How to boil chicken is an exciting recipe that anyone can follow. This method of cooking chicken produces perfect tender, juicy, and flavourful chicken every time. Plus, boiled chicken is great for meal prep.
Apart from spatchcocking a chicken, another great way to cook chicken is by boiling it. This may seem like a strange method, but it actually works quite well. Boiling chicken helps to tenderize the meat and makes it very moist for eating. The process is also great for creating a flavorful homemade stock that can be used in many other dishes.
This easy recipe for boiled chicken is extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes such as salads, wraps, casseroles, chicken soups, chicken with spaghetti dishes, and rice bowls like this homemade rice pilaf, or it can simply be served with some vegetables and dipping sauce on the side.
You can either boil a whole chicken or cut the chicken into smaller pieces like I did in this recipe and if you’re using frozen chicken, make sure to thaw it first. Also, you can add some extra flavor to your chicken by incorporating herbs, and spices into the water before cooking the chicken.
So whether you’re looking to make a quick and easy meal or something more complex, boiled chicken is a great option. Plus, it’s a healthy way to cook chicken, as it doesn’t require any oil or fat.
Read also: Air fried chicken thighs recipe
In this article, I will guide you through how to boil chicken at home, the simple seasonings to add to the chicken before boiling it for tasty and flavorful results, and also how to extract a rich broth from the boiled chicken.
Ingredients for making boiled chicken
- 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes, crushed
- 2 tsp Adobo all-purpose seasoning
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 crushed garlic
- 1-inch fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt
Steps on how to boil chicken
Boiling chicken may sound like a boring task, but trust me, it doesn’t have to be! The secret to making boiled chicken tasty is all in the seasoning. So if you are ready to take a bare chicken and turn it into a wholesome and delicious protein-packed meal? Here is your ultimate guide on how to boil chicken from scratch.
30 30 minutes
Cut the chicken into smaller pieces
To boil chicken, first, you will need to cut it into your preferred pieces and rinse it thoroughly with lemon juice or vinegar to help remove impurities from the surface and excess blood.
This is where you can choose your cut of chicken. You can use boneless, skinless breasts, chicken thighs, or whole chicken. If using a whole chicken, remove any giblets and excess fat before cooking, and also make sure that the water comes up to at least the same level as the chicken’s breast.
Season the chicken
Place your chicken in a large soup pot and season it with crushed garlic, roughly chopped onions, cayenne pepper, all-purpose seasoning, chicken bouillon cubes, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and fresh rosemary. Top the chicken with enough water to help create a delicious stock. At this point, you can add some aromatic vegetables such as celery, and/or carrots to the liquid.
Make sure to season the chicken generously before boiling it for a better flavor.
Boil the chicken
Bring the water to a boil for 5 minutes and then reduce the heat to medium so that the liquid is simmering. Stir it to distribute the seasonings evenly, and simmer the chicken for about 25 minutes, or until it is cooked through. Depending on the size and type of chicken you are cooking, the boiling time will vary. However, most chickens will take between 30 minutes to 1 hour to cook through.
Just before bringing the chicken to a simmer, you can stir it with a wooden spoon to help distribute seasonings all around.
Rest the chicken
After 30 minutes of boiling the chicken, turn off the heat and let the chicken rest in its juices for 1 minute. Next, remove the chicken from the broth with a tong and place it in a dish. Let the chicken rest until you can handle it. While waiting for the chicken to get cold, you can go about preparing your next meal.
I like to rest the chicken for a few minutes first before shredding it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, creating a more succulent and flavorful bite.
Shred the chicken with forks
Boiled chicken can be shredded, diced, or cut into slices, making it perfect for any recipe you have in mind. Also, the leftover broth makes an excellent base for soups or stews.
You can either eat your boiled chicken immediately or store it in the fridge for later. And there you have your homemade boiled chicken in no time at all. It is perfect for salads, sandwiches, and rice dishes.
When storing your boiled chicken, consider using an airtight container or freezer-safe bag to extend its shelf life.
Tips on how to boil chicken
- Make sure your chicken is properly thawed before cooking. If you start with a frozen bird, it will take much longer to cook through and could end up overcooked on the outside while still frozen in the middle.
- The most important thing to remember when boiling chicken is to not overcook it, as this will make the meat dry, and chewy.
- Use an appropriate pot for boiling it, a pot that is too small will result in overcrowding and uneven cooking, while a pot that is too large will take forever to come to a boil.
- When boiling chicken, it is also important to season the water or broth with salt, pepper, and herbs. This creates a delicious meal that can be enjoyed on its own or served over rice or noodles.
- Be careful not to overcook your chicken. Boiled chicken should be cooked just until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above this temperature will start to dry out the meat and make it tough or chewy.
Recipes to use boiled chicken
- Chicken curry sauce
- Chicken stew
- Chicken and dumplings
- Chicken burritos
- Chicken enchilada
- Chicken salad
- Chicken noodle soup
- Pasta with chicken
- Chicken pot pie
- Shredded chicken recipes
How long to boil chicken?
When it comes to boiling chicken, the cooking time varies depending on the type of meat you’re using. Bone-in chicken takes longer than boneless and skinless cuts. However, other factors can affect the cooking time too. For example, larger pieces will take longer to cook than smaller ones.
Generally speaking, it takes about 15 minutes to boil boneless chicken breasts until it is no longer pink. For bone-in chicken breasts, you may need to add another 5-10 minutes of cooking time. However, If you’re boiling multiple pieces as I did in the above recipe, you should expect it to take at least 25 to 30 for it to be fully cooked through.
A whole chicken definitely takes longer to cook. For a 3-pound chicken, you will need to boil it for about 1 hour and for every additional pound of chicken, you can add an extra 5 to 10 minutes to the cooking time.
To ensure that your boiled chicken is safe to eat and free from harmful bacteria like salmonella or Ecoli, always use a thermometer to check if the internal temperature has reached 165°F (75°C).
When you boil chicken do you boil the water first?
The best method of boiling chicken is to add the raw chicken to cold water and then season it to taste before bringing it up to a boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat so that it simmers. This method allows for a quick cooking time and more even cooking. It also ensures the seasonings penetrate into the flesh of the chicken within the required cooking time resulting in more flavorful meat and broth.
What do you add to make boiled chicken tasty?
The secret to making boiled chicken tasty is all in the seasoning. Now, you might be thinking “What seasonings should I even add? Well, I’ve got some ideas for you.
First of all, let’s start with the basics; salt, and pepper. A little bit of both can go a long way in enhancing the flavor of your chicken. You can add a mix of herbs and spices like fresh rosemary, thyme, cayenne, bouillon cubes, paprika, and bay leaves to create an irresistible aroma from the chicken while boiling it.
Adding some aromatics like onions, garlic, ginger, and celery to the water while boiling the chicken can give your meat an extra burst of flavor.
You can squeeze in some fresh lemon or lime juice on top of the chicken after shredding it for an extra tangy taste explosion.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to how to make boiled chicken tasty, you will need to get creative and use a combination of different spices and herbs until you achieve the perfect taste that you love.
How do I know if the boiled chicken is done?
To be sure your boiled chicken is done, you can insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. The internal temperature should be at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Alternatively, you can cut into the chicken flesh and check that the juices are clear and not pink. If the juices are clear, then the chicken is done but if they’re still pink or red, then the chicken needs to cook more.
Is poaching chicken the same as boiling chicken?
Poaching and boiling are two effective methods of cooking chicken in liquid, and both methods can result in perfectly tender and juicy chicken! However, there are a few differences between the two. Poaching involves gently simmering the chicken in a flavorful broth, or wine while keeping the temperature below boiling point, which helps to prevent overcooking and keeps the meat moist. This gentle cooking technique infuses the meat with additional flavors while keeping it moist and delicate. This method is ideal if you want to simply serve the sliced chicken with sauces or toppings.
On the other hand, boiling chicken typically involves bringing water and the chicken to a rolling boil. The high temperature helps break down the protein quickly, resulting in juicy and tender meat. This method works great for those times when you need to cook your chicken really fast. Also, keep in mind that during the boiling time, you can still bring the heat down to a simmer to enable the chicken to cook through and for the seasonings to infuse nicely.
Why is my boiled chicken always tough?
There are a few possible reasons why your boiled chicken always comes out tough. One of the reasons is that you’re not using enough water. When you’re boiling chicken, make sure that there’s enough water to cover the entire bird. If there’s not enough water, the chicken will dry out as it cooks. Additionally, when you season the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and herbs, it can help seal in the moisture in the chicken while it cooks. This prevents the chicken from drying out and becoming tough. You can also boil chicken in already-made broth to help keep it moist.
Can you overcook chicken when boiling?
Yes, you can overcook chicken when boiling but there are ways to prevent this from happening. First, make sure that the chicken is completely thawed before you start to cook it. If the chicken is frozen, it will take longer to cook, and only the outside of the chicken will get done while the inside will remain raw. Also, don’t let the water come to a rolling boil before adding the chicken. A rolling boil liquid can cause the chicken to become tough and or overly soft.
Lastly, don’t boil the chicken for too long. Just cook it for the recommended time based on the thickness and size of the meat. Overcooking will result in a rubbery or chewy chicken. The chicken will continue to cook even after it has been removed from the heat. So, if you leave it in the water for too long, it will become overcooked.
How to store boiled chicken
Once your chicken is cooked, there are a few different ways you can store it. If you’re planning on using it within the next two days or so, you can keep it in the fridge. Just be sure to place it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap so that it doesn’t dry out. Boiled chicken can be refrigerated for up to 4 days
Alternatively, if you want to keep your boiled chicken for a longer time, you can freeze it for up to 2 months. You can cut the chicken into smaller pieces, or turn it into shredded chicken.
Place the chicken into a safe container, wrap it tightly, and label the container with the date that you stored the chicken so that you can keep track of its freshness.
If stored properly, frozen chicken can last up to 2 months before it starts to lose its flavor. When you are ready to eat the frozen chicken, thaw it in the fridge overnight before reheating it.
To reheat the boiled chicken, place it in a baking dish and cover it with foil. Bake at 350 degrees until heated through, about 15-20 minutes.
How to store the chicken broth
After boiling your chicken, leave the broth to cool down completely, then use tongs to remove any large vegetable pieces or bones from the pot. Then carefully pour the remaining liquid through a fine mesh strainer into another container, this will catch any small bits of debris leftover from the liquid.
Pour broth into separate clean containers with tight-fitting lids making sure to leave room at the top for expansion. I usually put mine in mason jars so I can easily see how much I have on hand at any given time. Refrigerate it immediately to prevent bacterial growth and use it within 3 days or freeze it for up to 2 months for future dishes.
You can use this amazing golden liquid as a base for soups, stews; vermicelli noodles soup to add taste instead of plain old water.