Can You Boil Frozen Chicken?

Boiling frozen chicken can save the day when you need a delicious meal without the hassle of thawing your poultry overnight. It’s an excellent method for preparing soup, tender shredded chicken for dinner or a variety of other dishes. Whether you have chicken breasts, thighs, legs, or wings, submerging them in boiling water allows for quick and easy cooking.

Not only is this method efficient, but it also helps to ensure that harmful bacteria, such as salmonella, is eradicated. However, it’s essential to gauge the proper cooking time and temperature to achieve perfectly cooked, tender meat without undercooking or overcooking it. So, if you find yourself with a freezer full of chicken, don’t stress – boiling your frozen chicken will lead to an enjoyable and satisfying meal.

dark meat chicken

Key Takeaways

  • Boiling frozen chicken is an efficient and convenient method for preparing tender, delicious meals.
  • This technique is suitable for various chicken cuts, including breasts, thighs, legs, and wings.
  • Proper cooking time and temperature are crucial for ensuring safe and healthy chicken dishes.

Boiling Frozen Chicken

When you’re in a rush and don’t have time to defrost frozen chicken pieces, rest assured that there’s a practical workaround. Conveniently, you can also use a pressure cooker, like an Instant Pot, rather than a stove to accomplish this time-saving task. Not only does this method eliminate waiting for water to boil, but it also retains the flavors of the chicken pieces with minimal effort.

You can adapt this method to boil different parts of the chicken, including thighs, drumsticks, and even wings. Though it’s worth mentioning that wings might not achieve their ultimate crispiness using this method, it’s still a quick solution for busy days.

To make sure your frozen chicken is cooked to perfection, simply add some liquid to the pot along with your chicken, secure the lid, and then let your pressure cooker work its magic. With this friendly guidance, boiling frozen chicken becomes a breeze, making your meal prep more efficient and enjoyable.

How Long to Boil Frozen Chicken

When it comes to boiling frozen chicken, the cook time will always vary slightly depending on factors like the thickness and whether the pieces are boneless or not. Boiling a whole frozen chicken will take the longest time.

Here are some key points to consider while determining the boiling time for frozen chicken:

  • The overall cooking time for wings to breasts ranges from 12-75 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces.
  • Bone-in chicken takes longer to boil compared to boneless pieces.
  • Smaller pieces will reach the safe internal meat temperature (165 degrees F) faster.

Using a meat thermometer will help you accurately measure the internal temperature of the chicken and avoid food poisoning. Checking for doneness is crucial, especially when cooking chicken from frozen. Once boiled, you can enjoy your perfectly cooked chicken in various dishes, such as tacos.

Boiling a Frozen Chicken

When it comes to boiling frozen chicken, boneless and skinless chicken breasts are an excellent choice, as they are easy to work with and save time. Opting for organic, free-range chickens can significantly enhance the tenderness and taste of your dish. Although these chickens are smaller in size, they have less fat and provide a similar amount of meat compared to their counterparts raised in coops.

To safely and effectively cook frozen chicken, consider these methods:

  • Defrosting in the fridge: Place the chicken in an airtight container and let it thaw slowly in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before cooking.
  • Thawing in the microwave: Use the defrost setting on your microwave to quickly thaw the chicken, but keep an eye on it to prevent overcooking.
  • Using a slow cooker: Place the frozen chicken directly into the slow cooker, allowing extra time for it to cook thoroughly and evenly.
  • Preparing with an Instant Pot: Utilize the pressure cooking feature in an Instant Pot to cook frozen chicken in a shorter amount of time.
  • Air frying: For a crispy finish, preheat the air fryer and cook the thawed chicken using a suitable temperature and time setting.

Remember to handle frozen chicken with care and follow proper food safety guidelines to ensure delicious and safe meals.

bone in chicken breast

How Long to Boil Frozen Chicken Breast

When boiling frozen chicken breast, the cooking time differs based on whether it is boneless or bone-in. For frozen boneless chicken breasts, allow approximately 25-30 minutes for them to be fully cooked. On the other hand, frozen bone-in breasts require 30-40 minutes until their thickest portion reaches a safe temperature of 165°F.

To achieve the best results, it is important to separate the chicken pieces before boiling. If they’re stuck together, gently run them under cool water and use your hands to break them apart. This ensures even cooking and consistent results. Aim to have all the pieces around the same size for uniformity.

To determine if the chicken is done, you’ll need to check its internal temperature using a digital thermometer. Be sure to remove the chicken from the water before measuring, as leaving it in the water will result in an inaccurate reading. Simply use tongs to place the chicken on a cutting board and insert the thermometer probe into the thickest portion. A safe temperature to consume the chicken is 165°F.

Do You Boil Frozen Chicken in Cold Water?

When boiling frozen chicken, it’s crucial to begin with cold or room temperature water to promote a gradual thawing and cooking process. To start, place the desired amount of chicken in a large pot and ensure they are fully submerged in water.

Turn your stove to medium-high heat, allowing time for the water to reach a constant boil, where it bubbles continuously without spilling over. Adding a pinch of salt (or more, if making soup) is recommended, as well as a touch of black pepper for flavor.

Once the water reaches a consistent boil, set your timer and check the chicken’s temperature at the minimum time listed in a recipe or cooking guide. If the chicken isn’t fully cooked, let it simmer longer and check the temperature again.

Can You Boil Frozen Chicken for Soup

Yes! Preparing soup with frozen chicken is entirely possible and tastes fantastic. To do this, you’ll need to gather your ingredients, which should include large dials or pieces of peeled carrots and celery. When it comes to seasonings, add flavors you enjoy, like salt, pepper, thyme, and basil.

As you boil the frozen chicken legs, wings, or thighs, they will cook as desired. Once done, remove each piece individually and shred with two forks, or cut into small bite-sized portions before returning it to the pot. Be sure to scoop up any residue at the top of your homemade chicken broth, or you can choose to strain the liquid for a cleaner result.

Now that your chicken is cooked, taste the broth and adjust the seasonings according to your preference. You can keep a low sodium level if needed or even add some heat for a spicy chicken noodle soup. Don’t forget to include other ingredients, such as onion, garlic cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns, dried herbs, oregano, and lemon juice. Finally, add in your favorite vegetables, like carrots and celery, to complete the dish. Enjoy your delicious homemade chicken soup made with frozen chicken!

Boiling Frozen Chicken Breasts

To cook frozen chicken breasts, boiling is a simple and efficient method. Not only does boiling frozen chicken make it tender and easy to shred, but it also works well for dishes like chicken soup or tacos. The duration needed to cook frozen chicken depends on its size and thickness. For instance, boneless and skinless chicken breasts require less time compared to bone-in pieces or legs and thighs.

When boiling frozen chicken for your pets, such as dogs, use skinless and boneless breasts or thighs, or ensure you remove all bones once it’s cooked. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Place a pot of water on the stovetop over medium-high heat until it reaches a boil.
  2. Submerge the chicken pieces into the boiling water.
  3. Boil the frozen chicken for 10-12 minutes or until the meat can be easily pulled apart with two forks.

By following these simple steps, you can quickly and safely boil frozen chicken breasts, whether for yourself or your furry friend.

How to Boil Frozen Chicken

Boiling frozen chicken can be a lifesaver when you’re in a hurry or you forgot to thaw it. To ensure your chicken turns out tender, juicy, and evenly cooked, follow these simple steps:

  1. Prepare your pot: Choose a stovetop pot that can accommodate your chicken with enough water to cover it completely. Fill the pot halfway with cold water.
  2. Place the frozen chicken in the pot: Gently submerge the chicken under the water. If needed, adjust the water level.
  3. Add seasoning (optional): To enhance the flavor, you can add a pinch of salt, crushed garlic, or herbs like thyme or rosemary to the water.
  4. Bring to a boil: Turn the heat on medium-high and watch as the water comes to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
  5. Time it right: The cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of your chicken pieces. As a rough guide, keep the following cooking times in mind:
    • Chicken breasts: 25-30 minutes
    • Chicken thighs or drumsticks: 30-35 minutes
    • Chicken quarters: 40-45 minutes
  6. Check for doneness: Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C). Alternatively, you can cut into the thickest part of the meat to visually inspect if it is cooked through and no longer pink.
  7. Drain and rest: Once cooked, carefully remove the chicken from the pot using a slotted spoon or tongs. Place it on a plate and allow it to rest for a few minutes before cutting or serving.

Remember, patience is key when it comes to cooking frozen chicken. Feel free to share your culinary creations with others, and perhaps even discover some new favorite recipes in the process. Happy cooking!

dark meat chicken

Can You Boil Frozen Chicken

How to boil a frozen chicken
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 322 kcal


  • Large Pot
  • Stovetop or pressure cooker
  • Instant-Read Thermometer


  • 4-6 boneless skinless frozen chicken breasts
  • Water
  • Salt optional
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes optional


  • Place your chicken pieces in a large pot and fill it with enough water to cover/submerge them. Add a sprinkle of salt or bouillon cubes for added flavor.
  • Set the pot on your stovetop over medium-high heat until it reaches a continuous low rolling boil. Adjust the heat to prevent the water from boiling over the sides but ensure it doesn't stop bubbling.
  • If you plan to make soup later, add 2 peeled and sliced carrots, 2 cut up celery stalks, 1 sliced onion, pepper, thyme, and basil along with the chicken.
  • Boiling times for frozen chicken pieces are as follows:
  • Boneless chicken breasts: 25-30 minutes
  • Bone-in chicken breasts: 30-40 minutes
  • Chicken legs: 27-30 minutes
  • Boneless chicken thighs: 30-35 minutes
  • Bone-in chicken thighs: 35-40 minutes
  • Chicken wings: 12-15 minutes
  • Whole chicken (less than 4 pounds): 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Ensure the thickest part of the chicken reaches a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Once cooked, you can shred the chicken, or remove the meat from the bones to enjoy as is, or put it back into the broth to make homemade chicken soup.
  • To crisp the skin, preheat an air fryer to 400 degrees F. Dry the skin with paper towels, spray with olive oil, and season. Spray the air fryer basket with non-stick spray and cook for 4 minutes or until browned to your liking.


Calories: 322kcal
Keyword can you boil frozen chicken, how to boil frozen chicken
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Frequently Asked Questions

How Long to Boil Frozen Chicken Legs?

Usually, it takes about 40-50 minutes to boil frozen chicken legs. Ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) for food safety.

Is It Safe to Boil Frozen Chicken for Dog Food?

Yes, boiling frozen chicken is safe for making dog food. Just make sure to shred the chicken and remove any bones before giving it to your dog.

Boiling Frozen Chicken for Soup: The Process

  1. Place the frozen chicken in a large pot.
  2. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the chicken.
  3. Add seasonings like salt and pepper (optional).
  4. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 40-50 minutes.
  5. Remove the chicken, shred it, and add it back to the soup.

Boiling Time for Shreddable Frozen Chicken Breast

To shred frozen chicken breast, boil them for around 30-40 minutes. Ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).

Cooking Rice and Frozen Chicken Together by Boiling

Yes, it’s possible to cook rice and frozen chicken together in one pot. Here’s how:

  1. Place the frozen chicken in a pot and add water. Bring it to a boil and cook the chicken for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Add the rice and seasonings, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot.
  3. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is fully cooked and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Best Practices for Boiling Frozen Chicken Tenderloins

Follow these steps for boiling frozen chicken tenderloins:

  1. Place the tenderloins in a pot and cover them with water.
  2. Add seasonings like salt and pepper (optional).
  3. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Ensure the internal temperature of the tenderloins reaches 165°F (74°C) before consuming.
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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