How to Make Shredded Chicken for Use in Any Recipe

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Many recipes, such as Mexican enchiladas, call for shredded chicken. The best cooking methods for achieving the right texture are grilling or boiling. Which method you choose is dependent on the recipe and the equipment you have. If the chicken is going to be slathered in a savory sauce, boiling is a fine option. If the chicken needs to have a distinct flavor of its own, you'll need to marinate it and grill it.

Things You'll Need

  • Raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Meat mallet
  • Barbecue grill or large cooking pot
  • Forks
  • Prepare the chicken breasts by pounding them flat. If you're grilling, you can marinate the chicken overnight in whatever marinate the recipe calls for. If you choose not to marinate the chicken, just spritz olive oil on both sides and add a little salt and pepper before grilling. If you're boiling the chicken breasts, there's no need to add any seasoning.

  • Grill or boil the chicken breasts. If barbecuing, heat the grill to 450 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Grill the chicken breasts for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until the meat is no longer pink in the middle. If boiling, bring a large pot of water to a roiling boil then add the chicken breasts. Boil the until chicken is fully cooked, about 20 minutes. Make sure there is no pink. Do not overcook it or it will be rubbery.

  • Let the chicken cool for about 5 to 10 minutes. Place the chicken on a plate and hold the chicken breast with one fork. Use a second fork to pull at the chicken and it will shred off in small pieces.

    Once you have shredded chicken ready, you can add it to your recipe. If it will not be cooked immediately, it must be refrigerated to prevent spoilage.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure chicken is fully cooked with no pink and use meat thermometer to verify
  • Do not overcook the breasts. Remember that you will be cooking the chicken for additional time once it is added to the recipe. So, only fully cook it if you are using it on its own; if it is going into a skillet or the oven afterward cook it until is just barely done. Use a meat thermometer to help you gauge doneness.

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References

  • "Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico"; Rick Bayless, et al.
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