Have you ever just made a large batch of chicken and then shredded it up and stored it away in separated packages for a quick meal solution? If you haven’t tried this, you’re missing out on a simple way to have meat prepared for any meal.
One of the best things to help out with meal times and the hustle-bustle of life is to cook your meats ahead of time and prep them for a meal. Then you can stow them away in the fridge or freezer and pull them out for your meal but save yourself probably 30 minutes of cooking time.
Now introducing shredded chicken. Whether you are making a large batch of shredded chicken and looking for the ultimate solution or you simply have leftover shredded chicken from today’s dinner you need options.
Can you reheat shredded chicken? Will it ruin the chicken or mess with the texture of the chicken? Reheating shredded chicken is a straightforward process that you can complete in the oven, microwave, or on the stovetop. The most important thing to remember when reheating chicken is to make sure it reaches a temperature of at least 165-degrees Fahrenheit.
Reheating shredded chicken is quite simple. The steps are easy and there is not anything difficult or challenging that you have to look out for as you store your chicken and then proceed to reheat it for whatever use you might have. If it’s stored properly, you can even eat it cold.
In this guide, we will share with you everything you need to know about reheating your shredded chicken, including how to properly store the chicken for future use.
Keep reading to learn all of the important details for reheating shredded chicken and more.
Shredded Chicken: A Guide to Reheating
Shredded chicken is one of the most popular staples to use in meals. Chicken is a versatile meat that can be used in any number of dishes. Here are a few to give you a general idea.
- Chicken and noodles
- Chicken and dumplings
- Enchiladas, tacos, and quesadillas
- Chicken spaghetti
- BBQ chicken sandwiches
- Pizza topping
- Egg rolls
- Various soups
- Pasta dishes
As you can see, there are many options. This list barely touches the surface because the truth is you can use shredded chicken in just about any recipe you want and once the chicken is fully cooked, it can even be used cold.
Cooking Chicken for Shredding
Chicken should always be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees. It is very important to be sure you cook your chicken appropriately before using it for any recipe. Raw chicken or chicken that is not cooked to temperature is a health risk.
Cooking chicken is pretty basic. We are not going to provide a step-by-step tutorial on this topic in this guide but we wanted to walk through some basic information. After all, this guide is about reheating chicken which means you need to actually initially cook the chicken first.
There are multiple ways to cook chicken so that you can shred it. The beauty of this process is it is relatively simple and you can ultimately do whatever you want with your chicken. You can season your chicken with taco seasoning, Italian seasoning, or a simple rub or even just some basic salt and pepper.
You can cook chicken by baking it in the oven, boiling it in water, or cooking it in the crockpot. Now there are even means to fully cook your chicken in the microwave. Once your chicken is fully cooked you can then shred it and do whatever you need to do with it.
A great way to get full use of your chicken is to cook a large batch at one time and get the cooking part out of the way. You can then shred it and portion it out for several meals and then store any portions you are not using within a couple of days in the freezer.
Storing Shredded Chicken
Storing your chicken is an important part of the process. You must first successfully cook and store your chicken in order to reheat your chicken. We want to cover with you some basic information for properly storing chicken.
Chicken is typically safe once it has been cooked to the appropriate temperature but chicken is also one of those foods that you certainly don’t want to take any chances with. It seems like any little thing can cause chicken to cause you to get ill if things are not done properly.
If you want to learn how to store fried chicken, check out this post I wrote.
Refrigerating Shredded Chicken
- Place chicken in a storage bag or into an airtight storage container.
- Place in refrigerator.
- Shredded chicken will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Freezing Shredded Chicken
- Allow chicken to cool to room temperature but don’t leave out too long.
- Portion chicken out into 1-2 cup portion sizes.
- Place chicken into separated freezer bags or airtight storage containers.
- Add some broth if you would like but this is not required. Leave at least an inch of headspace in your storage piece to give room for potential freezer expansion.
- Store shredded chicken in the freezer up to 6 months.
If you make a large batch of chicken, we certainly recommend freezing right away the majority or whatever amounts you do not plan to use within a couple of days.
Reheating Shredded Chicken
Reheating your shredded chicken could not be any easier. It is so simple and you can reheat it in the microwave, oven, or stove top. The oven is probably the most popular method for reheating.
Additionally, there are options besides reheating it by itself. You can eat the chicken cold on a sandwich or a salad if you would like. You can also toss the cold chicken into whatever recipe you are making and allow it to reheat with the cooking process of that dish.
Here is a breakdown of steps for reheating shredded chicken through the various means available.
Reheating Shredded Chicken in the Microwave
- Be sure chicken is in a microwave-safe container.
- Cover the chicken with a damp paper towel.
- Microwave the chicken in 1-minute increments, potentially up to 5 minutes. Stir after every minute.
- Remove from microwave and let the chicken stand 1 minute.
- Remove paper towel and proceed.
Reheating Shredded Chicken in the Oven
- If the shredded chicken is frozen you should first defrost it or allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge.
- Place chicken in an oven-safe dish and cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake in the oven at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees and the chicken is thoroughly warmed. You can stir the chicken periodically during the heating process for even warmth.
Reheating Shredded Chicken on the Stovetop
- Warm butter or oil in a skillet on medium heat.
- Add chicken to heated oil or butter. Chicken can be frozen or defrosted.
- Stirring frequently, cook chicken in pan until it is warmed to desirable temperature, making sure it is 165 degrees minimum internally.
The stovetop is also the preferred method for reheating orange chicken.
You can also reheat your shredded chicken in a crockpot. You may need to add some broth or water to your crockpot in order to prevent the chicken from getting dry while it cooks. If you use a crockpot we recommend using a low temperature for only 1-2 hours.
We hope that you have found this guide to be useful for the purpose of preparing and reheating shredded chicken and that you feel fully prepared for the process.
We invite you to review our question and answer section provided below for additional information that could be useful for you.
What is the Best Way to Tell if Chicken Has Spoiled?
There are two primary ways to discern whether cooked chicken may be spoiled. You can observe both color and smell for this process. Cooked chicken should be brown or white in color when it is fresh. If it is starting to spoil it will take on a grey or greenish-grey hue.
Additionally, you can smell the chicken to test for spoilage. Spoiled chicken will have a strong offensive odor that is discernible. You will know it when you smell it. Chicken that is spoiled may also be slimy.
Does Shredded Chicken Have to Be Chicken Breast?
Chicken breast is the most common form of chicken used for shredding but in actuality, you can use any cut for shredding purposes. Whether it is a leg, breast, thigh, or even wings, it all shreds just fine.
If you are making your own shredded chicken from chicken breast, you may want to consider a good chicken tenderizer. I recently wrote an article ranking the best chicken tenderizers. You can check it out here.
What Do I Do if My Chicken is Dry?
The best way to bring moisture back to your chicken is to heat it on the stovetop with some chicken broth. This shouldn’t take very long but you can place your shredded chicken in a pot and add a small amount of broth. Warm for about 5 minutes
Additionally, you can use this process in the oven as well by pouring broth over your shredded chicken in a baking dish and heating for about 10 minutes in the oven.