Boiling Chicken for Shredding

by iupilon

How long to boil chicken breast for shredding? You’ve probably asked this question a hundred times before because people seem to be eyeballing their whole chickens and chicken breasts when preparing different recipes.

Luckily, we’ve trained our sights on teaching people how to prepare the chicken breast for shredding properly. It’s not that hard, and with a bit of practice, you can do it effortlessly.

How to Boil Chicken Breast to Shred

You can boil chicken to shred by cooking it for thirty-five to forty minutes if the chicken breast has the bone in. If the bone has been removed, reduce the cooking time to twenty-five to thirty minutes.

If you have a larger bird, say a whole grill that is up to four pounds in weight, you can increase the cooking time slightly to about fifty to sixty minutes. You have to check for doneness at this point, so you don’t over-boil the chicken and dry it out too much.

How do you boil chicken without drying it out?

Chicken begins to dry out rapidly after the ideal cooking period is surpassed. This is the main reason why you have to check for doneness because you don’t want to overcook it.

There won’t be a lot of negative effects because this is an animal protein we are talking about. Animal proteins do not break down easily, even with continuous heat. So, the chicken’s protein content is still going to be substantial even after an hour or two of boiling.  

How long to boil chicken breast to shred?

The moment your 4 oz chicken breast begins to be fork-tender, you go over a few minutes to make sure that it’s done. The chicken breast is going to be ready for shredding at that point. Overcooking the chicken won’t make it more palatable or more suitable for any recipe that requires shredded chicken.

If you are working with a smaller quantity of chicken and you only have a small pot at home, you can probably get a tender piece of the chicken breast after twelve to fifteen minutes after the water has begun boiling vigorously. This way, the chicken breast will not be undercooked, and it will be perfectly tender just before shred it. Take note that any chicken with the bone in will require a longer cooking time. In spring chickens or younger chickens, there is a tendency for meat around the bones to become darker. This is normal and is due to a natural pigment in the chicken’s body. The darkening of the meat has no impact whatsoever on the flavor of the chicken. Don’t worry about darkening meat, but pay attention to the “best before” date on every fresh or frozen chicken pack.

Can you cook frozen chicken breast?

Yes, but it will likely take longer to cook. The ideal step in this situation is to thaw the chicken fully before cooking. This way, you won’t have to worry about the extra cooking time. If you boil frozen chicken, you need to wait for the chicken to thaw out first before the insides are cooked—either way, we recommend using a meat thermometer. Check the internal temperature first before serving.

The minimum internal temperature of cooked chicken (any part) is 165 ºF or 73.8 ºC. You can use any appropriate meat thermometer for measuring the internal temperature of the chicken. We highly recommend instant-read thermometers because they are easy to use and provide highly accurate readings.  Just make sure that when you insert the meat thermometer, you do so in the meat’s thickest part. Also, avoid puncturing the meat near the bone or beside the bone as you may end up getting an inaccurate reading. Chicken bones do not warm the same as muscle.

What is the best way to shred chicken breast?

The most common method of breaking down the chicken into shred it with a fork. You place the chicken breast on a tray or play, and you hold it with one hand. You use your other hand (with a fork) to remove muscle fiber bits until all of the breasts become shredded.

It takes a while to do, and if you have just cooked the chicken breast, it will be hot. A fork is also not very consistent with the chunks or shreds that it removes from the larger piece of meat.

This means you’ll have to go over some of the larger chunks to make sure that you end up with a consistent plate of shredded chicken. If you can wait for a little until the chicken is sufficiently cooled down before shredding, do it. Don’t worry if you have to hold the cooked chicken meat. Just make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly before you do so.

Now, if you want a more efficient method of shredding the chicken, there is one method that seems unorthodox but is genius: use a mixer. A hand mixer may not look the part of something that can break down meat, since it is designed to mix softer things, like egg whites. However, it does have the spinning power to quickly turn large quantities of chicken breast to consistent handfuls of shredded meat.  

This is one of the most efficient solutions we know.  All you have to do is to place the cooked chicken breast in a sizeable container and use the mixer to work through it.

Make sure that you set the mixer to “low power” to get a good shred going. If the blades of the hand mixer move too fast, you are not going to get as good results, and the meat can fly off the bowl. We also want to avoid any situation where the shredded chicken becomes trapped or tangled with the hand mixer’s blades.


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