Poached Chicken Breast


Poached chicken is simple to prepare and will reward you with tender, juicy meat that is healthy and versatile.  Enjoy it hot or at room temperature, plain or with a sauce. You can pair it with pasta, cut into slices for sandwiches or chop and add to salads.

Although I use water as the cooking medium in this recipe, you could also use broth or wine or a combination. Because white meat is easily overcooked, resulting in chicken that is tough and dry, it’s best to keep the poaching-liquid well below the boiling point (between 180 and 205 degrees, meaning no bubbles are breaking the surface). Adding the vegetables and fresh herbs boosts the flavor factor.


  • 1 carrot, cut in thirds
  • 1 celery stalk, cut in half
  • 1/2 onion, cut in half
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • Italian parsley, with stems (several sprigs)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons course salt (if you’re using broth, reduce the salt)
  • 1 pound chicken breasts
  1. In a saucepan, add the carrot, celery, onion, lemon, parsley sprigs and salt and then cover with water (enough that will also cover the chicken). Bring to a boil.
  2. Add the chicken breasts, submerging in the water and then reduce the heat to simmer. Cover the pot and cook 7 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook until done (165*). This should take 5-6 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts.
  3. When done, remove the pan from the burner (take off the cover) and then let cool a bit while still in the poaching liquid. Using a thermometer, check the temperature of the chicken. If it has reached 165* you can transfer to another dish but, if not, leave in the poaching liquid another few minutes until it is the proper temperature.
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