Easy Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Breast Recipe – Shred 5 pounds in 15 seconds

If you are looking for a game changer in the kitchen, you won’t believe how easy it is to shred 5 pounds of chicken all at once.  This is one of my favorite kitchen time savers! I make this chicken recipe just about every Sunday. Having prepped protein on hand makes dinner a breeze.  The end result is flavorful chicken that is perfectly shredded and moist.  This is one of the best ways to cut down on meal prep in the kitchen.

Once cooked and shredded, I like to divide the chicken into approximate portions of one pound each, put in the freezer and defrost as needed to make chicken salad, shredded chicken tacos and chicken soups. Hardly any extra effort is required to make the chicken in bulk like this, yet it is a huge time saver!

Portioning and Freezing

After I’ve shredded the chicken, I usually take out 1-2 pounds for dinner that night and sometimes to make a chicken salad for the following day. Then, I take several glass containers and place about a pound of chicken in each one. I have found that saving the chicken in smaller portions helps with meal prep throughout the week as I already have my protein cooked. I store in the freezer. I’ll either take the glass container of frozen chicken out of the freezer the night before I need to use it, or I’ll use the water bath method to more quickly thaw it.

Water Bath Defrost

For the water bath, I place the sealed container of frozen chicken in a larger bowl filled with cold water. I let it sit on the counter and change the water every 30 minutes until the chicken is thawed. Depending on the size of the portion, usually about 2 hours in the cold water bath to thaw a pound of frozen chicken safely. You don’t want to leave chicken at room temperature too long before cooking, so I don’t recommend leaving the water bath out longer than 3 hours. Once the chicken is thawed, I store it in the refrigerator until ready to use, for up to 3 more days. The cold water thaw method safely defrosts the chicken so I can use my prepped protein as needed!

Versatile Recipes

This shredded chicken recipe is so versatile and helpful to have protein prepped and ready to go for so many different recipes and quick dinners throughout the week.   This recipe started out as my AIP version of shredded chicken tacos. My favorite way to enjoy this shredded chicken is in a paleo crispy taco shell with some shredded lettuce, dairy free cheese, dairy free sour cream and fresh guacamole.  Now that I am no longer on the AIP protocol, I also like to add some taco seasoning for a traditional taco night, use as the base for quick chicken salad, or sauté some veggies, add broth and shredded chicken and you have soup.  I also love to quickly change up the flavor by adding Italian seasoning or BBQ sauce. The shredded chicken is wonderful in burrito bowls or enjoyed so many different ways throughout the week.  The options are endless. So if you are worn out by all of the meal prep, definitely give this one a try!

Ways to use the shredded chicken breast – Freeze the chicken and use the frozen chicken for, chicken sandwiches/sliders, buffalo chicken dip, burrito bowls, loaded sweet potatoes. or enchiladas

How to Make Shredded Chicken in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker

This is one of my favorite instant pot recipes because it makes so much shredded chicken and is the perfect way to prep chicken in bulk for a variety of recipes.

Instant Pot Method:

  • You add one cup of cooking liquid, I use either water or chicken stock, to the bottom of the instant pot pressure cooker and then add in the salt, pepper and the spices.
  • Stir everything to combine.
  • Then add in the chicken breasts. I like to give everything a good stir one more time to be sure that everything is evenly coated.
  • Then, I’ll add 13 minutes of cook time to the instant pot.
  • Note: I intentionally overcook the chicken slightly to help break down the proteins in the chicken and make it really tender, which makes it super easy to shred.
  • Once the cooking time is finished, you can let the pressure release naturally to release the remaining pressure, or manually release the pressure for a quick release.
  • For this next step and to shred the cooked chicken breast, you’ll want to be sure to get a clean kitchen towel and a handheld mixer or stand mixer. Using a kitchen towel is key to ensure that hot chicken juices don’t flying all over the kitchen or even yourself. I just leave the chicken in the instant pot so I don’t have to clean as much. Put the handheld mixer inside the instant pot and cover with your clean kitchen towel.
  • Mix at first on low and then gradually increase the speed while stirring the handheld mixer around to be sure all of the chicken is shredded. You’ll repeat this until all of the chicken is completely shredded.
  • This easy instant pot recipe results in the best shredded chicken that is perfectly tender and juicy and the actual shredding only takes about 15 seconds thanks to the pressure cooking.

Slow Cooker Method:

If you would like to use a slow cooker instead, cook the chicken for about 4-6 hours on low. The internal temperature should reach 165°F to ensure it is safe to consume, but note I intentionally overcook this recipe either way so that the protein is broken down for easy shredding.

Whichever method you choose – instant pot pressure cooker or slow cooker – you will save so much time by using a handheld mixer for the shredding. Either way results in the most delicious shredded chicken.

What You Need to Make Shredded Chicken

Chicken breast – I typically use boneless and skinless chicken, however you can use boneless and skinless chicken thighs or a combination of both. The key is to use boneless and skinless chicken so you don’t have bones scattered throughout.

Water or broth – I usually use 1 cup of water.  However, if I have some leftover chicken broth, it’s a great way to use up that ingredient.

Spices – This recipe calls for salt, pepper, oregano, turmeric, onion, and garlic powder.  You can use any spices that you would like.  I purposefully chose simple ingredients and spices that go well with just about any chicken recipe so that the shredded chicken can easily be repurposed for a variety of delicious recipes.  However, you can use just about any spices that you would like to develop your desired flavor profile.  I should also mention that I use garlic powder for this recipe because that’s the easiest option, but fresh garlic cloves would make a great substitution.

Shredded chicken

Easy Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Breast Recipe

Cooking and shredding 5 pounds of chicken at once will revolutionize your meal prep with fully cooked protein ready to go for tacos, soups, chicken salads and stuffed baked potatoes!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Course Dinner, lunch, Meal Prep
Cuisine American


  • 5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup water or broth
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder


  • Place water and spices in the bottom of Instant Pot. Give a good stir. Add chicken breasts, and rotate to ensure each piece is fully coated in water and spices. Cook for 13 minutes and allow steam to release naturally.
  • Using a hand mixer in the Instant Pot that is covered with a clean kitchen towel, shred the chicken. It takes about 15 seconds on medium-high speed to shred all of the chicken. Covering with a kitchen towel is key to keep any hot chicken juices from splattering on you.


Storage – Allow chicken to cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container. You can also freeze in large freezer bags or glass containers with lids. This is the easiest way to meal prep for those busy week nights. 
Keyword chicken, crockpot, easy method, insta pot, Shredded chicken

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