Meal prep just got easier with simple, hands-off dutch oven shredded chicken. It’s a great way to prep for healthy eating throughout the week!
Author’s Note: This post was originally published 1/24/2017 and has been updated with better photos and tips to make the post more useful.
Plain dutch oven shredded chicken is a staple in my kitchen for quick, easy meal prep. It's faster than a slow cooker and makes moist, tender shredded chicken breasts every time!
Why use a dutch oven?
Why a dutch oven? There are many recipes out there for slow cooker shredded chicken, but I've found that I prefer using my dutch oven for nearly everything.
Dutch oven shredded chicken only takes 30-40 or so minutes of your time (as opposed to 4 to 5 hours in a slow cooker).
Yes, the dutch oven method is slower than boiling the chicken. But boiled chicken is tough and rubbery. NOT GREAT. Dutch oven chicken is definitely the way to go.
Top tips for dutch oven shredded chicken
This couldn't be simpler.
Preheat the oven to 350. I drizzle just a bit of extra virgin olive oil into my dutch oven. You can totally skip this step. I only do it to prevent the chicken from leaving residue...it makes cleaning that much easier. But since my dutch oven is already enameled, it doesn't stick much anyway.
Nestle in the chicken breasts. Try to avoid too much overlap so each breast cooks evenly. If you pile chicken breasts on top of one another, the cooking time will change.
Sprinkle on some salt. A teaspoon or so should do it.
Put the cover on the dutch oven and pop in the oven. Set a timer for 30 minutes.
Cook until the internal temperature of the breasts reaches 165 degrees F. Shred those babies with two forks. DONE.
How to re-use prepped shredded chicken
Okay, so you’ve prepped your chicken with this recipe for fast, versatile protein throughout your week. Now what?
You can use shredded chicken for every single meal if you’re creative and resourceful!
Use these ideas to get you started:
- Egg bakes
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on it and eat it as-is
- Toss it in dressing (like ranch or BBQ sauce) and pair with veggies for a quick lunch
The best dutch oven to have in your kitchen
Obviously, to make this recipe you’ve got to have a dutch oven on hand. The main reason I LOVE dutch ovens: you can use them both on the stovetop and in the oven. Coincidentally, that’s the main reason I love cast iron in general!
So, get yourself a dutch oven that will last you for many, many years of creating in the kitchen. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to cost too much — a Lodge cast iron dutch oven is a great choice!
I recently upgraded to a Misen enameled Dutch oven and I LOVE it. Misen is one of my go-to brands for kitchen essentials. I highly recommend checking them out!
How to prevent shredded chicken from drying out
When I've made shredded chicken in a dutch oven, I haven't found this to be a huge problem. Because you're cooking at a lower heat and the Dutch oven is covered, the moisture stays trapped inside.
However, if you don't get the same results, you can add ¼ cup of chicken broth or water (but preferably chicken broth) to the Dutch oven before you start cooking. Just make sure to drain any excess liquid after shredding!
Recipes that use shredded chicken:
- Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Egg Bake
- Buffalo Chicken Smothered Sweet Potato Fries
- Bacon Buffalo Chicken Casserole
- BBQ Chicken Smothered Sweet Potato Fries
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Have more ideas on how to use dutch oven shredded chicken? Let me know how you used it in the comments below, or tag me on Instagram!Print
Make shredded chicken in your dutch oven! Faster than a slow cooker and perfectly juicy, you'll be surprised how easy it is to prep a bunch of shredded chicken in under an hour.
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil (optional)
- 2 - 2.5 pounds chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- (Optional) Grease the bottom of the dutch oven with olive oil. I do this just to prevent any and all sticking, but many dutch ovens are enameled so it's not entirely necessary.
- Place chicken breasts in the dutch oven. Try not to overlap too much (overlap could result in extra cooking time). Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt.
- Cover the dutch oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until chicken breasts are cooked through. Shred using two forks.
The wonderful thing about this "recipe" is how easy it is to play around with it. I've used the same method, but for 40 or so minutes at 300 degrees F. If 30 minutes at 350 degrees F isn't floating your boat, play around with the cooking temp and times (always being sure to fully cook the chicken) to figure out what makes your perfect shredded chicken.
Keywords: Dutch oven shredded chicken