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How to Easily Prepare Cooked Chicken for Recipes, Salads, and Casseroles by Poaching

Updated on August 20, 2014
Poached Bone-In Chicken Thighs
Poached Bone-In Chicken Thighs | Source

Chicken at the Ready for Recipes, Salads, and Sandwiches!

Does your recipe call for cooked chicken?

Thinking of not making it because you have to cook chicken?

Don't grill cheese just yet - preparing cooked chicken can be easy, delicious, and relatively clean if you use a method of cooking called poaching. Now, no, we won't have to smuggle any chickens for this recipe - in cooking terms, poaching means to cook in hot liquid that is kept just below the boiling point.

You can use chicken thighs or chicken breasts; skin-on and bone-in really work best. Slight variation on cooking times can optimize the juiciness and texture of each type of cut, but the instructions for all are basically the same. Just put the chicken in a stock pot, add some vegetables and herbs you have on-hand, and cover with water. In about a half an hour you'll have falling-apart home-cooked chicken ready for recipes, salads, and sandwiches!

Place all ingredients in a pot and cover with water.
Place all ingredients in a pot and cover with water. | Source

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 45 min
Yields: Approx. 3-4 cups of cooked chicken.
Cover pot and bring water to a boil.
Cover pot and bring water to a boil. | Source
Once cooked, remove chicken immediately.
Once cooked, remove chicken immediately. | Source
Let chicken rest on a plate until cool enough to handle.
Let chicken rest on a plate until cool enough to handle. | Source
Remove skin. Cut chicken and shred, or slice for tasty chicken sandwiches!
Remove skin. Cut chicken and shred, or slice for tasty chicken sandwiches! | Source


  • 3 raw chicken breasts (halves) or thighs
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried (or 2 tsp fresh) herbs, try a mix of any or all of the following: basil, marjoram, thyme, and/or sage
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt (optional) salt, to taste


  1. Add chicken, vegetables, herbs, pepper and salt into a stock pot.
  2. Add just enough water to cover the ingredients.
  3. Cover pot and bring to vigorous boil. Then remove cover and reduce heat to low simmer. Let simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and cover pot again. Let sit 25-35 minutes, turning chicken half way through.
  5. When chicken is no longer pink, skin (if applicable) slides off easily and temperature measures 165 degrees F, remove chicken from poaching liquid and place on plate.

Shred or Slice and Enjoy!

Once cool enough to handle, remove skin. Shred chicken with forks or slice for sandwiches. Use immediately or store in refrigerator for later use.

It really is easy to prepare healthy homemade cooked chicken in less than an hour. With juicy, delicious meat and a house full of stomach-rumbling aroma, you will probably never buy a can of preserved chicken again!

Make It, then Rate It!

5 stars from 2 ratings of Easy Poached Chicken


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    • Lee Tea profile image

      Lee Tea 3 years ago from Erie, PA

      Hi greatstuff!

      The skin removes easily after cooking. You're right, no oil! Never thought of it that way. The skin gets rubbery while poaching so you'll want to remove it after cooking - guess if you want to eat the skin, frying is a better way to go. I like poaching because the cooked chicken then shreds easily, making a better texture for soups and casseroles. It slices easily too making great sandwiches.

    • greatstuff profile image

      Mazlan 3 years ago from Malaysia

      This looks like a healthy way to cook chicken - no oil. I see that you don't remove the skin. Is it better this way?