Poached Chicken Breasts

Yield: 1 to 4 servings Total time: 30 minutes July 30, 2017

This simple chicken preparation is perfect for salads, pasta dishes, or a school lunch bento box.

Recipe from The Kitchn.


  • 1 to 4 skinless chicken breasts, on or off the bone as preferred
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. salt
  • Aromatics: smashed garlic, bay leaf, 1 tsp. peppercorns, sliced ginger, fresh herbs, thinly sliced onions, or any other flavorings
  • 1 cup white wine, optional, for more flavor


Arrange the chicken in a single layer on the bottom of the pot. It's fine if they overlap a little, but they cook more evenly if they are in a single layer. Scatter the salt and aromatics over top.

If using wine, pour this over the chicken first. Pour in enough cool water to cover the chicken by an inch or so.

Place the pot of chicken on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Bring the water to a boil. You'll see some white scummy foam collecting on the surface as the water comes to a boil — if you'll be using the poaching liquid for a soup or other recipe, you can skim this off; otherwise, it's fine to leave it.

As soon as the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the chicken simmer. Begin checking the chicken after 8 minutes: it is done when opaque through the middle and an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the meat registers 165°F. Chicken will typically finish cooking in 10 to 14 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat and whether it is has a bone.

Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid and place it on a cutting board.

Poached chicken can be served hot, room temperature, or cool. It can also be served whole, or it can be sliced or shredded as per your recipe. If you cooked your chicken with the bones, you can pull or cut away the bones, return them to the pot with the poaching liquid, and simmer until the liquid is reduced. Once strained, this is a quick chicken broth that can be used for soups or rice.

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