In this post: Poached chicken is super simple to make and can be used on salads, soups, and sandwiches. Plus you can cook it from frozen!


Am I the only one who doesn’t like the taste of reheated chicken? When I pull out leftover chicken to add to a salad or sandwich I just think “Yuck!” Well, no more! With this poached chicken recipe, I can enjoy my salads and sandwiches! Learn how to poach chicken breasts here.

poached chicken on waxed paper

What is Poached Chicken?

Poached chicken is chicken that is cooked fully submerged in water. Then what’s the difference between poaching and boiling? Well, poaching is generally done at a lower temperature than boiling, making it a ‘gentler’ cooking method.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This recipe about how to poach chicken breasts:

  • is quick and easy to make
  • doesn’t require fancy equipment or hard-to-find ingredients
  • is free from the most common food allergens

Everything You’ll Need to Poach Chicken Breasts

Ingredients

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Water
  • Garlic cloves (and other veggies like onions and carrots)
  • Bay leaf (or other fresh herbs and spices like rosemary sprigs, peppercorn, parsley, fresh thyme, and fresh ginger) 

Equipment

  • Saucepan
  • Pot/pan lid
  • Sheet pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Knife
  • Ziplock

How to Poach Chicken Breasts

  1. Place chicken in a medium-large saucepan. Cover with water.
  2. Add minced garlic and bay leaf to the pan.
  3. Bring chicken to a boil.
  4. Turn it down to a simmer. Cover and let the chicken cook through (about 15-20 minutes).
  5. Remove the pan from heat. Drain the chicken and let it cool.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare a cookie sheet by covering it with parchment paper.
  7. Chop cooled chicken to your desired size – I like to make bite-sized pieces.
  8. Spread the chicken out on a cookie sheet in a single layer, without crowding. Keeping the pieces separate makes it easier to use them later.
  9. Flash freeze by placing the cookie sheet in the freezer until the chicken freezes.
  10. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and place them in a ziplock.
  11. Label and place the chicken back in the freezer for later use.
  12. To use later just remove some from the ziplock and defrost it on the counter or in the microwave. The chicken can be used cold or reheated – with no weird leftover chicken taste!
chopped poached chicken

How to Use Poached Chicken

You can throw the poached chicken in various salads, soups, sandwiches, and even pasta dishes! Here are some recipe ideas:

FAQs

What is the ideal temperature for poached chicken?

The ideal temperature for moist poached chicken is 160-170°F (71-77°C). But I like to make sure my chicken is well cooked so I wait until it reaches about 170-190°F (77-88°C).

How do I store this chicken?

Let your poached chicken cool and then put it in an airtight container or ziplock in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

Can I freeze this chicken?

Yes, you can! Store the cooled chicken in an airtight container or freezer bag. Label the bag with the date the chicken was made. Freeze for up to 3 months. 

Can you use chicken poaching liquid?

For sure! The chicken poaching liquid is less flavorful than chicken broth but it adds a nice subtle flavor when used to cook rice or quinoa.

Is poached chicken healthy?

Poached chicken is super healthy! It’s high in protein and low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Plus, this cooking method uses no dairy, gluten, or oil!

Can you poach frozen chicken?

Absolutely! I usually poach my chicken from frozen because I often forget to take the chicken out of the freezer to thaw. Just make sure you put the chicken in cool water and then boil it (rather than putting the chicken in already boiling water). Cook the chicken until a thermometer inserted in the center of the breasts shows that the chicken has reached the correct internal temperature.

POACHED CHICKEN COOLING ON CUTTING BOARD
poached chicken on waxed paper

Poached Chicken

Yield: 8-10 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Poached chicken is perfect for lunch salads or stir fry.

Ingredients

  • 5-6 chicken breasts
  • 2-4 cups of water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in medium to large sauce pan. Cover with water.
  2. Add minced garlic and bay leaf.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Turn down to a simmer. Cover and let cook through, about 15 or 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Drain and let cool.
  6. Meanwhile prepare cookie sheet by covering with wax paper.
  7. Chop cooled chicken to desired size (I make bite sized pieces).
  8. Spread on cookie sheet in a single layer, without crowding. If necessary add another sheet of wax paper on top and add a second layer. Keeping the pieces separate makes using them later much easier.
  9. Flash freeze by placing cookie sheet in freezer until chicken freezes.
  10. Remove and place chicken pieces into a ziploc.
  11. Label and place back in freezer for later use.
  12. To use later just remove desired amount from ziploc and defrost on the counter or in the microwave. Can be used cold or reheated - with no weird leftover chicken taste!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 150Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 76mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 28g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily via Nutrifox.

Did you make this recipe?

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Have you ever poached chicken? What do you use it for afterward?

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