How to Boil Chicken

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Get ahead on your week with this easy meal prep chicken recipe! How to Boil Chicken Breasts is my simple tutorial that will give you juicy, flavorful shredded chicken that you can use for just about everything.

For the most perfect and amazingly tender baked chicken, grab my very popular recipe for Oven Baked Chicken Breasts.

boiled chicken breasts in a dutch oven


 

Now that everyone is getting to the end of their summer, it seems like a good time to start thinking about meal prep, again. Whether for school, homeschool, work, or just saving time across the board, meal prep is a great habit to start. One of the easiest and most versatile ingredients to make-ahead is shredded chicken. After boiling chicken breasts, you can use the shredded meat in a variety of dishes to make your meals quick and delicious.

This easy recipe for boiled chicken breast yields a ton of yummy shredded chicken that’s perfectly juicy and ready to portion out for several days’ worth of meals. It’s well-seasoned yet neutral, so it goes with everything. You’re going to love this simple and healthy recipe and all the time it saves.

Ingredients You’ll Need

This easy recipe uses simple ingredients that you probably already have on hand. Feel free to double or even triple the recipe because you’ll need it; plus, it freezes beautifully.

  • Chicken: One batch of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 to 1.5 pounds of chicken).
  • Broth: You can use veggie broth or chicken broth, enough to cover the chicken. That’s about 4 cups.
  • Garlic Powder: Use ½ tablespoon garlic powder to season.
  • Dried Herbs: Here’s where you can make it your own. Any kind of dried or fresh herbs will work well. Italian Seasoning, dried rosemary, a mix of dried rosemary and thyme, whatever you like!
  • Salt and Pepper: I find that a teaspoon of each is just right. Peppercorns work just as well.
shredded boiled chicken breasts in a white serving bowl

How to Boil Chicken Breasts

This method is practically foolproof! To make sure that the chicken doesn’t dry out or overcook (or worse, undercook!) we’ll be using an Instant-Read thermometer to check for doneness.

  1. Place Ingredients in a Large Pot. Place the chicken in a large pot, followed by the chicken broth, garlic powder, herbs, salt, and pepper.
  2. Cook. Cover the pot, and bring everything to a boil. Then reduce heat to low, and simmer the chicken for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken registers at 165˚F. Use your handy instant-read meat thermometer to check for doneness. The thicker the breasts, the longer it will take to cook through.
  3. Shred the Cooked Chicken. Remove the chicken breasts from the broth, reserving 1 cup of broth and tossing out the rest. Transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board and use two forks to shred the meat. If the chicken seems dry, add a bit of the reserved broth and stir to allow the chicken to absorb the liquid.
  4. Enjoy! Serve immediately, or put in an airtight container and refrigerate.

How To Boil Chicken In The Instant Pot

This recipe can also be made in the Instant Pot—you can just cook the chicken breasts on high pressure for 10 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release for five minutes or so, and then do a quick release of the rest of the pressure. See my recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Breasts for more information.

boiling chicken breasts in a dutch oven

Recipe Tips

You’re probably feeling ready to tackle some meal prep, but before you get started, hang on one second! First, take a minute to look over these handy tips.

  • Cut it up your way. While I usually shred my chicken, you can definitely leave it whole, chop it, slice it, or cube it. Whatever works for you or for the recipe that you’re going to make.
  • Shred it with a mixer. Put the cooked chicken breasts in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on low until shredded.
  • Use chicken thighs. Thighs also make tender pulled or shredded chicken. They also take longer to cook, so be sure to use a thermometer to check for doneness.

How to Use Shredded Chicken

Shredded chicken is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes. For a light and healthy meal, top a salad with shredded chicken; it pairs perfectly with a very berry avocado salad. For something heartier, stuff shredded chicken into sandwiches, pitas, or wraps with a delicious dressing like honey mustard.

It’s also great in casseroles, such as a cheesy chicken cauliflower rice casserole. And that’s not all—use it in baked tacos, quesadillas, soups, burrito bowls, dips, or barbecue. The possibilities are endless!

shredded boiled chicken breasts in a white serving bowl

Proper Storage

To store leftovers in the fridge, place them in airtight containers or food storage bags and refrigerate for up to 4 days. To freeze, place in freezer bags and press out as much air as possible before sealing. Freeze for up to two months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

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5 from 13 votes

How To Boil Chicken Breasts

Juicy, tender boiled chicken is easy and fast using this simple stovetop method. Use boiled chicken in sandwiches, salads, soups, casseroles, tacos, and more!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 1 to 1.5 pounds of chicken
  • 3 to 4 cups chicken broth, or enough to cover the chicken
  • ½ tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried herbs, you can use Italian Seasoning, dried rosemary, dried oregano, or a mix of dried rosemary, oregano, and thyme, etc…
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
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Instructions 

  • Place the chicken in a large pot or Dutch oven.
  • To the pot, add chicken broth; add enough broth to cover the chicken breasts.
  • Stir in garlic powder, dried herbs, salt, and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until the chicken's internal temperature registers at 165˚F. Please use an instant-read meat thermometer to check for doneness. The thicker the breasts, the longer they will take to cook through.
  • Remove the chicken breasts from the liquid; reserve 1 cup of the liquid and toss out the rest.
  • Transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board and, using two forks, shred the meat.
  • You can also place the chicken breasts in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on low for about a minute, or until chicken is shredded.
  • If the shredded chicken looks dry, add a little bit of the reserved liquid and stir to combine. Taste the chicken for salt, pepper, and seasonings, and adjust accordingly.
  • Serve the chicken immediately, or let it cool, then put it in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Nutrition

Calories: 165kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 767mg | Potassium: 599mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 75IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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26 Comments

  1. MaryAnn Coy says:

    Why toss the rest of the broth, at the end? I would use it to cook up quinoa or grain to use in another meal in a day or 2. Just refrigerate until used. We should never waste good food.

    BTW I signed up for your email list , but haven’t received any emails as yet. I checked tonight, and it says you already have my email. Could you please check this out?

    1. Katerina says:

      Thanks for letting me know, I’ll check on that asap.
      Also, thank you for sharing your tips about the broth! 🙏

  2. Lisa says:

    Perfect for our weekly lunches. Thank you for such an easy, versatile recipe.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! I’m very glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  3. Kas says:

    Greetings, Thank You for sharing. I recently learned I can’t have garlic, onion which is in broth. I used water and the other herbs, but it came out dry. Is there something else I can add? I also don’t want to make my own broth because I already have to make everything I eat and am not too happy about it. Any suggestions are welcome.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Hi!
      Dry chicken isn’t because of the flavor of the liquid; it just means that the chicken cooked for too long. If possible, always try to use an Instant Read Meat Thermometer to check for doneness. Chicken is done when internal temperature registers at 165˚F. Keep in mind that the cook time will always depend on the size of the chicken breasts.

      To help out with the broth situation, I would suggest for you to add 1 tablespoon of butter for every 1 cup of water (use water, not broth), plus add in all those herbs, and that should definitely help with the taste.