How to Parboil Chicken

Cyd Converse

Learn how to parboil chicken to then grill, smoke, roast or fry! You get delicious, juicy chicken every time.

Once you know how to parboil chicken, you can create juicy chicken dinners in record time! Find out more about this simple but effective technique with this how-to guide.

Whilst most of us are familiar with parboiled rice, the concept of parboiling chicken may be a little less familiar.

But it can make a real difference to the way you prepare your meals - parboiled chicken cooks faster and it has a better texture too!

Spicy Ginger Grilled Chicken Thighs with Mango Avocado Salsa Photo

What is Parboiling?

So, what is parboiling?

Parboiling means partially cooking something - in other words, when you parboil chicken, you will cook it a little bit - but not all the way!

In the same way that you sometimes blanch or parboil vegetables - especially before freezing them - parboiling chicken preps it so it's quick and easy to fully cook when needed.

You can parboil most any vegetable or grain such as ricebroccolipotatoescarrots, or even mixed vegetables.

Parboiling Brussels sproutsgreen beans or even peppers is also a popular option when making certain dishes.

More common than you may think, many people also opt to parboil meats such as chicken, chicken wingsribsbrats or sausage.

You can then cook to taste by grilling, roasting or frying the meat without losing any of the juiciness.

Different from boiling, parboiling chicken involves gently simmering it and bringing it to a very low boil for just a few minutes, then draining off the water.

Spicy Ginger Grilled Chicken Thighs with Mango Avocado Salsa Image

How Long to Parboil Chicken

This depends on several things. First, you need to consider the size of the piece of chicken you are parboiling.

Obviously, an individual piece of chicken will take less time to parboil than the entire bird.

Then you need to look at the cut - is it boneless or bone-in? Another factor influencing the timing is whether or not the chicken is skinless.

The chart below will help you decide on the right amount of time to parboil the chicken you plan to cook.

How Long to Parboil Chicken Photo

How to Parboil Chicken

How to Parboil Chicken Photo

First, add the whole chicken - or the chicken pieces - to a large, heavy-bottom pot. A stockpot would be perfect for the job as it has the depth you need and is great for retaining heat.

How to Parboil Chicken Picture

Add a large pinch of kosher salt to the pot, along with 3 bay leaves and around 1 tablespoon of peppercorns.

The exact amount of peppercorns you need will depend on the amount of chicken that you are parboiling, so use less for just a piece or two.

How to Parboil Chicken Pic

Completely cover the chicken with water. Alternatively, you could use apple cider or chicken stock, either of which will add a little extra flavor.

How to Parboil Chicken Image

Heat over medium-high heat until the water comes to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.

Continue to simmer per the chart above, then carefully remove the chicken and pat it dry. Prepare as desired.

How to Parboil Chicken Tutorial Photo

Why Parboil Chicken?

Parboiling chicken really cuts down on the cooking time when you are preparing it for a meal, so it's a great way to quickly get dinner on the table on a busy weeknight!

But that's not the only advantage.

Parboiling helps render down the fat on the chicken, giving you deliciously crispy results when you finally frill, fry, or bake the chicken ready for serving.

It also ensures that the chicken cooks all the way through, with no pink spots in the middle.

Finally, parboiling helps lock all the flavorful juices into the chicken, giving you tender, juicy results when you fully cook it.

Spicy Ginger Grilled Chicken Thighs with Mango Avocado Salsa Picture

How to Use Parboiled Chicken

  • Parboil chicken before deep frying for even cooking and crispy skin.
  • Parboil chicken before grilling to reduce the cooking time, crisp up the skin and give tender, juicy results.
  • Parboil chicken before adding to soups or casseroles - it will cut down on the overall cooking time of the dish.
  • Parboil chicken before making tacos - you can finish cooking it in a taco sauce or seasonings in a skillet.

As you can see, parboiling is a useful technique that you can apply to all sorts of foods!

Now you that know how to parboil chicken, why not find out how to parboil potatoes, broccoli and carrots too?

Cyd is a native of Upstate New York, born to a family of women who love to cook and host parties. She shares her love of all things food, home and entertaining on her blog, The Sweetest Occasion and on Instagram.

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