The theme of the week at my house this week is “Shredded Chicken”. It’s been busy, so dinners and lunches have been a lot of grab-and-pray out of the fridge. But thankfully because I made a huge batch of my Instant Pot Shredded Chicken on Monday it’s meant that I’ve had a lot of options!
I call this mode of survival: base cooking. I often make a huge batch of a “base” at the start of the week and then use it for meals in different forms all throughout the week. We don’t get bored of it because I build on that base, and it saves me loads of time because I don’t need to start from scratch for each meal. Sometimes my base is rice (rice bowls, burritos, fried rice, etc), sometimes it’s ground beef (tacos, meat sauce with pasta, quesadillas, chili, etc), or sometime’s it’s roasted vegetables (rice bowls again :), enchiladas, quinoa salad, etc).
With cooked shredded chicken on hand as my base, I can do so many different things without too much work or creativity. So far this week I’ve made: Quick Chicken Salad (mayo + salt/pepper + chicken), BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (chicken + bbq sauce + buns), Asian Chicken Salads (salad stuff + chicken + ginger dressing), Chicken Quesadillas (tortillas + cheese + shredded chicken), Chicken Caesar Wraps (tortillas + lettuce + chicken +caesar dressing)….. I’m not kidding the options are ENDLESS. We’re coming up on soup season which means you could make a FAST chicken soup with some broth + veggies + shredded chicken. No more simmering all day! Really, this Instant Pot Shredded Chicken is a lifesaver to have a meal base on hand because it makes me feel like I’ve made a different meal every time – yet really we’ve had chicken for several meals in a row, even twice a day sometimes!
The Instant Pot makes it so easy to make the shredded chicken. You can use any amount of chicken too – I’ve made it with as little as 2lbs, or a much as 5+lbs. The cook time and process is the same regardless of the amount. This recipe produces tender, moist chicken every time – from fresh OR frozen. If you cook from frozen just make sure the chicken breasts are thawed enough to break apart to fit in the Instant Pot. Additionally, the chicken freezes perfectly for future meal bases! I often freeze at least one sandwich bags worth of cooked shredded for quick meal option in the future.
So if you’ve got a busy stretch coming up consider making a big batch of Instant Pot Shredded Chicken. It will help take the stress out of meal prep!
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
Each pound of chicken yields about 2 cups of shredded chicken
- Cooking Spray
- 2-5lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts – fresh or frozen*
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 tsp salt per pound of chicken.
*If you cook from frozen just make sure the chicken breasts are thawed enough to break apart to fit in the Instant Pot.
Spray the inside of the Instant Pot with cooking spray. Add in the chicken breasts, broth and salt.
Seal the Instant Pot and select Manual. Cook on High Pressure for 10 minutes (the pot will take about 8-10 minutes to come to pressure then start cooking for 10 minutes).
Once done, use the natural release to allow the pot to come down to normal pressure before opening.
Shred in the pot with two forks or use a stand or hand mixer for fast shredding. Drain out any excess liquid, if desired.
Store in the fridge in an air tight container and use as desired. To freeze, let cool to room temperature before placing in freezer bags.