Shredded Chicken in Tomato Sauce

Shredded chicken In bowl on table

Arief Perkasa/EyeEm/Getty Images

  • Total: 35 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Servings: 6 servings

For chicken to be shredded, it has to be thoroughly cooked, but not overcooked. The best way to accomplish this is to simmer it gently in some type of sauce with acid in it. Shredded chicken in tomato sauce is the answer.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are the best choice for this simple recipe. The chicken is cooked, then shredded, then returned to the sauce to simmer a bit more so it can absorb some of the spicy flavors.

You can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs in this recipe if you'd like; increase the cooking time to about 25 minutes. And always test chicken with a meat thermometer before you serve it. It should be at least 160 F every time.

This recipe can be made as mild or spicy as you like. Add some chopped jalapeño or habanero peppers to the sauce if you like hot foods. Add another onion, increase the amount of chili powder, or try adding chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. This recipe is very versatile and can be adjusted to any taste.

If you like, try using this recipe for shredded chicken tostadas, tacos, pizzas, wraps, or even pita bread sandwiches. It can also be frozen. Cool it, pack into a hard side freezer container, and freeze up to three months. To thaw, let stand in the fridge overnight, then reheat.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (each cut in half crosswise)
  • 1 (8 ounces) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup taco sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. In a large skillet, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until tender, about 6 to 7 minutes.

  2. Add chicken to the skillet along with tomato sauce, taco sauce, salt, green bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, pepper, and sugar. Stir well.

  3. Simmer this mixture for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened and the chicken is cooked to 160 F as measured with a meat thermometer.

  4. Using tongs, remove the chicken from the sauce and place on a plate. Using two forks, shred the chicken into long pieces. Return to the sauce and simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes so the chicken can absorb some of the sauce.