[Full Guide] How Long To Boil Cubed Chicken

Boiling cubed chicken is a common cooking technique used to prepare tender, juicy, and versatile chicken for a wide variety of dishes. It’s a simple and efficient method that requires minimal preparation and yields delicious results. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the process of boiling cubed chicken, including the necessary preparation, cooking time, and tips for achieving perfectly cooked chicken. Whether you’re a novice cook or a seasoned chef, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and skills to boil cubed chicken to perfection.

Quick Answer: How Long To Boil Cubed Chicken

Boiling cubed chicken requires approximately 10-12 minutes of cooking time. However, the exact duration may vary depending on the size of the chicken cubes and the desired level of doneness. It’s essential to ensure that the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to guarantee that it is thoroughly cooked and safe to eat. Using a meat thermometer will help you accurately monitor the chicken’s temperature throughout the boiling process.


When boiling cubed chicken, selecting the right cut of chicken is crucial to achieving the best results. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are the preferred choice for boiling, as they cook quickly and evenly, and their mild flavor and tender texture make them ideal for a wide range of recipes. When purchasing chicken breasts, look for ones that are fresh, firm, and free of any off-putting odors or discoloration. It’s also important to check the expiration date and ensure that the packaging is intact.


Before boiling cubed chicken, it’s essential to properly prepare the chicken to ensure that it cooks evenly and retains its moisture and flavor. Here’s a step-by-step guide to preparing cubed chicken for boiling:

Step 1: Thawing (if Applicable)

If using frozen chicken breasts, ensure that they are completely thawed before boiling. Thawing can be done in the refrigerator overnight or using the defrost setting on a microwave. Avoid thawing chicken at room temperature to prevent the risk of bacterial growth.

Step 2: Cubing The Chicken

Using a sharp knife, carefully trim any excess fat from the chicken breasts. Then, cut the chicken into uniform cubes of approximately 1-inch in size. This ensures that the chicken cooks evenly and allows for consistent doneness.

Step 3: Seasoning (optional)

While not essential for boiling, seasoning the cubed chicken before cooking can enhance its flavor. Consider marinating the chicken cubes in a mixture of herbs, spices, and a small amount of olive oil for added taste. Alternatively, you can season the chicken directly in the boiling water with salt, pepper, and other desired seasonings.

Step 4: Bringing Water To A Boil

Fill a large pot with enough water to fully submerge the cubed chicken. For added flavor, consider using chicken broth or adding aromatics such as onions, garlic, and herbs to the water. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.

How To Boil Cubed Chicken

Now that the chicken is prepared and the water is ready, it’s time to boil the cubed chicken. Follow these steps to ensure that the chicken cooks to perfection:

Step 1: Boiling The Chicken

Once the water reaches a rolling boil, carefully add the cubed chicken to the pot. Stir the chicken to prevent the cubes from sticking together and ensure even cooking. Allow the water to return to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer.

Step 2: Cooking Time

Depending on the size of the chicken cubes and the intensity of the simmer, the cooking time will vary. In general, cubed chicken typically requires 10-12 minutes of boiling to reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). It’s crucial to use a meat thermometer to check the chicken’s doneness, as undercooked chicken can pose health risks.

Step 3: Checking For Doneness

After the initial 10-12 minutes, use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature of the largest chicken cube. If the temperature reads 165°F (74°C), the chicken is thoroughly cooked and can be safely removed from the boiling water. If the temperature is below the recommended level, continue boiling the chicken and recheck the temperature at one-minute intervals.

Step 4: Draining The Chicken

Once the chicken reaches the desired doneness, remove the pot from the heat and carefully drain the boiled chicken using a colander or slotted spoon. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes to reabsorb any excess moisture before incorporating it into your chosen recipe.

Boiling cubed chicken is a straightforward and convenient method for preparing tender and succulent chicken for a wide range of culinary applications. By selecting high-quality chicken, properly preparing it, and following the recommended boiling process, you can achieve juicy and flavorful results that will elevate your dishes. Whether you’re making chicken salads, stir-fries, soups, or casseroles, boiled cubed chicken serves as a versatile protein option that can be seasoned and incorporated into countless recipes. With the knowledge and techniques outlined in this guide, you can confidently boil cubed chicken to perfection and enjoy delicious, restaurant-quality results in your own kitchen.

Science Behind Boiling

Boiling is a common and versatile cooking method that has been used for centuries to cook a wide variety of food items, including chicken. Boiling cubed chicken is a popular technique that ensures quick and even cooking, making it a convenient choice for many delicious recipes. Whether you are preparing a chicken stew, soup, or salad, knowing the science behind boiling cubed chicken can help you achieve the desired results.

Boiling is a cooking method that involves immersing food in a liquid at or above its boiling point. The process of boiling helps to cook the food evenly by transferring heat through conduction and convection. When water reaches its boiling point (100°C or 212°F at sea level), it begins to vaporize and transform into steam. This conversion of water into steam results in the transfer of latent heat energy, which cooks the food.

Boiling cubed chicken has several advantages over other cooking methods. Firstly, boiling is a moist cooking technique, ensuring that the chicken retains its moisture and remains tender. Secondly, with cubed chicken, the smaller pieces cook more quickly, reducing the overall cooking time. Additionally, boiling helps to infuse flavors into the chicken, making it a versatile method for various recipes.

Optimal Boiling Times

To achieve perfectly cooked cubed chicken, it is crucial to understand the optimal boiling times. Undercooking the chicken can result in an unpleasant texture and raw center, while overcooking can make the chicken dry and tough. The boiling time required for chicken cubes depends on the size of the cubes and the desired level of doneness. Here are some general guidelines for boiling cubed chicken:

  • Small cubed chicken (around 1 cm or 1/2 inch): 2-3 minutes
  • Medium cubed chicken (around 2.5 cm or 1 inch): 4-5 minutes
  • Large cubed chicken (around 5 cm or 2 inches): 6-8 minutes
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While these times provide a baseline estimate, it’s essential to note that factors such as the quality of the chicken, the altitude at which you are cooking, and personal preference may affect the exact boiling time needed.

Doneness Test

Determining the doneness of boiled cubed chicken is crucial to ensure it is safe and enjoyable to eat. While the recommended internal temperature for cooked chicken is 75°C (165°F), it can be challenging to measure the temperature accurately when dealing with small, cubed pieces. Therefore, visual cues and other indicators can be used to assess doneness. Here are some signs to look for:

  1. Color: Properly boiled chicken cubes should have an even white color throughout. Any traces of pink or raw appearance indicate that the chicken needs further cooking.

  2. Texture: Cooked chicken should be tender, moist, and easy to bite through. Overcooked chicken will be dry and fibrous, while undercooked chicken will be tough and chewy. Take a bite to check for the desired tenderness.

  3. Juices: When you pierce a cooked chicken cube with a fork or knife, the juices should run clear. If they appear pink or have a reddish tint, additional cooking time is needed.

Remember, it is always better to slightly undercook the chicken cubes and allow them to rest. During the resting period, the residual heat will continue cooking the chicken, ensuring the perfect level of doneness.

Factors Affecting Boiling Cubed Chicken

Several factors can influence the quality and taste of boiled cubed chicken. Being mindful of these factors will help you achieve consistent and delicious results every time you boil chicken cubes. Let’s explore some of the significant factors:

  1. Chicken Quality: The quality and freshness of the chicken play a crucial role in the final outcome. Opt for fresh and high-quality chicken, as it will have better flavor, texture, and overall cooking performance.

  2. Chicken Type: Different chicken parts have different levels of tenderness. White meat, like chicken breast, tends to be leaner and can dry out more quickly when boiled. On the other hand, dark meat, such as chicken thighs, has more fat and collagen, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful outcome.

  3. Chicken Preparation: Ensure that the chicken cubes are uniform in size to ensure consistent cooking. Unevenly sized cubes may lead to some pieces being undercooked or overcooked. Additionally, removing any excess fat or skin from the chicken cubes can prevent the cooking liquid from becoming overly greasy.

  4. Seasonings and Flavorings: Boiling chicken in plain water can result in a bland taste. Enhance the flavor by adding seasonings, herbs, vegetables, or aromatics to the boiling liquid. This will infuse the chicken with delicious flavors.

  5. Altitude: The altitude at which you are cooking can affect the boiling temperature and cooking time. At higher altitudes, the boiling point of water decreases. To compensate for this, you may need to adjust the boiling time slightly. Consult altitude-specific cooking charts or recipes for guidance.

  6. Cooking Vessel: The type of cooking vessel you use can impact the cooking process. A wide pot with enough space for the chicken cubes to cook in a single layer will promote even cooking. Avoid overcrowding the pot, as this can lead to uneven heat distribution and longer cooking times.

  7. Cooking Liquid: While water is a common choice for boiling chicken, you can enhance the flavor by using other liquids such as chicken broth, vegetable broth, wine, or beer. These liquids can further infuse the chicken with delicious flavors and provide a rich base for soups or stews.

Boiling cubed chicken is an excellent technique for achieving tender, juicy, and evenly cooked chicken. Understanding the science behind boiling, optimal boiling times, doneness tests, and factors that affect the outcome will empower you to create delicious dishes with confidence. By paying attention to the quality of the chicken, using the proper boiling times, and assessing doneness through visual cues, you will be able to consistently create delectable boiled cubed chicken for a variety of recipes. So, don your apron, gather your ingredients, and let the boiling process transform your chicken cubes into a savory delight!

Texture After Boiling

Boiling is a popular cooking method known for its ability to cook food quickly and efficiently. When it comes to chicken, boiling is a versatile technique that can result in a delicious and tender end product.

Boiling cubed chicken can have a significant impact on its texture. While the meat starts off firm and slightly chewy, boiling gradually breaks down the proteins, resulting in a softer and more tender texture. The length of boiling time plays a crucial role in determining the final texture of the chicken.

For a more tender and melt-in-your-mouth texture, you can opt for a longer cooking time, typically around 20-30 minutes. This extra cooking time allows the collagen in the meat to break down further, resulting in a more tender and juicy chicken. However, be cautious not to overcook the chicken as it may turn dry and rubbery.

If you prefer a firmer texture, reducing the boiling time to around 10-15 minutes would be more suitable. This shorter cooking time ensures that the chicken is fully cooked while retaining a slight bite. Be sure to check for doneness by cutting into a piece of chicken to ensure it is cooked all the way through.

Taste After Boiling

The taste of boiled chicken can vary depending on the seasoning and spices used during the cooking process. Without any additional flavorings, boiling chicken tends to result in a mild and neutral taste. This makes boiled chicken a versatile ingredient that can easily be incorporated into various dishes and flavor profiles.

However, if you desire a more flavorful outcome, consider adding seasonings and spices to the boiling water. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat, enhancing its taste. Common additions include salt, pepper, garlic, onion, bay leaves, and herbs like thyme or rosemary. Experiment with different combinations to achieve the desired flavor profile.

Boiling chicken also creates a flavorful broth that can be utilized for soups, stews, or sauces. The natural juices of the meat blend with the seasonings, resulting in a rich and savory broth that adds depth to your dishes. Strain the broth and store it for later use, or incorporate it immediately into your recipe.

Smell After Boiling

The aroma that emanates from boiled chicken can be enticing and mouth-watering. As the chicken undergoes the cooking process, the natural flavors intensify, releasing a delightful scent that fills the kitchen. The smell can vary depending on the seasonings used, but in its plain form, boiled chicken exudes a subtle, savory aroma.

When you add spices and herbs to the boiling water, an enticing fragrance fills the air. The chicken absorbs these aromatic elements, resulting in a final product that is not only delicious but also tantalizing to the olfactory senses. The smell of boiled chicken can evoke a sense of comfort and anticipation for a flavorful meal.

Boiling Techniques For Different Culinary Preferences

To cater to different culinary preferences, various boiling techniques can be employed when cooking cubed chicken. These techniques can help you achieve specific desired outcomes, whether you prefer a tender and moist texture or a firmer bite.

  1. Traditional Boiling: This is the most common method of boiling chicken cubes. Simply place the cubed chicken in a pot of boiling water and let it cook until done, usually around 15-20 minutes. While this technique is simple and straightforward, it can result in a slightly softer texture due to the extended cooking time.

  2. Blanching: Blanching involves briefly boiling the chicken cubes before finishing the cooking process using another method, such as sautéing or grilling. This technique helps to partially cook the meat while retaining its firmness. To do this, place the chicken cubes in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then transfer them to an ice bath to halt the cooking process. Finish cooking the chicken using the desired method, such as pan-searing or grilling, to achieve a crispy exterior while maintaining a tender inside.

  3. Simmering: Simmering is a gentle and slow boiling technique that ensures the chicken cooks evenly while retaining its moisture. This method involves cooking the chicken in liquid that is just below boiling point, typically around 180-200°F (82-93°C). Simmering is excellent for achieving a tender and juicy texture, but it does require a longer cooking time, usually around 30-40 minutes. To simmer chicken cubes, place them in a pot of seasoned broth or water, and maintain a gentle simmer until they are fully cooked.

  4. Poaching: Poaching is another technique that can yield a tender and moist result. Similar to simmering, poaching involves cooking the chicken in liquid, but at a slightly lower temperature, around 160-180°F (71-82°C). The liquid can be water or a flavored broth. To poach chicken cubes, gently place them in the liquid and cook until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), which ensures they are fully cooked.

Boiling cubed chicken is a versatile cooking method that can result in a tender and flavorful end product. By adjusting the cooking time and incorporating different seasoning and spices, you can customize the texture and taste to suit your preferences. Whether you prefer a melt-in-your-mouth texture or a firmer bite, boiling chicken can deliver the desired outcome. Additionally, the aroma that fills the kitchen while boiling chicken adds to the overall sensory experience. By exploring different boiling techniques, such as traditional boiling, blanching, simmering, and poaching, you can further enhance the flavors and achieve the texture that appeals to you. So, go ahead and experiment with boiling cubed chicken to create delicious and satisfying meals for yourself and your loved ones.

Retaining Nutrition

Boiling chicken is one of the easiest ways to cook it, but it requires some basic know-how to get it just right. When boiling cubed chicken, there are certain things you need to keep in mind to retain its texture, taste, and nutrition.

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Boiling chicken is known to retain its nutritional value because it doesn’t require any additional fat or oil for cooking. Cubed chicken is no exception. However, there are a few things you need to consider to ensure that you don’t compromise the nutritional value of the chicken.

Use Quality Chicken

To retain the maximum nutritional value, start with top-quality chicken. Look for chicken that is minimally processed, and has no added hormones or antibiotics. Chicken that is raised on an organic, all-natural diet is also best.

Don’t Overcook The Chicken

When boiling cubed chicken, don’t let it cook for too long otherwise, it will lose its nutritional value. Chicken is fully cooked when it reaches 165°F (74°C) at the thickest part of the meat. Be sure to use a meat thermometer to check the temperature.

Use Low Sodium Chicken Broth

For added flavor and moisture, you can use chicken broth instead of plain water. However, make sure to use low-sodium chicken broth to maintain the nutritional value of the chicken.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

There are some common mistakes you want to avoid when boiling cubed chicken. Below we list some of the things you should keep in mind.

Adding Cold Chicken To Hot Water

One mistake to avoid is adding cold chicken to hot water. This causes the chicken to cook unevenly and results in rubbery, tough meat. To ensure even cooking, wait for the water to come to a simmer before adding the cubed chicken.

Using Too Much Water

Another mistake to avoid is using too much water. Using too much water can cause the chicken to become waterlogged and bland. One cup of water for every four cups of cubed chicken is sufficient.

Boiling The Chicken For Too Long

Boiling cubed chicken for too long can make it dry, tough, and stringy. Always check the chicken’s internal temperature with a meat thermometer and remove once it reaches 165°F.

Tips To Boil Cubed Chicken

Here are some tips to follow when boiling cubed chicken to ensure excellent taste, texture, and nutrition.

Cut The Chicken Into Uniform Pieces

When cutting the chicken into cubes, make sure they are of uniform size to ensure the chicken cooks evenly.

Season The Water

If you are using water instead of chicken broth, be sure to add salt and your favorite seasonings to the water. This can add some flavor to the chicken.

Poach Instead Of Boil

You can poach cubed chicken instead of boiling it. Poaching is the gentle simmering of food in a flavorful liquid. This technique can help retain the chicken’s moisture and flavor.

Slice The Chicken After Boiling

After boiling cubed chicken, let it cool before slicing it. Slicing it while it’s hot will cause the chicken to fall apart and lose its shape.

What To Do With Boiled Cubed Chicken

Boiled cubed chicken is a versatile ingredient that can be used in several recipes. Here are some ideas:

Chicken Salad

Boiled cubed chicken is perfect for making chicken salad. Mix mayonnaise, diced celery, onions, and any other seasonings you like with the cubed chicken.

Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is a classic recipe that uses boiled chicken. You can boil the chicken in the chicken broth with noodles, vegetables, and other seasonings.

Chicken Chili

Chicken chili is another recipe that can use boiled cubed chicken. You can add beans, chili powder, tomatoes, onions, and other ingredients to make a flavorful chili.


Boiling cubed chicken is a simple and easy cooking method. However, you must avoid making common mistakes that can lead to tough, rubbery chicken. Following the tips and techniques we mentioned in this article can help you boil cubed chicken the right way. By doing so, you can retain the chicken’s texture, taste, and nutrition, ensuring delicious and healthy meals every time.


What Is The Best Way To Boil Cubed Chicken?

The best way to boil cubed chicken is to start with a pot of cold water and add the cubed chicken to it. This allows the chicken to cook evenly and prevents it from becoming tough.

How Long Does It Take To Boil Cubed Chicken?

The cooking time for cubed chicken will depend on the size of the cubes and the amount of chicken being boiled. On average, it takes about 8-10 minutes for cubed chicken to cook through.

Can I Season The Water When Boiling Cubed Chicken?

Yes, you can season the water with spices, herbs, and other flavorings to enhance the taste of the chicken. However, keep in mind that the chicken will absorb some of the flavors from the water, so be cautious with the amount and type of seasoning used.

How Do I Know When The Cubed Chicken Is Fully Cooked?

When boiling cubed chicken, the surest way to know if it is fully cooked is by using a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken, and it should read at least 165°F for safe consumption.

Can I Use The Boiled Water As Chicken Broth?

Yes, the water used to boil cubed chicken can be used as a simple chicken broth. It will have some flavor from the chicken, and you can add more spices or herbs to enhance it further. Just be sure to strain out any impurities from the water before using it as broth.