1-Pan Mexican Shredded Chicken

This dish has become a weeknight staple anytime we’re craving tacos, burrito bowls, salads, enchiladas, and basically anything Mexican inspired.

It’s easy, requiring just 1 pan and 30 minutes to make, and you likely have all of the ingredients you need on hand to make this dinner happen like right now.

Ingredients for our recipe showing How to Make Shredded Chicken

How to Make Shredded Chicken

To make shredded chicken, fully cook chicken breast(s) and shred into bite-size pieces with two forks. Shredded chicken can be prepared a number of ways, including:

  • boiling in water or broth then shredding
  • cooking in a slow cooker until tender then shredding
  • baking then shredding

Our preferred method, however, is in a cast-iron skillet on the stovetop because it’s fast, easy, and maximizes flavor.

Skillet of cooked Mexican-seasoned boneless skinless chicken breasts and limes

For seasonings, we went with classics like ground cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, and sea salt for a balance of smoke and heat. When it comes to spices, we don’t go light and basically coat the chicken in spices. What can we say? We like flavor.

Once the chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165 F (74 C), shred into bite-size pieces using two forks, then add your chipotle pepper in adobo sauce and vegetable broth. Simmer briefly to infuse even more flavor into the chicken.

Add a squeeze of lime juice for some acidity to balance the salt and heat.

Using two forks to show How to Shred Chicken for our Mexican Chicken recipe

We hope you love this chicken! It’s:

Smoky
Perfectly spiced
Quick & easy to make
Virtually foolproof
Versatile
& Incredibly delicious

Wooden spoon in a skillet of Mexican Shredded Chicken topped with cilantro and limes

1-Pan Mexican Shredded Chicken

How to make tender, shredded chicken in 1 pan and 30 minutes! Seasoned with Mexican-inspired spices for big flavor. Perfect for burrito bowls, tacos, enchiladas, and more!

PREP TIME 5 minutes
COOK TIME 25 minutes
TOTAL TIME 30 minutes
Servings (Servings)
Course Entree
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Mexican-Inspired
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 2-3 Days

Ingredients

CHICKEN

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
  • 1 tsp ground cumin, divided
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika, divided
  • 1 tsp chili powder, divided (NOT cayenne or just ground chilies — see notes*)
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil (or other neutral oil, or sub water)
  • 2 (~8 ounce) chicken breasts*, boneless skinless (and organic, pasture-raised when possible)
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (omit or reduce for less heat)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice

FOR SERVING optional

  • Fresh cilantro
  • White rice

Instructions

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat (we prefer this cast iron skillet).
  • While the pan is heating, add half of the salt, cumin, paprika, and chili powder to one side of the chicken breasts so it’s evenly coated. There should be plenty of spices and you should barely be able to see the meat.
  • Once hot, add oil to the pan. Then add the chicken, seasoned side down. Add the remaining spices and salt to the unseasoned side of the chicken. Cook for 4 minutes.
  • Flip the chicken again and lower heat to low. Top with a lid but leave it slightly off-center/cracked so steam can escape. Cook until the center of chicken reaches 165 degrees F (74 C) — about 8-10 minutes.
  • You can flip the chicken a couple more times, but we find once to be enough if you lower the heat adequately (to ensure the underside doesn’t burn).
  • Once the chicken is cooked, turn off the heat and use two forks to shred the chicken into bite-size pieces (go as finely shredded as you desire). Then add the chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, vegetable broth, and lime juice. Stir to combine.
  • Turn heat back to low and cover. Simmer the mixture for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally to blend the flavors. Then turn off heat and enjoy. This would be ideal for burritos, burrito bowls, tacos, enchiladas, salads, and more! You could also just serve alongside rice and garnish with cilantro.
  • Store cooled leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 2-3 days (assuming your chicken was fresh), or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat on the stovetop and rehydrate with vegetable / chicken broth or water as needed.

Notes

*To keep this recipe vegan, we’d recommend subbing jackfruit, or a mixture of cooked lentils and shredded carrots. You could also sub 1 block extra firm tofu, sliced in half and seasoned / grilled as instructed.
*Chili powder should contain a mix of the following: chili powder, onion, garlic, cacao (optional), oregano, red pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 servings Calories: 184 Carbohydrates: 2.9 g Protein: 26.4 g Fat: 6.9 g Saturated Fat: 0.9 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.6 g Monounsaturated Fat: 2.6 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 80 mg Sodium: 504 mg Potassium: 49 mg Fiber: 1 g Sugar: 0.4 gVitamin A: 550 IU Vitamin C: 9.1 mg Calcium: 10 mg Iron: 0.9 mg

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