This shredded chicken is easy eats! Super simple with minimal effort, and makes a TON of meat to keep those weeknight meals packed with protein.
When I say “I love me a one pot meal” I sincerely mean it. One dish dirtied? That means only one dish that has to be washed?? SOLD.
You had me hooked at “one dish”.
I despise doing dishes. It’s right up there with loads of laundry in the upper echelon of hellish household tasks. Somehow the welded on sticky cheesy plate or crusty baking dish always finds its way to me. If the burnt-on batter muffin pan appears in front of me, I am not pleased.
Granted. I am probably the only person to blame for these dishes being dirtied in the first place.
I sometimes have fantasies of seeing just how far I can fling them off the balcony and across the courtyard of our apartment complex. But then I imagine my neighbors’ faces and decide it’s probably best to just scrub the darn thing. You know, so they can keep believing I’m a semi-normal, polite person. Which I am (kind of).
We have come to loathe finding the phrase “hand wash only” printed in tiny letters on new kitchenware. You can often find those items lurking somewhere in close proximity to the sink as Billy and I take turns doing ALL the other dishes except those ones. Sneakily trying to pass on the task to one another like a silent game of hot potato. We treat that dish like the problem child of the kitchen, it’s constantly on “time out”. Once it’s managed to become clean again, we make an unspoken pact to avoid using it altogether.
I would like to blame our busy schedules for this sloth-like behavior, but I have always been this way.
This is why I love the crockpot.
Wait a second. Let’s get all caps involved here.
I LOVE MY CROCKPOT(S).
Yes, plural. We have more than one slow cooker. Two to be exact.
‘Cause sometimes you want to slow roast some pork while you also make shredded chicken. Because…tacos.
Crockpot meals are the quintessential one-pot meal, because they mean that you can turn it on and then go do something else. Anything else. Whatever fantastical things you have to do that day, you can still go out and get them all done.
Some days you have things to do and hovering over a stove is just not one of them.
That’s the magic of having a timed cooking device that sets itself to “warm” when time is up. So it will still be WARM when you are good and ready to eat it. And it’s nice that this programmable function means it won’t burn your house down while you are away. Sort of a plus.
This is why today I want to share one of the many secrets of this magical little appliance with you. Enter my easiest ever crockpot pulled chicken recipe. Your new meal prep savior.
This recipe makes our weekly meal prep totally painless. We make big batches of chicken and use this “meat-stash” to supply whatever we want to eat during the week – to protein-up a salad, tuck inside chicken enchiladas, throw together some Shredded Chicken Street Tacos, fill lettuce wraps, stuff into a baked Sticky Sweet Potato, make mini BBQ Pulled Chicken Sliders, or serve just as is alongside some tasty green veggies.
Having all that cooked chicken available let’s you “cook” during the week and feel like it’s totally easy and enjoyable. It gives you that well-deserved creative time without having to actually create something from scratch every night.
The chicken gets unbelievably tender and flavorful from the vinegar, tomato sauce, and spice combination. This lean cut of meat won’t dry out in the slow cooker. In fact, after it’s done it will pretty much just fall apart and shreds easily when pulled between two forks.
The overall flavor has just a hint of that sweet, smokey, peppery BBQ taste to it without being so heavy that you can’t easily adapt it to suit a variety of dishes. This recipe is a fun one to have on hand when you are short on time but don’t want to be cut short on flavorful meals.
A few notes about this recipe.
I use pasta sauce instead of just canned crushed tomatoes or tomato paste because I like using it as a shortcut.
Pasta sauces tend to already have garlic, onions, and fresh herbs lovingly cooked into them. Which means less prep for you at home. And arrabbiata pasta sauce is my particular favorite because I like things that are a little on the spicy side. Rao’s Homemade Arrabbiata Sauce is my go-to.
No caramelizing onions, peeling or grating garlic, or washing and chopping herbs. No extra pan or extra ingredients on your list. Not today, folks.
Same goes for the use of Worcestershire sauce which already has that perfectly balanced blend of savory flavors built right into it. I used Annie’s Homegrown Organic Worcestershire Sauce. Shortcuttin’ it, all day.
I used molasses for its signature depth of flavor and because it’s classic in many American BBQ sauces. Well…that and I had a lot of Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Molasses on hand following the torrent of holiday cookies that got churned out of my kitchen.
Molasses is that darker, sultrier side of sweet. It lends itself to savory applications very well. We aren’t using a lot of it here, so if you just want to bring in a little sweetness you can swap it for honey or coconut nectar (great low glycemic index alternative) as needed.
In the end you will only be reincorporating a small amount of the cooking liquid into the shredded chicken, so those so-called “extra calories” won’t even really make it into the mix. But the flavor WILL!
All you do is lump all the recipe ingredients together in your slow cooker, set it, and forget it.
The “forget it” part won’t be that easy though, because your house is about to smell SO GOOD that you won’t really be able to ignore the fact that dinner is nearly on its merry way to your mouth.
Here’s a list of the tools + ingredients I used in this recipe:
FYI these are affiliate links – which means if you use these links I will make a small commission of whatever you purchase. The price of the item remains the same whether or not you use this link and it’s at zero additional charge to you. All commissions support this blog.
6-Qt Programmable Slow Cooker (mine is an older model, but this newer version is similar)
MORE SLOW COOKER RECIPES:
- Add chicken breasts to crockpot.
- Add the remaining ingredients on top of the chicken breasts. Stir around briefly to combine.
- Cover crockpot with lid. Set to LOW and cook for 4 hours 30 minutes.
- After fully cooked, remove chicken from crockpot to cutting board and use two forks to shred chicken.
- Place pulled chicken in a container and pour ½ cup of the remaining liquid from the crockpot over the chicken. Toss chicken until it has sopped up the liquid.
You can use more or less of the cooking liquid to taste. I like to add just enough to moisten and lightly flavor the chicken. Keep in mind that this liquid has been condensing and concentrating for several hours so it will be a salty mixture, add a little bit at a time and taste as you go.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
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