How to Make Poached Chicken

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Poached Chicken is loaded with flavor and takes just minutes to make!

If you need flavorful and tender cooked chicken breasts, this is the perfect recipe.

Boneless skinless chicken breasts are gently poached with fresh herbs and a touch of broth for the perfect juicy chicken to add to any recipe!

Sliced poached chicken with herbs on a cutting board.

Poached chicken is my go to for quick and easy chicken breasts. They come out incredibly juicy and moist while taking very little effort.

I start with fresh chicken breasts and always make a few more than I need because this chicken is not only amazing, it lasts for a few days in the fridge and freezes perfectly.

Please keep in mind that this recipe is for cooking perfect tender boneless chicken breasts. If you’re thinking of poaching a whole chicken, I’d suggest trying Boiled Chicken for incredible results (and an awesome broth)!

Raw chicken breasts in a pan with fresh herbs ready to be poached

How to Poach Chicken Breasts

Poaching chicken breasts is a very simple process.  You’ll simply put chicken into a shallow pan with aromatics (garlic, onions, herbs) and cook for about 20 minutes total.

It doesn’t really matter how many chicken breasts you use, you’ll just want to make sure that you add enough broth to fill your pan about halfway up the chicken breasts (about 1/2″).

I love fresh herbs and almost always have them on hand.  If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, you can certainly use dried.

Once these chicken breasts have finished cooking you can remove them from the pan and either chop, slice or dice them or even shred them!  Perfect for so many recipes, quick Chicken Salads, quesadillas or any kind of chicken casserole!

Don’t discard the little bit of broth in the bottom of the pan, it’s absolutely loaded with flavor! If you don’t need it right away, it’s worth freezing (just put it into a small Ziplock bag and toss it in the freezer). Add it to any sauce or recipe right from frozen!

Cooked poached chicken and herbs in a pan

How to Poach Chicken Tenders

The recipe below is to poach boneless skinless chicken breasts.  Chicken tenders are much smaller so if you’d like to poach them you’ll use the same method (and flavors) but you’ll need to adjust the cook time so they don’t dry out.

Follow the recipe below but leave the covered resting time to about 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken tenders. You’ll want to ensure they just reach 165°F.

Shredded poached chicken breasts on a cutting board

If you know happen to know what recipe you’re going to use this chicken for (for example in my Chicken Noodle Casserole) you can change up the herbs added in to compliment the recipe. If you’re not sure, you can poach the chicken breasts with basic flavors (parsley, onion etc) to use in any recipe!

My Favorite Recipes Using Poached Chicken:

Poaching chicken is easy and creates very tender chicken.  The chicken is amazingly tender and takes on the flavors added to the poaching broth.

I most often use chicken broth but adding a splash of white wine is amazing too!  You can add any herbs (fresh or dried) to the liquid and they can vary based on your recipe!

  • The BEST Buffalo Chicken Dip: Creamy, cheesy and super crazy good!  Add garlic, onions, celery, bay leaf and some parsley and thyme to your poached chicken.
  • Easy Broccoli Rice Casserole: Chicken, rice, broccoli and cheese baked until golden and bubbly.  Add ins into your poached chicken can include: garlic, onions, parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage, poultry seasoning and peppercorns.
  • Cobb Pasta Salad: Chicken, bacon, avocado, tomatoes and cheese… all of the best flavors in one bite! If poaching chicken for this recipe I love to add extra garlic, rosemary and lots of parsley!
  • Avocado Ranch Chicken Salad Wrap: Creamy chicken salad in an avocado dressing! Just like my Buttermilk Ranch Dressing & Dip, I love to add fresh parsley, dill and basil along with the onions and garlic!

We keep this chicken in the fridge up to 3 days.  If you want to keep it longer than that, slice or shred the poached chicken breasts and place them into a sealed container (or freezer bag) and add any remaining broth. Freeze up to 3 months.

4.34 from 9 votes
Review Recipe

Poached Chicken

Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Tender and juicy boneless chicken breasts are poached to perfection in just minutes.


  • 2 boneless chicken breasts 5-7 oz each
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorn
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 large onion slices
  • 1 sprig each of fresh herbs such as thyme rosemary and parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • chicken broth

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  1. Place chicken, herbs, peppercorn, garlic, onion and bay leaf in a shallow pan.
  2. Pour in enough broth to cover chicken about 1/2 way.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat, cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Slice or shred chicken and reserve broth for use in recipes or to serve with chicken.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 136, Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 72mg, Sodium: 131mg, Potassium: 447mg, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 24g, Vitamin A: 35%, Vitamin C: 1.8%, Calcium: 15%, Iron: 0.6%

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

Keyword how to poach chicken, poached chicken

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Tender and juicy poached chicken is easy and delicious! This will become your go to for any recipe requiring cooked chicken! Perfect for soups, casseroles and chicken salads!
Tender and juicy poached chicken is easy and delicious! This will become your go to for any recipe requiring cooked chicken! Perfect for soups, casseroles and chicken salads!

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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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  1. The chicken wasn’t done. The internal temp was only 127°. I followed exactly but next time will use a recipe that immerses chicken in liquid.

    1. I’ve made this countless times and with an average size chicken breast (5-7 oz) it has always come out perfectly. Chicken breasts can vary in size so if yours were larger (I’ve seen them up to 11oz) then it may have needed more time. I hope that helps.

    1. So sorry to hear that Sharla. We have made these countless times with 5-6 oz chicken breasts and they always come out perfectly.

  2. Trying it now.. as directed + 3 extra minutes of boiling time since chicken pieces were large.
    I hope I read it correctly..
    Boil 5 min(I did 8ish)

    Was it okay to turn them over into the boiling broth a time or two during the boil time?

    And then turn off heat and cover for 15?
    This is the stage I have them right now.

    I will update how they turn out!

    1. Hi Sarah, We have never tried this recipe in a cast iron pan. However, if you have a lid that seals it should be fine.

  3. I’ve used this recipe repeatedly! At first I did not trust only covering the chic half way with water but it works! With really thick chicken breasts, it requires additional cooking and resting time but only by a few minutes.

  4. I just made this for then first time tonight. I had four chicken breasts and it took longer than the time stated. I doubled everything and laced into a 9×13. Because of the larger quantity, I added a little more broth and both simmered and kept covered a little longer than stated and it turned out perfectly!

  5. Ive got it on the stove righ now, but after 5 minutes of simmering, the tops of the chicken breasts are still raw pink. Is this how it’s supposed to work? I flipped them & simmered another 3 minutes. Got them covered now & will check temp after 15 mins. Would love to know if they would have cooked perfectly had I followed your instructions…it just seemed so unlikely with being raw on top!

    1. Left covered they will steam. We have made these countless times with 5-6 oz chicken breasts and they always come out perfectly. Enjoy!

    2. Yes ma’am, if left alone and covered, the remaining pink will cook off from the heat trapped in the pot and it will be thoroughly cooked. But the trick is never open it because the heat will escape and you will end up having to do what you did. Hope this helps.

  6. Thanks Holly for saving me from dried out chicken breasts! Cooking them this way also tastes so much better than in water like I usually do. I used fresh thyme, onions, parsley and peppercorns in the broth. Really good delicate flavors. This is my new go-to! So simple and so good.

  7. I tried this recipe three times. The first time it worked great (though I used more broth than the recipe called for as I was using the amount I needed for my soup recipe – covered breasts about 3/4 of the way). The second two times I’ve made it though the chicken has still been pink. I’m going to have to find a recipe where you don’t turn off the burner as it’s not working for me. 

    1. I can’t say for sure why it worked only the first time, I’ve made this recipe countless times. Were your chicken breasts larger the 2nd and 3rd time?

  8. I made this yesterday because I had one chicken breast leftover sitting in my fridge. I’m eating it in a salad right now and it’s perfect! I realized after that i forgot the onions, so next time will definitely add those for even more flavor! Thank you!

  9. Thank you!! My local store has this kind of chicken in their salads, and I’ve been wondering for so long how they do it.

  10. This recipe produced some of the tastiest juiciest chicken I believe Ive ever eaten. Plan on using the chicken for your Chicken pot pie later today, IF, I can keep my fingers out of it. Every recipe I make from your site always comes out perfect. Thank you so much for sharing.