make dinner, we can pull out a bag of fresh or frozen shredded chicken and have dinner made in less than 15 minutes… 10 minutes if you double dog dare us!
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We bet you're rolling your eyes and thinking that's impossible. It's not! We promise. We're 100% committed to our Instant Pot shredded chicken and here's why!
INSTANT POT SHREDDED CHICKEN CUTS DOWN MEAL PREP
Tossing chicken into the Instant Pot has become a monthly routine as part of our meal prep. If you aren't totally into the meal prep thing, picture this…
You come home from the grocery store after stocking up on some of your essentials (think bulk stores like Costco or Sam's Club). You immediately want to start putting away your groceries and need to decide where to store them. If you've been following along, you know we are huge fans of the freezer to keep foods fresh until it's time to use them.
As you're putting food away, pull out the Instant Pot and get the chicken cooking. The crazy thing about the Instant Pot – by the time the rest of the groceries are put away, your chicken is cooked and ready to be shredded and put away, too!
Not only that, but you just saved yourself a bunch of time for meal prep in the coming weeks. BAM! That sounds pretty freakin' fabulous to us!
Now you might have had some bad experiences with cooking chicken in large batches, it's hard to get it perfectly moist! But this method is pretty fool-proof.
TIPS FOR THE PERFECT SHREDDED CHICKEN
We have two big tips to help your chicken turn out tender and juicy!
- Liquid – The secret to tender, shredded chicken is making sure you add enough liquid from the beginning! A good rule of thumb is 1 cup of chicken broth (or water, if you don't have any broth). You definitely don't want it to dry out while it's cooking. Not only that, shred it and store it in a couple of tablespoons of leftover liquid to keep it moist.
- Seasoning – This is crucial since chicken holds the most flavor when it is seasoned during the cooking process. Our recipe calls for 1-2 teaspoons of additional seasoning, you get to choose what type of seasoning makes the most sense! Our go-to is garlic and lemon zest because those seasonings pair well with almost any dish. You can also use Italian seasoning.
That's not so scary, right?!
COMMON INSTANT POT CHICKEN QUESTIONS
Let us help you clear up a few things so you can get to rockin' and rollin' on your Instant Pot shredded chicken!
SHOULD I USE FRESH OR FROZEN CHICKEN?
Either way!! We typically toss it in fresh and then we can freeze it after and pull it out for meals throughout the month. This is a huge benefit. We love doing a giant batch, cooking it once and then we have shredded chicken to toss into last minute meals all month long.
The neat thing about the Instant Pot is that you can cook frozen chicken in a short amount of time, with almost zero effort. If you forgot to pull out frozen chicken and need it for dinner, you can easily toss it into the Instant Pot and still get dinner on the table within the hour.
ARE CHICKEN BREASTS OR CHICKEN THIGHS BETTER?
This comes down to preference. There are those who swear by one or the other, but the truth is it just depends on what you like and how you want to prepare your meat!
Chicken Breasts – As a great source of lean protein, chicken breast has less calories and fat per ounce than chicken thighs. With chicken breast, you get a lot of meat and can easily find boneless, skinless chicken breast almost anywhere. It's usually pretty darn cheap, too!
Chicken Thighs – They tend to be a little more fatty, but its the good kind of fat! Chicken thighs are also are usually a bit more moist than chicken breasts. Since they are dark meat, chicken thighs are also kind of known for being much more flavorful before you season them!
INSTANT POT CHICKEN COOKING TIME
This kind of depends on what you're working with! But typically a range of 10-15 minutes will do the trick depending on how you like your chicken.
We like how our chicken turns out when we set the Instant Pot to HIGH pressure for 10 minutes. Then let it natural release for 10 minutes.
The neat thing about the pressure cooker is that it is pretty intuitive and will make sure it's hot enough to cook the chicken before the timer starts. When cooking frozen chicken, you don't have to adjust the time, since the pressure cooker does it for you. Magical, right?
HOW TO SHRED CHICKEN
If you follow all the instructions, your Instant Pot shredded chicken will most likely be falling apart – in a good way – when you pull it out of the pot. So shredding it will not be a big chore!
Pull the chicken out, set it on a cutting board or plate, and wait a minute or two for it to cool! This will prevent any burns! This is a job we often outsource to the kids if the chicken is cool enough or to the husband if he's around!
Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer – This is an amazing kitchen hack if you have a large amount of chicken and it's worth getting a few extra tools dirty to save time! Toss the chicken in your mixer and go at it – perfectly shredded chicken in no time!
Two Forks – If you're working with a small amount of chicken, we whole-heartedly recommend using two forks, it's just as fast as pulling out the mixer and works just as well… Plus two forks are pretty easy to toss in the dishwasher to clean!
HOW TO STORE SHREDDED CHICKEN
No matter how you're storing your shredded chicken, you'll want to make sure you add in a little of the leftover liquid from the Instant Pot to keep it moist.
We typically portion our shredded chicken into baggies and make sure there is enough in each bag to add to a meal! We try to use meat as a supplement and rarely the main course to stretch it and feed our family longer. From one batch of Instant Pot shredded chicken, we usually get anywhere from 5-6 quart-sized freezer bags!
Mmmm. It's always so exciting to have some cooked meat all ready to go in the freezer for the upcoming month or two to make meal prep a breeze! You can easily pull your shredded chicken out the night before and let it thaw in the fridge so it's ready to go.
If you forget to pull it out the night before, no worries! Defrost for a minute or two in the microwave to get the process going and toss it into a sauce, stir fry or whatever on the stove with a little extra oil or butter and BAM! Dinner is ready in less than 20 minutes!
THE EASIEST MAKE-AHEAD CHICKEN
Ready for your new favorite way to cook this versatile meat?!
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
- 1 cup liquid (low-sodium chicken broth or water)
- 4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1-2 tsp additional seasonings
- Add liquid to bottom of Instant Pot.
- Season the chicken generously on both sides and add it to the Instant Pot.
- Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes for under 2" thickness and 15 minutes for over 2" thickness.
- Allow it to naturally release.
- Shred chicken and store appropriately.
HOW TO USE SHREDDED CHICKEN
Now that you've made some scrumptious chicken, you might be wondering how to use it! No worries, we got yo' back!
- Whip up this delicious Italian cream cheese chicken.
- Quick and easy barbecue chicken wraps are a family favorite.
- It goes great in this creamy chicken soup.
What's your family's favorite quick and easy meals that use shredded chicken? Let us know in the comments below!
Don't miss these posts!
- Get some ideas for some great make–ahead breakfast ideas.
- Learn how to keep track of your food with a kitchen inventory.
- Need ideas for what to do with your leftover shredded chicken? Repurpose them with these tips.
- Get some tips for grocery shopping on a budget.
Now go get your cook on!