Perfect Shredded Chicken

Do you have things that you know you shouldn’t need a recipe for, but every time you start to make it, you look up the recipe? Like “perfect egg” or “effortless baked potato?” I know I do. Is Google the reason my brain just refuses to keep this sort of information at the forefront anymore? This is one of those recipes. I’m writing it down here, because I *should* remember this intuitively. But I end up always looking in my Apple Notes “Oven chicken trials” notes to get the right temperature.

I always used to throw chicken breasts in the crockpot when I wanted shredded chicken, because it’s a totally fool-proof way to get moist chicken breasts that shred with just the gentlest of fork-on-fork action. Alas, when we moved, someone (ahem, someone being me) dropped the crockpot and it cracked and we’ve all seen “This Is Us,” so I threw that thing away. And since working from home means the concept of “Set it and forget it” is a lot less important to me nowadays, I haven’t bought a new one. So enters my endeavor to make crockpot-style tender shredded chicken in the oven.

I read a lot of varying things on Google. Including a mind-blowing number of recipes for crockpot pulled chicken (Repeat after me: If you’re using a crockpot, you do not need a recipe. Just pour a bunch of things in, turn it on, and… voila. Unless, of course, you’re attempting something ridiculous like crockpot wine, in which case, follow the recipe and then find yourself a bottle of two-buck-chuck because it will definitely taste better).

None of what I read and tried turned out any better than this recipe, which I now make nearly every Monday because there’s nothing better for a week of sort-of-not-sad-at-home lunches than a stash of moist, shredded chicken. Chicken salad sandwiches, chicken melts, quesadillas, chicken soup, chicken and rice, I’m so hungry just give me some damn chicken, the list goes on and on.  

1 package chicken breasts 
Salt and pepper
¼ cup water or chicken broth 

Place the chicken breasts in a cast-iron skillet or a pie pan or whatever cookware you have handy, salt and pepper the heck out of it, add in some garlic powder or onion powder if you have it, pour in a little bit of water, cover tightly with foil and toss it in the oven at 300 for two or so hours. If you get stuck on a Zoom call for three hours, it will be fine. If you are so hungry after 90 minutes you want some chicken, it’s probably fine, too. 

Sit back, enjoy your chicken melt, and realize one more upside of pandemic life: You never need to worry about burning your house down, because you never leave your house. And you get to eat lunch off a real plate nearly every day. 

Note, if you are feeling like you need a little extra spice in your life, sub the water for a jar of salsa and cook the same way. This made an excellent chicken base for a green chicken chili the other day, and the extra chicken made a mean lunch quesadilla. The options are limitless


Alicia Amling View All →

Recovering journalist who discovered a life outside of news leaves you time for things like getting angry, cooking and traveling. Plus, hopefully, writing. I’m a wife, dog mom and Washingtonian.

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