How to poach chicken for shredding?


Poaching chicken is a great way to get tender, juicy, and flavorful meat that is perfect for shredding. It’s an easy cooking method that involves gently simmering the chicken in liquid until it’s cooked through. This article will guide you through the process of poaching chicken for shredding, and provide tips for success and ideas for using the shredded chicken.

Choosing the right chicken

When it comes to poaching chicken, it’s important to choose the right cut of meat. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are the most popular option, but you can also use bone-in chicken pieces or a whole chicken. Make sure the chicken is fresh and free from any bruises or discoloration.

Prepping the chicken

Before poaching the chicken, it’s important to prep it properly. Rinse the chicken under running water and pat it dry with paper towels. If using bone-in chicken, remove the skin and trim any excess fat. Cut the chicken into equal-sized pieces to ensure even cooking.

Poaching the chicken

To poach the chicken, place it in a large pot and cover it with liquid. You can use water, chicken broth, or a combination of both. Add in any herbs or spices you like, such as bay leaves, thyme, or garlic. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook the chicken until it’s cooked through, which usually takes around 15-20 minutes for boneless chicken breasts.

Checking the chicken for doneness

To ensure that the chicken is cooked through, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The temperature should reach 165°F (75°C) for safe consumption. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can check for doneness by cutting into the thickest part of the chicken and making sure there is no pinkness or rawness left.

Cooling and shredding the chicken

Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the liquid and let it cool to room temperature. Using two forks, shred the chicken into small pieces. You can also use a stand mixer or food processor for larger batches of chicken.

Storing the shredded chicken

Store the shredded chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure to label and date the container for easy identification.

Ideas for using shredded chicken

Shredded chicken is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, such as salads, sandwiches, soups, and casseroles. It’s also great for meal prep, as you can make a large batch and use it throughout the week.

Tips for success

To ensure tender and juicy shredded chicken, use a low and slow cooking method. Don’t let the liquid boil or the chicken will become tough and dry. Also, make sure to season the liquid well, as this will infuse the chicken with flavor.


Poaching chicken for shredding is a simple and easy cooking method that yields delicious results. By following these tips and ideas, you’ll be able to make tender and juicy shredded chicken that can be used in a variety of dishes.

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Elise DeVoe

Elise is a seasoned food writer with seven years of experience. Her culinary journey began as Managing Editor at the College of Charleston for Spoon University, the ultimate resource for college foodies. After graduating, she launched her blog, Cookin’ with Booze, which has now transformed into captivating short-form videos on TikTok and Instagram, offering insider tips for savoring Charleston’s local cuisine.

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