Food processors are super-versatile kitchen appliances that make quick work of slicing, dicing, julienning, and shredding all sorts of ingredients. Whichever way you want to process your fruits, vegetables, or meats, there’s most likely a food processor attachment for you. So, how do you shred something like chicken in a food processor?
To shred chicken in a food processor, cut the chicken into tiny strips or chunks before placing them inside the food processor bowl with a standard cutting attachment. Next, press the pulse button at 2-second increments for 20 seconds or until the chicken bits are as shredded as you like.
Shredding chicken in a food processor sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not really is. In this guide, I’ll explain the steps you need to follow to shred chicken in a food processor safely, as well as alternative methods for shredding chicken.
How to Shred Chicken in a Food Processor
Chicken is great for a number of reasons. Firstly, there are specific cuts of chicken that are extremely nutritious for you. Secondly, you can prepare chicken-based meals without spending a ton of time in front of your stove or oven. Thirdly and most importantly, chicken meat isn’t so tough that you can’t break it into tiny chunks in a food processor. But how exactly do you go about shredding chicken in a food processor?
The process is simple enough. As long as you have a high-quality food processor and a standard knife attachment, you can shred chicken into tiny bits without much struggle. Here’s how you do it.
Step 1. Debone the chicken cuts
Bones and food processors are sworn enemies. Raw animal bones can be far too hard for food processors to break down. Attempting to do so will lead to excessive strain on the food processor’s motor, which can cause it to break on you if you try to force it.
However, there is an exception to this rule. You can use a food processor to blend dehydrated, hollow chicken bones to use as feed for your plants and pets. Using a food processor will turn it into a fine powder that’s easily absorbed by plants, but the bones have to be bone dry, so to speak, to keep them from dulling the knife attachment.
Step 2. Cut the chicken into chunks
Although food processors can break down food ingredients into tiny chunks with ease, that doesn’t mean you can stuff a whole chicken in the bowl and hope for the best. Before shredding chicken or any kind of meat in a food processor, you should cut the chicken meat into 1- or 2-inch cubes. The tinier the chunks, the quicker your food processor will shred them.
Step 3. Insert the standard knife attachment in your food processor
You don’t have to use fancy discs or cutting accessories to shred chicken in a food processor. The knife attachment that came with your food processor should do a good enough job at shredding chicken. The more blades there are on the knife, the quicker it will turn cooked chicken strips into tiny shreds.
After installing the standard knife attachment in your food processor, you can insert the chicken chunks into the bowl, shut the lid, and place the bowl on the motor base.
Step 4. Pulse the chicken meat in 2-second increments
The thing about chicken, raw or cooked, is that it retains quite a lot of moisture. And as you probably already know, blending a solid ingredient in water may result in a smoothie that you didn’t intend to make. So, instead of starting your food processor and walking away, you should use the pulse button.
Press and hold the pulse button for 2-second increments until the chicken bits are as fine as you want them.
Tips for Shredding Chicken in a Food Processor
Now, here are a few tips on how to get the best-shredded chicken from a food processor.
Tip 1. Work in batches
Like shredding cabbages with a food processor, do not attempt to stuff every chunk of chicken in the food processor bowl. Instead, you should work in batches. Although your food processor may hold 14 cups of ingredients, you should fill it with just 1 cup of chicken at most. For smaller food processor bowls, place fewer chicken chunks inside the bowl per batch. Repeat the pulsing process until you’ve completed shredding all batches of chicken meat.
Tip 2. Use specialty cutting discs
Food processors can come with a wide assortment of attachments or are compatible with attachments that you can pick up separately. In either case, if you want to get more uniformly shredded chicken, you should try using the slicing blade disc. When you feed bits of chicken through the feed chute, the blade will break the meat into slices. Alternatively, you can try using the julienning blade disc, but you will have to work a lot more slowly.
Tip 3. Use precooked chicken meat
You can even use a day-old rotisserie chicken that has dried in your fridge. You can introduce moisture to the shredded meat via sauces and soups during the cooking phase.
With all that said, it’s possible to shred raw chicken in a food processor. Simply dice the chicken into even-size chunks, place them at the bottom of the bowl, and use the pulse function. Try not to go overboard, or you might end up with mashed chicken. Believe me—it sounds more appetizing than it looks.
Alternative Ways to Shred Chicken
A food processor isn’t the only way to shred chicken into tiny bits for soups, tacos, and stews. If you don’t have a food processor, you can try one of the following alternative methods.
The traditional method of shredding chicken is by using two forks—one in each hand—and pulling them in opposite directions. However, if you didn’t debone the chicken beforehand, you should avoid pulling cartilage or bones with the forks. Also, this method only works on pre-cooked chicken.
Hand or stand Mixer
Mixers aren’t just great for introducing air into creams and batters, but you can also use the standard mixing attachment to shred chicken. First, place the chicken in a large mixing bowl before turning on the mixer to its slowest setting. As the chicken breaks apart, you can increase the speed of the mixer. Again, this only works with precooked chicken.
Feel like getting your hands dirty? Well, why not stick them in a bowl of pre-cooked chicken meat and turn them into shreds? The best part about this method is that you can feel where the bones and cartilage are and remove them before they get mixed with the chicken meat.
Yes, it’s true that you can technically shred chicken in a blender. Just make sure you use the pulse function and do not allow the blender to work for 60 continuous seconds. Otherwise, you’ll end up with an unappetizing mush of chicken meat. Remember to scrape the sides of the blender pitcher after every 10 seconds or so of pulsing.
As ridiculous as it sounds, there is a tool that is used almost exclusively for shredding chicken. Unsurprisingly, the product is called a chicken shredder. What’s great about this tool is that it doesn’t require electricity, and it can tear cooked chicken apart into uniform strands. Just be careful around the plastic spikes since they can cause injury. Also, when you’re done, just pop the chicken shredder in your dishwasher (on the top dishrack) and let the machine sanitize it for you.1250