Meal-Prep Shredded Chicken Base

Your weekly meals just got a lot more delicious. Use this master chicken base recipe for enchiladas, chicken wraps, or any recipe calling for shredded chicken.

Shredded Pork Roast in a skillet with green onions
Photo: Carson Downing
Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 5 mins
6 cups (three 2-cup portions)


  • 4 ½ - 5 pound bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed

  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika or paprika

  • Salt and black pepper

  • Olive oil (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed

  • 1 14.5 ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth


  1. Sprinkle chicken with paprika, salt, and pepper. If desired, in a 4- to 6-qt. Dutch oven cook chicken, half at a time, in hot oil over medium-high heat until browned, turning once. Place all of the chicken in Dutch oven; sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Add broth.

  2. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 45 to 60 minutes or until chicken is done (at least 175°F).

  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a large bowl, reserving cooking liquid. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones. Shred chicken using two forks. Add enough of the cooking liquid to moisten.*

  4. Divide shredded chicken among three airtight containers or resealable plastic freezer bags, using 2 cups for each container. Store in refrigerator up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

  5. If frozen, thaw in refrigerator overnight. Use to prepare Chicken Masala and Chicken Melts with Olives and Lemon.


If desired, strain and reserve the remaining cooking liquid to use for chicken stock.

Slow Cooker Directions

Season and, if desired, brown chicken. Place in a 4- to 5-qt. slow cooker; sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Add broth. Cover and cook on low 7 to 8 hours or high 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Continue as directed in Step 3.

Chicken Masala

In a 3- to 4-qt. saucepan heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high. Add 1/2 cup each chopped onion, carrot, and bell pepper and 2 cloves garlic, minced; cook 5 to 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in one portion Shredded Chicken Master Recipe, one 15-oz. jar tikka masala simmer sauce (such as Patak's), and 1/2 cup chicken broth. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Stir in one 14.5-oz. can undrained diced tomatoes and 1 cup frozen peas. Simmer, covered, 5 minutes more. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro. Serve with hot cooked rice, warmed naan, and/or plain Greek yogurt. Makes 4 servings (1 1/2 cups each).Nutrition analysis per serving: 352 calories, 25 g protein, 23 g carbohydrate, 17 g total fat (7 g sat. fat), 83 mg cholesterol, 6 g fiber. 11 g total sugar, 92% Vitamin !, 36% Vitamin C, 1206 mg sodium, 11% calcium. 20% iron

Chicken Melts with Olives and Lemon

Preheat broiler. Arrange four 3/4-inch slices crusty country bread on a baking sheet. Broil 4 inches from heat 2 minutes or until lightly toasted, turning once. Remove 2 tsp. zest and squeeze 1 Tbsp. juice from one lemon. In a medium bowl combine lemon zest and juice, one portion Shredded Chicken Master Recipe, 1/4 cup each chopped pitted green olives and cornichons, 2 tsp. Dijon-style mustard, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and dash salt. Divide chicken mixture among four of the toasted bread slices; top each with 1 slice Havarti, Comté, or mild Swiss cheese. Broil 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with arugula or watercress. Makes 4 sandwiches (1 sandwich each). Nutrition analysis per serving: 378 calories, 28 g protein, 27 g carbohydrate, 17 g total fat (6 g sat. fat), 86 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 0 g total sugar, 5% Vitamin A 4% Vitamin C, 945 mg sodium, 10% calcium, 14% iron

Chicken Enchiladas

Toss chicken mixture with Mexican-blend cheese; roll up mixture in corn or flour tortillas. Place in a greased baking dish. Drizzle with salsa or green enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Bake 20 minutes at 375°F or until cheese is melted and filling is heated through.

Greek Chicken Wraps

On pita bread, pile warmed chicken mixture and chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and Kalamata olives. Top with crumbled feta. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

149 Calories
7g Fat
20g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 149
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 66mg 22%
Sodium 196mg 9%
Protein 20g
Vitamin C 0.1mg 1%
Calcium 14mg 1%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 201mg 4%
Folate, total 6.7mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.2mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.3mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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