Learn How to Poach Chicken with this super easy recipe. Poached chicken breast takes just about 30 minutes to make and it turns out tender and flavorful every time. It’s great to add to soups, salads, sandwiches, chili and more. For this recipe we use boneless chicken breast, but you can you bone-in chicken breasts which produces an even heartier broth.

sliced and shredded poached chicken

Barbecued, grilled, fried and baked chicken are the most popular ways to cook chicken. But poached chicken breast – well, it tends to be an afterthought or its overlooked altogether. So today I thought I’d share with you why I like poaching chicken to add to salads, sandwiches, quesadillas and more. And the leftover broth is good for so many uses. 

pot of boneless chicken breasts

What is Poached Chicken

Poached chicken is made by cooking chicken breasts in water or broth over a very low heat for a few minutes, then turning the flame off and letting the chicken continue to cook through in the heated broth.

Poached Chicken Recipe

  • Boneless chicken breast
  • Garlic
  • Green onion
  • Celery with celery leaves
  • Parsley sprigs
  • Carrot 
  • Mushrooms
  • Bay leaves
  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Whole peppercorns

Variations

  • Use skinless boneless chicken breast or skinless with bone-in chicken
  • Add a sprig or two of fresh thyme
  • Toss in lemon slices or sprinkle in lemon zest
  • Use chicken broth instead of water

How Do You Poach Chicken

You won’t be able to tell there’s soy sauce in the broth, but I highly recommend adding it.  Soy sauce adds a richness to this delicious flavored broth. A lot of recipes use skinless and boneless chicken breast, but I like leaving the skin on because I find that it gives the poached chicken breast more flavor and keeps it more tender and juicy.  It also adds a ton of flavor to the broth in case you plan on using it later for another recipe. 

  1. Prep chicken. Place boneless chicken breast in a medium size sauce pan. Pour in enough water to cover the chicken by about 2 inches
  2. Add aromatics. Add the peppercorns, garlic, onion, celery, parsley, carrot, mushrooms and bay leaves.
  3. Bring to a boil. Bring liquid to a quick boil, then reduce heat to low and stir in the soy sauce then gently cook uncovered for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Rest. Turn off heat and cover allowing the chicken to continue cooking for 20 minutes until no longer pink inside.
  5. Slice or shred chicken. Remove chicken from broth. Place on cutting board, remove skin and slice or shred chicken. Freeze reserved broth for later use.

pot of vegetables in broth

How Long to Poach Chicken

Well it depends. Cooking time can vary between 10 to 20 minutes depending on the size of chicken breasts you’re cooking.

pot of broth

What’s the Difference Between Poaching, Simmering and Boiling 

Poaching

Poaching is a cooking technique that submerges food in liquid and cooks it with a very low heat (barely simmering somewhere between 160 and 180 degrees), which is even more gentle and mild than simmering. When poaching foods the surface of the water may look to be rippling a bit, but the liquid shouldn’t bubble. The poaching liquid is typically flavored with aromatics like bay leaves, garlic, herbs and spices, carrots and celery to enhance to flavor of the food you’re cooking.  Poached foods are typically more flavorful and tender. Cooking time can vary between 10 to 20 minutes depending on the size of chicken you’re cooking.

Simmering

Simmering (also called a “gentle boil”) is another cooking technique that submerges food in liquid and cooks it on a low heat (somewhere between 185 and 205 degrees). Simmering will produce small bubbles that will rise to the surface while cooking. A fine simmer will produce few bubbles, where a vigorous simmer will produce a continuous stream of bubbles on the surface. It’s important to adjust the temperature on the stove to keep the bubbles small and to keep the liquid from reaching a boiling point.

Boiling

Boiling is yet another cooking technique – like boiling water for tea. Boiling liquids should have a consistent temperature of 212 degrees – otherwise if it becomes hotter, the liquid will become steam and evaporate away. Boiling will produce larger and continuous bubbles with a little steam that will rise to the surface.

pot of chicken broth

What to Do With Leftover Broth

Oh this cozy broth is so good! I love to sip on it plain with a little chopped parsley, but it adds nice flavor when cooking soups, rice, quinoa, stews, skillets and more. Just be sure to strain the broth before storing in the refrigerator or freezing into soup cubes. Here’s a few of my favorite tips on How to Freeze Chicken Broth.

  • Soups. This broth is great for making a small batch of simple soup by stirring whisked egg into the broth and adding some spinach (for a Stracciatella soup), or use it for richer soups like this Immune Boosting Chicken Soup and Italian Lentil Soup
  • Rice and Quinoa. Use left-over broth instead of water or canned broth when making rice and quinoa.
  • Legumes. Use it instead of water when cooking lentils, chickpeas, black beans and pinto beans from scratch.
  • Stews, Skillets and Casseroles. Broth adds so much flavor to stew and skillet dishes.
  • Mashed potatoes.  Use a little broth instead of milk or cream when making mashed potatoes for a low-cal side dish.

How to Serve Poached Chicken

Here are some simple ways to use poached chicken.

sliced pieces of poached chicken breast

More Easy Chicken Recipes

slices of poached chicken breast
Yield: 4 servings

How to Poach Chicken

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Learn How to Poach Chicken with this super easy recipe. Poached chicken breast takes just about 20 minutes to make and it turns out tender and flavorful, making it perfect to add to soups, salads, sandwiches, chili and more.

Ingredients

  • 2 large boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 green onion, trimmed
  • 2-3 celery sticks with leaves
  • 3-4 parsley sprigs
  • 1 carrot stick, trimmed, peeled and cut in half
  • 3 mushrooms
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-1/2 - 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Adding soy sauce to the water makes for a rich and deliciously flavored broth. A lot of recipes use skinless and boneless chicken broth, but I like leaving the skin on because I find that it gives the chicken more flavor and keeps it more tender and juicy.  It also adds a ton of flavor to the poaching liquid in case you plan on using it later for another recipe. 
  2. Place boneless chicken breast in a medium size sauce pan
  3. Pour in enough water to cover the chicken by about 2 inches
  4. Add the peppercorns, garlic, onion, celery, parsley, carrot, mushrooms and bay leaves.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and stir in the soy sauce then simmer uncovered for 5-7 minutes.
  6. Turn off heat and cover for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove chicken from broth. Place on cutting board, remove skin and slice or shred chicken. Freeze reserved broth for later use.

Notes

  • Use skinless boneless chicken breast or skinless with bone-in chicken
  • Add a sprig or two of fresh thyme
  • Use chicken broth instead of water

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 189Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 356mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 20g

theharvestkitchen.com attempts to provide accurate information, however, this nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. The nutritional information provided comes from online sources and calculations.