Shredded Chicken is a pandora’s box. There are so many ingenious ways that you can use it in your cooking that we don’t even know where to start. From the classic cajun to the famous orange chicken, the list is endless.
But in order to get to the list, we have to first deal with the shredding business, which is not as easy as it sounds. There are many ways of doing it, and different experts swear by various methods.
The one method that is not often mentioned and yet can get the job done in seconds is using a blender. Yes, why would you possibly use a blender to shred chicken over the traditional ways is the question here. But we hope that by the end of this post, you will have found your answer.
But before we get to that, let’s go over some basics.
What Kind of Chicken is Best for Shredding?
There are many first-time chefs here, and so we feel it’s necessary to cover all our bases before we get to our question of how we can shred chicken in a blender.
This is the best and easiest way out for shredded chicken. Most stores sell boneless pieces. When trying to shred chicken in a blender, you can only use de-boned chicken. Hence it is better to buy boneless pieces rather than going through the trouble of deboning them later.
This is also the case in using a hand mixer or food processor for this process. However, if using a fork or your bare hands to shred, you do not need to select this type of chicken.
This is something that we usually buy and may even be available in your pantry. However, if you choose this type of chicken, it is best to work with your hands and remove all the bones before putting it all into a blender.
Although you may have already started shredding in the process of removing the bones, using a blender will give you more even shreds.
Best Chicken Parts
The best parts of the chicken that you can buy for shredding are the skinless breasts and thighs. They are the more meaty parts of the bird and will give you more output when shredded.
Also, these parts do not have many small bones that will consume a lot of your time when de-boning.
Should You Cook the Chicken before You Shred It
The answer here is yes!
Always cook your chicken before shredding it. If you try to run it in a blender before cooking, you get minced meat, not shredded chicken.
There are various ways to cook your chicken, and we shall take you through them in detail.
Should Chicken be Shredded Hot or Cold
Not too hot or too cold is what you should aim for here. For best results, shred chicken while it is still warm.
This is because shredding warm chicken is easier for the blender. Do not shred hot chicken because it will either burn your hands (if using hands) or get heated up even more during the shredding process if using a mixer or a blender. This will inadvertently affect the taste and texture of your meal.
How to Prep Chicken For Shredding
Depending on what you plan to make with your shredded chicken, the manner in which you prep will differ.
If you already have a specific recipe in mind, you should marinate or prepare the chicken accordingly by adding spices and condiments as specified in the said recipe.
However, if you do not know what you plan to make yet want your meal prep to be on point, you should prepare the chicken with safe ingredients.
The basic additions here are salt and pepper. They allow the chicken to maintain a neutral taste, and can they also be used accordingly as seasoning when you get to the final cooking process.
Alternately, you can add other seasoning agents like chilly and spices, ginger, garlic, sauces, etc., later on.
It is always best to add only salt and pepper as it leaves a large window of opportunity and makes it easier to make some last-minute changes to your meal plans.
Different Ways of Cooking Chicken Before Shredding
As already mentioned, there are various ways of cooking chicken, and what method you choose to follow will be entirely based on your convenience and availability of materials.
Even if your family has a traditional method, we urge you to experiment with the different varieties here, as this initial treatment significantly alters the taste of your end product.
It never hurts to try something new, or does it?
Grilled Shredded Chicken
This is a method many swear by. The reason behind the popularity of this method is probably the added smoky flavour that grilling adds to the chicken.
Grilling is the best option if you plan on a large meal for many people. The only limit you would have is the size of the grill, and you can shred the same in multiple bathes for best results.
The con in this method is that grilling and direct fire tend to harden the chicken’s sides, which are retained even when shredded.
To grill your chicken:
- Preheat the grill
- Place the chicken on the grill after seasoning
- Cook each side for 15- 20 minutes
- Remember to turn halfway to cook the chicken evenly.
Baked Shredded Chicken
Baking is a skill, and this one method may be a difficult one to master. Due to the constant temperature, it is quite possible to overcook your chicken.
It is also equally possible that you end up undercooking the chicken for fear of overcooking it. Like grilled chicken, drying of the sides is a problem here.
Nevertheless, it is a very healthy method and has great taste too. The con here is the difficulty of getting it right.
To bake your chicken:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Spray on your baking tray. (Remember to place the crumb catcher if using a grill tray.)
- Place seasoned chicken on the tray in an even manner.
- Bake until the insides turn white.
Poached Shredded Chicken
This is one of the easiest and fastest methods to cook. However, due to practically being submerged in water for a significant amount of time, there are chances that this chicken may turn out to taste bland.
Nevertheless, if planning on adding spices and sauces later, this shouldn’t be much of an issue. The chicken comes out really soft and moist in this method, which is why many prefer this method when making shredded chicken.
You can also cook the chicken in broth instead of water. Here is how you can poach chicken:
- Place the seasoned chicken pieces in a pot.
- Ensure that the pot is big enough to fit your quantity.
- Fill with enough water or broth. Enough here means until the chicken is submerged.
- Adding a bay leaf or clove would be a good idea to enhance the flavour.
- Let it start boiling on full heat, and then bring it down to simmer until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
- It is best to use smaller pieces of chicken in this method to make the cooking process faster and more even.
Shredded Chicken in Instant Pot
This is an easy way of making shredded chicken while retaining the flavour completely. Using an instant pot is a lifesaving hack, and it delivers here too.
The only thing to check here is that the chicken pieces should be about the same size, ensuring even cooking time. You can alternate between placing the chicken directly in the water or placing it on the trivet without touching the liquid.
This will help you figure out the way that suits you the most. Here is how you can cook chicken for shredding in an instant pot:
- Place the seasoned chicken in the instant pot- either on the trivet or directly.
- Pour the broth or water around the chicken.
- Place and lid and ensure the locks have clicked correctly. Check the vent.
- Cook it in a high-pressure setting for 10 minutes.
- You can either release the pressure immediately after turning off the pot or wait for 5 minutes, as per your preference.
- Remove and place on a try to let the chicken cool down.
How to Shred Chicken in a Blender
We are finally here. We have correctly prepped and seasoned the chicken. We have cooked it using one or other of the methods mentioned above. And now we are ready to get shredding!
Many people believe that it is not possible to shred chicken in a blender. But we can assure you that we have tried it and it works well. So take a leap of faith and try this method with us. We shall take you along the steps one by one and in excruciating detail.
Know Your Blender
You should learn about your blender from its user manual before using it for shredding, as a good understanding of how one’s kitchen appliances work goes a long way in creating the perfect meal.
Check which blending jar you must use and learn its volume to avoid having to clean off the chicken from your roof. Don’t get discouraged from trying this method, as it’s not as complicated as it sounds.
Also, try and understand the blending speeds on your appliance.
Get your Chicken Ready
If using boneless chicken, you can place them directly onto your blender. But do a thorough check for any tiny bones lurking in the corner.
If you are not using boneless chicken, then let it cool down before you start de-boning it. The inner parts may still be hot, so you need to be careful not to burn yourself.
Try to use Warm Chicken
You can achieve the best results if your chicken is at the right temperature. If you had refrigerated the chicken after cooking it, try to leave it out so that the temperature rises before putting it in the blender.
Filling the Blender
The moment of truth has arrived. Remember not to fill the blending jar to the brim. The safest method is to fill it halfway. This is because the volume will double when blended.
Pulse or Blend
An important tip is to use the pulse option instead. This is blending can shred your chicken into bits. If you feel confident enough, Blend for 2 seconds and stop.
Check whether all pieces are shredded. If not, repeat for another second.
Wondering What the Pulse Option is?
No. You probably won’t find this written on your blender. Pulsing is basically turning your blender’s knob in the opposite direction. This means turning the knob in an anti-clockwise direction.
The pulse option is not a continuous blend and allows the blades to work in the opposite direction, giving you the perfect shredded chicken. You should remember not to run this continuously as you probably don’t want minced meat.
To get the correct texture, always check your jar for uniformity. Shake it up a bit if it seems ununiform and pulse again for just a second. Do not get carried away with the motion, and learn to stop within the stipulated time.
Related Post: How To Grind Meat In A Blender
Tips For Removing Shredded Chicken From a Blender
Removing shredded chicken from a blender can be tricky as some shreds tend to stick to the underside of the blade.
- Switch off the blender and remove the plug before removing the jar. The number of accidents caused by an accidental brush of the knob is tremendous, and that’s why we should always switch off a blender before doing anything else.
- Open the lid and toss out the shreds onto a plate or bowl. Use a spoon to ensure all the contents come out clean.
- If the fussy remnants continue to stick, use your clean hand to slowly and carefully wipe the blades with your fingers pinched together.
- Using your fingers is a great way to avoid the wastage of good chicken. But make sure that you do not make any swift motions as this may result in cuts on your fingers or hands.
- Clean the blender immediately. If it seems greasy, soak it for a while with hot water and soap.
- Always dry your blender with a clean and dry cloth before replacing it on your shelf.
What are Other Ways of Shredding Chicken
Want to explore other ways of shredding chicken? We can give you the four different ways in which you can get this job done.
Our great chefs swear by using your hands to retain the texture and moisture of the chicken. It allows you to control the size of your shreds significantly. You should wait for the chicken to cool down entirely before getting your hands on it.
This is another traditional way of shredding chicken. Using a combination of hands and fork is also common. Using utensils again retains the texture of the chicken by giving you control over the size of the shreds.
Using a hand mixer is an easy way to shred. On warm chicken, this works in amazingly and gives you even pieces. The only con is that your hands may tire if you have a lot of meat to deal with.
Something that you can use both for baking and general cooking needs. A stand mixer is a great way when you have large amounts of chicken to shred. You just need to keep an eye out for the time taken to slice everything evenly.
Storing Shredded Chicken
You cooked the chicken and successfully shredded it in a blender. You can either use it right away in a recipe or store it for later. It is best to freeze shredded chicken after it has cooled down completely (blending may have made it warmer).
You can use either freezer-safe containers with lids or zip lock bags for this process. Always use a dry container or bag for storage to avoid fungus or mold growth.
It is also advisable to store shredded chicken in measured bags if you plan to use different amounts for different recipes. Hence, you will only need to thaw the bag you need and not end up with excess.
If stored in a refrigerator, use it within three days. Frozen shredded chicken can last for up to 4 months.
Just remember to thaw it early enough or throw it in the microwave to defrost as a last resort.
Thus, you definitely can use a blender to shred chicken. We hope you will try this method and love it as much as we do.