How to Boil Chicken

Meal prep just got easier.

Many recipes call for "cooked chicken" in the ingredient list, whether that's cubed, sliced, or shredded. Although using a rotisserie chicken is a good way to add cooked chicken to any meal, if you have some extra raw chicken on hand you can easily boil it and add it to a variety of dishes.

You can even boil chicken ahead of time and store it to use throughout the week. It's perfect for adding to salads, soups, quesadillas, and so much more. Save yourself a trip to the store and learn how to boil chicken in a few simple steps.

How to Boil Chicken Step-by-Step

Follow these simple steps for making flavorful, boiled chicken, based on this Boiled Chicken recipe. You can always switch up the spices and ingredients to flavor to your liking.

How Long to Boil Chicken

That's all going to depend on the quantity of chicken your boiling. As a general rule of thumb, boil a whole chicken for 90 minutes and boil chicken breasts for 15 minutes, or until no longer pink.

Boiled Chicken
My Hot Southern Mess


  • 1 whole chicken or 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 cups water or chicken broth (enough to cover)
  • 1 onion, halved-unpeeled
  • 3 carrots, cut into chunks-unpeeled
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns


  1. Place the chicken in a large pot, along with the onions, carrots, celery, and peppercorns. Add water or broth to cover.
  2. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle boil.
  3. For a whole chicken cook for about 90 minutes. For boneless chicken breasts, cook for 15 minutes or until no longer pink.
  4. Remove chicken, let cool and shred with a fork or chop the meat using a knife.

How to Store Boiled Chicken

Boil chicken ahead of time and store in your fridge or freezer to use throughout the week. It's the perfect way to save yourself time and effort on busy weeknights. After allowing the chicken to cool, transfer it to an airtight storage container and leave it in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for up to three months. It's as simple as that!

Ways to Use Boiled Chicken

Chicken noodle soup in white soup bowl

Try using your boiled chicken in one of these top-rated recipes.

1. Chicken Biscuit Pie

"We love this recipe! It's a wonderful way to use up leftover chicken...Fast, easy, and comforting with ingredients on generally has on hand," says reviewer CHARMICHEAL.

2. Quick and Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

Recipe creator MARVM says, "When you don't have time to make your soup totally from scratch, this is a very easy, very good substitute."

3. Baked Chicken and Rice Chimichangas

"Delish! I didn't change a thing, although I boiled my own shredded chicken which added a bit of extra zing," says reviewer katamoran.

4. Holiday Chicken Salad

"I've made this twice now. It's good right on the same day it's made, however it's excellent on day two or three. Give the flavors a chance to meld together. Beautiful on a croissant sandwich," says reviewer LADYLAVENDER.

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