These easy poached chicken breasts are made in only a few minutes, and provide an excellent basic cooked chicken, perfect to use in a wide range of dishes.
Okay, let's talk about poached chicken, or boiled chicken. For the longest time I was totally against the idea of cooking chicken in water. Although the chicken is juicy and tender, it's really bland and plain, and the lack of seasoning makes it sound unappetizing.
However, I have very recently learned how amazing poached chicken actually is! First, it's a really quick and easy way to prepare plain chicken to use in dishes like chicken salads. It's also a great way to cook chicken for a family with various dietary requirements, since everyone can cover their chicken in whichever sauces they like. Lastly, it's a great way to prepare chicken for young children or people with sensitive stomachs.
I love to poach chicken when I am making grape and chicken salad or similar dishes!
This chicken breast recipe requires very few ingredients. All you need is chicken breast fillets, salt and water.
If you wish, you can also season the cooking water by using chicken or vegetable stock, however this is completely optional and I find that the chicken is perfectly fine when it's just poached in water.
Place the chicken breast fillets in a pot or sauce pan. Use a pot that is wide enough so that you can place the fillets side by side. Avoid stacking them on top of each other.
Add a sprinkle of salt over the fillets, then add cold water until they are covered by an inch.
Bring the chicken to a simmer on medium heat, and leave it to simmer until the chicken has poached through. This typically takes 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the fillets. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the middle of the chicken fillets reach an internal temperature of 165 °F or 75 °C.
Remove the poached chicken breasts from the water, and serve it hot or cold as required.
Chicken breast fillets are definitely best for poached chicken. Avoid poaching any chicken with skin on, as the skin tends to get really rubbery.
The chicken breasts need next to no preparation. No pan frying, no browning, no seasoning. Simply add them to the pot or skillet and use.
💭 Top tips
To successfully make the perfect poached chicken, you should follow these easy, but important tips:
- Be careful not to overcook the chicken. They cook faster than you'd think, and only a few minutes are required.
- Leave the water to simmer rather than fully boiling. This will keep the chicken juicy!
- Lightly salt the water. This brings out more flavor from the chicken.
🥗 Serving suggestions
Here are some of my favorite ways to use poached chicken:
Wraps, sandwiches or sliders: Use the poached chicken as your main protein in sandwiches, along with a sauce and other toppings.
Casseroles: Add diced poached chicken to cauliflower rice and chicken casserole, or other similar dishes.
Leftover poached chicken breasts can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 3 days. They can also be frozen for up to 6 months.
Use the chicken cold in wraps, salads or sandwiches, or reheat it before serving it.
Poached chicken is perfect for meal prep. Poach a large amount of fillets, and dice, slice or shred the chicken. Store it in a large container, and use it in multiple meals through the week.
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📋 Frequently asked questions
Can I poach frozen chicken? - I always find that poaching frozen chicken results in a much dryer chicken breast. If you want to use frozen fillets, you should thaw them in the fridge overnight first.
Can I use chicken thighs? - Yes. You can use the same method to poach chicken thigh fillets. I do not recommend poaching chicken thighs with skins on, as the skins will come out quite rubbery.
Poached Chicken Breasts
- 4 chicken breast fillets
- pinch of salt
- Place the chicken breast fillets in a pot or sauce pan. Use a pot that is wide enough so that you can place the fillets side by side. Avoid stacking them on top of each other.
- Add a sprinkle of salt over the fillets, then add cold water until they are covered by an inch.
- Bring the chicken to a simmer on medium heat, and leave it to simmer until the chicken has poached through. This typically takes 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the fillets. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the middle of the chicken fillets reach an internal temperature of 165 °F or 75 °C.
- Remove the chicken from the water, and serve it hot or cold as required.