Learning how to boil chicken breasts is a game-changer. It’s a simple and effective way to cook chicken, whether you’re planning to shred it for recipes or serve it as is. Not only does boiling ensure that the chicken stays moist and tender, but it also opens up endless possibilities for adding flavor to your dishes. In this article, I’ll guide you through the process of boiling chicken breasts to achieve perfectly flavorful and juicy results every time. Let’s dive in!
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 3 large cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 3 stalks of parsley (optional)
How To Make
- Prepare the chicken breasts. Add the chicken breasts to a large skillet. Season them with salt and add the smashed garlic, whole peppercorns, and parsley if desired.
- Add water and bring to a boil. The water should completely cover the chicken. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Boil for about 12 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Shred or slice the chicken. If you’re planning to shred the chicken, use two forks to pull apart the meat. Otherwise, you can serve the chicken as is or use it in your favorite recipes.
How long to boil chicken breasts?
Boiling boneless chicken breasts takes half the time compared to bone-in chicken breasts. Set the timer for boneless chicken breasts for 12 minutes, and check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Once it reaches 165°F, your chicken is perfectly boiled.
Tips and Tricks
- Flavor Enhancements: Add herbs like rosemary or thyme, citrus like lemon or lime, or even a splash of chicken broth to enhance the flavor of your boiled chicken.
- Poaching vs. Boiling: Aim for a gentle simmer instead of a vigorous boil to prevent the chicken from becoming tough and overcooked.
- Use a Thermometer: Ensure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F to guarantee it’s safe to eat.
- Size Consistency: If your chicken breasts vary in size, consider pounding them slightly to achieve a more uniform thickness for even cooking.
- Resting Period: Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes after boiling to let the juices redistribute, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful outcome.
- Shredding Techniques: Let the chicken cool slightly before using forks to shred it or use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment for quicker shredding.
- Cooking Liquid: Enhance the boiling liquid with sliced onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, or other aromatics for a more flavorful broth.
- Reuse Cooking Liquid: Don’t discard the cooking liquid! It can be used as a base for chicken noodle soup, stews, or sauces, adding extra chicken flavor to your dishes.
- Storage: If you’re not using the boiled chicken immediately, store it properly. Let it cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag.
- Recipe Variations: Boiled chicken is incredibly versatile and can be used in meal prep, chicken salad, sandwiches, soups, casseroles, and more. Feel free to experiment with different seasonings and sauces to create new flavors.
- Choose any liquid: You can use water, broth, apple cider vinegar, dry white wine, or beer for boiling.
- Add vegetables: Boost the flavor by adding vegetables like celery, carrots, or onions to the skillet while boiling.
- Switch up the spices: Feel free to customize the spice combination by using different herbs and seasonings.
- Smash the garlic: Before adding it to the skillet, smash the garlic to enhance the flavor infusion into the liquid.
- Opt for boneless, skinless chicken breasts: They have a shorter cooking time compared to bone-in chicken breasts.
How To Store and Reheat Boiled Chicken
To store the cooked chicken, place it in an airtight container with a lid and refrigerate for up to 4 days. You can also freeze the cooked chicken by using Ziplock bags and removing any extra air. Frozen chicken is convenient to have on hand for quick and easy meals. It can be kept in the freezer for up to 4 months before the quality starts to decrease. Reheat the cooked chicken in the microwave or in a skillet over medium-low heat. If you’re making soup, you can add the cold or frozen chicken directly to the soup and let it heat while the soup cooks.
How To Use The Chicken Broth
Don’t let the cooking liquid go to waste! The broth infused with all the delicious flavors can be saved and used in future rice, pasta, soup, or casserole recipes. If needed, strain the broth before storing. Simply place it in a container, jar, or ice cube tray and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Way to use Shredded Chicken
- Chicken A La King
- Shredded Chicken Skillet Nachos
- Shredded Chicken Quesadilla
- Southwest Egg Roll Recipe (Air Fryer)
- Oven Baked Chicken Tacos
- Gluten Free Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Tatertot Casserole
- Dairy Free Chicken Buffalo Dip
More Ways to Cook Chicken
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
- How To Bake Thin Sliced Chicken Breasts
- How To Boil Chicken Thighs
- Baked Chicken Thighs
- How To Boil Chicken Legs
- How To Boil A Whole Chicken
- Crockpot Chicken Legs
- Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Breast
Remember, while boiling may not impart as much flavor as grilling or roasting, it’s an excellent option when you need juicy chicken quickly or when the chicken will absorb additional flavors in your recipes. So go ahead and embrace the simplicity and versatility of boiling chicken breasts for your next delicious meal!
To learn more about cooking techniques and recipes, visit Ekilove.