Find out how to poach chicken and prepare the most tender and succulent breasts you’ve ever made, along with a variety of flavour inspirations
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 2–3 sprigs of rosemary
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed with the flat side of a knife
- 4 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless (see note 1)
- Fill a wide pan with around 10cm/4″ of cold water. Add the salt, pepper, rosemary, lemon and garlic. (see note 2)
- Lower the chicken breasts into the water so they sit side by side (not stacked on top of each other). (see note 3)
- Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a very low simmer. You want a bubble or two to be breaking the surface of the water every couple of seconds, no more.
- Reduce the heat to medium, so you keep the water at this temperature. Cook for 10 minutes. (see notes 4,5)
- Remove the chicken from the water with tongs or a slotted spoon and place it aside on a plate or chopping board. You can check they are done enough by using a kitchen thermometer and checking they register at 68-70C (155 – 158F) in the thickest part of the breast. Or you can cut a small slit into the middle of one of the breasts and check it is white all the way through. (see note 6)
- Leave the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving or slicing. (see notes 7,8)
- You can also poach chicken thighs or legs using the same method. If you are using chicken with skin then the skin won’t be great for eating once poached as it won’t be crisp. However, it will fall right off the chicken once cooked.
- Feel free to get adventurous with the seasonings you add. You can use any whole spices and seeds, herbs or vegetables!
- There should be enough water to fully submerge the chicken with a little room above. If you use too much water then it will take longer to heat up and it will extend the cooking time unnecessarily.
- Always remember that you are poaching the chicken. Not boiling it and not simmering it. Poaching is a very gentle cooking method and if you use too high a heat then the result will be dry and tough.
- 10 minutes is usually a good amount of time for a medium-sized chicken breast (around 120g – 150g each (4-5oz)). If your breasts are larger you may need to add an extra 5-10 minutes of cooking time.
- You can strain and keep the leftover cooking water and use it in place of stock. It will last for up to 3 days in the fridge or for up to 3 months in the freezer.
- Don’t skip resting the chicken. If you have cooked it to the recommended temperature, then while resting it will continue cooking until it reaches 75C (165F) which is the recommended safe temperature for cooked chicken. It also allows the fibres to relax and the juices to redistribute through the chicken, making it super juicy and tender.
- When slicing the chicken, cut it at a 90-degree angle to the grain (the lines you can see running through the breast). Cutting across the fibres will make it even more tender.
- Poached chicken can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.
- When reheating add a splash of water and cover and cook in the microwave. Or heat in a small amount of water in a pan on the hob/stove to retain the juiciness.
- Nutritional information is based on 1 boneless and skinless chicken breast weight 125g (4oz).
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Chicken
- Method: Hob / Stove
- Cuisine: British
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 132
- Fat: 1.4g
- Carbohydrates: 0g
- Protein: 30g
Keywords: chicken, poached, healthy, light, easy, simple, keto