This is the foolproof way to make the JUICIEST Poached Chicken of your life. Dead-easy and guaranteed to work every time, this is a cracker of a chicken breast recipe that everyone should know! Use the chicken for any recipe that calls for cooked chicken – sandwiches, salads, pastas, pies, wraps and burritos.
This is a reader-favourite recipe included by popular demand in my debut cookbook “Dinner”!
I feel like poached chicken is a life skill that everyone should know. But depending how it’s executed, on the one hand it can be like chewing on chipboard: dismally dry, impossible to swallow and completely flavourless.
On the other hand – the successful hand – it’s unbelievably succulent, with chicken flavour you never dreamt was possible, and so tender and juicy you can literally SEE the chicken juices sparkling on the surface of every slice.
OK, so let’s get straight to the point – how to make this poached chicken in a way that literally cooks itself, has a huge margin for error, and yields the most incredibly succulent poached chicken you will ever have in your life!
How to poach chicken
Use 250g / 8.5 oz chicken breast that’s boneless and skinless
Place in boiling water, cover, then immediately take it off the stove
Leave for 20 minutes (up to 1 hour ok), then remove the chicken and slice/dice/shred
Prepared to be BLOWN AWAY by how juicy the breast is!
Barely cooking right?? *She says, smugly*
It’s not on the stove. You don’t need a thermometer. You literally walk away and just leave it, knowing that it’s fine even for up to 1 hour – which I have done countless times, lulled into a serious state of relaxation because of how much confidence I have in this recipe!
What you need to make poached chicken
Fundamentally, all you need is chicken breast. But if you’re intending to use the chicken without adding lots of other flavours, it’s nice to add some flavourings into the poaching liquid.
You can add other fresh or dried herbs and dried spices.
DO NOT add salt or other salted liquids like Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce etc. Salt will affect the temperature at which the water comes to a boil and cools, which may affect the chicken cooking through completely using this method.
Chicken breast this succulent and juicy is even delicious eaten plain when it’s freshly made. But here are a just a few more suggestions for what to make with Poached Chicken – the list is long, it’s a handy to have a stash!
What to make with Poached Chicken
Sandwiches – use sliced like cold cuts, or diced and used in a mayonnaise based filling (such as diced avocado, egg, mayonnaise, finely sliced celery, chives, red onion or green onion, mustard, salt and pepper);
Make your own Salad – slice, shred or dice and add to salads. Make your own – try it with the Honey Mustard Dressing (pictured above), French Dressing, Balsamic, Italian, Caesar, or a creamy Yogurt Dressing (5 varieties!);
Chicken Salad – Use it in any main course salad calling for cooked chicken, such as Chinese Chicken Salad, Thai Chicken Salad, Lemon Chicken Salad or Mexican Chicken Salad;
Add chicken into one of these salads to transform them into a meal:
Add poached chicken into one of these salads
Add into a pasta or rice salad;
Soups – add protein into soups, or use in place of chicken in the recipes (except recipes where cooking the chicken forms part of the broth flavour). Here are some suggestions:
Soups for poached chicken (shred or dice)
Serve with Sauce – One of my favourite ways to serve it as a meal is with a simple sauce, like this Honey Mustard Sauce pictured below. Either make a salad (the sauce is really just a dressing, so it’s made for salads!), or serve it over mashed potato or rice, or for low carb options, try creamy mashed cauliflower or cauliflower rice!
More sauces for poached chicken – here are some more sauce options for poached chicken. Some of these recipes have another protein in the recipe – just skip that part and make the sauce!
Ginger Shallot Sauce – this uses this poached chicken recipe! Tastes like Hainanese Chicken.
And a few final ideas for other things to make with poached chicken:
Toss into stir fried noodles or fried rice
Make a giant Baked Frittata, add into Quiche or make Mini Quiches
Chicken Rice Casserole – stir it in at the end
Pasta! Use in place of cooking chicken in any pasta recipe (like this Creamy Chicken Pasta) or add it into a meat free one for an extra hit of protein
And with that – I’m out! I hope this poached chicken becomes a staple recipe for you like it is for me. 🙂 – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
This recipe features in my debut cookbook Dinner. The book is mostly new recipes, but this is a reader favourite included by popular demand!
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Poached Chicken – Foolproof, perfect, AMAZINGLY juicy breast
- 2 chicken breasts , boneless skinless, 250g/8.5 oz each (Note 1)
Optional flavourings (Note 2)
- 1 lemon , quartered
- 1 bay leaf , dried or fresh
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- Take chicken out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking.
- Fill a saucepan with water so the chicken breast will be well submerged with at least 2" / 5cm of water above it in a single layer (can be snug but do not stack).
- Add Flavourings, if using (squeeze in lemon juice, add used lemon).
- Bring water to boil.
- Place chicken breast in water, place lid on, bring back up to the boil. IMMEDIATELY remove saucepan from stove and set aside for 20 minutes (it's fine up to 45 min to 1 hr, won't overcook).
- Remove chicken from water. Slice and be amazed how perfectly juicy and tender the breast is!! Or chop/shred and use as desired.
- If reserving for later use, cover loosely to cool then refrigerate whole – see Note 6.
- 250g/8.5oz each chicken breast – leave in water 20 minutes
- 300g/10oz each breast – take out of fridge 30 minutes prior, leave in water for 25 to 30 minutes
- Larger than 300g/10oz – are you sure they are CHICKEN breasts?? ?
- 220g / 7oz or smaller – recipe works fine but is not quite as juicy, but still juicier than normal simmering method. Can pull out of water earlier using a thermometer – cooked breast is 66°C / 151°F, check at 16 minutes.
- Up to 45 minutes, and I still do not notice any loss of juiciness in the breast
- Around 1 hour, I notice that it is slightly less juicy – but still way juicier than the usual methods of poaching!
- Frozen chicken – must be fully thawed before using.
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