How to Boil a Chicken

Learning how to boil a whole chicken is a basic cooking skill. The goal is to cook the chicken so you can then “de-bone” it for use in a myriad of recipes. By cooking the chicken in filtered water with some vegetables and a few spices, you not only end up with the chicken meat itself, you have delicious broth with endless recipe possibilities.

5 Great Reasons to Boil a Whole Chicken

1 Cooking your own whole chicken is EASY

The recipe for simmering a whole chicken is simple – anyone can do it! Cooking your own whole chicken is quick and easy. With just a few ingredients and about five minutes, you can get a chicken prepped, in the pot and start the cooking process. Most of the “cooking” time is just wait time. You can get a lot done in the 45 minutes the chicken is simmering away in the pot. (Or do nothing at all, that’s fine too!)

2 Cooking your own whole chicken is FRUGAL

Cooking a whole chicken yourself, at home is less expensive than using boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Even if you spend extra to purchase the highest quality, free range, organic chicken, you get the most value by cooking it yourself at home. It may take more time, but you will have a lot more for the money.

3 Home-cooked chicken TASTES GOOD

The stock you create when you boil a whole chicken is delicious and rich. My mother-in-law taught me how to do it when she helped me after my first child was born. I still remember how exquisite the soup was that she made. It was the freshly made chicken stock that made all the difference. I usually make a soup of some sort right away with the stock and the chicken. My favorites are Herbes de Provence Chicken Soup and Tortilla Soup.

4 Boiling your own whole chicken is PRACTICAL

If you are meal-prepping for the week or just have a recipe that calls for a lot of chicken, boiling/simmering your own whole chicken is a fantastic way to get a lot of food in one fell swoop. Just look what you get:

  • The meat –

    • You get about 1 cup per pound of chicken for every bird 3 pounds or more. That’s a decent amount of meat for use in all kinds of recipes.
  • The broth –

    • The broth you get from cooking the chicken in the pot is great for making a soup right away or storing away for later use
  • MORE stock/broth –


5 Simmering a Whole Chicken is HEALTHFUL

The list of ingredients on some grocery-store roasted chickens is a little scary, if you ask me. If you boil your own chicken at home, YOU control the ingredients. There’s no need to worry that you might be ingesting some form of gluten or mono-sodium glutamate or other sketchy stuff. Of course, purchasing a high-quality, organic bird is best. But even if you use a standard chicken, you still get multiple cups of “clean” tender, tasty chicken along with the potential two batches of broth/stock for all your recipes.

Now that you know how to boil a whole chicken, if you would like to know more about the health benefits of chicken stock, see this post!

How to Boil a Chicken

How to Boil a Chicken – Recipe


How to Boil a Chicken

Recipe to simmer a chicken and create broth that can be used for multiple recipes.

  • Author: Lea Valle
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 60 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
  • Yield: 4-5 cups chicken 1x
  • Category: Basic Skill


  • 1 3-5 lb Chicken
  • 16 cups (one gallon) of water (or enough to cover the chicken by an inch in the pot)
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 12 medium carrot, cut in half
  • 1 celery rib, cut in half
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 13 bay leaves
  • peppercorns


  1. Remove the chicken from its packaging, ensuring to remove anything in the cavity and trimming large pieces of fat, and place in a large stock pot.
  2. Add enough water to cover the chicken by at least an inch.
  3. Add the salt, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf and peppercorns
  4. Bring to a boil on medium/high heat
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. (Turn chicken over at least once during the cooking process)
  6. Turn off the heat and remove the chicken from the stock pot to a large bowl
  7. Cover with foil and let cool for about one hour until cool enough to handle
  8. Debone the chicken
  9. Pour the chicken stock through a fine mesh sieve, throw out the vegetables and save the chicken stock


The soup in the pic below is my Herbes de Provence Homemade Chicken Soup. I taught my two boys how to make it so they have some SKILLS before they leave my home for the real world. Stay tuned for that post and recipe…

How to Boil a Whole Chicken

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