Two of the three methods below will help you shred chicken thighs in 60 seconds or less!
Plus, you’ll learn the simplest way to cook them for the juiciest results.
The methods in this post assume you’re using cooked, boneless skinless chicken thighs.
The Simplest Way to Shred Chicken Thighs
The classic method for shredding chicken thighs is with 2 forks. It’s my go-to method for when I’m shredding one to two thighs and when I don’t feel like using gadgets.
Here is how to shred thighs with two forks:
- Use one fork to secure the cooked chicken thigh piece onto a large cutting board.
- Use the other fork to pull small pieces of chicken meat away from the main piece, creating even shreds.
- Repeat the process, and done!
Shredding Chicken Thighs with a Mixer
Not your typical use of a hand mixer, but this works great for finely shredding chicken. It’s my preferred method for when I’m shredding more than a pound and I want consistent shreds of meat, like when you’re making enchiladas, for example.
The bonus is that the chicken doesn’t have to be fully cooled since your hands won’t directly touch the meat.
Here is how to shred thighs with a hand mixer:
- Place the cooked chicken thighs in a large bowl with high rims, making sure not to fill it more than halfway up.
- Place the mixing attachments into the hand mixer, place the hand mixer inside the bowl in the middle of the meat, and power it on at medium speed.
- Process until the chicken thighs are completely shredded.
- If necessary, repeat this shredding process until all your chicken thighs have been shredded.
Can’t picture how this works? Watch how it’s done in 60 seconds in this quick video:
To use a blender to shred chicken you’ll need to:
- Cut the cooked chicken thighs with a knife into smaller, 2-inch pieces.
- Add a few of the chicken pieces to the blender jar and pulse at the lowest speed.
- Remove the shredded chicken from the blender and repeat with the remaining chicken.
This method works best in smaller batches and pulsing your blender on/off so you can achieve shredded chicken and not chicken paste.
How to Cook Chicken Thighs for Shredding
The best method for cooking chicken you intend to shred boils down to personal preference. You can poach it, pan-sear it, or bake it- it’s up to you! The classic method of cooking chicken for shredding is poaching.
Here is how to cook thighs a few different ways:
The poaching method involves submerging chicken in hot water until it reaches 175F. It’s incredibly simple, yields very tender meat, and is the most popular way to cook chicken for chicken salad.
Pan seared chicken
If you need shredded chicken fast, pan-searing it first is a great idea. Within 15 minutes, the chicken is ready, plus, searing gives the meat a crispy-golden crust.
Baked chicken thighs
You can’t go wrong with using baked chicken thighs for shredded meat! While it takes the most time, it’s pretty hand-free and can be done with bone-in, skin-on cuts too.
What Temperature to Shred Chicken
To avoid burning your fingers, it’s best to allow the chicken to cool down to room temperature before you shred it. This also ensures all the juices are locked into the meat as it cools, so your shredded chicken will be tender and juicy!
Using Shredded Chicken Thighs
Once you have a pound or two of shredded chicken thighs, the recipe possibilities are endless!
I love simple recipes families can eat without spending an eternity in the kitchen and having shredded thighs on hand makes these a synch to make!
Here are some epic recipes to try:
New Orleans Style Chicken & Sausage Gumbo
Pesto Chicken Pasta– swap out the diced chicken for shredded chicken
Southern Chicken Salad
Slow Cooker Chicken & Rice Soup
Asian Chicken Lettuce Cups
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Shredded Chicken Thighs 3 Ways!
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 4 cups water, more if needed to cover
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons peppercorns, optional
- 1 sprig of rosemary or any other spices, optional
- Using the poaching method to cook the chicken thighs, place the chicken in a large soup pot, and add the water to cover the chicken by about 2 inches.
- Generously season the water with salt and your choice of spices and herbs. The measurements above suggest peppercorns and herbs but don't skip the salt.
- Bring the water to a boil, and flip the chicken thighs over using a pair of kitchen tongs.
- Place a lid over the pot and turn off the heat. Let the chicken sit in the water for 10 minutes or until cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 175F.
- Remove the chicken thighs from the water and set them on a large cutting board. Allow them to rest for 5 minutes to seal in the juices.
- Shred the thighs between two forks or use the hand mixer method to achieve a finely shredded chicken texture in under a minute.