How to Make Perfect Air Fryer Shredded Chicken

This air fryer shredded chicken is quick, easy, and perfectly flavorful every time. It’s great for using for chicken salad, topping your favorite salad, or serving in a sandwich!

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Bowl of air fryer shredded chicken with two forks.

Why you’ll love this

  • It’s easy! I’m no stranger to grabbing a rotisserie chicken for convenience (and that’s always okay in a pinch!), but making your own shredded chicken is cheaper and minimal effort with this method. This makes the most perfect air fryer shredded chicken every single time.
  • It’s fast. Cooking chicken can be a pain but air fryers save you time by cooking faster than your regular oven, so you’ll be able to get your shredded chicken ready to go quickly.
  • It’s perfect for meal prep. As a dietitian one of my favorite ways to “meal prep” is to prep a protein ahead of time. When you prep this shredded chicken you’ll have it ready to go for any meals that you need for the week.
  • It’s versatile! This flavorful chicken is perfect to throw on top of your favorite salad, whip together a quick and easy chicken salad, use for tacos or quesadillas, or have in a sandwich. Leftover shredded chicken has a ton of different uses!

You only need a few simple ingredients.

Raw chicken breast, olive oil and spices on a parchment paper with labels.

Ingredients

  1. Boneless skinless chicken breasts: Chicken breasts are my favorite for this recipe and way more convenient than cooking a whole chicken. Try to buy chicken breasts that are similar in size for even cooking.
  2. Extra virgin olive oil: Brushing your chicken with a small amount of olive oil keeps the chicken moist and juicy. You can also use avocado oil.
  3. Spices: You’ll season with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. You can also change up the seasoning if you’re making specific things with the chicken. For example, use taco seasoning if you’re planning to use with tacos, nachos or quesadillas!

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 375.
  2. Pat your boneless chicken breasts dry using a paper towel. Lightly brush olive oil on both sides of the chicken breast, and then season generously with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika.
Raw chicken breast seasoned on parchment paper.
  1. Place chicken breasts at the bottom of your air fryer basket in a single layer. Make sure to place them in an even layer without crowding the basket. If you have several, you may need to cook in batches.
Raw seasoned chicken breast in an air fryer basket.
  1. Air fry at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes, flipping halfway. The internal temperature with a meat thermometer should read 165 degrees in the thickest part of chicken when done cooking. Different air fryers may have slightly different cook time, so be sure to temp your chicken.
Air fried chicken breast in an air fryer basket.
  1. For best results, let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before shredding.
A white bowl with two air fried chicken breasts.
Bowl of air fryer shredded chicken with two forks.
  1. Next, move your chicken to a large bowl and shred using your preferred method. You can either use a hand mixer (yes, it works great!), use two forks, simply use your hands when the chicken is cooled enough, or even move to a cutting board and chop with a knife.
  2. Use your shredded chicken for chicken salad, sandwiches, tacos, quesadillas, wraps, and more!
Bowl of air fryer shredded chicken with two forks.

Recipe FAQ

Can I use chicken thighs?

Yes, you can use boneless skinless chicken thighs if you prefer. Chicken thighs tend to be a little smaller so your cooking time may be a few minutes quicker than chicken breast, depending on their size. Be sure to use a meat thermometer.

What’s the best way to shred chicken?

  • Mixer: Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer to shred chicken is hands down the fastest and easiest way to shred chicken. Just place your chicken in a large bowl for a hand mixer, or the bowl of your stand mixer and mix on low.
  • Two forks: If you don’t feel like getting your mixer out, use two forks to pull the chicken apart until shredded.
  • Clean hands: You can always use clean hands to pull the chicken apart. Just make sure it’s cooled enough so that you don’t burn your fingers.

Storage tips

Fridge: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Freezer: Store chicken in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Helpful kitchen tools for this recipe

  • Meat thermometer: If you don’t already have one, I highly recommend grabbing a meat thermometer. Not only does it ensure that your food is cooked to proper food safety temperature, but it also prevents over-cooking (and dry chicken!).
  • Air fryer liners: For less mess and easy clean up, these washable silicone air fryer liners are a great option. You can also grab disposable parchment paper liners if you prefer.
  • Storage containers: These are my favorite storage containers for meal prepping because they snap, they’re crystal clear so that you can see what’s inside and they have a great seal.
  • Hand mixer: Using a hand mixer is the fastest way to shred chicken and I love this cordless option. You can also use a stand mixer if you have one.
  • Air fryer: Of course, you need an air fryer! This is the updated version of the one that I have and I love the basket size as well as how easy it is to use. Air fryers are the most versatile kitchen appliance and well worth the money in my opinion.

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Bowl of air fryer shredded chicken with two forks.

Easy Air Fryer Shredded Chicken

Easy and flavorful air fryer shredded chicken, perfect for sandwiches, salads, wraps, tacos and more.
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Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees.
  • Pat your boneless chicken breasts dry using a paper towel. Lightly brush olive oil on both sides of the chicken breast, and then season generously with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika.
  • Place chicken breasts at the bottom of your air fryer basket in a single layer. Make sure to place them in an even layer without crowding the basket. If you have several, you may need to cook in batches.
  • Air fry at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes, flipping halfway. The internal temperature with a meat thermometer should read 165 degrees in the thickest part of chicken when done cooking. Different air fryers may have slightly different cook time, so be sure to temp your chicken.
  • For best results, let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before shredding.
  • Next, move your chicken to a large bowl and shred using your preferred method. You can either use a hand mixer (yes, it works great!), use two forks, simply use your hands when the chicken is cooled enough, or even move to a cutting board and chop with a knife.
  • Use your shredded chicken for chicken salad, sandwiches, tacos, quesadillas, wraps, and more!

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It's me, Jamie!

I’m a Registered Dietitian dedicated to helping you break free of the all-or-nothing dieting with balanced and realistic healthy eating.

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Meet Jamie

I’m a Registered Dietitian and I’ve been exactly where you are, right now. The all or nothing dieting, the constant food guilt, the scale obsession, absolutely no balance with food…. Sound familiar?