How Long do you Boil Chicken Breast?

The Editors at Food Fanatic | Food Fanatic
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How long do you boil chicken breast to be sure it's fully cooked? Find out here!

Preparing your own boiled chicken breast can help save you money and make those quick mid-week dinners even easier!

Cooked chicken breast works perfectly as the base of so many dishes and having a stash of pre-boiled chicken in your freezer, ready for use, will speed up how quickly you can get dinner on the table.

Many people avoid boiled chicken breast as they worry it will be rubbery and dry. But cooked properly, it can be both succulent and juicy.

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Did you know that poached and boiled chicken breast are the same thing? Poached sounds fancier, but both methods include cooking in a hot liquid.

This cooking method is great for chicken breasts, as they can dry out so easily if you are baking, roasting or grilling! Boiling bone-in chicken breasts with skins on is great, as the bones help create a lovely broth. However, if you are short on time, boneless, skinless chicken breast halves taste great and are ready in a flash.

The amount of time that each kind of chicken breast will need to be boiled for depends on its size and whether it has bones or not:

The quickest kind of chicken breast to boil is chopped boneless, skinless breast.

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Bone-In Chicken Breasts

Cooking time would be about 30 minutes.

Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts

If they are halved they will take about 12-15 minutes to boil. However, you can speed this up slightly by chopping into 2-inch chunks, which will only need about 8-10 minutes. 

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The internal temperature of cooked chicken should be 165 deg F, which should be checked using a meat thermometer. The above timings are just a guideline, but investing in a meat thermometer will definitely confirm that your meats are cooked to the correct internal temperatures to avoid foodborne illnesses. 

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Note: Always thaw your chicken in the fridge overnight, in the microwave or pop into a sealed plastic bag and submerge into cold water. Once thawed, cook immediately. 

Adding flavor to boiled chicken breasts

When boiling chicken breast don’t forget you are not limited to just using water!

Other flavorful liquids such as chicken broth, apple cider or dry white wine (or a combination of liquids!) can really help flavor your chicken. Get creative with your flavorings and add chunks of onion, carrots, celery, garlic, herbs, salt and even lemons.

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How to boil chicken breasts

Based on our timings above, you will know roughly how long you will need to boil the chicken; bring 2 cups of your preferred liquid to a boil and add your chicken breasts and any other seasonings. If the chicken breasts are not covered, add more water.

Allow the water to come back to the boil, reduce the heat, and cover the pan, simmering until the chicken breasts are cooked. Boiled chicken breasts should not be pink at all, but testing for internal temperature will be the best way to determine if they are done.

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If you are not keeping the liquid, you can discard it after your chicken has boiled, or you can pass it through a sieve and store it in the freezer for up to two months. We love to freeze it in ice cube trays so we can add pops of flavor to other dishes! 

Finally, shred or chop your chicken, ready for use in a salads, soup and more. If you are not using your boiled chicken breast right away, be sure to cool the chicken completely before transferring to an airtight container. You can either freeze for up to two months or keep in the fridge for up to three days. 

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