How Long To Boil Chicken Breast?

Boiling chicken breast is a simple and healthy cooking method that is beloved by many.

The perennial question of how long to boil chicken breast might seem straightforward, yet it captivates the attention of culinary enthusiasts and home cooks alike.

The duration of boiling can deeply influence the tenderness and juiciness of the meat, transforming a basic ingredient into a succulent centerpiece for a plethora of dishes.

Look no further because we are going to unravel the mystery behind the perfect boiling time to ensure that your chicken breast emerges from the pot flavorful and satisfying.

Let’s dive into the art of cooking chicken breast to perfection!

How Long To Boil Chicken Breasts?

Boiling chicken breast is both an art and a science, as the perfect texture and flavor are contingent upon the cooking time, which is influenced by the initial state and type of chicken breast you start with.

To achieve the optimal state of succulence and tenderness, here’s an in-depth guide on boiling times for different types of chicken breasts.

1. Fresh Bone-In Chicken Breasts

When boiling fresh bone in chicken breasts, the presence of the bone and possibly the skin can affect boiling times due to their impact on how the heat distributes through the meat.

To cook these properly, follow the method for boiling fresh boneless breasts but extend the time frame slightly to 25–30 minutes.

The bone conducts heat, which can help the chicken cook evenly, but the thicker density requires additional time.

2. Fresh Boneless Chicken Breasts

The go-to chicken breast for quick meals is the fresh boneless variant due to its even shape and lack of bones, which allows for a uniform cook.

Start by placing the chicken breasts in a pot and covering them with an inch of liquid.

Once the liquid is brought to a boil and the heat is reduced to a simmer, the magic number is typically 18-20 minutes.

The exact time can vary depending on the thickness of the breast; thinner cuts may need as little as 8 minutes, whereas thicker cuts can require up to 20 minutes.

The chicken is ready once the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) when checked with a meat thermometer.

3. Frozen Bone-In Chicken Breasts

Frozen bone-in chicken breasts require the most patient approach.

The bone, the frozen state, and the often accompanying skin all contribute to the longer required cooking times.

Place the frozen chicken in a pot, cover it with liquid, and wait for it to come to a boil before reducing the heat to a simmer.

These thicker, denser pieces will need to cook for 30-40 minutes.

4. Frozen Boneless Chicken Breasts

Boiling frozen chicken breasts is a convenience many rely on, omitting the thawing process.

To safely boil frozen boneless chicken breast, you’ll need to increase the cooking time.

After bringing your liquid to a boil and adding the frozen chicken, return the liquid to a gentle boil before reducing it to a simmer.

Plan on boiling the frozen chicken breasts for approximately 25–30 minutes.

Wrapping Up With Extra Tips

Regardless of the type of chicken breast you are boiling, a few guidelines can help perfect the process:

1. Don’t Leave It Unattended: Keeping an eye on the pot ensures you can adjust the temperature as needed, preventing overcooking.

2. Season Well: Adding flavors to the cooking liquid such as herbs, spices, garlic, and onion will enhance the chicken’s taste.

3. Resting Time: Always allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes after boiling, which lets the juices redistribute for a moister result.

By following these detailed guidelines, you’ll be able to cook chicken breast to perfection, whether you’re preparing a weeknight meal in haste or cooking in bulk for meal-prepped lunches.

How To Boil Chicken Breast?

Now that you have your high-quality chicken breast, it’s time to get cooking!

Follow these steps for perfectly boiled chicken breast every time:

– Step 1: Place the chicken breasts in a pot and cover them with water or broth. Make sure the liquid covers the chicken by about an inch.

– Step 2: Heat the water or broth over medium-high heat until it boils.

– Step 3: After the chicken comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low and simmer it for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how big the chicken breasts are.

– Step 4: Check the chicken’s internal temperature with a meat thermometer. For consumption, it must be at least 165°F (74°C).

– Step 5: Remove the chicken breasts from the pot and let them rest for a few minutes before slicing or shredding as desired.

Additional Tips For Perfectly Boiled Chicken Breast

Here are some additional tips so that you can perfect your boiled chicken breast:

1. You can add herbs, spices, and vegetables to the liquid for added flavor while it is boiling. This will infuse the chicken with subtle but delicious flavors.

2. Make sure not to overcook the chicken breasts, as this can result in dry and tough meat. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the chicken is cooked but still juicy.

3. If you plan on using the boiled chicken for salads or sandwiches, let it cool completely before shredding or slicing. This will prevent the meat from becoming mushy.

4. You can also marinate the chicken breasts in your favorite marinade overnight before boiling for an extra burst of flavor.

How To Flavor Your Chicken Breast?

Boiled chicken breast can be a versatile ingredient that can be used in various dishes and cuisines.

Here are some ideas on how to flavor your chicken breast after boiling:

1. Shred the boiled chicken and mix it with your favorite BBQ sauce for a tasty pulled chicken sandwich.

2. Chop up the boiled chicken and add it to a salad with your desired toppings and dressing.

3. Slice the boiled chicken and use it as a protein source in your favorite wraps or pitas.

4. Add the boiled chicken to casseroles, soups, and stews for added texture and protein.

How To Choose The Best-Quality Chicken Breast?

When it comes to cooking chicken breast, starting off with good-quality meat is crucial.

Here are some tips to help you choose the best chicken breast:

1. Look for chicken breasts that are firm and plump, with a pinkish hue. Avoid those that are pale or discolored.

2. Opt for organic or free-range chicken breast whenever possible to ensure a more natural and healthier product.

3. Check for any signs of freezer burn or ice crystals, as this can affect the texture and taste of the chicken breast.

4. Smell the chicken breast to ensure that it has a fresh and clean scent. Any unusual odors could indicate spoilage.

What To Serve With Boiled Chicken Breast?

Elevate the humble boiled chicken breast into an exciting culinary centerpiece with these fantastic pairing suggestions.

Whether you’re focusing on health or just craving something tasty, boiled chicken breast is not only versatile, it’s also a perfect canvas for an array of accompaniments. 

Complement its simplicity with a burst of color and nutrition from greens such as broccoli, carrots, or green beans, either roasted to caramelized perfection or delicately steamed.

Toss up a refreshing side salad, adorned with your favorite dressings and accoutrements for a burst of freshness. 

Introduce grainy goodness to your meal with choices like rice or quinoa for a satisfying experience.

Invite comfort to your table with classic mashed potatoes or the natural sweetness of a baked sweet potato. 

Moreover, with a light, flavorful sauce – a concoction of chicken broth, herbs, and spices, adding alluring moisture and taste, you will have a better experience with the boiled chicken breast.

Explore various tastes and components to discover the best match for your boiled chicken breast meal. 

Remember, the next time you’re searching for a quick protein-rich option, boiled chicken breasts could be the scrumptious and healthful addition to your meal needs.

Storing and Reheating

You can keep boiled chicken breast in the refrigerator for about 4 days in a sealed bag. 

You can also reheat chicken by heating it to the correct temperature in the oven or microwave.

Be careful not to overcook, as this can lead to a dry and rubbery texture.

Alternatively, you can also use the boiled chicken as an ingredient in other dishes, such as soups or casseroles for added flavor and protein.

Just be sure to adjust cooking times accordingly to avoid overcooking.

With these tips in mind, you can make the most out of your boiled chicken breast and enjoy it in various ways throughout the week! 

So take this guide with you and confidently cook up some delicious boiled chicken breast for your next meal!


In conclusion, mastering how long to boil chicken breast is a fundamental cooking skill that rewards you with tender, juicy meat suitable for a myriad of dishes.

This guide has provided you with the timing for various types of chicken breasts – fresh or frozen, boneless or bone-in.

With the insights shared, any cook, from novice to expert, can confidently tackle this cooking method.

Remember that precision in timing, attentive care, and proper seasoning are the keys to perfecting the simple yet delectable boiled chicken breast, making it a reliable and nutritious staple in any meal.

How Long To Boil Chicken Breast?

This boiled chicken breast recipe is your go-to method for cooking up a perfectly moist and tender chicken every time, ideal for a myriad of flavorful dishes.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 breasts


  • 2 chicken breasts (7 oz each)
  • 2 cups broth or water, or as needed
  • 2 thick slices onion
  • 1 rib celery
  • Salt, pepper, and herbs to taste
  • 2 sprigs fresh herbs (optional)


  • Start by placing chicken breasts in a saucepan. Ensure to add enough liquid that it just about covers the chicken breasts.
  • Proceed to add all the remaining ingredients to the pot.
  • Bring the contents of the pot to a boil, then cover it and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Depending on the type of chicken breast you're using, cook the boneless pieces for about 12-15 minutes, or the bone-in pieces for 25-30 minutes. The chicken is ready when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Once cooked, remove the chicken breasts from the cooking liquid and let them rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting or shredding.
  • Don't throw away the cooking liquid. Strain it and use it for making soups or as a cooking liquid for rice.
Keyword boiled chicken breast, how long to boil chicken breast

Chef Chip Roman is one of the most exciting and talented chefs in Philadelphia. He has his own catering business, Charles Roman Catering, as well as Roman Restaurant Group which includes Blackfish, Mica, and Ela. He graduated from Drexel University in 2002 with a degree in business and culinary arts. Chip Roman is a classically trained chef who has worked in some of the most prestigious kitchens and chefs in Philadelphia, including Le Bec Fin’s George Perrier and Marc Vetri’s Vetri.

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