This recipe has been updated from it’s original version (Dec. 2015)!
I am so excited to share with you 7 Reasons You Should Learn How to Boil a Chicken!
I have known how to boil a chicken since I was a wee little girl.
–Is what I wish I could tell you–
The truth is that I just started doing this frugal kitchen hack a few years ago, but there is no stopping me now.
Growing up, my family did not eat chicken. If I wanted chicken, I had better order it at a restaurant or *BEG* my mom to get a box of chicken nuggets from our Schwan’s man.
You see my dad hated chicken.
I guess when he was younger a close relative made fried chicken that was not…ummm…well received. The terms greasy and fatty have been used to describe it. I can’t say I blame him as I don’t like greasy or fatty chicken either. 😉
Apparently, he was so turned off by chicken that my mom was never able to change his mind about it.
So, needless to say, I never learned how to boil a chicken as a girl!
When I got married and left my parent’s home, I discovered boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
I was one happy girl until I grew very tired of my 4 tried and true recipes, constantly trimming chicken breasts and buying what seemed like gallons of boxed chicken stock.
This brings me to my chicken turning point.
My friend, Sarah, told me her “how to boil a chicken recipe” is one of my very favorites.
She then encouraged me to give it a try. I was so intimidated by the whole concept and sort of freaked out about working with meat that resembles the animal it came from (aka a whole chicken).
Can you believe all these years later I actually help my husband process our deer meat? True story.
When I finally mustered up the courage, I was surprised by how easy it was and how tasty the broth and bird turned out.
You may wonder, how long does it take to boil a whole chicken? 45 minutes! That’s it.
So without further adieu, here are my…
7 Reasons You Should Learn How to Boil a Chicken
1. It’s Tasty
The meat is always moist, tender, and delicious. Say goodbye to dry chicken!
2. It’s Easy
There are only a few minutes of active cooking involved. The only supplies you will need are a large pot, a whole chicken, the “holy trinity” of veggies, a few seasonings, and water!
3. It’s Frugal
You will end up with meat, stock, and as a bonus use up those veggies sitting in the bottom of your refrigerator. Plain chicken breasts are typically twice as much money as buying a whole chicken. Saving money always feels good 🙂
4. It’s Fail-Proof
Never ever EVER have I messed this up….and that’s saying something!
5. It provides enough for several meals
When you boil a chicken, you can eat it as is, or use it in a soup, casserole, or chicken salad (sometimes all 4 depending on how large the bird is).
6. It’s how your grandma did it.
7. It will make your house smell ahhhmazing!
It will smell like you have been in your kitchen slaving away all day when your spouse walks in, but you will know the truth 😉
A few last tips for how to boil a whole chicken:
- I always have a scrap bag in my freezer and whenever I cut off the end of an onion, peel a carrot, or cut the core out of a cabbage, I add the scraps to the bag. Once it is full, I make a broth with it.
- If I have a whole chicken, I use that to make the broth. But I also love to save the bones from a store-bought rotisserie chicken and use that with a full gallon-sized Ziploc of veggie scraps and 10 cups water to make broth.
- I try to only use organic vegetable scraps for making broth since you are using the whole vegetable (including peels and such). I typically like to buy the more natural rotisserie chickens that you can get from the local market when I am going to make broth with it. But just do the best you can with what you have!
- Lastly, I typically use half the chicken and most of the broth to make a Copycat Zuppa Toscana Soup. The other half I like to turn into a chicken salad to eat with crackers or on a bed of greens. But the possibilities are endless!
If you are anything like me, you might find yourself a little wary to try this for the first time, but I encourage you to find your brave and just do it!
So, what will you make with your boiled chicken and homemade broth?
How to Boil a Chicken
- large pot
- 1 small chicken (approx 3-5 lbs)
- 4 celery stalks
- 4 carrots
- 1 onion, quartered
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 10 cups water
- Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 45 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Remove chicken from broth (it will try to fall apart on you) and let cool in colander.
- Once it is cool, remove meat and chop into 1 inch pieces. Discard bones and skin. Strain broth and reserve.
- You should have 3-4 cups of chopped chicken and 8 cups of homemade broth. Enjoy!