Tender and juicy shredded chicken is a versatile base that can be used to make enchiladas, tacos, burritos, quesadillas and more. Cooking the chicken on a low simmer with the chilies helps make sure that every bite of chicken is plump, juicy, and delicious.

A couple of things we learned working on this recipe were that the easiest way to get plump, juicy chicken is to cook it longer over low heat. Any time the water came to a boil during our testing the chicken came out tough and stringy. Lower temps are much more forgiving to the chicken. If you’re worried about undercooked chicken make sure to cook it at least the full 90 minutes on a good simmer.

We also figured out that a great way to build layers of flavor into the chicken is to add a dried ancho chili and a can of roasted green chilies to the cooking liquid. Adding the chilies helps embed their flavor deep into every bite of chicken without making everything too spicy.

The reason this recipe uses a combination of bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts and thighs is because we love how the combination of different cuts gives the final dish more exciting flavors and textures.

Another nice thing about this recipe is it’s an easy way to make a big batch of shredded chicken that can be used to feed a large group, or the chicken can be split into two with half frozen for later.

The recipe we use this shredded chicken with the most is our Shredded Chicken Enchiladas that have a delicious creamy salsa verde sauce. If you’re looking for a side dish to go along with whatever you’re making with this chicken, try our Instant Pot Mexican Rice recipe, the flavors in the rice really compliment the flavors in the shredded chicken.

Shredded Chicken With Spices

Shredded Chicken

5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 12 servings


  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 1 cup white onion, rough cut
  • 1 4 oz can roasted green chilies
  • 1 ancho chili dried, rough cut
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


  • In a large pot sauté the onion and green chilies in a little cooking oil for a few minutes.
  • Place the chicken, skin side down to brown for 3 to 4 minutes. Cover the chicken with 6 to 8 cups water, turn the heat down to a simmer, add the ancho chili and Mexican oregano and cook uncovered on a low simmer for 90 minutes. The chicken should be entirely covered by the water.
  • When the chicken is cooked all the way through, remove it from the pot and let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes before shredding. It should be cool enough that you can touch it with your hands.
  • To shred the chicken, remove the skin and use your hands to pull it into bite-sized pieces.
  • Once the chicken has been shredded, mix it with the chili powder, cumin, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
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Nutrition Facts
Shredded Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 145 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 11%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 61mg 20%
Sodium 312mg 13%
Potassium 294mg 8%
Total Carbohydrates 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 2g
Protein 14g 28%
Vitamin A 17.6%
Vitamin C 5%
Calcium 1.1%
Iron 4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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