How to Boil Chicken Breast the Healthiest Way

Boiled chicken breast on a plate.
Image Credit: amstockphoto/iStock/Getty Images

Chicken breast, particularly skinless chicken breast, is a healthy, low-calorie food that is rich in protein and low in saturated fat. Most cooking methods, including grilling and baking, require additional fat like oil or butter to keep the chicken breast from sticking to the cooking surface, but chicken breast can be boiled without adding more fat. Boiled chicken breast can be served on its own or used in warm or cold salads, rice dishes like risotto or pasta recipes, as well as a number of other food items.


Step 1

Rinse the chicken breast under cold clean water from the tap and pat it dry with clean paper towels.

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Step 2

Place the chicken breast in a saucepan large enough to easily hold the chicken breast. Add enough cold clean water to cover it by approximately 2 to 3 inches.

Step 3

Put the top on the saucepan and bring the water to the boil over high heat.


Step 4

Reduce the heat to medium once water is boiling and cover the saucepan once more. Cook the chicken for 10 minutes over medium heat.

Step 5

Remove the chicken breast from the hot water. Check the internal temperature of the chicken breast using an instant-read thermometer about halfway into the thickest part of the chicken breast. When the meat is fully cooked, the internal temperature of the chicken breast will be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.


Step 6

Return the chicken breast to the hot water in 3- to 4-minute intervals if the meat is not fully cooked. Check the internal temperature after each interval to avoid overcooking the chicken breast.

Step 7

Remove the chicken breast from the water and pat it dry with paper towels. Allow the meat to rest for five minutes before slicing or serving it.

Things You'll Need

  • Raw chicken breast, approximately 1 pound

  • Paper towels

  • Saucepan with a tight-fitting top

  • Instant-read thermometer

  • Freshly chopped garlic, optional, to taste

  • Fresh or dried herbs, optional, to taste

  • Lemon or lime juice, optional, to taste

  • White wine, optional, to taste

  • Chicken or vegetable stock or broth, optional, to taste


For extra flavor, add freshly chopped garlic or herbs to the water before placing it on the stove. Or, replace some of the water with freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice, white wine or chicken or vegetable stock or broth if you wish.

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