Simple and Easy Make Ahead Shredded Chicken

This simple and easy trick for make ahead shredded chicken not only saves you time, but can also save you money in the process.

The school year has started and so has the hustle and bustle of busy schedules. If you are struggling with figuring out what to place on your dinner table during this time of the year, have no fear because I’m going to show you the most effective time saving tip (and cost saving trick) that we use in this house every few months!

When you have a busy schedule, it all comes down to making your ingredients ahead of time and beating the clock when it comes to dinner time. What can be more simple then making a main ingredient such as cooked shredded chicken at least a few months in advance? In this house, our slow cooker is used to accomplish this trick!

Step One:

First, you want to start with a mega-pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts. This is a picture of the one we like to use. It normally consists of 6 breasts.

Step Two:

Take the chicken breasts and place them inside the insert of your slow cooker. Fill the insert with enough water to cover the tops of the chicken. Place the insert back inside the slow cooker. Cook chicken breasts on low for 7 to 8 hours.

Step Three:

Once chicken is finished cooking, place breasts (without the water) in a large mixing bowl. The chicken should be tender enough that it will fall apart. Shred each piece with a fork. Place 2 cups of the cooked shredded chicken inside individual ziplock sandwich bags. Press the air out and seal tightly.

Step Four:

Place each sandwich bag inside a large gallon sized ziplock bag. Place the air out and seal tightly. Label and date the bag. Store inside the freezer until ready to use.  Chicken can be stored in the freezer for 3 to 4 months.


You just chopped off 15 to 20 minutes of cooking time by making this ahead of time!

Each mega pack of chicken breasts will give you anywhere from 8 to 10 cups of cooked shredded chicken. When you are ready to use, just place one of the sandwich bags inside the microwave and use the defrost setting or place in the fridge overnight to use for the next day.

Besides chicken and cheese quesidillas, tacos, and burritos, here are some of our favorite recipes we use this chicken in:

Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to making chicken ahead of time? If so, please share in the comments below! I’d LOVE to hear them! 


      1. I use my pressurer cooker. Saves time all around’

  1. I prefer to roast my chicken in the oven. I think it gives better flavor to the chicken. I use my Kitchen Aid mixer to shred the chicken. It does the job quickly without much effort.

    1. That’s a good idea June 🙂 I like the slow cooker idea because it’s great for those who are busy during the day (work, meetings, etc.) and who don’t always have the time to make things in bulk. You can always season the chicken breasts before placing them into the slow cooker to add more flavor. I have used my Kitchen Aid to shred the chicken, however, once it’s finished in the slow cooker, it comes out so tender and soft that using a fork gets the job done pretty quick 🙂 I do like the idea of roasting chicken in the oven though 🙂 Gonna have to try that sometime 🙂

  2. I love this for chicken salad! Thanks

    1. You are welcome Jean! Chicken salad is a great idea for this 🙂

    1. Isn’t it though? We LOVE doing this over here. It literally cuts down on the time when it comes to cooking your favorite meals that require shredded cooked chicken 🙂

  3. This is so much easier than boiling the chicken lime I’m used to. Cant wait to do this Thankw so much for the tip. Sometimes things are so easy to do that you don’t think of doing it that way….at least for me!!

    1. And please excuse the typos. My phone and I are not on good terms at the moment. Seriously, I’m doing this chicken this weekend and may sub some of the water for chicken broth.

      1. Please do give it a try 😉 Chicken broth will be good with this as well 🙂 Let us know how it turns out!

  4. I’m a little late to the game to comment, but I do this using my Instant Pot. Sometimes I use a whole chicken fryer and use the liquid to make bone broth. There are so many uses for that shredded chicken!

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