Photo of Easy and perfect poached chicken by WW

Easy and perfect poached chicken

Points® value
Total Time
1 hr
15 min
30 min
A gentle cooking method (think calm simmer; no vigorous boiling) is the key to tender, succulent poached chicken that can be the base for endless healthful meals. Poaching is a versatile cooking method because the broth can be infused with an array of flavourful elements like whole spices, aromatics, herb sprigs, and different vegetables. This recipe produces a flavourful basic broth for poaching. The cooked chicken can be shredded for chicken salad, chopped for soups or pasta dishes, but into strips for tacos, or eaten whole with a fork and knife.


Fresh thyme

10 sprig(s)

Fresh parsley

10 sprig(s)


1 medium, or large


16 cup(s), or chicken broth (4 quarts)

Bay leaf

1 leaf/leaves


1 stalk(s), large, cut in half lengthwise


2 item(s), peeled and halved (about 4 oz)


1 tsp(s), black variety

Kosher salt

1 tbsp(s)

Uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast

3 pound(s), (eight 6 oz pieces)


  1. Tie thyme and parsley together with kitchen twine. Cut three slices of lemon; squeeze juice from remaining lemon.
  2. Add thyme, parsley, lemon slices, lemon juice, water, bay leaf, celery, shallots, peppercorns, and salt to a large Dutch oven or straight-sided skillet; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add chicken so it’s fully submerged (if chicken is not submerged, add boiling water to fully cover chicken).
  3. Allow water to regain heat so that particles in the liquid are moving and the surface is steaming but there are no bubbles rising; then lower heat to medium-low (adjust heat as necessary so that water never simmers).
  4. Poach chicken until it is just cooked through, about 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness; a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part should register 165°F.
  5. Remove chicken from liquid; let cool, loosely covered, at room temperature. If not using chicken right away, refrigerate until ready to eat.
  6. Serving size: 1 breast


No worries if you don’t have kitchen twine for your herbs- it’s an efficient trick for neatness but will not impact the flavour. Serving suggestions for the poached chicken: ● Slice thinly on bias and top with marinara, part-skim mozzarella, pecorino, and basil; microwave for a quick, easy and healthier Chicken Parm. ● Shred and toss with salsa, sliced avocado and put in a wrap with some crunchy shredded lettuce. ● Shred and toss into a broth with some curry paste, julienned vegetables, and herbs. ● Shred and toss with some reduced-fat pesto. Place on top of grilled rustic bread with some arugula for an open-faced sandwich ● Shred and mix with some nonfat greek yogurt, lemon zest, juice, and herbs and serve in boston bibb lettuce cups.