Best Boiled Chicken

Comfort Food, Southern Dinners

This boiled chicken recipe is a perfect no fail way to get perfectly cooked chicken off the bone and make some broth in the meantime.

Boiled chicken is great for when the oven is occupied, you feel like making something nice-n-easy, or you want to waste as little as possible.

You can use the chicken is so many different ways, and the broth can be stored and used for future dishes. It is a “two-fer” as we say in the South…two for one….chicken and broth!

Boiled chicken that falls off the bone

Once you cook this you’ll never go back. This is a classic that can be turned into countless over dishes. Leftovers will never be the same.

Can you boil it from frozen or should it be thawed?

We recommend boiling a thawed-in-the-refrigerator-overnight chicken. Plus, it reduces the weird grey foam that occurs when blood ends up in the boil. Sure, you can boil it from frozen but it could likely end up unevenly cooked and will take much longer.

Remember to remove the small pouch that’s inside the bird prior to cooking. Often inside these butcher paper pouches are heart, gizzards, and liver. Heat up a cast iron, heavily season, and sear ’em up. We prefer to snack on the heart and gift the rest to our dog via special KONG filling.

How long to boil chicken

The answer depends on the bird. How big is it? Is it whole?

For this recipe, we used the ratio of 15 minutes of cook time per 1 pound (500g) of whole chicken.

(Example: 75 minutes of boiling for a 5 pound whole bird.)

How to make flavorful broth at the same time…

I’ve got a full recipe on that here , but here is the gist.

It’s the seasonings and spices you can add that make all the difference in the world. Of course, if all you have a little salt and pepper that is a-okay and will still produce a flavorful meal.

A few pantry staples like bay leaf, onions, carrots, and celery enhance both boiled chicken, its broth, and so many other dishes. When we can find them in a specialty section of the grocery store or online, we like to throw in a little dried shiitake mushrooms, parsley, and liquid aminos for a flavor explosion.

Whether a special ingredient or regular grocery vegetables, a few extra pieces can go a long way in adding savory layers and a few more vitamins to your recipe.

But, I’m short on time.

This recipe can be spread out over two days. Day 1: cut the vegetables, boil the chicken, and cool it. Day 2: Pull the chicken off the bones and continue cooking the broth.

What else could I make with this?

This boiled chicken is a fantastic canvas for many types of meals.

  • chicken and rice
  • barbecue chicken
  • chicken tacos
  • salads
  • burritos
  • chicken salad sandwiches

It makes meal planning just a little easier!

Other dinner recipes we love

Boiled Chicken

Holli Medley
This boiled chicken recipe is a perfect no fail way to get perfectly cooked chicken off the bone and make some broth in the meantime.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 421 kcal


  • Large pot with lid (No lid? Use aluminum foil.)
  • Stove top


  • 1 chicken WHOLE, defrosted
  • water enough to fully cover chicken in pot
  • salt 1 tbsp per 1 pound of chicken
  • peppercorn whole or ground, per your preference
  • 1 onion large, diced
  • 2 carrots large, diced
  • 5 celery stalk large, diced
  • 3 bay leaf dried
  • 1 garlic clove whole



  • Wash, clean, and chop vegetables. Gather seasonings.
  • Ensure that chicken is thoroughly defrosted and packet of offal is removed from inside the bird. Discard all liquid from packaging.

Boiling the Chicken

  • In a large pot, bring water, seasonings and vegetables to a boil. Add the chicken last.
  • Once it comes back to a rolling boil after adding the chicken, reduce heat to a gentle boil and cover with a lid (but leave it slightly vented). No lid? Use aluminum foil.
  • For every 1 pound of chicken (check label on the plastic wrapper -or- your receipt), boil the chicken for 15 minutes. For example, if your chicken is 4 lbs, it should boil for 60 minutes.
  • Once the cook time has elapsed, remove the chicken from the cooking liquid with tongs. Let all the excess liquid drip back into the pot.
  • Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes per pound. If your chicken is 4 lbs, it should rest for 20 minutes.
    This should keep the chicken from losing its moisture.
  • Once rested, you can break down the chicken by pulling the meat from the bones (keep the bones though!!). Cool the meat quickly, label and store it no more than 5 days in a refrigerator or 3 months in a freezer.

Don't Forget the Broth!

  • Since you kept the bones, throw those back in the large pot with the rest of the cooking liquid and let it reduce for as long as you'd prefer. Surprise!—You've got bonus Chicken Broth!


Serving: 1servingCalories: 421kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 36gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 136mgPotassium: 394mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 361IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 35mgIron: 2mg
Keyword chicken broth
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. Andrea Tinonga

    is the boiling time of 5 minutes per lb accurate? I keep reading 15 minutes per pound

    • Avatar photo

      Andrea, thank you for the comment. I think the recipe author did intend to write 5 minutes per pound, but I’ve updated the recipe to say 15 minutes per pound. This is the amount of time that I’ve always used when boiling chicken, and it’s important to ensure chicken is fully cooked!

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