How to Bake Chicken Breasts to Be Shredded

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Shredded chicken is is handy to use for salads and sandwiches, burritos and enchiladas, pizza toppings, hearty pot pies, baked pasta dishes and quick-to-cook soups. Use 100-percent white meat, and your shredded chicken will also be low in fat and calories. Chicken breasts can simply be baked in the oven in preparation for shredding, but it’s important to not overcook the chicken breasts. Dry breast meat will not have that juicy, pull-apart texture that’s vital for good shredded chicken.

Step 1

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2

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Arrange chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Allow a little space between the pieces so that they are not crowded, use multiple baking sheets or dishes if necessary. If you are using skin-on chicken breasts, place them skin side up.

Step 3

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Drizzle olive oil over the chicken breasts, then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Rub the oil and seasonings all over both sides of the breasts with your hands. Wash your hands with hot soapy water.

Step 4

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Place the baking sheet or dish in the oven and set a timer for 35 minutes. Leave the chicken undisturbed while it bakes. There is no need to turn or baste the pieces; just wait for the timer to go off.

Step 5

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Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the largest chicken breast. If you are using bone-in breasts, don’t let the point touch the bone. The chicken is done if the temperature reads 165 degrees F or higher. If it's not ready yet, put it back in the oven for another five to 10 minutes, and then test again. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, pierce the thickest part of the largest chicken breast with a sharp knife. If the juices run clear and are golden, rather than pink, the chicken is ready.

Step 6

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Take the chicken out of the oven and let it rest and cool for at least 15 minutes. Remove and discard the skin, if you used skin-on breasts, before shredding the chicken.

Things You'll Need

  • Baking sheet

  • Olive oil

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Timer

  • Oven mitts

  • Meat thermometer or sharp knife

Tip

Allow frozen chicken breasts to fully thaw before baking them.

Smaller, boneless skinless chicken breasts and tenderloins will cook more quickly, so test them after about 20 minutes.

Use discarded chicken bones to make stock instead of just throwing them away.

Warning

Thoroughly wash any kitchen tools and equipment that has been in contact with raw chicken, using hot, soapy water.

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