Spicy Chipotle Shredded Chicken Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Spicy Chipotle Shredded Chicken

36 reviews / 4.9 average

A lot of people ask me where I learned to cook. Food blogs generate these types of Q's, ya know?

I never really have a good answer to that questions because it's not like I grew up around gourmet food with the exception of mom's amazing reuben casserole (this is not a joke - it was my favorite and most requested birthday meal ever). I've never been to culinary school, and I did not spend most of my childhood with my grandmother in the kitchen learning to make hundreds of authentic Norwegian recipes.

I guess my real answer for where I learned to cook is my tastebuds and the internet. Boring-est story ever.

Spicy sauce in a pan.

What I wish people would ask me instead is where I learned to love food. That's where the stories are because I learned to love food from so many different people and places in my life.

Like from my family, because we would always, always sit down to eat dinner together (thank you mom ❤). Enjoying meals together with people, no TV, no couch-eating, no cell phones (I'm pretending like cell phones were invented during my childhood - just go with it) - this attitude of giving meals and meal-sharing people our undivided attention is something that is a part of my food being.

And then I learned more food love from watching and drooling as my grandmothers spread the lefse with butter and brown sugar in the kitchen at Christmastime and then rolled each piece up into those tidy little heaven-logs. Gimme gimme.

Spicy Chipotle Shredded Chicken on a white plate.

Then I went to college, where Food = Baked Doritos, popcorn, and M&Ms. But luckily, two awesome food things happened to me in college.

1) I spent a semester in Spain, where I ate delicious Spanish home-cooked recipes from my gracious host mother who was a food lover extraordinaire. That, along with some travels around Europe, was a really incredible season of eating. Swiss chocolate truffles and cheese fondue, we belong to each other.

2) I lived with the best foodie roommate who, obviously, is still my best foodie friend! Or just best friend who is also a foodie. Or just everything. Ang and I co-developed our long-standing love of all food with many a late-night run for chips and salsa, an embarrassing number of trips to the one and only Olive Garden, hundreds of pans of cookie brownies, and food creations like creamy fettuccine with corn. I owe a big piece of my food heart to her.

Spicy Chipotle Shredded Chicken on a white plate.

To tie it all together, today's Spicy Chipotle Shredded Chicken is an Ang-inspired recipe. I first fell in love with it at when she made it for a group of our friends and then, like any good food blogger, kind of took the idea (um, wait, yellow mustard in chicken? but yes actually) and created my own version. And good news up in the house today:

Spicy Shredded Chipotle Chicken IS DELICIOUS IN ANYTHING. Tacos. Nachos. Salads. Quesadillas. Enchiladas. Tamale Pies. and mooore.

There is so much versatility with this spicy delicious meat that it might just become a meal-time staple. We had a little container in the fridge this last week and every day was a new lunch (salads, tacos, nachos) depending on what we were in the mood for. Which, for me, was all the Mexican food ever made in the history of the world.

And now finally here we are at the end of my long post / beginning of your amazing Mexican food creations. Let the good times roll.

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A picture of Spicy Shredded Chipotle Chicken

Spicy Shredded Chipotle Chicken

  • Author: Skillful Cook
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 depending on how you use it 1x


This Spicy Chipotle Shredded Chicken is perfect for tacos, nachos, quesadillas, salads, and more! Spicy, saucy, and delish.


  • 3 individual chipotle peppers in adobo sauce + 1 teaspoon of their sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (store bought is fine - I just use my own so there's no added sugar)
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup light beer (or replace with 1/2 cup broth)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard


  1. Mince the chipotle peppers and garlic cloves. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and chipotle; saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Smells will be yummy.
  2. Add the orange juice, chicken broth, beer, and cilantro and turn the heat to high to bring to a boil. Add the raw chicken breasts; cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken breasts are cooked through. Remove the chicken breasts from the pot and place on a cutting board for a few minutes to cool. Shred the chicken with two forks.
  3. Meanwhile, keep the sauce left in the pan over low heat. Whisk in the mustard and cook the sauce until it reduces by about half and you get all that mmm mmm good flavor in a thicker, more concentrated sauce. Add the shredded chicken back to the pot with the sauce and toss to combine. Top with additional fresh cilantro.


This chicken works great for tacos, salads, Mexican rice and bean bowls, casseroles, nachos, quesadillas, and so much more. I usually add black beans and sometimes corn or cooked farro <- weird but really good.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: shredded chicken, chipotle chicken, spicy chicken

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    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks Shashi! The beer addition was sort of unplanned but then we just happened to have some and so I couldn’t resist adding it. 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hola hermosa! Últimamente he descubierto la slow cooker y no me gusta, Me encanta, me subyuga, me fascina ja ja ja ; el sabor de todo se acrecenta y las legumbres tienen textura, en fín, que lo mejor de todo es que la cuenta de luz ha bajado considerablemente.
      Entonces, cuanto tiempo debo tener éste plato de pollo maravilloso, después de hacer toda la preparación, en la slow cooker?. Te agradezco de antemano tu contestación. Cuidaros mucho. Besitos
      P. D. Estoy suscrita hace miles.

  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Great post! I had wondered what/where you learned and was inspired to cook.

    As for the chicken, it looks delicious!! I made a somewhat similar dish this weekend, but after reading this, I might be trying your this upcoming weekend.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    My “how did you learn to cook” story is the same. My taste buds like it? Then I cook it. Sometimes I ask Google for help. It works out in the end….usually.
    I never did get to spend time in Spain(jealous) or hang out with cool foodie roommates, but I definitely learned from family how to love food.
    I also learned that from my taste buds as well.
    And this? I know they are going to become slightly (mega-ly) obsessed with it. Pinned! 🙂

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love this recipe! So many recipes call for shredded chicken, and I never quite know how to make it without it turning out super bland and boring. This looks so flavorful and delicious! Thank you to your foodie roomie!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love this story! I often get asked the same question and my answer is usually…because I love to eat! This chicken looks delicious. I love spicy and I’m loving that you included chipotles in adobo since I always have leftover chipotles in my freezer. YUM!

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        I freeze leftover canned chilies by placing them in a small container, covering with a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil, placing the lid on the container and popping in the freezer. (this works with tomato paste also) When you are ready to use, just defrost and pour off the oil.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    um, i’m sorry — you cannot mention reuben casserole without providing more details! pastrami-loving, sauerkraut-craving readers need to know!

    also, this looks chicken looks easy and awesome and completely do-able without many trips to the store. i love your blog (which i only recently discovered, thank you pinterest) because i almost always have things on hand to make something. so glad you’ll be doing this full time (though i bet your kids miss you — your blog personality comes across as the perfect elementary school teacher).

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      bahaha! I was secretly hoping someone would ask. I need to get the recipe from my mom! And thanks for the sweet comment!

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Ditto what pjs2780 said! Must have the reuben casserole recipe! I’d love to treat my own mom to it! No doubt she’ll love it too!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love your post, Lindsay. I couldn’t agree more with you, I also really enjoy have meal with all my family together, no TV and no cell phones. It is the best part of the day for me.
    This recipe looks so DELICIOUS and I love how versatile is this dish. Love it. Pinning 😉

  7. Skillful Cook Logo


    I love this recipe for Father’s Day because my husband loves all things chicken and spicy and with the word Chipotle in it (but I think he’s more referring to the restaurant than my cooking!)

    Oh well. And no one asks me where I learned to cook…Hmm. maybe I need to take the hint! Prego dumped over noodles is not cooking….hmmm.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    This sounds a lot better than my usual recipe for taco chicken – shredded chicken + jarred taco sauce. On a scale of 1-10, what is the heat level? With 4 kids I have to be careful how hot I make spicy food.
    Love your blog 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Good question – I’d give it a 6. Not like burn your mouth can’t breathe hot, but pretty spicy. I would just go down to 1 chipotle pepper and then add more for the adults as needed.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I was fortunate to have a friend’s mom teach me how to cook and open up my mind but the internet multiplied that curiosity tenfold. My mom tried teaching me before I left for college but I was too busy being a rebellious teen back then!