How to Make Poached Chicken

The Perfect Way to Prepare Low-Fat Chicken for Any Recipe

Poached chicken in a lentil salad
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More a technique than a recipe, poached chicken is a great way to cook boneless, skinless chicken. No oil or fat is required, yet the end result is succulent, flavorful low-fat chicken worthy of any recipe.

Use poached chicken for sandwiches, as a filling for chicken pot pies, burritos and salads and in all the recipes you'd use for store-bought rotisserie chicken.

Poaching Makes for Succulent Chicken

The advantage of poached chicken is that it's lower in sodium and is likely moister than a rotisserie chicken that's been sitting under a heating lamp for a few hours at the grocery store.

Your poaching liquid can be as simple as plain water. Admittedly, this doesn't add flavor, but your chicken will be succulent and tender, and perfect to use as a base for a number of recipes that call for cooked chicken.

Still, adding flavor can turn ordinary-though-succulent chicken into something quite extraordinary. Your poaching liquid can be fat-free chicken broth, white wine, water infused with fresh or dried herbs and chopped vegetables, fruit juices, light coconut milk -- pretty much anything.

How to Poach Chicken Breasts

The keys to poaching are the size of the pan, the volume of liquid and the cooking temperature.

  • Place chicken breasts in a pot that's just about large enough to fit them in one layer. Two medium chicken breasts fit snugly in most 2-quart round pot.
  • Add poaching liquid so that it completely covers the chicken by at least 1/2 to 1 inch.
  • After bringing the liquid to a boil, reduce heat to a bare simmer so that only an occasional bubble breaks the surface. At this point, partly cover the pot, cook for about 10 minutes, then turn off the heat, leaving the chicken to finish cooking in the hot water for 10 to 15 more minutes.
  • Remove chicken, then enjoy it warm or refrigerate it for later use. Slice or shred your poached chicken depending on what the recipe calls for.