Go Back
+ servings
a plate of larb gai next to a red bowl filled with thai sauce.
Print Recipe
0 from 0 votes

How To Poach Chicken

See how to poach chicken in water. Juicy and flavorful, this is our go-to method for quickly cooking chicken.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Resting Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Appetizer/Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Diabetic, Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Low Fat
Keyword: cooked chicken, how to poach chicken breasts, poached chicken
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 129kcal
Author: Joanie Zisk


  • 2 quart saucepan
  • Instant read thermometer
  • Cutting board
  • Knife


  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Aromatics: Smashed garlic, lemon slices, fresh ginger, fresh or dried herbs, sliced onions, or any other flavorings (Optional, but these add much flavor)


  • Place the chicken on the bottom of a saucepan. Sprinkle the salt and add any aromatics you might be using.
  • Cover the chicken with enough cool water to cover the chicken by an inch or so.
  • Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. You may see a little foam rise to the surface as the water comes to a boil. You can leave the foam or skim it off the top if you will be using the water for soup or a sauce.
  • As soon as the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the chicken simmer until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. To check for doneness, an internal thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken should read 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and the juices will run clear when you pierce the chicken with a knife.
  • Transfer chicken to a cutting board and cover. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before slicing.


Expert Tips
  • Although water and chicken are the only ingredients you really need. Feel free to add in any aromatics you have on hand and salt to add flavor.
  • For best results, remove the skin from the chicken before poaching.
  • You will likely see some foam rising to the top of the water as the chicken cooks. You do not need to remove the foam unless you'd like to use the cooking liquid for a soup or sauce.
  • Begin checking to see if the chicken is done after 8 minutes. It is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees F. Typically, it takes me 10-12 minutes to cook, depending on the thickness of the meat.
  • Many people think that placing the chicken into a pot of boiling water is the best way to poach chicken. DO NOT do this. This method causes the meat to tighten up quickly and will result in tough chicken. Cook it in cold water for very best results.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 129kcal | Protein: 24g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 422mg | Potassium: 418mg | Vitamin C: 1mg | Iron: 1mg