How Long To Boil Chicken: Our No-Fail Technique




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No matter how old you are and what part of the world you belong to, everyone has one thing common- boiled chicken dishes are the ultimate comfort food for everyone. If you’ve caught a nasty cold and have fever, chicken soups are the unsung saviors. Boiled chicken is a nutritious source of food and a staple food item for many cultures.

Whether you’re having an Italian style chicken salad, a taco filled with shredded chicken, an American Style Rotisserie chicken or heart-warming ramen- every cuisine has boiled chicken in common. Yet, many people have a hard time boiling chicken the right way. Either it gets overcooked or remains raw.

You don’t have to become a culinary expert to cook boiled chicken the right way. Just get some elements right- like how long to boil chicken and how to season it for that extra velvety texture. Fear not, we’ve got you covered. Let’s find out how to boil chicken the fail-safe way! 

Health Benefits of Boiling Chicken 

Boiled chicken breast is the famous weight-loss food. Other than helping you lose some extra pounds; it helps you by providing all the necessary nutrients. Chicken is purely a lean meat. Lean meat means it has high protein content while being lower in fat, unlike pork or beef. 

When you boil a chicken, you are retaining the protein content fully. Frying a chicken breast means you are incorporating all oil and making it high in unsaturated fat. If you want to lose some fat and build muscles, boiled chicken is the right choice for you.

Aside from the protein, chicken bones are full of calcium and phosphorous- two of the most important elements that make up our bones. Oh, and that’s not all. Chicken meat also contains tryptophan and vitamin B5. It’s also full if magnesium, which can help with PMS cramps.

Wondering how to preserve all these nutrients while cooking? Boil it! Frying or grilling at high temperature at time breaks down the vitamin, while boiling is a much gentler cooking method.

How Long to Boil Chicken? 

Off to the main part now- how do you boil chicken? Even though the process looks pretty easy, people still get it wrong. Most make the mistake of overcooking them while some end up with raw and bloody chicken. The main thing people struggle with is how long to boil chicken.

Well, it depends on a lot of things. A whole chicken will take 90 minutes to boil and cook, whereas a boneless chicken breast will take 15 minutes. Thawed chicken thighs take about 30 minutes to boil. You can check if it’s cooked by measuring the internal temperature of the chicken, which should be 165F.

This is not absolute though, as boiling time depends on the size of the cuts. Also, bone-in chicken takes longer to cook. It depends on the heat settings of your stove as well.

How to Boil a Whole Chicken? 

To make sure you end up with the most tender and mouthwatering chicken instead of the rubbery ones, follow these tips,

1. What liquid Should You Pick?

We will let you know a secret; plain water is not the perfect solution for boiling chicken. Using chicken broth for boiling chicken works like magic. It intensifies the chicken flavor.

If you want to take it up a notch, add more flavors, such as apple cider, white wine etc. Adding onion pieces, carrots, garlic, celery also adds a punch in the boiling liquid and works as a ramen base or noodles soup.

2. Time to Season

Seasoning the chicken is an important step you don’t want to skip. Aside from salt and pepper, add fresh herbs as a flavor bomb for boiling chicken. Add carrots to add a subtle sweetness. As mentioned earlier, onions should also be added to the liquid. It boosts the chicken flavor. Adding a bit vinegar or lemon juice to the liquid will bring tanginess.

3. Wait for the Bubbles

Now’s the seemingly easy part. After you’ve added all your flavors, bring the water to a boil. When the simmer will turn into a boil, lower the heat instantly and cover the pot. This step is essential and where everyone makes the mistake of keeping the heat as high as it is.

Not lowering the heat will overcook the chicken and you’ll be ending with rubbery chicken. If you have a cooking thermometer, measure the internal temperature of the chicken to make sure it’s cooked fully.

4. Now, Serve!

Take the chicken out and let it rest for 10 minutes. The meat will cook for a while in this residual heat, so don’t skip this step. You can serve it up in your own way- shred it up for salad or soup, cut into pieces and have it with some ramen or rice. 

Poaching and Boiling: Same Thing? 

Many people confuse poaching with boiling but they are not the same thing. Poaching as the name suggests, is much gentler.

By definition, it means to cook something submerged in simmering liquid. It’s much slower process and the chicken end up being velvety. For poaching, the internal temperature is between 160F to 180F. 

How to Store Boiled Chicken 

To store the boiled chicken, make sure the temperature of the refrigerator remains 0 to 5C. Also store them in air tight packaging. Keep them separate from raw meat as they can be ruined easily.

Try to use up the boiled chicken within two days, although you can store them for 1 to 2 weeks. You could add some salt or sodium nitrate to store for a longer time. 

Final Words 

Boiling chicken may seem like and deceivingly easy task, but not many people can get it right. The most crucial thing is how long to boil chicken so that it doesn’t get rubbery or undercooked.

We’ve put together some essential tips and tricks so that you can master this cooking skill and make yourself a hearty meal!

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