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Super Easy, Quick & Tasty

Make Ahead Meals – Shredded Chicken Master Recipe

Shredded Poached Chicken

Hi guys!

Who wants a super-tasty, quick, easy weekday recipe? Me too!   In talking with many of you, a common theme is: we need easy recipes that come together quickly and taste wonderful after a hard day’s activities.

Done and done.

Meet one of your best solutions – Poached Chicken.  This makes 14 cups of incredibly delicious poached chicken.  All ready for you to shred as the foundation for 7 meals!

Shredded Poached Chicken

I know, that sounds like kissing your sister – but you’re going to love my poached chicken. Sure you can buy a rotisserie chicken and shred it. But my recipe tastes so much better, it’s less expensive AND you can make up a BIG batch and freeze to use in all the wonderful quick and easy chicken dishes I’m going to be sharing with you in the weeks ahead.  Like these Cheesy Chicken Melts. They’re savory gooey cheesy chicken goodness in mini sandwiches.

Shredded Poached Chicken

If you’re not careful, instead of being a great foundation for your next masterpiece, poached chicken can be tough and flavorless. Well NOT in our kitchens. We’ve got some tricks up our sleeves.

Pull up a seat and let me tell you our secrets:

  1. We’re going to cook it at a slow simmer (you barely want to see bubbles) and then remove it from heat to finish cooking.   So long tough bird.
Shredded Poached Chicken

2.  We’re gong to use (wonderful smelling) seasonings and mix some of that cooking liquid back in when we shred it. Good-bye dry,    tasteless chicken.

Shredded Poached Chicken

3.   We can shred it using a stand mixer or a pair of forks.  Can you say easy?

Shredded Poached Chicken

4.   Finally, we’re going to make enough for 7 meals at once and then freeze it in meal-size portions so we can quickly whip up something like my Cheesy Chicken Melts.   Hello delicious!

Shredded Poached Chicken

Are you in? OK then – let’s get started.

Shredded Poached Chicken

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Poached Shredded Chicken

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5 from 2 votes
Shredded Poached Chicken
Shredded Chicken Master Recipe
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins

This workhorse is the foundation for many super-tasty, quick, easy weekday recipes.

Course: Main Course
Servings: 14 cups (7 meals)
Author: Betsy Edwards
  • 6 pounds chicken breasts or thighs (boneless, skinless)
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion - sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic peel and lightly crushed
  • 1 (32 ounce) box chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Special equipment
  • 8 (1 quart) freezer bags
  1. Add all ingredients to a large stockpot on the stovetop and bring to a very gentle simmer.
  2. Simmer for 12 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Let chicken sit in pot off heat for 7 minutes.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a large bowl.
  6. While chicken is cooling, strain cooking broth, discard solids and set broth aside (you should have about 4 ½ cups of broth).
  7. When chicken is cool enough to handle, using two forks, shred meat. (Or, if you own a stand mixer, my favorite way is to use the dough hook, adding the hot chicken in 3 batches to the mixer, turn on to low and run until chicken is shredded.)

  1. Note date and contents on 8 quart-sized re-sealable freezer bags.
  2. Divide the chicken into 2-cup portions (12 ounces) and transfer to 7 of the freezer bags. You want to fill your bag about ¾ of the way full. Pour 1/4 cup chicken cooking liquid into each, squeeze out the air and flatten.

  3. Pour remaining juice in remaining freezer bag to use for chicken stock.
  4. Seal and store quart bags flat in a 2-gallon freezer bag.

  5. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  1. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.  In a hurry? Use the defrost setting on the microwave.

Recipe Notes

NOTE: Can also use bone in, skin on chicken. This will reduce the yield of cooked chicken to about 12 cups. If you use skin-on chicken, simply remove and discard the skin before you shred the chicken. You may also find that you need to skim some of the fat from the cooking broth before spooning it over the chicken.



  1. Jan H

    Hello! I would like to create a chicken and vegetable salad bar for 75 women for a luncheon. Your recipe sounds perfect. Should I triple the recipe?

    • Betsy Edwards

      Hi Jan,
      I apologize for the late response. Yes, if you triple the poached chicken recipe, you’ll 84 servings of 1/2 5 cup of chicken. I’d love to hear how your luncheon goes! Another great option is my Chicken Salad for a Crowd:

    • Betsy Edwards

      Hi Jan,
      I apologize for the late response. Yes, use the Chicken Salad for a Crowd version and triple it for 75 servings of 5 ounces each. I’d love to hear how your luncheon goes!

  2. S Misukan

    I use Betsy’s shredded chicken recipe often to make meals for the family. It’s easy and the best I’ve tasted.

  3. Jen M.

    Well, I tried this tonight and had to sample. Very good recipe. Will be using the chicken in several recipe this week. Thank you.


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