Poached chicken breasts on a cutting board

How to Make Poached Chicken Breast

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Prep chicken the easy way with poached chicken breast! It works well for salads, making shredded chicken, and prepping for a week of meals.

If you want meal prepping protein to be a breeze, you’ve got to start poaching your chicken. Poaching makes tender, juicy chicken that’s easy to slice, chop up, or shred for use in other meals or just drizzling in sauce to enjoy as-is.

And the best part? It takes less than 20 minutes!

Perfectly poached chicken breast

Poached chicken has a simple advantage over other methods of prepping chicken, like baked in a dutch oven — it takes less than 30 minutes to make a number of servings!

Plus, when done right, poached chicken is tender and juicy. So how do you do it right?

For basic poached chicken, all you have to do is place chicken breasts in a deep skillet or dutch oven. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour in enough water to completely cover the chicken. Bring the water to a boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer. Pull the chicken out of the water after 15 minutes and let rest for a few more minutes. Done!

Once it’s poached, you can shred or slice the chicken breasts for other recipes or meal prep.

Ways to use poached chicken

Simply poached chicken breasts are insanely versatile. Prep poached chicken breasts as part of a meal prep day, and use it throughout the week any number of ways!

  • Toss it into salads for a protein bonus
  • Pair it with pre-prepped veggies for a ready-to-go lunch
  • Shred and use in casseroles (see below for my favorites!)
  • Drizzle or toss in sauce (here’s a list of recipes!) to add flavor every time you eat a serving!

Tips for poaching

  • Reduce heat as soon as the water begins to boil. If you let it boil too long, you’ll end up just boiling the chicken — which will lead to tough, stringy chicken. That’s the exact opposite of what we want.
  • Make sure the water is completely covering the chicken breast. If it’s not totally covered, it won’t cook evenly or parts may be left uncooked.
  • Add aromatics to the pot if you want to infuse different flavors into the chicken. Tossing in a couple crushed garlic cloves or sprigs of fresh thyme (or both!) adds a new flavor to otherwise plain chicken.

Essential kitchen gear for poaching

You don’t need anything too complicated here!

You can use any cooking pot or deep skillet as long as you can completely cover the chicken in water. But my recommendation is a dutch oven!

Likewise, you can remove the chicken breasts with a fork or spatula, but for efficiency’s sake use a pair of kitchen tongs. (This is one of my everyday cooking kitchen must-haves!)

My favorite recipes using poached chicken breast

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear what you think! Comment below or tag me on Instagram.

Poached chicken breasts on a cutting board with text overlay 'poached chicken breast'
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Poached chicken breasts on a cutting board

How to Make Poached Chicken Breast

  • Author: Chelsea at DoYouEvenPaleo.net
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Poached
  • Cuisine: American


Prep chicken the easy way with poached chicken breast! It works well for salads, making shredded chicken, and prepping for a week of meals.


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • water


  1. Lay chicken breasts in a large, deep skillet. Season with about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper. Add water until the chicken is completely covered. Heat the skillet on medium-high until the water begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Using kitchen tongs, transfer the chicken breasts to a bowl or plate. Slice, chop, or shred – depending on what you’re using the chicken for!

Keywords: poached chicken breasts, paleo, gluten free, keto, low carb, Whole30


I'm Chelsea, the author behind Chelsea Joy Eats! I believe life should be full of flavor. I enjoy creating recipes that are nourishing, flavorful, and satisfying. When not experimenting in the kitchen, I usually have a camera, barbell, or mug of coffee in hand. My posts may include affiliate links, which means if you click through a purchase something, I make a small commission at no cost to you. It helps me fuel my coffee habit and pay rent!

4 thoughts to “How to Make Poached Chicken Breast”

  1. Yes, just getting over being sick, so I tried to have bland chicken. Followed the directions, but my chicken came out in strings and tasted like what I imagine a sponge would taste like. Yuck. But maybe I’m still sick and food just doesn’t cut it. Color me disappointed.
    But since unpalatable warm, I made chicken salad with it for another meal (maybe)

    1. Hi Anne, I’m sorry it didn’t turn out how you would have liked. It sounds like the chicken was cooked at too high of heat – I had mentioned in the accompanying post that cooking over a simmer would result in stringy chicken. Depending on the size of the breasts you were cooking, you could also reduce cooking time as well. I use methods like this to make chicken to then use in other recipes, like chicken salad as you mentioned, but rarely would I eat it as-is. Not enough flavor! Roasted chicken or chicken cutlets are my preferred option for less-seasoned chicken.

  2. Hi Chelsea!
    Do you cover with lid while cooking? Looking forward to trying to make chicken without it being tough and stringy. Do you think it will work in chicken & rice?
    Thank you!!

    1. Nope, no need to cover! I have not tried poaching chicken breast and making rice in the same pot…not sure how/if that would work out. Let me know if it does!

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