Tips for Boiling Chicken for Dishes That Burst with Flavor

Published Categorized as Journal

Boiling chicken might seem like one of the simplest cooking methods at first glance, maybe sometimes even unnecessary in recipes that don’t typically require them. But they do make a big difference! Your chicken dish will never be bland or dry again—instead, it will be the star ingredient in your culinary creations.

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Tips For Boiling Chicken For Dishes That Burst With Flavor

Table of Contents

Boiling Chicken Wings

Why Would You Boil Chicken Wings?

Boiling chicken wings can actually be very beneficial for more reasons than one.

  • Reduce Cooking time
  • Retain Moisture During the Grilling Process
  • Make Wings and Broth at the Same Time

Boiling Tips for Chicken Wings

To fully cook chicken wings through boiling, aim for at least 15 minutes, but check smaller wings at 10 minutes and adjust time as needed. Wings are done when they reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F.

  • Parboiling Before Grilling: Boil chicken wings for 5-7 minutes before grilling. This method, known as parboiling, helps reduce total cooking time and retains moisture, preventing the wings from drying out on the grill.
  • Parboiling Before Frying: Similar to grilling, chicken wings can be parboiled for about 7 minutes before frying to help retain moisture. The effectiveness of this method is debated, but it is commonly used.
  • Before Baking: Boil chicken wings for about 20 minutes, or 15 minutes for smaller wings, before baking. This technique reduces baking time and helps to maintain juicy meat while crisping the skin.
  • For Soup: If using chicken wings for soup, boil them for 15-20 minutes if only the meat is needed. For more flavorful broth, boil the wings for 1-2 hours with vegetables to enhance the taste and depth of your soup.

Small wings may only need 10-15 minutes of boiling to be fully cooked, making them a quick option for snacks or meals.

Frozen chicken wings require about 25-35 minutes to boil. It’s advisable to check smaller wings at the 15-minute mark, and then every 5-10 minutes thereafter to ensure they are thoroughly cooked.

Full blog: How Long to Boil Chicken Wings

Tips For Boiling Chicken For Dishes That Burst With Flavor

Boiling Chicken Thighs

How Long Do You Have to Boil Chicken Thighs?

Cooking unfrozen chicken thighs will range anywhere from 20-30 minutes. 20 minutes is typical for boneless chicken thighs, while 30 minutes is appropriate for bone-in chicken thighs.

Chicken thighs that are frozen, however, may take up to 1 hour for chicken thighs that are bone-in. Typically, it’d take 30 minutes for chicken thighs that are boneless.

Boiling Times for Different Chicken Cuts

  • Bone-In Chicken Thighs: It takes about 30-40 minutes to boil bone-in chicken thighs. This method is particularly beneficial for making broth because the bones release nutritious elements and flavor into the water, enhancing the broth.
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs: Boneless skinless chicken thighs take approximately 20 minutes to boil. This quicker method is ideal for recipes that require shredded chicken.
  • Boiling for Broth: Whether using bone-in or boneless thighs, boiling chicken for broth typically takes 1-5 hours. This extended boiling time allows the flavors to deepen. To prevent the meat from drying out, you might remove the meat after an hour and continue simmering the broth with vegetables.
  • Before Grilling (Parboiling): Parboiling chicken thighs before grilling can ensure they are cooked through and retain moisture. For boneless thighs, parboil for 5-8 minutes, and for bone-in thighs, 10-15 minutes. If fully cooking before grilling, boil bone-in thighs for 30 minutes and boneless for 20 minutes.
  • For Shredding: Boil chicken thighs for 20-30 minutes before shredding. Ensure no bones remain in the meat after shredding.
  • Frozen Chicken Thighs: Frozen bone-in chicken thighs may take up to an hour to boil, while boneless skinless thighs take about 30 minutes.

Full blog: How Long to Boil Chicken Thighs

Tips For Boiling Chicken For Dishes That Burst With Flavor

Boiling Chicken Legs

How Long Do Drumsticks Take to Boil?

Generally speaking, you can expect your drumsticks to take about 20 minutes to boil.

How Do You Tell If Boiled Drumsticks Are Done?

It can be tricky to determine whether or not boiled drumsticks are actually done. Unlike other cooking methods, you can’t really depend on the color of the meat to guide you in your determination.

Because of this, use a meat thermometer to determine the internal temperature of the meat before deciding whether it is safe to consume.

Boiling Chicken Legs for Different Cooking Methods

  • Frying: Boil chicken legs for about 20 minutes before frying. While this step is debated due to potential flavor loss and risk of overcooking, a well-crafted recipe can still yield tender and flavorful fried chicken.
  • Grilling (Parboiling): Parboil chicken legs for about 5 minutes to help achieve even cooking, crispy skin, and juicy results on the grill. This step is optional and can be skipped if pressed for time.
  • Stove: Boil chicken legs for about 20 minutes on the stove for a quick, tender, and juicy meal. If the chicken is frozen, it may need an additional 10 minutes or more.
  • For Soup: If boiling chicken legs to be shredded and added to soup, boil for about 20 minutes; for frozen chicken, extend to 25-35 minutes. To make broth, boil the chicken legs for 2-6 hours with added aromatics for enhanced flavor. Shorter boiling times (around 1 hour) can be used but will result in a less intense chicken flavor.
  • Baking: Boil chicken legs for 18-20 minutes before baking them in an oven preheated to 425 °F for 12-15 minutes, aiming for a crispy crust and some color development.

Fresh chicken legs typically take 18-20 minutes to boil. If boiling from frozen, expect 25-35 minutes.

Full blog: How Long to Boil Chicken Legs

Tips For Boiling Chicken For Dishes That Burst With Flavor

Boiling Chicken Before Frying

Can You Boil Chicken Then Fry It?

It’s true that boiling or poaching chicken will make it much more tender—when done correctly.

The idea behind boiling chicken before frying it is that precooking speeds up the preparation and cook time. This also ensures that you are getting thoroughly cooked chicken.

Pros of Boiling Chicken Before Frying

  • Reduced Cooking Time: Boiling chicken can partially or fully cook the meat before it hits the frying pan, which reduces overall frying time. This is particularly useful if you’re working with thicker cuts of chicken or are concerned about ensuring it is cooked through.
  • Even Cooking: Pre-cooking the chicken through boiling helps ensure that it is evenly cooked inside without burning the outside. This can be especially helpful when frying larger pieces like chicken breasts or thighs.
  • Moisture and Tenderness: Boiling can help the chicken retain moisture, resulting in a juicier piece of meat after frying. Adding ingredients like salt, herbs, and spices to the boiling water can also infuse the chicken with additional flavors.

Some things to watch out for though:

  • Texture Issues: Boiling can potentially make the chicken’s exterior too soft to achieve a crisp, crunchy coating when fried. This is particularly noticeable if the boiling is not followed by proper drying and seasoning.
  • Flavor Dilution: If not done properly, boiling can leach flavors from the chicken, making it bland unless heavily seasoned after boiling.

How Long Should You Boil Chicken Before Frying?

You should boil chicken for 20 minutes at a low temperature, depending on what you are using. Poaching chicken takes around 45 minutes.

The longer you boil it, the greater the chance of making the meat too tough and bland, so watch out.

Full blog: Boil Chicken Before Frying

Tips For Boiling Chicken For Dishes That Burst With Flavor

Boiling Frozen Chicken Wings

Can You Boil Frozen Chicken?

Frozen chicken can be boiled, so long as you do it correctly. To ensure that chicken is safely cooked, the internal temperature must be 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 degrees Celsius). Because the chicken is frozen, you must add 50% extra cooking time than you would normally cook a freshly thawed chicken. 

Is It Better to Boil Chicken Frozen or Thawed?

Flexibility plays a role in deciding between frozen or thawed. Thaw for ideal flavor and texture if you’ve got 12-24 hours before dinner. But frozen works great in a pinch when you need chicken fast. 

How to Boil Frozen Chicken

  • Place the frozen chicken in a pot and fill it with enough water to completely submerge the chicken.
  • Bring the pot to a boil, which will take about 15 to 20 minutes due to the cooling effect of the frozen chicken.
  • Maintain water level in the pot, adding more if it evaporates too much.
  • The chicken is fully cooked when it turns whitish in color; if it appears pinkish, it needs more cooking time.
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C) for safety.

Full blog: Can You Boil Frozen Chicken

Tips For Boiling Chicken For Dishes That Burst With Flavor

Boiling Chicken is a Good Extra Step!

Boiling a chicken is a straightforward process that requires careful monitoring. By ensuring the chicken is fully submerged in water and regularly checking both the water level and the chicken’s internal temperature, you can achieve a safely and evenly cooked chicken.

And it’s definitely worth it to spend a little more time cooking your chicken!

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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