How long to boil a whole chicken for homemade chicken noodle soup with whole chicken, tacos or just shredded meat is here! Fresh or boiled frozen whole chicken falls off the bone easily.
We will share with you just how long to boil a whole chicken so you can taste the deliciousness too. You may have made boiled shredded chicken in the past with just breasts, but let’s do the whole thing!! I mean NO cutting required and it comes out SO tender! (affiliate links present)
Boiled Whole Chicken
Ok so it had reached the sell by date for this bird and I was thinking of a way I hadn’t tried yet. Boiling usually is not something I think of but I hadn’t done that yet so I thought I would give it a whirl. I was SO surprised at how well it turned out. No really, I expected to just answer the question for y’all but it was actually a hit.
Now don’t expect to be able to lift this baby out of the pot in one piece. The bones just fall away from the meat on this one. The exception would be the chicken breasts which could be sliced.
We just used this as shredded chicken inside of tacos though that night. THEN I used the leftovers to make an easy enchilada soup.
As you can see above we first did this with a defrosted bird. I like to share how to cook frozen chicken too though so that was next. There wasn’t a huge difference which was a little bit surprising but a nice surprise nonetheless. You too would be surprised that once done you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two.
How Long to Boil a Whole Frozen Chicken
Can you boil frozen chicken whole too? Yes you can actually complete boiling a frozen chicken and it turns out great. It is pretty simple to do and great if you are planning to make soup out of it.
The only change you will need to make when cooking a thawed vs. cooking a whole frozen chicken is that you increase the cook time by 15 minutes. So let’s say you have a 4 pound bird, which is pretty average. Fresh would take you 1.5 hours vs. rock hard would be 1 hour 45 minutes. I mean, not much.
Everything else remains the same. I like to add an onion sliced and a decent amount of garlic too. That is just going to permeate the water a bit. If you wanted to make homemade chicken noodle soup when done I would add large chunks of carrots and celery in there too.
OH let’s talk about that little tidbit real quick too. The liquid you use to boil your meat will = homemade chicken broth so DON’T throw that stuff away.
That is right, this is how you make a big ol’ pot of soup from scratch. Think about it, for that all you need is meat, veggies and broth. That is what you’ll have when done! You can do the same thing when making an Instant Pot whole chicken too. Just remove meat, keep drippings in the pot and you’re set.
Yeah, it will be just fine. When we make homemade chicken noodle soup with whole chicken we just boil the whole thing in a pot. Once meat is falling off the bone I remove and discard skin and bones.
Boil Chicken Whole
Whether you want to make soup with this or are just boiling it to pull the meat off of the bones you’ll do it the same way. The broth saves well for 3-4 days if stored in a sealed mason jar or container though so save it. You can use it for other things like adding it into homemade air fryer mashed potatoes, moistening meat when reheating, or some like to drink it as is.
How can you tell when boiled chicken is done
I will show you below. As soon as you use tongs to grab the leg bone and it lifts right out, it is done. If you aren’t ready to prep it yet you can just turn off the burner and leave it in the broth for a bit, no problem.
- Like I said, the wings, legs, and thigh bones are going to lift right out. The meat will just fall off in pieces.
That is not an issue if you’re shredding anyway. If a few of you do want sliced juicy and tender chicken pieces, you can do that with the breasts. They will want to shred too but if you cut against the grain they stay together more than anywhere else.
With smaller pieces this is how long to boil chicken legs and the best way for those is to just pull on the bone. If it slides right out it is done.
How Long to Boil a Whole Chicken for Soup
Figure 1.5-2 hours is the going rate. I have made a 6 pound bird which was on the larger side and 1 hour 45 was just right. I have forgotten about it until it was in there for 2 hours and it was still just fine. Since it is submerged in broth at this point it remains moist but I wouldn’t push it beyond that timing.
Actually it is the same timing for this as if you were to make chicken soup out of it. About 2 hours is just about right depending on the overall weight to cook a whole chicken to fork tender fall off the bone status.
What do you do with chicken after you boil it
I use the meat the end to make easy enchilada soup, toss with sauce and serve it over rice, or make chicken tacos for dinner. There are so many options really that I wouldn’t be able to list them all but will include a few of our favorites here;
- Use any of our leftover chicken recipes to make casseroles, and many one pot meals.
- Our spicy chicken noodle soup is just to die for and simple with this method.
- Many are in love with our easy chicken pot pie recipe here.
How to Boil Whole Chicken on Stove
You’re going to want a pretty decent sized stock pot like this one in order to submerge the whole thing in water. I have a printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but will go over quickly if you want to learn how to boil chicken whole first.
- Unwrap first of course and remove contents out of the cavity if there is anything, discard.
- Place into your large pot and cover with water until it is completely submerged
- about 2″ above the top of the bird.
- Slice an onion and add in with garlic (optional). Could add bay leaves too if desired.
- Place on stovetop at medium high heat with a lid on.
- Check after about 15 minutes to ensure boiling is rolling consistently but isn’t bubbling over.
- Once it reaches a consistent boil covered it will take 1.5 hours
- Timing depends on the size of course, the rule is;
- 1 1/2 hours to boil a 3 – 4 lb defrosted whole chicken.
- Larger than 4 pounds, add an additional 15 minutes per pounds.
- How to boil a frozen whole chicken add 15 minutes to the total cooking time as well.
It is done when you pull on the leg bone and it slides right out. Internal temperature for chicken (fresh or frozen to begin with) when done measured in the thickest part should reach 165 degrees F. Use a meat thermometer after removing cooked chicken from the water for the most accurate measurement. Now jump to recipe and get started.
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
How Long to Boil a Whole Chicken
- Unwrap bird and remove contents out of the cavity if there is anything, discard. Place into stockpot and cover with water until it is completely submerged + about 2" above the top of the bird.
- Slice one onion and add in with garlic (optional). Place on stovetop at medium high heat with a lid on. Check after about 15 minutes to ensure boiling is rolling consistently but isn't bubbling over.
- Once it reaches a consistent boil it will take 1.5 hours in general, rule is; 1 1/2 hours to boil a 3 – 4 lb defrosted whole chicken. Larger than 4 pounds, add an additional 15 minutes per pound. For a frozen chicken add 15 minutes to the total cooking time as well.
- It is done when you pull on the leg bone and it slides right out and internal temperature in thickest part of the meat reaches 165 degrees F.