As chicken is such a versatile meat, it can make meal times a little stagnant and boring to serve it the same way every other day. That is why shredded chicken is so popular because it offers a new way to enjoy chicken while providing your dish with a more dynamic texture.
To freeze shredded chicken, allow it to cool completely before portioning it out into airtight containers or freezer bags. Seal the containers up, removing as much air as possible before freezing them.
How to Freeze Shredded Chicken
Try as you might, it is exceedingly challenging to shred uncooked chicken, so the chances are that your leftover shredded chicken is already cooked.
This can make it a little more difficult to ensure that the chicken remains moist and delicious once it has defrosted if you don’t know how to freeze cooked shredded chicken properly.
That is why we have put together the ultimate method for freezing cooked shredded chicken that you can use to help your future self save on food waste and time in the kitchen:
- Allow To Cool
Before jumping into freezing your shredded chicken, you need to ensure that it is cool enough to prevent harmful bacteria from growing before it fully freezes. Wait until the chicken is at least room temperature.
- Portion It Out
If you have more than 1 portion of shredded chicken left to freeze, then separate it into manageable portions. This will save you from having to defrost a whole load of shredded chicken at one time.
- Move To Better Storage
For each portion of shredded chicken you have, place it into a separate freezer bag or air-tight container. For the sake of space, freezer bags will be more convenient.
- Remove The Air
To prevent the shredded chicken from getting freezer burn, push as much air out of the freezer bag as possible before securing it tightly shut. Or, if you are using an airtight container, make sure that it can be sealed shut tightly.
- Label And Date
Use a permanent marker to note down the contents of each freezer bag and a use-by date. Shredded chicken can be frozen for up to 3 months.
All you need to do now is find enough space in your freezer to fit all your leftover shredded chicken and leave it to freeze.
There are two ways to defrost shredded chicken. You can either throw the chicken directly from the freezer into your meal while cooking, or you can leave the shredded chicken to defrost in your fridge overnight. You will still need to cook the chicken for around 10 minutes once it has defrosted to kill bacteria.
How to Freeze Shredded Chicken Successfully
Despite the versatility of chicken, it can take precious time and effort to prepare – especially shredded chicken which requires a whole different kind of effort just to shred into pieces at the end.
It would both be a big waste of good chicken and a waste of your time if you were to defrost your shredded chicken to find it soggy, limp and tasteless. So here are a few tips to make sure that you can have delicious frozen shredded chicken:
- A Quicker Thawing Time – It is not unusual for people to freeze cooked chicken, whether chicken wings or popcorn chicken. If you are used to freezing larger pieces of chicken at once, you would be used to quite a long defrosting time, but shredded chicken defrosts much quicker than other chicken. Keep this in mind so you don’t ruin the chicken by overcooking it.
- Freeze In A Broth – Depending on what you use your frozen shredded chicken for, you may not achieve the same tender juiciness from the chicken as before it was frozen. A hack to ensure juicy shredded chicken is freezing the chicken in a few tablespoons of broth. This will shorten the chicken’s freezer life to around 2 months rather than 3, but it can be ideal when using your chicken for tacos or sandwiches.
- Never Freeze Old Chicken – No matter how cold your freezer is, if your chicken has been left in your fridge for more than 4 days, it is already swimming in bacteria that no amount of cold will kill. Do not mistake freezing chicken for being a way to preserve gone-off chicken. Instead, think of it as a way of extending the current shelf life of safe chicken.
- Season After Freezing – The longer that shredded chicken is frozen, the more it will lose its flavour… just like anything else, really. You may find your chicken not to be as enjoyable as it once was. Simply add more seasoning to reinstate that flavour, and don’t be afraid to add a few more herbs and spices, too.
- Separate Different Chicken Flavours – An excellent way to make the most of your spare chicken is to flavour it before you freeze it so that all you have to do is take the chicken out of the freezer and throw it into your pan to reheat. Just make sure to store your various flavours of shredded chicken in separate storage containers or freezer bags and to label what each flavour is so you know exactly what you are defrosting when the time comes.
Does Shredded Chicken Freeze Well?
Like regular chicken, shredded chicken can freeze well if you try to limit the amount of cold air that can directly touch the chicken. Otherwise, you will end up with limp and soggy chicken.
Likewise, the shredded chicken will only keep well in your freezer if it has been appropriately stored beforehand (in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days). But as far as chicken goes, shredded chicken does freeze well.
Freezing Shredded Chicken FAQs
If you have more questions about freezing shredded chicken, then these FAQs might be helpful:
If you have cooked and cooled some shredded chicken, then it will keep for 3 to 4 days in the fridge when kept in an airtight container.
Although it is possible to freeze cooked chicken on the bone, it will take up a lot more room and will need to be thawed fully before being cooked. Instead, freezing shredded chicken is easy and more efficient.
Acacia may be a freelance writer by day, but they are a food fanatic by night. They are always trying out new recipes or finding different ways to elevate classical dishes. But their biggest culinary aim is to educate others on the basics of the kitchen so that they too can enjoy delicious food.