How to Boil Chicken

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When you learn how to boil chicken perfectly, you’ll find that it is such an easy way to create not only incredibly tender chicken but also a flavorful chicken broth!

Together they make quick and easy meals that are healthy, flavorful, and packed full of protein!

Say goodbye to bland and dry chicken because this method creates boiled chicken that is tender, juicy, and SO full of flavor!

It’s so easy that once everything is simmering, you can walk away from the stove and put your feet up!

Chicken on a cutting board with a fork

Boiling a whole bone-in chicken (or bone-in chicken pieces) creates tender juicy meat and an incredibly flavorful golden chicken broth.

Not only is this method simple, it’s pretty much fool-proof.

I’ve started making at least one boiled chicken each week to have a delicious homemade broth to add to recipes as well as tender chicken to add to casseroles and salads.

How to Boil Chicken

The method for boiled chicken is very simple.

A whole chicken is rinsed and placed in a stock pot (I also stuff onion in the cavity).

Fresh vegetables, herbs, peppercorns and greens (often parsley or carrot tops) are added for lots of flavor.  The whole thing is topped up with water and gently simmers to perfection.  So easy.

The result? Juicy tender chicken and the best ever chicken broth.

Chicken and veggies in a pot for How to Boil Chicken

Once you make this recipe, it’ll easily become a go-to as boiled chicken opens up endless possibilities when it comes to creating amazing dishes that everyone will love.

This chicken is loaded with flavor and can be sliced or pulled to use in any recipe needed cooked chicken.

Even better, when you boil chicken, the water you use doubles as a stock that you can use in other dishes like this Turkey Noodle Soup! Now that’s a 2-for-1 deal.

How Long to Boil Chicken

The amount of time that it takes to boil chicken depends on a few things: the size of the chicken, whether it was frozen, and the amount of water you have in your stockpot.

A full chicken will need to simmer in boiling water for about 1 1/2 hours (a little longer if your chicken is bigger than 4lbs) to ensure it is fully cooked and all of the flavor has been extracted.

Boiled chicken thighs or chicken wings will take about 40 minutes.

If you are unsure if your chicken is done, use a meat thermometer to check. A meat thermometer inserted into the thigh should read 165 degrees.

Boiled chicken on a cutting board with parsley

How to Boil Chicken Breast

The recipe in this post includes instructions for how to boil a chicken; whole & bone-in.

If you are hoping to boil chicken breasts, the instructions are a little different. Chicken breasts can become extremely dry and rubbery due to the fact that they’re so lean and don’t have bones!

In place of boiling chicken breasts, I would strongly recommend making poached chicken breasts. It’s ready in minutes and an easy way to achieve tender juicy chicken (along with a little bit of flavorful juice).

How to Poach Chicken Breasts

  1. Add boneless chicken breasts to shallow non-stick pan.
  2. Fill to with broth/water until the breasts are halfway covered.
  3. Add herbs, peppercorns and a couple of slices of onion.
  4. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
  5. Turn off heat, cover for 15 minutes.

Either poached or boiled chicken can be enjoyed in any recipe from soups and stews to Avocado Ranch Chicken Salad or Creamy Chicken Noodle Casserole.

Broth for How to Boil a Chicken

How to Make Flavorful Boiled Chicken & Broth!


  • FRESH HERBS will add a ton of flavor to your boiled chicken & broth! I use peppercorns, thyme, bay leaves, rosemary and sage.
  • When boiling chicken, always use BONE-IN chicken. It adds flavor to both the chicken and the broth (and results in a juicier, more tender meat).
  • ADD VEGETABLES such as carrots, celery, and onions to flavor the stock, and chicken meat!
  • When you add onions, leave the OUTER BROWN SKIN ON, this will add great color your chicken broth!


  • Whole Chicken can be replaced with BONE-IN CHICKEN WINGS OR CHICKEN LEGS.
  • When you boil chicken with skin on, it can create a LAYER OF FAT on the top of your stock. Use a gravy separator to separate fat from the broth. If you’re in a pinch, grab a slice of bread and drag it along the top of your stock to absorb the fat while leaving your delicious stock intact!
  • When you boil chicken, simmering at a LOW EVEN TEMPERATURE will result in tender juicy chicken. A high temperature can result in a rubbery texture so remember to turn your burner to low as soon as your pot reaches a boil!

Cutting board with boiled chicken

When you boil chicken, you are really creating a ton of amazing possibilities in the kitchen. You can substitute with this boiled chicken in many other recipes like these Grilled Chicken Fajitas or even a Chicken Pad Thai!

Chicken and veggies in a pot for How to Boil Chicken
4.73 from 11 votes
Review Recipe

How to Boil Chicken

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
This easy boiled chicken recipe creates tender juicy chicken meat and a flavorful broth.


  • 1 whole chicken 3-4 pounds
  • 1 ½ onion divided
  • 3 carrots include tops if you have them
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 sprigs each fresh thyme rosemary, parsley, sage (or any combination)
  • 3 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • enough water to cover this will depend on the size pot you use

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  • Cut 1 onion, the carrots and the celery into quarters (include the tops of the carrots and celery if you have them)
  • Place the ½ onion into the cavity of the chicken.
  • Place chicken in pot and add vegetables, fresh herbs, bay leaves, peppercorns and salt. Cover with water.
  • Cover pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn heat down and simmer partially covered for 1 ½ – 2 hours.
  • Remove chicken, allow to cool then remove meat from bones.
  • Strain and reserve broth.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 303, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 95mg, Sodium: 897mg, Potassium: 434mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 5400IU, Vitamin C: 7.5mg, Calcium: 43mg, Iron: 1.5mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword boil chicken
Course Chicken
Cuisine American

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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