Shredded chicken is a staple in many local and foreign savory dishes. Chicken Pot Pie Casserole, cheesy Tetrazzini pasta, Tacos, and Empanadas are just a few of the recipes you can make. But now, how can you shred chicken in a blender without getting a puree or meat ground?
Well, we’ve mentioned more than a dozen times that a blender is the most common appliance in American homes (globally I’d also believe). It’s also the most versatile when it comes to performance.
For instance, as easy as it’s to grind meat in a blender, you can also shred chicken meat without pulverizing it. The only difference is that your poultry here must be cooked- which you can do by either boiling, baking, barbecuing, or steaming.
Shred Chicken in a Blender vs Food Processor vs Mixer
In homemade recipes that call for shredded chicken, you can shred the meaty breast or thighs by hand or with the forks.
But a motorized tool could be more efficient if you want to shred faster and achieve consistently even results. You just need to replicate the technique of “pulling apart the flesh”- as with forks (or fork and knife).
The best-motorized tool to shred chicken is a kitchen mixer mounted with a flat beater or pastry beater. It’s pretty convenient as you can shred the chicken directly into the Instant pot or slow cooker without having to dirty up another container (mixing bowl).
Furthermore, you can choose to work with either a hand mixer or a stand mixer. But the compact design of the hand mixer could be a little more convenient on the countertop.
If you don’t have any kind of a mixer, a food processor can also make some decently shredded chicken. Then again, the tool has a sharp blade that will shred the meat by cutting through it. You must be extra careful not to overprocess the pieces into minced/ crumbled chicken.
If the processing bowl still has very large chunks, it’s wise to remove and shred them separately without ruining the done batch.
Meanwhile, we saw the other day you can efficiently use Vitamix as a food processor. It should be possible to shred chicken with the tool too if that’s only what you have. But sharp blades will be cutting through the meat instead of pulling it apart. So, you also must be careful not to end up with chicken puree or ground.
Vitamix is my all-time favorite blending machine you can use to achieve a nice shredded effect. But any other cheap blender for smoothies that has the right features could work too.
Shred the Boneless & Skinless for Better Results
As I’ve just mentioned, to make shredded chicken involves pulling apart the meaty part of the produce. The boneless and skinless thighs or breasts are naturally the best meat cuts for the process from the alignment of their fibers.
But any part of the poultry could work, provided you’ve removed the skin and bones before adding them to the processing container. The chicken will shred easily and you won’t risk ruining the blades or motor of your machine.
When the skin is off, the meat will also take in the salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, or any other of your favorite spices and season well. Your meal will have an extra touch of deliciousness that everyone at the table will relish.
How Can you shred chicken in a blender without Pulverizing
In truth, many culinary experts don’t exactly recommend shredding chicken in a blender. Yes, the appliance can still get the work done and faster than when relying on the forks. But it replicates the process by cutting through the meat with a sharp blade that can easily pulverize the meat.
In a nutshell, this means the best way how you can shred chicken in a blender will be when you’ve got total control. And the one way you can achieve that will be to have a machine with variable speeds and or pulsing mode.
Either full-size Vitamix for juicing and smoothies shouldn’t struggle since the brand has the two as standard features. The same goes for Blendtec, Breville, and other high-end, high-power blenders.
On the basic Oster or Ninja blender, the motor often has only three speed settings: low, medium, and high. But the“low” speed mode is usually a little too fast in most of the models. And for that, it’ll be a good idea to rely on the dedicated pulse switch for the shredding task.
Long story short, to shred chicken in a blender:
Step 1: Cook the Skinless Chicken until Done
The first step to shredding your chicken in a blender starts with cooking the meat as it doesn’t work too well when raw. And as I’ve mentioned earlier, you can cook the poultry by boiling, roasting/ grilling, or steaming/ smoking.
The chicken should cook until tender to make sure it’s still easier to shred. And a perfect way to confirm the doneness will be to jab a meat thermometer and check if the internal temperature is 165°F.
Step 2: Wait for the Cooked Chicken to Cool Down
Once the chicken has finished cooking, let it rest on the table a little bit. The first reason for this is to wait for the meat to cool down and minimize steam build-up inside the blending jar.
Blenders like Oster or Vitamix with a removable lid plug can still process the cooked chicken while still hot without issues. But while the meat cools down, it also creates time for the inbound juices to settle and redistribute all over for more tastiness.
Tip: even though we want it to cool down, your chicken still needs to be warm when you shred it for the best results. So, it might be tricky to work with personal blenders like Nutribullet Pro or Nutri Ninja Auto IQ then. The meat has to cool down completely before you put it into the blending cups to avoid the risk of bursting.
Step 3: Add the Warm Cooked Chicken to the Blender Jar
At this point, you should have the blender on the countertop and the pitcher clean for use. Then when the chicken pieces have cooled down enough (but are still warm) put them into the blender jar and secure the lid. You can remove the lid plug if desired.
Step 4: Power up the Motor & Pulse the Mixture
Finally, power up your blender and pulse the cooked chicken until it has shredded to your desired consistency.
You could also blend at a low-and-slow mode if your blender has the true incremental blending speed settings. The process will only take 20-30 seconds. But watch the mixture carefully to ensure it doesn’t over-process.
Tip: I’ve seen some bloggers claim you should shred chicken in a blender running on the highest speed. But this is completely WRONG as “shredding chicken” involves breaking apart the meat into “shreds”. You can only achieve the results when working at a low speed.
When you try to process your cooked chicken at high speed, you’re simply pulverizing the stock. So, what you get at the end will be crumbled chicken or puree.
Commonly Asked Questions
What’s the best way to shred chicken?
The best way to shred chicken is when using a hand or stand mixer. It’s able to break apart the meat as well as when doing it by hand or with forks. If no kitchen mixer available, you can also shred chicken in a blender with pulse mode or variable speed settings.
Can you put raw chicken breast in a blender?
You can only put raw chicken breast in a blender if the idea is to make minced or ground meat. If the idea was to make shredded chicken, the meat has to be properly cooked for the fibers to separate as needed.
Can I shred chicken in a ninja blender?
Yes, indeed, you can shred chicken in a Ninja blender. You just need to insert the stacked blending system in the blender and add your warm cooked chicken. Then pulse the content until it’s shredded to your liking.
Shred More & Store for Later
The most precise way to shred chicken is by taking apart it apart with two forks (or a fork and knife). You can even do it by hand, albeit it will be slow to complete.
If you’re preparing a large family dinner or a weekend barbecue, a kitchen mixer can really come in handy. But when unavailable, we’ve just seen you can shred chick in a blender too if you manage to control the speed.
If you rarely have enough personal time, shred more chicken when available. Then store the excess amount in airtight containers/ resealable bags (up to 3-4 days) or refrigerate (lasts over a month).