Here’s How to Properly Boil Chicken

Recipe From Dr. Mercola

There’s no denying that home-cooked chicken dishes are among the most comforting and nutritious meals that everyone enjoys. Chicken soup has even been used as a popular home remedy for the common cold since the 12th century, and while it doesn’t really cure your cold per se, its warmth may still soothe your symptoms.1 Organic chicken may also provide you with a variety of health benefits, thanks to its vitamins and minerals, which include:2

There are many ways to cook this versatile meat, and one of the most basic cooking methods that you can do is boiling.3 Boiled chicken opens up a wide array of possibilities when it comes to creating savory dishes, since its mild flavor goes well with different ingredients, sauces, spices and herbs.

This cooking method is also a great way to create your own nutritious chicken broth at home,4 which makes for a great base for savory soups and stews. If you boil chicken with its bones, you can also create homemade bone broth, which may help improve your digestive health, fight off inflammation, support joint health, aid weight loss and enhance brain function with every sip.5 One of the most common questions regarding boiled chicken is, “How long should you boil different chicken parts?” Read on to find out.

A Guide to the Boiling Times of Different Chicken Parts

While boiling may seem extremely simple, there’s actually more to it than plunking chicken in a pot of water. One of the important factors that you need to consider is the cooking time. If you don’t boil chicken long enough, you may end up with uncooked meat that may put you at risk of foodborne bacterial infections.6

The boiling times for chicken vary depending on the type and size of the part that you’re planning to cook and whether you’re going leave its bone in or not.7 To give you a better idea of how much time you need to allot for cooking, here are the approximate boiling times for different chicken parts:8,9

  • Chicken breasts: You should boil a halved bone-in chicken breast for 30 to 45 minutes, while boneless breast halves should be boiled for 25 to 30 minutes.10
  • Chicken thighs: Boned-in chicken thighs take longer to cook than chicken breasts, since it has more bones, so boil it for at least 40 minutes.11,12
  • Chicken legs: Chicken legs should be boiled for around 40 minutes.13,14
  • Chicken wings: Boil chicken wings for 35 to 45 minutes.15
  • Chicken tenders: Since chicken tenders are very thin, you can boil them for 10 minutes.16

You may also opt to boil the whole chicken instead of cutting it into different parts. This may take at least one hour of boiling time. If you’re planning to boil frozen chicken, make sure that you thaw it properly first.17,18,19

If you’re unsure of whether your chicken is cooked even after you’ve boiled it according to the cooking times mentioned above, then you should use a food thermometer to measure its internal temperature. The Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends cooking chicken to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.20

How to Boil Boneless Chicken Breast

Cooking chicken breast can be quite tricky, since it tends to dry out when roasted or grilled. If you want to keep it juicy and tender, the best way to cook it is through boiling. Follow these quick and easy steps:21,22,23

  1. Place the chicken breast in a pot or saucepan that’s large enough to hold all the pieces in an even layer.
  2. Pour just enough cooking liquid to cover all the pieces of chicken breast.
  3. Add ingredients for flavor, if desired.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat and cover the pan.
  5. Leave the mixture to simmer until the chicken is no longer pink. This may take anywhere from 25 to 30 minutes, depending on the cut and thickness of the chicken breast. Use a thermometer to measure its internal temperature.

Boiled chicken breast can be paired with sauces or brushed with herbs for additional flavor. If you’re planning to use it on top of salads or as a filling, allow the meat to cool first before shredding it to small pieces.24

Put Your Boiling Skills to the Test: Try This Delicious Recipe

Now that you know the approximate boiling times for different chicken parts, you should use your newfound knowledge to create a chicken dish that’s boiled to succulent perfection. Try this hearty and comforting recipe:

Soothing Chicken Ginger Soup With Chayote and Moringa Leaves

Cook time: 30 minutes


  • 1 whole organic free-range chicken, cut into serving size recipes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, crushed and diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 2 medium chayote, diced
  • 1 cup fresh moringa leaves, removed from stem
  • 1 tablespoon of Dr. Mercola’s coconut oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 cups of filtered water


  1. In a pot, heat the oil and sauté the onion until softened. Then add the garlic and ginger and stir until aromatic.
  2. Place the chicken in the pot and stir-fry until it has rendered its own fat, but do not allow the chicken to brown.
  3. Pour in the water and fish sauce and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the chayote and continue to simmer until it softens. Adjust taste using salt as needed.
  5. Add the moringa leaves and continue to simmer for about a minute and then remove from the heat.

Choose Your Meat Wisely: Look for Organic, Pasture-Raised Chicken

Chicken is undoubtedly one of the most widely consumed meats in America, but did you know that over 90 percent of chickens available in supermarkets and groceries actually come from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)?25,26 CAFOs are large-scale establishments that raise a large number of farm animals in cruel, unsanitary and unhealthy living conditions. These animals are not only fed an unnatural diet of genetically engineered corn and soybeans, but they’re also routinely injected with low doses of antibiotics.

These practices deplete their nutritional value and increase your risk of contracting antibiotic-resistant bacteria that may cause foodborne illnesses, like salmonella outbreaks. The best way to avoid the health risks posed by cheap CAFO meat is by consuming organic, pasture-raised products instead.

Pasture-raised chickens are allowed to roam freely, so they can forage for their natural diet of seeds, green plants, insects and worms. They’re far more superior in terms of nutrition, and they’re also free of harmful antibiotics or chemicals. You can buy free-range chickens from a local farmer around your area or your local farmers market.

Sources and References