perfect poached chicken breasts

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sometimes the best recipes are the most basic, and this recipe for perfect poached chicken breasts is one you’ll reach for again and again

perfect poached chicken breasts

Poached chicken gets a bad rap if you ask me. Yes, it is healthy and diet friendly if you are trying to eat better, but it is so much more than that. Poaching keeps the chicken moist and tender as well as healthy.

I poach a few chicken breasts on Sundays as part of my weekly meal prep. Then, during the week I use it for salads, shred the chicken for tacos or pasta, in soup, and if I happen to make a loaf of molasses bread, I LOVE chicken salad sandwiches. Those, not exactly diet friendly but SO delicious.

perfect poached chicken breasts

I prefer to keep my poached chicken simple. Just boneless, skinless chicken breasts, salt, pepper, and water.  Of course for added flavor you could use wine, stock, herbs, lemon slices, or even a few cloves of crushed garlic.

Place the chicken breasts in a single layer in a pot just large enough to hold them. It’s okay if they overlap a bit, but they will cook more evenly if they are in a single layer. Depending on the size of the breasts, I usually make 3 or 4 at a time. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then cover with water. The water should come about an inch above the chicken. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the chicken and cook until they reach 165 degrees. My chicken breasts took 10 minutes, but larger breasts could take up to 15 minutes. Just make sure they are no longer pink in the center.

Once the chicken is completely cooked, remove the breasts from the water. Slice and serve the chicken hot or allow to cool and store for later.

perfect poached chicken breasts

To keep the chicken moist in the refrigerator, make sure to cook just until done (165 degrees). No one likes to eat dried out chicken. Store the chicken, once completely cooled, in  shallow airtight containers. If you need to keep the poached  chicken for more than 3 days, it is best to freeze your leftovers.

perfect poached chicken breasts


  • boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • water
  • herbs (optional)


  • place chicken in a single layer in a pot
  • season with salt and pepper, and herbs (if using)
  • cover with cold water
  • bring water to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until the chicken reaches 165 degrees (10-15 minutes)
  • remove chicken from the poaching liquid
  • can be served hot or cold

Poaching chicken is so easy, and much healthier  than store bought rotisserie chicken for fast and easy weeknight dinners.


perfect poached chicken breasts