December 12

Can You Shred Chicken in a Food Processor? | The Quickest Way To Cutting Your Meat


Author: Ana Stanar and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Shredding chicken is a great way to fill chicken tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and more. You can also use it to make pulled chicken or shredded barbecue chicken. However, a significant question you might ask yourself is: can you shred chicken in a food processor?

While it stands faster than shredding your chicken using hands, the process might be tricky if you do not know what you are doing. As such, how can you derive the best texture from the process to suit your standards?

This article will highlight the best attachments, techniques, chicken temperature, etc., that you should look at while using a food processor for shredding chicken.

Empty food processor

Can You Shred Chicken in a Food Processor? -What is Shredded Chicken?

Shredded chicken is a term that can be confusing. You may think of shredded chicken as leftovers from a rotisserie chicken or similar store-bought cooked meat, but the definition is much broader.

Shredded meat is usually used in recipes like tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, or pulled chicken sandwiches instead of whole chunks of meat because it's easier to eat, and the filling is more versatile.

In order to shred cooked chicken, the meat has to be tenderized first. You can chop it or dice it into smaller pieces that are easier for a food processor to handle or use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.

You can leverage pre-cooked chicken if you're going this route because uncooked chunks of meat will take much longer to shred.

How Do You Make Shredded Chicken in a Food Processor?

To shred or cut up chicken in a food processor, start by removing the skin and bones from the cooked chicken. Next, place half of the chicken into your work bowl with the grater attachment which can also be used to grate cheese. Turn on the machine and go for about some seconds before stopping to check the consistency.

Pull apart any large chunks, then replace the lid and turn on the device again. Try not to over-process the chicken to prevent it from turning into a paste. To make evenly shredded chicken, run on and off in short spurts until you achieve your desired consistency.

A whole chicken

Can You Shred Meat in a Food Processor?

Yes, the quickest way to shred cooked chicken is in a food processor with a grater attachment. Cleaning up after shredding will be easier if you line the work bowl with a bag or plastic wrap first. You can also use a stand mixer and the paddle attachment if you don't have a food processor. On a separate note, be aware that food processors are not designed for liquid ingredients since wet materials get trapped along the sides of a mixing bowl, though pureeing is something they are good at.

You can cut up raw pork, beef, chicken breasts, and turkey with the grater attachment by first chopping the meat into smaller pieces. The trick is to use a stand mixer or food processor with a sharp slicer blade because dull blades will give you a chopped meat mixture instead of shredded meat.

You'll get the best results when you use pre-cooked meat because of its tender state (see also 'Can a Food Processor Grind Meat?'). Since food processors are very efficient at cutting up cooked chicken, it will be wiser to use leftover chicken or canned chicken if all you have available is raw meat.

How Do You Shred Chicken in a Food Processor?

Food processors are primarily good at chopping food, but the grater attachment can shred up chicken if it's done right. If you have pre-cooked meat available, it should only take a few seconds to make shredded chicken. Even uncooked beef will work with a bit of persistence.

If you don't have pre-cooked meat, try chopping the whole chicken into smaller pieces first. This element will make it easier for your food processor's blades to shred up the meat.

A close shot of food in a processor

If you're using raw chicken, be sure to cook it through before shredding or risk contaminating your food processor with salmonella and other harmful bacteria.

Place half of the breast into your food processor with a grater attachment to shred a chicken breast. Pulse several times to chop up the meat, then pull apart any huge chunks. Replace lid and pulse again until chicken is shredded. On a side note, the pulse button is very handy when you want to make nut butter, or when making  pie dough.

How to Use Shredded Chicken in Recipes

Shredded chicken recipes are the most commonly used in Mexican dishes like tacos, burritos, or enchiladas. Nonetheless, you can also use it as a filling for quesadillas, sandwiches, or wraps.

You can also use it to make delicious recipes of soups or casseroles. If you're using canned or pre-cooked shredded chicken, it won't take long to make up a batch of filling for tacos.

If you want to make shredded beef instead of chicken, start by cutting the meat into cubes and cooking them through before shredding in your food processor or mixer attachments. You can also mix pork with beef if that's what you have available.

You can also use shredded meat in pasta dishes, noodle soups, and fried rice. It's a versatile filling that works well in most types of cuisine and new recipes.

Fried chicken on a plate

Benefits of Shredding Chicken for Recipes

Shredded chicken is a great alternative to ground beef because it contains less fat and works well with many recipes. The shredded meat also cooks up faster than whole bulk chunks, saving time on busy nights.

If you're shredding a large batch of cooked chicken, you can store the leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for up to four days before you need to toss it out.

When shredding chicken, use short spurts of about one second at a time to make sure the meat doesn't over-process. While mixing raw meat with pre-cooked meat, remember that it will take longer to achieve the same results.

Can You Shred Raw Chicken in a Food Processor?

You should never shred raw chicken in a food processor without first cooking it to an internal temperature. It's because raw chicken contains salmonella and other harmful bacteria that can contaminate your kitchen if they're not cooked out before you begin processing the meat.

Be sure to remember this rule for any meat processing in your food processor. If you want to achieve the consistency of ground beef, cut up cooked steak or pork roast instead.

The same precautionary rule applies to using a KitchenAid mixer attachment like the grater for shredded chicken. Always use pre-cooked meat when shredding with your stand mixer because it is an efficient way to avoid salmonella contamination.

Cooked chicken

Is It Better to Shred Chicken Hot or Cold?

You can use a food processor to shred chicken, either hot or cold. If you're slicing pre-cooked meat, it doesn't matter if you use a food processor before or after heating it. If you want to save time and avoid another dish to clean, consider shredding your chicken cold and immediately using it in the recipe.

The Best Way to Shred Chicken in a Food Processor

There are several methods for shredding cooked chicken breasts in your food processor, but each has its benefits and drawbacks. The best way will depend on what you intend to do with the shredded chicken once it's processed.

Starting with half of the chicken breast whole before pulsing will make it easier for the food processor blades to shred. Using canned or pre-cooked canned chicken shredded will take a shorter time to make up a batch of filling for tacos.

Can You Shred Already Cooked Chicken?

Cooked chicken is the best to shred with a food processor because it's moist and quickly cut down into small pieces. Chicken moist makes for a more flavorful filling.

Always slice cooked chicken breasts in mid-sized chunks before cutting them into smaller pieces. These chunks will become smaller as they're processed and cut up.

Alternative Ways to Shred Chicken

If you don't have a food processor or KitchenAid mixer attachment, there are other ways to shred meat. You could use a stand mixer with the grater attachment or even try using two forks to pull apart pieces of meat until it's shredded. Cheese graters are another option for achieving shredded chicken without a food processor.

Additionally, you can shred chicken with your hands if it's cooked and tender enough. To do this, tear the meat into small chunks that are easier to handle by hand.

Place each piece between two fingers and use them like you would tear apart pulled pork or beef. This method isn't as efficient because it takes longer, but it does work.

Once shredded, use leftover cooked chicken immediately or store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator. If you have raw meat to work with, cook through before shredding.

How Much Chicken Can a Food Processor Shred at Once?

If you have a food processor with a large feed tube, it should handle multiple chicken breasts at once. If you're working with a small capacity machine, shredding one or two pieces of meat at a time is ideal (see 7 cup food processors for greater capacity). 

Chicken can also be shredded in batches and combined. Use this method if you don't mind removing the meat from the food processor to mix it.


Can you shred chicken in the food processor? The answer is yes, but take precautions to prevent anyone from getting sick through salmonella contamination. It's best to shred cooked meat and combine it using a smaller capacity food processor.

When prepping your chicken to slice, cut it into chunks before placing it in the processor. This is a very important technique, making it easier for the machine's blades to do their job. Once done, use shredded chicken immediately or store it in a container in the refrigerator.

About the author

Ana Stanar

An Art Teacher, entrepreneur, and a mother of three, Ana considers cooking a form of art - pleasure for all senses as well as a process that requires creativity, passion and devotion. Since she leads a busy life, Ana just loves testing various kitchen appliances for Kitchen Gearoid, especially those that save her time while preparing food and cooking but also make every meal a masterpiece!


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