Now that your chicken has been shredded like an air guitar solo, what do you do with it? If you’re planning on consuming the chicken within the next day or two, storing it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator will do. If you want to be a real meal-prep boss, it’s to the freezer you go.
TO STORE: Make sure to let your chicken cool completely before you store it. Warm chicken will still give off some moisture, and that’s freezer burn waiting to happen.
We recommend dividing the chicken into amounts you’re likely to use in recipes. Choose containers that are similar in size to the amount of chicken you’ll be storing, so there’s not a lot of extra air around the chicken. If you’re using freezer bags, seal them almost all the way after filling them, and then squeeze out as much excess air as you can.
Make removable labels for your containers with a piece of masking tape and permanent marker. If you’re using freezer bags, label them prior to filling for the most legible results. Definitely include what you’re freezing and how much (“Shredded Chicken, 2 cups”) and if you’re prone to losing things in the back of your freezer, write the date on there as well.
TO FREEZE: Put in the freezer, and walk away! Cooked chicken should freeze solid in 4-6 hours, or overnight. Frozen chicken will keep up to 6 months, but we recommend using it within 3 for the best texture and flavor when you defrost. Speaking of…
TO DEFROST: As with any meat (and extra especially with cooked meat), the best way to defrost shredded chicken is to transfer your container to the fridge and let it defrost overnight. Using any heat (either your microwave or running water) can cause the meat to defrost and heat unevenly, even overcooking it in parts. Just move it from the freezer to fridge the night or even morning before you plan to use it, and you’ll be golden.