Poached Chicken Breasts

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes



Appears in

Cooking One on One

Cooking One on One

By John Ash

Published 2004

  • About

This basic recipe for poaching chicken breasts yields not only a moist, tender breast but also a delicious broth that can be used for soups and sauces—or to poach more chicken.


  • 2 cupscrisp, light-bodied white wine
  • 3 cupshomemade chicken stock or your favorite canned broth
  • 3 whole cloves, or 6 juniper berries, or 1 whole star anise, or 12 Sichuan peppercorns ... (you can see where I’m going with this)
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • ½ cupcoarsely chopped green onions (green and white parts) or ¼ cupcoarsely chopped fresh parsley (leaves and stems are fine)
  • 4 large bone-in chicken breasts


In a deep skillet or saucepan that will allow the breasts to sit in a snug single layer, combine the white wine, stock, cloves, bay leaf, and green onions. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes to extract some flavor from the seasonings. Place the chicken breasts into the simmering stock, which should cover the chicken completely; if it doesn’t, add some additional wine or stock. Cover the pan and simmer slowly for 6 minutes (check periodically to be sure the liquid is not boiling hard and adjust the heat if necessary). Turn off the heat and allow the breasts to sit covered for 15 minutes. They should just be cooked through at this point. Remove and proceed with the salad that follows or other uses.

Carefully strain the poaching liquid through a fine mesh strainer and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. This provides a delicious stock for soups, stews, and sauces.