15 Dishes You Can Make With Shredded Chicken

When it comes to meal planning, no food is as versatile as shredded chicken. It works in soups and salads, casseroles and tacos, and any time of the day. Consider it for dinnertime chili, afternoon pasta, breakfast omelet, or anytime appetizers.

You can buy a rotisserie chicken and shred it at home, or prepare it yourself, explains Downshiftology. The prepped chicken will last a week in the fridge or a couple of months in the freezer. Prepping your own chicken is simple. Sear chicken breasts or thighs on one side in oil. Turn and add chicken broth, then cover and poach. Once cooked, remove from the pan and shred. There are a couple of methods you can use. Two forks are standard, but a stand mixer with a paddle attachment can shred all the meat at once. 

Now that your chicken is ready, let's look at some ways you can use it.

Dress up your dips

Appetizers are an excellent way to use shredded chicken. And dips come in so many styles, textures, and flavors you're sure to find one that you and your guests will love. And you likely already have all the ingredients you need in your fridge and pantry.

For example, Tasting Table's Creamy Buffalo Chicken Dip calls for cream cheese, Buffalo chicken sauce, ranch dressing, and shredded cheddar. They recommend topping it with green onions, which add extra flavor. You can pick these up the day of or skip them altogether. If you already have prepped chicken, you're good to go.

Most chicken dip recipes include cream cheese and shredded cheese. For instance, Crack Chicken Dip is a chicken bacon ranch dip using cream cheese, cheddar, sour cream, ranch dip, bacon, and shredded chicken (via Plain Chicken) that will have everyone coming back for more. Or if you're wanting Mexican flavors, you could make a Mexican Shredded Chicken Dip using shredded cheese, cream cheese, salsa, green chilis, scallions, and shredded chicken (per Carolyn's Cooking).

Pair it with pasta

Pasta is a perfect complement to shredded chicken. You can mix up many meals, depending on how much prep you're willing to put in and how much time you have. Like prepping your chicken upfront, some of these options are wonderful because, while they may take some time to put together, you should have plenty of leftovers.

Try whipping up a Creamy Chicken Gnocchi from Tasting Table tonight, and you'll have one delicious meal for two or four meals that are sure to keep satisfying singles or couples.

If you want something simpler, try Amish Chicken and Noodles (via Tasting Table). This makes six servings, and even kids will love it. Think of it like a fancy chicken noodle soup or ramen. The first batch will take two and a half hours, but you will eat well for the rest of the week, maybe even a month, if you pop some of these in the freezer.

Nosh it in nachos

January kicks off celebration season — New Year's, the Superbowl, or maybe you're just inviting friends over for snacks or a makeshift happy hour. No one ever found fault with ground beef nachos, but why not try something new and make your nachos with shredded chicken?

Livestrong explains that using shredded chicken in your nachos is one way to make them healthier. Including beans is another. Choose canned pinto or black beans first. Refried beans are another excellent option, but steer clear of those filled with lard or high in sodium. Most varieties are available in fat-free, low-sodium, or no salt added options.

Shredded cheddar also tends to be lower in fat and calories than canned cheese sauces. This recipe (per Tasting Table) uses shredded cheddar, shredded chicken, tortilla chips, and red onion. Drizzle with a dressing made of sour cream, cilantro, and lime juice, then sprinkle with diced tomato.

Bake it into bread

You might consider bread a side dish, but it can be so much more. Worried about working with yeast? Using refrigerated crescent dough, you can cook a delicious Chicken Broccoli Braid with this recipe from Mashed.

You'll need two cans to roll out into your dough. Then put your shredded chicken, cheddar, and broccoli filling on top. Braid two outer strips over the top and tuck them under, then brush the top with an egg and pop it in a 375-degree Fahrenheit oven for 18 minutes.

Other options are available if you're a pro-baker or willing to work with yeast. The filling for this Chick Bread (via Cook Think) is a bit more complicated and uses homemade dough as a base. Combine shredded chicken, cream cheese, chives, milk, flour, garlic, shredded cheddar, onion, salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Mix everything together, spread it on your dough, and then braid it over the top. Brush the top with an egg wash and dust with sesame seeds.

Add something savory to salads

Salads are also a side, but they can easily serve as a meal. You'll want to keep some basics in mind when building one. According to Healthy Happy Life, you'll want to start with greens. These could include spinach, kale, spring mix, chard, or a combination.

Next, add your produce. This can be any fruits and veggies you can imagine, but your salad will be most attractive and healthiest if you choose various products in multiple colors. Consider carrots and citrus, apples and pomegranate arils, broccoli, and cauliflower. If you're looking for something less traditional, you could consider purple potatoes or butternut squash.

Then, pick a protein. This is where your shredded chicken comes in, but you could also use steak, hard-boiled eggs, beans, lentils, or tofu. Looking for some inspiration? This Tex-Mex Salad (per Life in the Lofthouse) calls for chunks of chicken but shredded would work just as well.

Cook it into chili

There are many different ways to make chili. Beans and ground beef are the most common, but you can also use sweet potatoes or shredded chicken. And nothing makes a better meal in the fall and winter months. Wide Open Eats points out that traditional chili might need some adjusting to fit healthier lifestyles. Shredded chicken is just one of the swaps you can make, but an important one that won't compromise taste the way some other options can.

Smoky Chicken Chili (via Tasting Table) uses several healthy swaps, including two types of beans and chicken breasts. Cook the latter whole in the chili and shred it at the end. As an extra heart-healthy surprise, this recipe also calls for an ounce of dark chocolate.

If you're not a fan of tomatoes, or the above recipe sounds a bit heavy, you could try a white chicken chili recipe. This one (per Mashed) calls for crème Fraîche, cannellini beans, and ginger.

Stir it into soups and stews

There are many reasons to include soups and stews in your weekly meal rotation. Henry Ford Health points out that soups can be an excellent way to increase your daily veggies intake. In the cooler months, they're more welcome than a cold salad, and heartier vegetables like squash and pumpkin can be pureed into a creamy texture lower in fat and calories than traditional options.

Soups are also great for meal prep. Cook on the weekend or whenever your days off are and have soup for weeks. This works especially well if you are using recipes that can be prepared in an Instant Pot or slow cooker. And you won't break the bank purchasing ingredients, particularly if you go heavy on vegetables and lighter on more expensive meat products.

If you're looking for a simple soup solution, you can't go wrong with a Classic Chicken Noodle Soup. Or you could try Classic Chicken Tortilla Soup (via Mashed) which uses frozen and canned vegetables, and the chicken cooks up right in the pot. It's quick, easy, and satisfying — it makes four servings, so if you're single, you already have three more meals.

Try it in Thai

You can use your prepared shredded chicken in soups and salads with a Thai twist. Because Thai food is popular, you likely already have some idea what dishes might call for shredded chicken — but if you're a novice, there are some things you should know.

World Travel Family explains that most Thai restaurants assume Americans cannot tolerate spicier flavors and will serve a mild version unless otherwise requested. Fortunately, if you cook at home, you can use as much or as little spice as you like.

If you're looking for some starter Thai recipes for your shredded chicken, consider Thai Coconut Soup (via Tasting Table). It cooks in one pot and takes only 30 minutes. Green Papaya Salad (per Tasting Table) takes considerably longer at nearly three hours. But it presents beautifully and makes an excellent choice if you're serving guests or if it's a special occasion.

Put it in pies

If you're looking to serve a crowd or want loads of leftovers, there's no better use for your shredded chicken than to include it in a pie. These dishes are hearty and don't require a side dish, making them easy to get on the table and to take with you later. The most traditional version is a chicken pot pie. If you've already prepared your shredded chicken, this is pretty simple. Mashed has a version that uses a store-bought pie crust and frozen vegetables, cutting down on your prep time.

If that's not your style, or you have more mouths to feed, you could try a Tamale Pie (via Mashed) instead. It's quick and easy, using a cornbread crust made from three boxes of Jiffy mix. This tops your chicken, black beans, and a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chilis. Cook for the first 15 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for another 15 minutes. This makes 8 servings, so you will have plenty of leftovers.

Mix it into Mexican dishes

One of the best ways to use your shredded chicken is in Mexican dishes. Add sauce or seasonings and use it as the base for quesadillas or tacos. Quesadillas are an excellent choice if you are making a single flavor you know everyone will love. Opt for out-of-the-ordinary with Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas from Mashed for the best of both American and Mexican cuisine. It takes only five ingredients and 25 minutes.

Looking for something more traditional? Try this recipe for Shredded Chicken Tacos (per Carlsbad Cravings) instead. This has more ingredients, but you'll love the flavor. Mix your shredded chicken with chili powder, cumin, onion powder, cayenne, fire-roasted tomatoes, chicken broth, chilis, and tomato paste.

Once your chicken is ready, customize this dish however you like. Choose taco shells or tortillas as your serving medium, then top with cheese, black or refried beans, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, or any other toppings you desire.

Cook it into casseroles

Looking for something filling and easy to make, that comes in just about any flavor profile? Then casseroles are the way to use your shredded chicken. And adding extra protein to your diet has a whole host of benefits.

Healthy Fitness Meals explains that it's not just pro athletes who need extra protein. Everyone can benefit, no matter how active or inactive they are. Protein keeps you feeling full and satisfied, can help build lean muscle mass, maintain weight loss, and even pep up your mood and energy levels. It also helps your body digest food and regulates hormone levels (via Piedmont).

If you're looking for recipe ideas, consider this Chicken Spinach Mushroom Casserole (per Health Digest). Or this Spicy Chicken Casserole (via Mashed). If you're hoping for leftovers, this is a great option, as it makes 12 servings. It's also a health-conscious option at only 211 calories per serving.

Serve it with spaghetti squash

There are dozens of squash varieties, and most, if not all, work with shredded chicken. But some are better suited than others. Spaghetti squash partners perfectly with your chicken, and, as Tasting Table explains, it gives you the appearance of a pasta dish at a fraction of the calories. It contains additional benefits, including being a source of beta-carotene (especially the orange variety), potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorous, and zinc.

We've got you covered here if you're looking for another buffalo chicken-flavored recipe. You'll need to start by baking the squash. While it's in the oven, you can mix up the filling, made from shredded chicken, buffalo sauce, ranch dressing mix, and blue cheese.

Once your squash is cooked, shred the flesh, add it to your chicken mix, and put it back in your spaghetti squash boats. You can finish these by garnishing with mozzarella or sprinkle with more blue cheese.

Coronate it queen for a day

According to Le Cordon Bleu, this recipe, originally called Poulet Reine Elizabeth, dates back to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. It was created by the dean at Le Cordon Bleu London, a former student at the Paris school, and her students for the newly minted queen and her guests.

The recipe has been recreated many times. It features boned chicken in a curried cream sauce with a salad made from rice, green peas, and pimentos. The more recent versions of this dish resemble something closer to a chicken salad. And this version (via Mashed) has some additional seasonings to kick up the spice factor.

Start by cooking chicken breasts in chicken stock, cinnamon sticks, and ginger, then remove it from the stove, and allow it to rest in the juices. Make a sauce out of mayo, Greek yogurt, mango chutney, lemon juice, curry powder, sultanas, cilantro, and salt and pepper. Shred your chicken, toss it with dressing, and serve on its own or in a sandwich.

Insert it in Instant Pot recipes

Instant pots have become all the rage in recent years. According to New York Times Cooking, they stem from the pressure cooker concept. The difference is that the Instant Pot is a multifunction device that operates as a slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté and steaming machine, and sometimes a yogurt maker. In other words, you can use it to make just about anything.

You'll use two of these features when making Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore (per Mashed). Start out on sauté, cooking your chicken in olive oil. Cook for a minute and a half on each side and remove them for the time being. Next, cook your veggies in the same oil using the same sauté feature.

Add wine, garlic, tomato paste, paprika, basil, salt, and pepper. Add diced tomatoes and switch off sauté. Put your chicken back in the pot with the cooked vegetables and sauce. Set the device to pressure cook, and let it run for 15 minutes. Release the pressure on your pot, shred the chicken, and top with mozzarella.

Simmer it in a slow cooker

Slow cookers predate the Instant Pot, but they are just as valuable in the kitchen. According to BBC Good Food, they don't have all the features of an Instant Pot, but they're nearly as versatile. You can use them for casseroles, macaroni and cheese, pulled chicken and pork, and even desserts.

The slow cooker does most of the work for you in a recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings (via Mashed). Start with veggies, add your chicken breasts, then top with cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, herbs de Provence, and bay leaves.

Cook for three hours on high or six hours on low. Dice a can of biscuits, and then remove and shred your chicken. Put it back in the pot with garlic cloves and pile the diced biscuits on top. Cook for another 90 minutes until the biscuits plump on top and turn golden brown. Serve immediately.