How to boil chicken breasts for shredded chicken recipes is easy and quick. All you need is chicken, spices, water and a heavy bottomed pot and in half an hour. This is the best boiled chicken.
I often boil or poach my chicken for things like a chicken salad for sandwiches, soups, or chicken pie, when shreds of chicken is what the recipe calls for. Boiling makes it easy and quick to cook the chicken. Two things I love when it comes to cooking.
Let's get to the recipe.
How do you boil chicken breasts for shredding
The important part is to make sure you have a heavy-bottomed pot that holds the boneless chicken breasts nicely, as in not stacked on top of each other but also quite tightly fit in.
Make sure to use good-quality chicken. Open the packet of chicken and sprinkle on your spices, use whatever spices you like for the flavor profile you are going for. Here I used freshly cracked pepper and Trader Joe's onion salt, normally I use garlic too! You could use fresh herbs if you have them on hand!
Then place the chicken spices side down in a heavy-bottomed large pot. Sprinkle the same spices on the now bare side of chicken.
Then add water to the pot to cover the chicken about ½ an inch above the chicken.
Set on stove over high heat, once the water comes to a boil lower heat to medium to keep a nice simmer. Cook for approx. 15 more minutes. Depending on how thick your chicken breasts are. Mine were quite thick so it took 20 minutes. Always ALWAYS use a thermometer when cooking chicken, you want all poultry to reach an internal temperature of at least 165F/74C this ensures it is cooked throughout. I poke my meat thermometer in numerous places including the thickest part of the chicken.
To ensure success I highly recommend using an instant-read thermometer. I get SOOO much use out of my Thermapen Mk4 (affiliate link). From cooking filet mignon, tempering chocolate, roast turkey, making caramel, and more!
It's important to lower the temperature and not boil the chicken for the whole cooking process, it will affect the texture of the chicken and moisture. Just because you are cooking the chicken in water does not mean that the chicken will stay moist regardless of how or how long you cook it.
When the chicken is done cooking use tongs to transfer it to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. You can set the cooking liquid aside and use it as chicken broth for soup or discard it. If you are going to save it I suggest storing it in an ice cube tray or a souper cube so you can use it easily.
If you wanted to make more of a full flavor chicken broth you could add some chopped carrots and celery, really any vegetables you have on hand to the chicken as it cooks too.
Let the chicken breasts cool in the bowl for 20 minutes then using a paddle attachment mix the chicken for 2 minutes this gives you shredded chicken. OR use a large bowl with a handheld electric hand mixer or you can also use two forks to shred the chicken.
Store in the fridge up until using the chicken or place it in a freezer-safe container and freeze it for up to a month. If you are storing in the refrigerator the chicken breast will tend to dry up quickly so I suggest storing it in some of its own cooking liquid.
Frequently Asked Questions
Use an internal read thermometer to check the chicken has reached a minimum temperature of 165F/74C.
Yes, you can boil frozen chicken breasts but they will take about 50% longer than thawed chicken.
Yes, boiling your chicken before grilling is par-boiling it. This will help ensure that the chicken breasts is fully cooked.
Recipes to use this shredded chicken in:
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- 1lb Boneless and Skinless Chicken Breasts
- Ground Pepper and Onion Salt
- Fresh Herbs or Your Other Favorite Spices
- Make sure to use good quality chicken. Open your packet of chicken and sprinkle on your spices. Then place the chicken spices side down in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Sprinkle the same spices on the now bare side of chicken. Then add water to the pot to cover the chicken about ½ an inch above the chicken.
- Set on the stove over high heat, once the water comes to a boil lower heat to medium to keep a nice simmer. Cook for approx. 15-20 more minutes. Depending on how thick your chicken breasts are. The breasts I used were quite thick so it took 20 minutes. Always ALWAYS use an instant thermometer when cooking chicken, you want it to reach an internal temperature of at least 165F this ensure it is cooked throughout. I poke my thermometer in numerous places including the thickest part of the chicken.
- When chicken is done cooking transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer. Let cool in the bowl for 20 minutes then using a paddle attachment mix the chicken for 2 minutes this gives you shredded chicken.
- Store in the fridge up until using.
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 25
- Category: Dinner
- Method: cook
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: how to boil chicken, how to make shredded chicken