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How To Reheat Shredded Chicken [I Test 5 Methods]

This article was updated on 06/07/2023 for clarity and to incorporate new insights.

Love meal-prepping with shredded chicken, but hate how dry it gets in the fridge?

You’re in luck. I tested several reheating methods to find out which one delivered the juiciest and most flavorful shredded chicken.

Need a quick answer?

The best way to reheat shredded chicken is in the microwave. Place the shredded chicken in a microwave-safe bowl and sprinkle on a tablespoon of water. Cover the chicken with pierced plastic wrap and microwave on full power for 30-45 seconds, or until piping hot throughout.

How we tested reheating shredded chicken

I poached a load of chicken breasts and shredded them all up in a big bowl. I left the shredded chicken in the fridge overnight, and the next day tested five different ways of reheating it (I had a very chicken-heavy lunch).

The main problem with reheating chicken is that it can become dry, so my experiments focused on keeping it moist. 

I tested:

  • Microwave: Quick and super easy.
  • Stove: A good option.
  • Steamer: Great for rehydrating dry chicken.
  • Oven: Suitable for large batches, but a bit drying.

Once the chicken was hot, I tasted it and made notes on its flavor and texture, as well how easy the reheating method was.

Tips for reheating shredded chicken

The best cure for dry shredded chicken is prevention. Here are some steps you can take while you’re preparing your shredded chicken to make sure it doesn’t dry out in storage.

Don’t overcook the chicken. Invest in a meat thermometer so you monitor the temperature of the chicken and stop cooking it as soon as it reaches 165°F (74°C).

Add liquid to the bowl while you shred the chicken. You can use the cooking liquid, water, or stock. When you shred the chicken, you massively increase the surface area through which moisture can escape. By keeping the chicken slightly wet as you shred it, you minimise how much moisture can escape.

How to reheat shredded chicken in the microwave

Time: 1-2 minutes
Rating: 10/10

  1. Put the shredded chicken in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Add a tablespoon of liquid (water or stock) per portion of shredded chicken and cover the bowl with a lid, leaving a small gap for steam to escape.
  3. Heat the shredded chicken for 30 seconds on full power.
  4. Check the chicken. If it’s not done, stir the chicken and put it back in the microwave in 15-second increments until it is piping hot.

The liquid in the bowl creates steam which helps to rehydrate the shredded chicken. I used chicken broth, but you could also use water, olive oil, or even a sauce (think teriyaki).

I’m pretty conservative with the times here because if you zap the chicken for too long, it can start to dry out. 30-60 seconds should be long enough for one portion.

I also tested the following methods in the microwave:

  • Spreading the chicken out on a plate and covering it with a damp paper towel.
  • Putting the chicken in a bowl with no extra water and covering it with plastic wrap.

Both of these methods resulted in drier chicken.

Results: The chicken came out really moist when I added the extra liquid to the bowl, and it absorbed the broth’s flavor well. I definitely recommend this method. It’s quick and easy too.

How to reheat shredded chicken on the stove

Time: 3-4 minutes
Rating: 9/10

  1. Set your stove to a medium heat.
  2. Add just enough butter/oil/water/stock to cover the bottom of your pan.
  3. Once the butter is melted, or the water is simmering, add the chicken and any sauce or seasonings you want to the pan.
  4. As soon as you add the chicken, put a lid on the pan to trap the steam.
  5. Remove the lid to stir the chicken every 30 seconds.
  6. Heat the chicken for 3-4 minutes or until piping hot (6-7 minutes for frozen chicken).

If you’re making a whole dish, feel free to add other ingredients to the pan before or after you add the chicken (whichever makes more sense for your dish). 

But try not to overcrowd the pan, especially if you have frozen chicken, because it can mean you need to heat the chicken for longer. And the longer it’s heating for, the more chance there is of the chicken drying out. 

Also, don’t let the pan go dry with the chicken still in it. Add more liquid in during the heating process if you need to, unless you want crispy bits!

Results: This method was more hassle than the microwave, but the chicken came out pretty moist and flavorsome. It’s perfect if you’re planning to mix the chicken into a stir fry or pasta dish.

Reheating shredded chicken in the steamer

Time: 4-5 minutes
Rating: 9/10

  1. Heat some water or stock in the bottom of your steamer and bring it to the boil.
  2. Spread the shredded chicken out in your steamer basket and put the lid on.
  3. Heat the chicken for 4-5 minutes or until piping hot.

If you want to add a bit of flavor to the chicken, you can use stock instead of water. I also like to put some lemon juice and herbs in the water to give the chicken a fresh taste.

If you don’t have a steamer, you can make one by putting some water in the bottom of a saucepan and then putting a sieve over it with a lid on. The sieve acts as the steamer basket.

And if your steamer has more than one layer, you can also steam some vegetables at the same time to go with your chicken! Win win.

Results: I didn’t think of this method when I first planned the experiment but was glad I included it because the chicken came out great. It was noticeably moist. The only downside was that the stock didn’t impart as much flavor as it did in the other methods, and you can’t use a sauce.

How to reheat shredded chicken in the oven

Time: 10 minutes
Rating: 6/10

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Arrange the chicken in a thin layer on a baking tray.
  3. Add a few tablespoons of broth/water/sauce/olive oil to the chicken. You want enough liquid to just cover the bottom of the baking tray.
  4. Cover the chicken with foil.
  5. Put the chicken in the oven for 6-7 minutes, then check on it.
  6. If it’s piping hot, you can remove it. If it still needs more time, check if there’s still some liquid left in the tray before putting it back in the oven for 2-3 more minutes.

The liquid in the baking tray and the foil are essential measures to keep the chicken nice and moist. The liquid creates steam which is trapped by the foil and rehydrates the chicken.

Don’t skimp on the liquid because it will quickly evaporate in the oven, and you don’t want it to disappear before the chicken has heated through. Once the liquid disappears, the chicken will start to dry out.

Results: The chicken from the oven was the driest chicken of all my experiments, so I don’t recommend this method if you have another one available to you. However, I can see it being an easy way to reheat a big batch of shredded chicken all in one go as long as you use enough liquid.

How to store shredded chicken

To store shredded chicken, wait for it to cool to room temperature before putting it in an airtight container and storing it in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can keep the chicken plain or store it in a sauce. For longer-term storage, freeze the chicken.

Cooling the chicken before you store it prevents too much condensation from building up in the container and dripping onto the chicken. 

However, don’t leave the chicken out for more than two hours (or one hour in hotter climates). After two hours, the risk of harmful bacteria contaminating the chicken is too high.

If you’ve cooked a big batch of chicken and need to cool it quickly, spread it out in a thin layer so the heat dissipates more quickly.

Related: How To Store Chicken Breast

How to freeze shredded chicken

To freeze shredded chicken, wait for it to cool to room temperature, then put portion-sized servings in individual freezer bags. Get as much air out of the freezer bag as you can before sealing it and freezing it. The shredded chicken will last up to four months in the freezer.

It’s crucial to minimize air contact, especially for long-term freezing, or you’ll end up with freezer burnt chicken. This is why I suggest freezer bags over airtight containers, because you can remove the air. I like sucking the air out with a straw.

If you only have Tupperware containers, add a layer of plastic wrap atop the chicken to cover the air gap.

Don’t want to use loads of different freezer bags? No problem. Simply wrap individual portions of shredded chicken in plastic wrap before throwing them in the bag. Or spread the chicken out in the freezer bag, leaving gaps between the portions. You can then fold the bag over to keep the portions separate and put it in the freezer.

How to thaw shredded chicken 

To thaw frozen shredded chicken, take it out of the freezer the night before you want to use it and let it thaw in the fridge. If you need to thaw it quickly, you can use the microwave, or put the frozen chicken in a watertight bag and submerge it in cold water for half an hour. 

If you’re using the chicken in a dish like a stew, soup, stir fry, or pasta dish, you can throw it into the pan frozen and it will defrost in a few minutes.

Related: Does Chicken Broth Go Bad?

The BEST Way To Reheat Shredded Chicken

I've tested several different reheating methods to find out which one delivers the juiciest and most flavorful shredded chicken.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: American
Keyword: reheat shredded chicken, shredded chicken
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 175kcal



  • 1 portion shredded chicken
  • 1 tbsp water or chicken broth


  • Put the shredded chicken in a microwave-safe bowl.
  • Add a tablespoon of liquid per portion of shredded chicken and cover the bowl with some plastic wrap.
  • Pierce a few holes in the plastic wrap so the steam can escape.
  • Heat the shredded chicken for 30 seconds on full power.
  • Check the chicken. If it’s not done, stir the chicken and put it back in the microwave in 15-second increments until it is piping hot.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 175kcal

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