How to Poach a Whole Chicken

How to Poach a Whole Chicken

Many people are intimidated by the need to poach a whole chicken. However, we are here to tell you that this is not rocket science. In order to poach a chicken, follow the basic steps below:

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Time Required: Prep Time – 10min; Cook Time – 2 hours


1 whole chicken (well, you know what we mean. One you would get at the grocery store, not walking around in your back yard)

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Large enough pot for the chicken

How to Poach a Whole Chicken:

    1. Remove the insides of the chicken from the cavity and discard.
    2. Run cold water in the cavity and around the outside of the chicken to rinse it.
    3. Place in a large pot of salted water that covers the chicken.
    4. Bring the chicken to a boil.
    5. Once it boils, turn the burner to a simmer and cover. Let simmer for 60-75 minutes.
    6. Remove chicken from the pot and let rest for 30 minutes or until it is no longer too hot for you to touch.
    7. Now for the fun part…shredding the chicken with your bare hands!!

how to poach a whole chicken

      I always start with the legs and thighs. Just pull the legs and thighs off, take off the skin, and shred the chicken into small pieces and set aside.
      Next move onto the wings, being careful that you remove all of the skin. You might think that there is no meat on the underside of the chicken, but that’s where the oyster is. There are actually two of them right in the middle of the chicken and they are so tender and juicy!! You don’t want to miss these.

Removing the oysters on a poached chicken

    Once you have the oysters, flip the bird back over and start shredding the breasts until all of the meat is gone!

Important Tips:

Don’t forget the oysters!


If the thought of touching a whole chicken is too much for you (or if you are in a time crunch), use the boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You will poach them the same way, but it will only take about 30-45 to cook, depending on the thickness of the breasts. Shred the breasts the same way. This certainly makes it easier but you lose some of the extra flavors that dark meat and bones add to a poached chicken.

What can you do with poached chicken?

Check out this post for a few ideas
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Sopa de Pollo
Chicken Tetrazzini (why not, it doesn’t always have to be with turkey)

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