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 baked them, grilled them, and chopped them up to use in soups and casseroles.
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!
The best way to boil a chicken and to save money on groceries! 🙌🏼
Awww, I agree! Thanks! Happy eating!
Fantastic & simple recipe.
I use this to make a Thai favourite of mine ‘Khao man gai’ (ข้าวมันไก่), which is the Thai variation of Hainanese chicken rice.
The resulting chicken broth is great and plentiful, so why not cook your rice in it! 🙂
Thanks Matthew! SO glad you have made this recipe your own and shared it with us. Happy eating!
I use this recipe as a guide to boiling chicken. I add things & make more of a stew. It has changed my life.
Hi Will! That’s wonderful! I love it when others take my recipes and make them their own. Well done. 🙂 Happy eating!
Never thought of serving or eating “plain” boiled chicken – always thought of it as a step to something else like dumplings, salad, etc… trying to eat healthier. Now I can go healthier and easier at the same time. So glad I Googled boiled chicken and found you. Thanks
Lynne, you kind words have been so good for my heart today. 🙂 I am so glad you have found this recipe too. We have actually boiled two chickens this week to have a surplus of homemade chicken noodle soup to enjoy. We needed comfort food! I actually wish we had some of that delicious tender chicken for this fall turkey (chicken) salad. I love the spices!! Blessings to you, Lynne. https://happihomemade.com/recipe/autumn-spiced-turkey-salad/
This may sound “simply stupid”. I WAS finally able to “get over” preparing meat that looks and smells like where it came from! How? I bought a box of non-powder blue nursing gloves (the gloves that you throw away after one use)! I keep them in my kitchen, slide them on prior to opening the chicken. No more issues! Evidently, it was all in my “hands”. (makes clean-up non-intimidating, too!) Best of Health! Kim
Kim, I don’t think that is silly at all! I think it is genius actually. Thanks for sharing your raw chicken experience. 😉 Happy Cooking!
I have a frozen whole chicken and no time to thaw it. Will this change the time to cook by much as well as the texture or flavor of the chicken?
Hey Nicole, I think the time to cook it may need to be extended an hour or so. However, I don’t think the texture will be affected, however, I have not tried using a frozen bird. Best of luck! Will you pretty please let me know how it turns out? 🙂 Happy Eating!
Of course! I’m excited to try this as well as many more recipes you have!
Well Welcome Welcome!! 🙂 I am excited to have you here and trying all the delicious recipes featured here at G&S.
Hello, I’m a single male and I love to cook. I did this and I loved the way it came out. I had enough chicken to make chicken salad sandwiches, chicken soft tacos, and chicken soup. What I did was the broth was pour it into ice cube trays and now when I need to add flavor to something I just used a few of those. It’s really easy when someone comes over and I cook dinner…they always comment on the flavor. Your recipe saves money and time. Thank you.
Hi Steven! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe experience and the neat kitchen hack about freezing the broth in an ice cube tray. That is genius! Blessings to you and happy cooking!
I have some going right now for chicken and dumplings, as well as egg drop soup, its always better when I have made it myself, though that may be my pride talking, haha.
I agree! Homemade is always best. 😉 Mmmm, I am dreaming of chicken and dumplings right now!
Straight forward and easu recipe. I used the chicken and broth to make chicken mole, delicious. Thank you!
Yum! Thank you so much for trying it. Your chicken mole sounds delish! Happy eating, Greg!
Somehow I am not seeing the boiled chicken recipe help exclamation point
Hey Diane 🙂 The recipe is at the bottom of the article. I hope you enjoy it!
Just attempting this but the water doesn’t cover the chicken, is that ok? So excited to have this recipe and to have found this site.
Hi Carolyn! So glad you are giving this recipe a try 🙂 I usually try to cover the chicken with at least a thin layer of water , but if your pot isn’t big enough just make sure your lid is on and try to rotate the chicken a few times. You’ll have to let me know how it goes!
Hi Sammi my name is Diana after reading about50 different opinion I’m still confused on what to do. Would greatly appreciate your advice. I boiled a whole chicken in a big pot of water 5lbs. Boiled it for a few hours only let it sit out maybe half hour then put the whole chicken and the water I boiled it in into the refrigerator with cover over it. Im sure the6fat is sitting at the top harden. Ready to be taken out then put my vegetables in and cook it for it for a few hours. Just worried now that it wasn’t a good thing to leaving the whole chicken sitting in the broth. Can you please tell me if good or bad would appreciate it. Email id [email protected]. thank you.????
I think leaving the chicken in the broth overnight is fine. I assume you are making a soup with it and will shred the chicken and let the veggies soften. Hopefully it tastes wonderful! I expect it will. 🙂
I do the same thing! I always use half the chicken in a soup & reserve the rest for something else. Homemade boiled chicken is so delicious & surprisingly easy, I’m always surprised that more people don’t do it!
Hey Alexis! I am now surprised that more people don’t boil a chicken, but years ago I never even knew to do it! lol Enjoy all those chicken recipes 🙂
Keep the bones and continue the broth overnight in the crockpot for *bone broth* – it is so good for you, as in can help when you are sick! The broth becomes gelatinous when cooled and is full of vitamins and minerals. Make a super garlicky chicken soup with it and kick a cold right in the butt. 🙂
Thanks Samantha! Great idea! I have yet to make bone broth…I have researched it and think it sounds great I just haven’t done it yet. I appreciate the gentle reminder to give it a try 🙂
Love this! Such beautiful photos too! Thanks so much for sharing this with us at Savoring Saturdays! Hope you’ll join us again tomorrow.
I also take the chicken off the bones and put the bones and skin back in and continue boiling the broth till the bones have totally fallen apart (at least one more hour). There are so many good nutrients in the bones. Boiling chicken is so versatile. I add different herbs too, depending on what I have fresh in the refrigerator. Thank you for posting this. People are amazed when they see how good chicken can taste and how SPECTACULAR homemade broth is.
I totally agree! There is nothing better than homemade broth. If only more people knew how easy it is to make!
I did boil chicken & veggies today while at work, it appears the bones & everything disappeared- I kno the bones are good for you but are they supposed to melt away? Is it ok to eat?
Oh Debbie, I have never had that happen before. To be honest, I am not sure if it safe to eat or not. I did find this link, it may be helpful to you: http://www.paleohacks.com/bone/can-i-cook-bone-broth-repeatedly-until-the-bones-are-completely-disolved-26233 You have me stumped!
Now I TOTALLY want to boil a chicken. It’s been a while.
Pinned to my Deliberate Food board.
Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).
Wishing you a lovely day.
Oh I am so glad we could remind you to do this again! With all the great recipe ideas out there, I know I sometimes stop doing the old tried and true recipes I have always loved too 😉 Blessings to you!
Boiled chicken is one of my family’s favorites! Your recipe includes a few tasty things that mine doesn’t, I can’t wait to try it! Pinning!
The broth and tender chicken that this recipe makes is to die for! I hope you do try the recipe and let us know how it turns out.
Very useful post, thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop, pinning and tweeting.
Thanks for the tips on keeping the veggies scraps. Organic vegetables are expensive so it’s nice to know that I am using them to their fullest. I still struggle with not being “grossed out” by meat that looks like where it came from. I’m getting better because I know I really should get over it, but it does take time. I appreciate you linking this up at Let’s Get Real and look forward to many more tips.
I hear ya, Christina! I was completely grossed out by preparing a whole chicken…until I did it! Trust me, you can do it too! Thanks for stopping by!
I love boiled chicken! Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty!
Sammi, I am so proud of you for diving headfirst into the chicken boiling world! I learned how to boil a chicken from my mama who learned it when she was living on the farm in her early 20’s. It is such a valuable cooking technique, and frugal to boot. That broth is pure gold!
Thanks for teaching me how to do this years ago! I should have known, your mom taught you 😉 Maybe she will teach me how to make homemade pies next, she kind of has to, she offered and I am not going to forget 😉