This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Look no further because this is your one-stop resource for making easy Crockpot Shredded Chicken. Whether you are wondering how to cook it, what recipes you can use it in, or how to store it, this article has an answer for you!

shredded crockpot chicken in a slow cooker
Table of Contents
  1. Tips for Perfect Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken
  2. How to Make Crockpot Shredded Chicken
  3. How Long Do You Cook Raw Chicken in a Crockpot?
  4. How to Store and Freeze Crockpot Shredded Chicken
  5. What to Do with Shredded Chicken
  6. Recommended Tools to Make Crockpot Shredded Chicken
  7. The Best Crockpot for Shredded Chicken
  8. Frequently Asked Questions
  9. Crockpot Shredded Chicken Recipe

While the premise of making shredded chicken in the slow cooker seems easy enough, finding clear answers to know how long to cook your raw chicken breast in the slow cooker, what type of chicken to use, how to keep it from getting tough, and the best way to shred it can be difficult to track down in a single resource.

That’s why I’ve created this comprehensive guide for making a healthy pulled chicken recipe in the slow cooker.

If you are looking for how to cook perfect chicken in the crockpot to use any of your favorite recipes from Mexican Chicken Casserole to Chicken Alfredo Bake to easy Chicken Quesadillas, read on!


If you don’t have a crock pot or are in a hurry, see this go-to guide for How to Cook Shredded Chicken on the stovetop. These guides for Air Fryer Chicken BreastBaked Chicken Breast, and Instant Pot Chicken are other great options.

Easy and healthy shredded chicken crock pot on a plate

Across my vast section of healthy chicken recipes, my most popular chicken recipes are my slow cooker chicken recipes.

  • When it comes to making healthy dinners easy, working around busy life schedules, and the hands-free nature of chicken recipes in a slow cooker, they just can’t be beat.
  • This basic crockpot shredded chicken uses a low and slow cooking method, which yields easy shredded chicken that’s moist, tender, and easy to shred or dice.

Once prepared, throw the healthy pulled chicken on a salad (or use it to make Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad), combine it with Barbecue Sauce for bbq chicken sandwiches, mix it into pasta like Chicken Alfredo Bake, use it for Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas, and for soups, tacos, or casseroles like Chicken and Biscuits.

The possibilities are truly endless for how to use it!

Chicken being shredded in a slow cooker with a hand mixer

5 Star Review

“This is the only way we make chicken now. It is so easy and for once in my life the chicken tastes juicy instead of overcooked!”

— Mary —

Tips for Perfect Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

  • Don’t Overcook the Chicken. You can overcook chicken in a slow cooker. If the chicken is cooked too long, it will become dry and tough. Check your chicken for doneness early, especially if it is one of your first times making it. I also like to use a programmable slow cooker to deter overcooking.
  • Cook on LOW Heat. Chicken breasts cooked on high may finish more quickly, but it is much more prone to drying out and being dough. Even on LOW, this recipe cooks fairly quickly. The wait time isn’t significant, and the trade-off is worth it.
  • Cook in a Single Layer. Make sure your chicken pieces are arranged in a single layer, so they cook evenly.
  • No Need to Add Liquid. The natural moisture in the chicken is sufficient as long as the chicken is in a single layer. That means you can make this crockpot shredded chicken with no broth.
  • Season! A good sprinkle of kosher salt is essential for any kind of flavor. I also like to add black pepper. See below for more seasoning ideas.
  • Let the Chicken Rest. Let your chicken rest for at least 5 minutes after it comes out of the slow cooker before shredding. This will help keep the juices inside the chicken, so it stays moist.

How to Make Crockpot Shredded Chicken

First, let’s dive into the basic crockpot shredded chicken method using go-to boneless skinless chicken breasts.

Then, keep scrolling for how to make slow cooker shredded chicken with chicken thighs vs. chicken breasts and my top tips for making easy shredded chicken in the crock pot with boneless chicken vs. bone-in chicken and skinless chicken vs. skin-on chicken!

The Ingredients

  • Chicken. Believe it or not, all you need for this easy crockpot shredded chicken breast recipe is…CHICKEN! You’ll have to trust me when I say you can make shredded chicken in your crock pot without broth, water, bbq sauce, or marinade. It’s amazing, and it works!
  • Spices & Seasonings. If you want to utilize your chicken in a variety of different recipes, salt and pepper will be best, as they fit with any dish. Or, try one of the ideas suggested below to infuse your each crockpot shredded chicken breast with flavor.

The Directions

chicken breasts in a crock pot
  1. Add your raw chicken breasts to the slow cooker in a single layer.


A single layer is key so that they cook evenly. DO NOT overlap with layers, or the chicken will not cook evenly and risk drying out.

  1. Next, season your chicken as desired. No more prep time than this!


This is important for the flavor of your chicken, so don’t skimp here, especially the salt. This is your only chance to get flavor into the meat.

  1. Slow cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts on LOW for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. For different cuts of chicken, see the times detailed below.
how to make shredded chicken in a crockpot
  1. Shred this chicken, then serve as desired. ENJOY!
A plate full of crock pot shredded chicken that was shredded using two forks

How to Shred Chicken (EASY Methods!)

If you’re wondering what the BEST way to shred chicken is, here are a few of the best ways to shred chicken breasts and thighs:

  • Hand Mixer. This is my preferred method! Remove your chicken to a bowl or place your hand mixer directly into the slow cooker and use it on low speed to shred the chicken. You also can transfer the cooked chicken breasts or thighs to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and shred it on low.
  • Two Forks. Grab two forks, using one to steady the big pieces of chicken. Use the other fork to tear the big piece into shreds. (I’ve also heard reports that these Meat Shredder Claws work splendidly.)
  • Fingers. If your chicken is cool enough, you can shred it with your fingers.

Seasonings for Crockpot Shredded Chicken

  • Mexican Shredded Chicken. Add the seasonings from my Crock Pot Mexican Chicken to make slow cooker Mexican shredded chicken. It’s a million times better than packet taco seasoning plus salsa approach. Chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, salt and pepper, plus chipotle peppers in adobo sauce deliver a fabulous Mexican chicken recipe.
  • Italian Shredded Chicken. Add 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning to your chicken. See also: Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore.
  • Spicy Shredded Chicken. If you love spice, add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes to your chicken.
  • Buffalo Shredded Chicken. Follow the crockpot shredded chicken recipe from this Healthy Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potatoes recipe.
  • BBQ Shredded Chicken. For slow cooker shredded BBQ chicken, see Crockpot BBQ Chicken recipe here!

How Long Do You Cook Raw Chicken in a Crockpot?

The below cooking times are a suggestion based on my experience, but I always suggest checking your chicken for doneness early with an instant-read thermometer.

When done, your chicken should be 165 degrees F. I remove mine 5 to 10 degrees early, since it will continue to cook as it rests.


If your chicken is not cooked through after the cooking time has ended, place it back in the slow cooker and continue cooking until done.

Chicken Breast Cooking Times

Boneless Chicken Breasts.

  • Cook boneless chicken breasts in slow cooker on LOW for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Always cook your boneless skinless chicken breasts on LOW for the best results.
  • I do not recommend cooking boneless chicken breast on HIGH, as it will become very dry and tough, even if you check it early. On high, the chicken turns out drier; I consistently have the best results with low.
  • Based on a medium boneless chicken breast with a weight of 8 ounces. Be sure to add or subtract time if your piece of chicken is smaller or larger.
  • Check early! All crock pot models are different, so your chicken may take less or more time than listed.

Bone-in Chicken Breasts.

  • Cook bone-in chicken breasts in slow cooker on LOW for 2-3 hours or HIGH for 1-2 hours.
  • Bone-in chicken is less likely to dry out than boneless, so you have the flexibility to cook the chicken on high.
  • Based on medium bone-in chicken breast with a weight of 11 ounces. Be sure to add or subtract time if your piece of chicken is smaller or larger.

Chicken Thigh Cooking Times

Boneless Chicken Thighs.

  • Cook boneless chicken thighs in slow cooker on LOW for 3-4 hours, or HIGH for 2-3 hours
  • Chicken thighs are less likely to dry out than chicken breasts, so you have flexibility to cook the chicken on high.
  • Based on medium boneless chicken thigh with a weight of 4.5 ounces.
  • Be sure to add or subtract time if your piece of chicken is smaller or larger.

Bone-in Chicken Thighs.

  • Cook bone-in chicken thighs in slow cooker on LOW for 5-6 hours, or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  • Based on medium bone-in chicken thigh with a weight of 5.5 ounces.
  • Be sure to add or subtract time if your piece of chicken is smaller or larger.

What Type of Chicken is Best for Shredded Chicken?

So many types of chicken, so little time! Here are my thoughts and tips for choosing the right chicken for slow cooker recipes:

Boneless vs. Bone-in Chicken.

You can use both boneless and bone-in pieces of chicken to make shredded chicken.

  • Boneless is great because shredding is typically easier, and it cooks faster.
  • Bone-in chicken meat tends to stay very moist and may have more flavor than boneless.

Skin On or Off.

While you can leave the skin on your chicken during slow cooking, it will likely become soggy. For this recipe, it is best to remove any skin before you begin cooking.

  • If you want to cook your chicken with the skin on, lay it in the slow cooker skin side up, and leave the lid slightly cracked. This will allow some liquid to escape during cooking and help the skin crisp up. Note that you may need to add to the cook time to accommodate the lid being ajar.
A glass storage container filled with crockpot shredded chicken

How to Store and Freeze Crockpot Shredded Chicken

  • To Store. Place shredded chicken in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm plain shredded chicken in the microwave until hot, topped with a splash of water or chicken broth to keep it from drying out. If you’re serving sauce with your chicken, you can reheat the chicken in the sauce on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
  • To Freeze. Store shredded chicken in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Meal Prep Tip

Divide your crockpot pulled chicken into smaller portions and refrigerate or freeze as desired so you can have cooked chicken on demand for an array of quick and easy shredded chicken recipes all week long.

What to Do with Shredded Chicken

The beauty of shredded chicken in a crock pot is that it can be used in SO many recipes! Add it to any recipe that calls for shredded chicken or bring extra protein to your favorite salad, soup, or pasta dish.

Here are a few ways to use crock pot shredded chicken:

I have a whole special feature of easy, creative (ahem, NOT BORING!) ways to use cooked, shredded chicken in my cookbook. Order your copy HERE.

What to Serve with Crockpot Shredded Chicken

The Best Crockpot for Shredded Chicken

This 6-quart slow cooker is perfect for a family! It switches to the warm setting automatically, and its stone insert can be used in the microwave or oven. Plus, its handle locks make it easily portable!

Shredded chicken, you are a lifesaver. I’d be lost without you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Cook Frozen Chicken in the Slow Cooker?

Do not place frozen chicken in the slow cooker, as it may spend too long at room temperature during the slow cooking process and become unsafe to eat. While at room temperature, chicken has the greatest chance of developing harmful bacteria. You can only use fully-thawed raw chicken in the slow cooker safely.

How Can I Quickly Thaw Chicken for the Slow Cooker?

To quickly (and safely) thaw frozen chicken, place frozen chicken in a large plastic bag, and fill a large bowl with cold water. Submerge the bag into the bowl of cold water, and let sit until thawed (about 1 to 2 hours). If your water becomes warm, pour it out and refill the bowl with fresh cold water.

How Many People Does Crockpot Shredded Chicken Serve?

The amount of shredded meat your chicken will yield depends on its size and how large you shred it, so the amount can vary drastically. Typically, an average, 8-to 10-ounce chicken breast will yield about 1 heaping cup of shredded chicken. For dark meat lovers, an average chicken thigh will yield about 3/4 cup or slightly less shredded chicken. To calculate the amount you need, keep in mind the average serving size of shredded chicken is about 4 ounces per person (but this will vary depending on appetite).

If you are making this crock pot chicken for a crowd, I suggest making more than you think you need. Leftovers are never a bad thing, especially since shredded chicken is so easy to store and freeze.

Can You Overcook Pulled Chicken in a Slow Cooker?

Yes! Despite what you may think, it is 100 percent possible to overcook chicken in the slow cooker. If the chicken is cooked too long, it will become dry (even if you use broth or water) and tough. That means the best way to keep chicken from drying out in a crockpot is to stop cooking it as soon as it reaches the proper internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Crockpot Shredded Chicken

4.62 from 110 votes
How to make crockpot shredded chicken breasts or thighs. The easiest way to make shredded chicken! Plus, ideas for shredded chicken recipes!

Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 10 minutes

Servings: 4 servings


  • 2 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 ounces each) or boneless, skinless thighs, bone-in chicken breasts, or bone-in chicken thighs
  • kosher salt, black pepper, and other seasonings as desired see blog post above for suggestions


  • Place chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker. Position the chicken so it's in a single layer and season, if desired (see blog post above for suggestions).
  • Cover and cook medium boneless, skinless chicken breast on LOW for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours (for other cuts of chicken, such as boneless things, or bone-in chicken breasts or thighs, and for cooking times on HIGH, see the blog post above).
  • Check the chicken for doneness with an instant-read thermometer. (If you're using bone-in chicken, don't touch the thermometer to the bone.) The chicken should be 165 degrees F (I remove mine 5 to 10 degrees early, since the temperature will rise as it rests). Remove the chicken to a plate or cutting board and let rest 5 to 10 minutes so the juices can reincorporate (if you plan to shred the right in your slow cooker, you can let it rest there).
  • When the chicken is cooked through, shred it using a hand mixer, two forks, or your fingers. Serve as desired.



  • For cooking times based on the type of chicken, please see the instructions listed in the blog post above. 
  • TO STORE: Place shredded chicken in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm plain shredded chicken in the microwave until hot, topped with a splash of water or chicken broth to keep it from drying out. If you’re serving sauce with your chicken, you can reheat it the chicken in the sauce on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
  • TO FREEZE: Store shredded chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • TO MAKE SHREDDED CHICKEN IN THE INSTANT POT: See my Instant Pot Chicken post.
  • TO MAKE SHREDDED CHICKEN ON THE STOVE: See my How to Make Shredded Chicken post.


Serving: 4ounces (about 1/2 cup cooked, shredded chicken)Calories: 129kcalProtein: 24gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 72mgPotassium: 418mgVitamin A: 34IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 1mg

Join today and start saving your favorite recipes

Create an account to easily save your favorite recipes and access FREE meal plans.

Sign Me Up

Leftovers never looked this good! Here are a few of my very favorite shredded chicken recipes:

Did you try this recipe?

I want to see!

Follow @wellplated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

You May Also Like

Free Email Series
Sign Up for FREE Weekly Meal Plans
Each includes a grocery list, budget, and 5 healthy dinners, helping you save time, save money, and live better!

Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

Learn more about Erin

Leave a Comment

Did you make this recipe?

Don't forget to leave a review!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


Leave a comment

  1. Thank you so much for this recipe/tutorial! I have always struggled with crockpot chicken and tend to avoid it, but I’m excited to give it another go after reading this. I’m especially intrigued by the no liquid part and never even crossed my mind to use a hand mixer :)

      1. In what universe would raw chicken be cooked to temp by a slow cooker in 2 1/2 hours…. that definitely not even remotely long enough

        1. I’m confused. Every other recipe online calls for 6-8h on low for boneless breasts. And even when I clicked on your BBQ chicken link, you said to cook on low for 6-8h..

          1. Hi Amy! I’m not sure about other recipes, but for this the chicken cooks pretty quickly, even on the low setting. For my crockpot bbq chicken recipe. The low is 4-5 hours due to adding the sauce. You really want those flavors to marry into each other. For this recipe there really are no flavors, it’s just getting it cooked. Hope this helps!

  2. I pin and have made many of your delicious and easy to make dishes. You are by far one of the best when it comes to using healthy ingredients that are delicious, breaking down a recipe so it is easy to make, and giving a variety of options for making and using it. You are my go-to for creating meal plans and menu items. 

    This shredded chicken recipe is amazing. I’m always looking for easy to prep and make lunches, this recipe is the answer! Thank you for including the video and many options for using the chicken once it’s made. Make once and have many meals. Now that’s my kind of recipe.5 stars

  3. U say don’t skimp on the salt but I can’t find where u say how much salt to use.  Can u post that? Thanks! 

    1. Hi Steph, you can adjust the amount of seasoning to your tastes. You could start with about 1/4 teaspoon. I hope you enjoy the recipe if you try it!

  4. This post has been a lifesaver for times I needed to do other tasks at the same time. The crockpot works even better than some other methods! I really appreciate this. Thanks!5 stars

  5. This is the best recipe I have found for chicken in the slow cooker. And the tip for using your stand mixer to shred it is so good! It worked perfectly. All of your tips and suggestions are great, thank you for sharing. Being able to finally make chicken this way is a game changer for opening up new quick and easy dinner options for my family! 5 stars

    1. The easiest way I’ve used to cook plain chicken for other recipes. I have to say at first I was skeptical about the timing and not adding any liquids into the crockpot but the chicken came out beautifully. This will be my new go to way for quick results! Thank you Erin for this recipe ☺️5 stars

  6. Every slow cooker recipe I use or seen says 6 hrs at least on low I’m confused how and why is this such a shorter time frame lol and if I add a can of diced tomatoes with the raw chx does this change anything? I will try it for the time u say and see how it does! Once my chicken turned out dry and not soft cause i had it on high for too long I guess… so ur definitely right about that u can over cook it

    1. Hi Alycia! I’ve only tested this recipe as written and turns out well for me each time. You may have to add time if you add any additional ingredients! Let me know how it goes if you give it a try!

    2. Guys definitely cook on high the 2 hours and low for 6 hours. Looks like a typo up there that no one’s catching onto

      1. Hi Melinda! This is not a typo. The timing is going to vary depending on the type of chicken and size of chicken. It’s all explained in the blog post but for boneless, skinless chicken breast max time should be 2 1/2 hours on low. I don’t recommend cooking boneless, skinless chicken breast on high as it could dry out the chicken.

  7. Hey there, Haven’t tried the recipe yet but I’m curious, won’t the chicken be dry if you don’t add any liquid? read a few other recipes from different people and they use broth. thanks!

    1. Hi Marshall! The natural moisture in the chicken is sufficient as long as the chicken is in a single layer. That means you can make this crockpot shredded chicken with no broth.

  8. This is the only way we make chicken now. It is so easy and for once in my life the chicken tastes juicy instead of overcooked!5 stars

  9. Hi Erin! If I only have chicken tenderloins on hand, how would the cooking time vary? Still 16oz of chicken, but smaller cuts.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Lindsay! While I haven’t tried it myself, I would just start checking the temperature of the chicken at around 45 mins and then adjust the time from there. Hope this helps!

  10. I made your crockpot shredded chicken. I was concerned about there being no extra liquid. I used one large chicken breast. It came out great! I didn’t use the mixer to shred it, just two forks. I also used the recipe to cook the shredded chicken on top of the stove. Definitely will use one of those recipes again and freeze some of the chicken for another meal!5 stars

  11. Turned out perfectly. In my crockpot it took almost exactly 2 hours. I never shredded anything with a hand mixer before, but it worked. And, I am so excited to try your recipes using cooked chicken. Thank you for another great recipe and so many wonderful ideas.5 stars

  12. Erin, I would like to cook a whole chicken to shred. Instead of buying a roasted whole chicken in the market. Can I do that in the crockpot?

    1. Hi Suzanne! Yes you can make a whole chicken in the crockpot, but it’s something I haven’t tested out myself. If you decide to experiment, I’d love to know how it goes!

  13. hi! the recipe calls for 2 breasts but the photo in the instructions has 3 – this Is just for photo purposes right?

  14. Easy recepie! I did 5 chicken tenderloins in a crockpot for 1.5 hours on low.. Added salt and pepper and a bit of garlic powder. No liquid needed .. So juicy . I even shredded it with the hand mixer … Game Changer!!
    Thanks!!5 stars

  15. This recipe worked great! I had some giant chicken breasts I pulled out of the freezer. They were still a touch frozen in the middle when I put them in the crockpot. Resisted the urge to add any broth or sauce – just some dry seasoning and let it rip. For those 3 XXL breasts it took closer to 3 hours but the chicken came out juicy and lightly flavored. The beater worked too (with only minimal splattering.) Perfect for tacos/burritos/etc. So easy and kid friendly, I will definitely make this again. Don’t knock it til you try it! Thank you!4 stars

  16. Hey I’d love to try this tomorrow for our chicken taco bowl’s. It’s what what grandson wants for his birthday supper. I need to do the whole bottom full of great fitting tightly to get enough for my whole family. Probably about 8 boneless breast. Do I cook it longer? About how long? It’s for a crowd.

    1. Hi Kelly! I’ve only tested the recipe as is but I would say that yes, you are going to need to cook the chicken longer if you are doubling or tripling the chicken. I can’t give you an exact time because I haven’t tried it myself but plan for a few more hours and then just keep checking the internal temperature so it doesn’t dry out. Hope this helps!

  17. This was great! It was done on low at 90 minutes, it was juicy and flavorful. I added a few garlic cloves because I an a garlic fan. I added a splash of chicken broth, but it really didn’t need it, I will probably leave out and cook as Erin states above. Then I shredded in my KitchenAid mixer. Great
    and EASU recipe!5 stars

  18. Erin, thanks so for a wonderful recipe! I must admit, I was very skeptical about the no liquid method but trusted your process and came out with a great result. Chicken was super tasty and juicy. I’m a convert and will definitely be using this method again!5 stars