Perfectly Poached Chicken Breast

Tender, juicy poached chicken breast is on the menu tonight. With this easy, fool-proof recipe you will have perfectly poached chicken everytime. Use it to make sandwiches, wraps, salads, or soups. A great addition to any recipe collection.

The post has extra tips to make sure the recipe comes out amazing on your first try. If you're in a rush, use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end! 👩‍🍳🔝
shredded poached chicken on a wooden chopping board with fresh parsley leaves

Poached chicken

Homemade poached chicken is a really good alternative to store-bought roast or rotisserie chicken as they are usually high in sodium. Because it is so tender and juicy the poached chicken meat will make a perfect addition to a school lunch box or as finger food for your baby or toddler too.

What is poaching?

Poaching is a cooking technique where food like eggs, fish, chicken breast, or fruit are submerged in liquid and gently simmered (not boiled). This cooking process is a great way to cook chicken breast while maintaining the moisture and structure of the white meat. Poaching is the very best way to prepare chicken for the recipes that call for cooked chicken.


To make this easy recipe you will only need a few simple ingredients.

ingredients needed to make poached chicken
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Always choose free-range or organic if possible.
  • Lemon. Lemon adds a delicious fresh flavour to the chicken.
  • Peppercorns. Black peppercorns provide a beautiful aroma.
  • Bay leaf. Bay leaves add another level of flavor to the poached meat.
  • Sea salt to season.

How to poach chicken

To poach the chicken is extremely easy and surprisingly quick.

  1. Place the chicken breast in a large shallow pan and cover with cold water.
  2. Add the lemon slices, peppercorns bay leaves, and a pinch of salt, and bring to a simmer.
  3. Once the water comes to a boiling point, turn the heat to very low immediately and cover the pan with a lid.
  4. Simmer the chicken for 10 minutes on very low heat without opening the lead.
  5. Take the pan from the heat and let the chicken sit for another 10 minutes before opening the lid.

Your poached chicken is done.

slices of poached chicken breast on a white plate

How long to poach chicken breast

The poaching time for chicken breast depends not only on its weight but also on other factors such as the thickness of the meat and the temperature of the poaching liquid. Here’s a general guideline for poaching chicken breast:

  1. Small Chicken Breast (6-8 ounces / 170-227 grams): Poach for about 12-15 minutes.
  2. Medium Chicken Breast (8-10 ounces / 227-283 grams): Poach for about 15-18 minutes.
  3. Large Chicken Breast (10-12 ounces / 283-340 grams): Poach for about 18-20 minutes.

Keep in mind these are approximate times and it’s essential to check the internal temperature of the chicken breast using a meat thermometer. The chicken breast should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C) to ensure it’s fully cooked and safe to eat. Additionally, you can adjust the poaching time based on personal preference and recipe requirements.

Other ways to cook chicken

If you like poached chicken breast why not try and poach chicken in a slow cooker? It sure tastes delicious and is so easy to make. Or learn how to boil chicken legs.

How to serve poached chicken

There’s so much you can do with poached chicken! It’s super versatile and tastes great in sandwiches, wraps, salads, tacos, and enchiladas. Give one of these easy dinner ideas a try:



How to store poached chicken breast

After the chicken has cooled, store it in an airtight container with enough liquid to cover it completely to keep it moist.

You can freeze the poached chicken for up to three months in a freezer-safe container or Ziplock bag.

What to do with the poaching liquid

After poaching our chicken, we found ourselves with some cooking liquid. The question arises: what should we do with it? One thing is certain—don’t toss it out. While this liquid may not boast the richness of traditional chicken stock, it still holds a delicious flavor and can be repurposed in various ways.

Once the chicken has been utilized, transfer the cooking liquid to a glass jar and refrigerate it, where it keeps well for up to 4 to 5 days. I often use it in soups and sauces.

Alternatively, you can portion it into small containers and freeze it for future use whenever a recipe calls for chicken stock. This way, you’ll always have a handy supply of chicken broth on hand.

Frequently asked questions and troubleshooting

Why is my chicken rubbery?

Boiling the chicken on high heat will result in rubbery chicken. Make sure you bring the chicken to a simmer over medium heat and lower the heat down to very low immediately once the chicken is boiling. Simmer it on very low heat and you will have the most delicious, juicy chicken.

How do I know the chicken is cooked?

The chicken breast cooks very fast and we simmer the chicken with the lid closed, which speeds up the process even more. However, for complete peace of mind, you can use an Instant Read Meat Thermometer. The chicken is cooked when the internal temperature has reached 165F (75’C).


  • Poach the chicken with some lemon grass, garlic, fresh ginger, and coriander to add some delicious Asian flavors.
  • For an extra burst of flavor, toss in some carrots and celery along with the chicken, omitting the lemon slices. These veggies poached alongside the chicken taste really good too.
  • When it comes to poaching chicken, there are no strict rules. Feel free to personalize it with your favorite add-ins. Experiment with garlic cloves, fresh celery, fragrant sage, or exotic star anise to create your own signature dish.

More delicious recipes with chicken to try

That’s it! This is how you poach the chicken breast to perfection. Let me know in the comments below if you tried the recipe. I’d love to hear from you. Have a great day!


poached chicken breast sliced into slices, served with lemon and fresh parsley leaves
Have you tried this recipe? If so, I'd greatly appreciate it if you could leave a star rating and share your thoughts in a comment. Your feedback means a lot to me, and it can also help others who are interested in trying it out. Thank you! 🌟👩‍🍳
slices of poached chicken on a white plate with lemon slice and fresh parsley leaves

How To Perfectly Poach Chicken Breast

Elena Elliott
Delicious tender chicken poached with lemon slices and peppercorns. So juicy, so good. Perfect for salads, sandwiches, wraps and so much more.
5 from 23 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediteranian
Servings 6 serves


  • 2-3 chicken breasts free-range or organic if possible
  • 1 small lemon unwaxed or organic, sliced
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 5-6 black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp sea salt


  • Place the chicken breasts into a shallow saucepan. Add water so it just covers the chicken
  • Slice the lemon and add the slices into the saucepan.
  • Add bay leaves, peppercorns and salt
  • Bring chicken to the boil and once boiling quickly reduce the heat to a minimum so that the liquid just simmers. Make sure it doesn’t boil, otherwise, your chicken will turn out rubbery
  • Cover with lid and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Take chicken off the heat and let it rest in the broth for at least 10 minutes. The longer it stays in the broth the more taste it will get.
  • If not using straight away, store your chicken covered with stock in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Enjoy!


Poaching time:

  1. Small Chicken Breast (6-8 ounces / 170-227 grams): Poach for about 12-15 minutes.
  2. Medium Chicken Breast (8-10 ounces / 227-283 grams): Poach for about 15-18 minutes.
  3. Large Chicken Breast (10-12 ounces / 283-340 grams): Poach for about 18-20 minutes.
Store cooked chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days or freeze it for up to 3 months.
If the foam is building on top of the liquid you can scoop it with a sieve. However, it is not really necessary, but it will make your broth clear. 
Keyword poached chicken
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  1. 5 stars
    Habe das Rezept ausprobiert ,bei mir ist die Hähnchenbrust immer zu trocken, aber nach dem ich das nach diesem Rezept zubereitet habe war ich überrascht . das Fleisch war sehr saftig und lecker. Danke.

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