Boiled Chicken

Nail the basics with this simple recipe for Boiled Chicken—skinless, boneless breast cooked in a savory broth. Once learned, you will have a protein boost that can be added to pastas, curries, soups… pretty much anything!

Boiled Chicken

Today we’re revisiting the curriculum for Cooking 101. I try to include recipes such as this because sometimes, the basics are breezed over and many fledgling cooks are too embarrassed for instructions. So I am doing a pre-emptive post with hopes this answers questions many of you might have regarding this dish.

What is that dish, you ask? Boiled chicken. Given the versatility of chicken, I think every cook should know how to whip it up in times of need. With just a skinless, boneless chicken breast and a pot of broth (even water will work), you can add a protein boost to your salads, pastas, soups, and curries. You can get creative and add different herbs and spices so that no breast tastes the same.

If you’re new to homecooking, take your time with this recipe. As they say, you must learn to walk before you can run. If you’re no stranger to the kitchen, then take this opportunity to experiment and have this boiled chicken recipe forever in your back pocket (but not the chicken itself; that would be gross).

What can I use instead of chicken broth?

Chicken broth is the default option given the addition of flavor it provides that is totally in line with the chicken itself, but it’s by no means the only option. It really depends on whether you want your finished chicken to harbor a flavor that isn’t, well… chicken. For a straight swap, you can call upon the savory flavor of veggie broth or even beef broth if you want your chicken to taste a bit like beef. For a healthier option, you can use bone broth, which contains collagen and minerals. Beyond these broths, you can use water and then infuse it with various ingredients, like white wine (don’t add too much or it will be all you taste), apple cider vinegar, or lemon/lime juice. You can also add herbal teas (e.g., chamomile, rosemary, or thyme) or even mix the water with coconut milk for a creamier finish. If you’re adding this chicken to a Thai curry, for instance, this option would be ideal.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 cups chicken broth
Boiled Chicken

How to Make Boiled Chicken

Step 1: Place the chicken breasts in a large pot.

Boiled Chicken

Step 2: Pour chicken broth over the chicken to fully cover it.

Boiled Chicken

Step 3: Heat the pot over medium-high heat and bring the broth to a rolling boil.

Boiled Chicken

Step 4: Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle boil and cover the pot with a lid.

Step 5: Let the chicken cook until it’s no longer pink inside and the internal temperature reads 165°F. This usually takes about 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness.

Step 6: Remove the chicken from the broth and shred it with two forks or use a stand mixer for quick shredding.

Boiled Chicken

FAQs & Tips

How do I store the chicken?

Once the shredded chicken has cooled completely, put it in an airtight container or Ziploc bag and store it in the fridge for up to five days. If you want to freeze the chicken, that’s fine. It should last for up to three months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight. It may be a bit dry at this point, which is why I typically reserve frozen chicken for soups and sauces.

How do I guarantee even cooking?

The biggest issue is the size of your chicken. The thicker they are, the longer it will take for the chicken to cook. Because of this, I recommend either cutting the larger pieces into uniform, smaller pieces, or pounding the thicker breasts until they’re the same size as the others. Also, take a moment to consider what pot you’re using. It should be big enough to accommodate all your breasts without crowding. If crowded, there’s a greater chance your chicken won’t be consistently cooked. It’s also important you lower the temperature to a simmer. A vigorous boil can lead to uneven cooking and could result in tough meat.

Can I boil skin-on, bone-in chicken breast?

Yep, this is definitely an option. In fact, the bone and skin will add flavor to the finished chicken. You just may need to add a few minutes to the cooking time as the bone absorbs some of the heat. The shredding will be a bit more complicated with the bone in but it’s nothing insurmountable. I typically use skin-on, bone-in chicken when I plan to add it to soups. The texture of the skin and richness of flavor seems to suit a hearty broth.

Boiled Chicken

Serving Suggestions

I explained earlier what you can use instead of chicken broth to infuse your chicken with flavor before it’s even come out of the pot. I also mentioned what you can then add the chicken to, singing its praises when featured in soups, curries, and pasta sauces. If you’re looking for suggestions for what to add to the finished chicken, you can go with any number of options. Dried herbs and spices, like parsley, cilantro, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, curry powder, and chili powder can be used easily with a dash or two. You can also add flavored oils, like extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, or avocado oil. For a crunch, sprinkle toasted nuts or seeds like almonds, walnuts, pecans, sesame seeds, or pumpkin seeds. Or if it’s a creamy finish you’re after, add dairy in the form of Greek yogurt, sour cream, or grated cheese (such as Parmesan, cheddar, or feta). (FYI: In the pic below I set them atop Duchess Potatoes.)

Boiled Chicken
Boiled Chicken

Boiled Chicken

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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 136 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 cups chicken broth or water

Instructions
 

  • Place the chicken breasts in a large pot, ensuring they are of even size and thickness for uniform cooking. If necessary, slice any thicker pieces for evenness.
    Boiled Chicken
  • Pour chicken broth over the chicken to fully cover it.
    Boiled Chicken
  • Heat the pot over medium-high heat and bring the chicken and broth to a rolling boil.
    Boiled Chicken
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot with a lid.
  • Let the chicken cook until it's no longer pink inside and the internal temperature reads 165°F. This usually takes about 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness. Avoid overcooking to keep the chicken tender.
  • Remove the chicken from the broth and shred it with two forks or use a stand mixer for quick shredding. The chicken is now ready to be used in your favorite dishes.
    Boiled Chicken

Nutrition

Calories: 136kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 25gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 567mgPotassium: 441mgSugar: 1gVitamin A: 36IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 10mgIron: 1mg
Keyword chicken, how to boil chicken
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