Wondering how long to boil chicken thighs frozen or fresh so it’s tender ready to shred or slice for dinner? Can you boil frozen chicken and then get crispy chicken skin after it’s done too? We will show you how to do it all.
We have shared how to cook frozen chicken of all kinds lately but we are going to focus on boiled chicken thighs this time, and that one only. They can be fresh or defrosted too, the only difference is a bit more time but surprisingly both will get to fork tender perfectly if you follow our steps here. (affiliate links present)
How to Boil Chicken Thighs
No matter whether they are straight out of the freezer or already tender to the touch out of the fridge you only need water and a pot to get this done. I do like to put a pinch of salt in there too but that is optional. There are many ways of cooking chicken thighs overall. This one is great if you’re going to shred the meat for sandwiches or homemade chicken noodle soup.
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Keep in mind that the skin will get rubbery so if you love eating the outside but insist on it being crispy you’ll need to crisp chicken skin in air fryer when done, broil in the oven, or just remove it all together. If you could care less about that layer of the bird like us then it probably isn’t even a thought.
First comes first, how long is frozen chicken good for is answered here. If you are one who loves finding a great sale and when you do you load up this is an important part of buying in bulk. As long as you store it in freezer airtight bags with the storage date marked on the front they will stay for up to 9 months until you’re ready.
If you don’t want to, or forget to take them out the night before you can still save dinnertime. You will have to increase the boiling time from 10 minutes to almost 30. If you were to taste them side by side when done though you wouldn’t be able to tell which was which. Seriously it works that well.
Boiled Frozen Chicken Thighs
In regards to how to boil meat timing you’re looking at boiling boneless pieces for about 10 minutes if they have been thawed or fresh. It will take closer to 15 minutes for thawed bone-in pieces, and 30-35 for frozen. All of them need to reach 165 degrees F in the thickest area to be safe to eat.
Using a digital thermometer the thickest area will reach a safe 165 degrees F. The juices that flow our when sliced or poked should be clear as well. Another thing to look for is that the meat pulls away from the bone easily with a fork and is brown, not pink or fleshy in color.
Boiled Chicken Thighs
To get prepared place your meat into the pot and fill so that every piece is submerged. You will want to have a baking sheet handy too if you want to broil the skin later on, or just air fry thighs later to get that golden brown outside coloring.
- Set your pan on medium high heat to boil for the allotted amount of time listed below. Keep in mind timing will vary slightly depending on how large and thick your pieces are.
- 10 min. for boneless thawed
- 15 minutes for thawed bone-in
- 30-35 for frozen cooking time
- check the internal temperature to ensure thickest part reaches 165 degrees F.
- At this point you can serve or shred them now.
- If you are browning skin at the end you can remove when it reaches 160 degree F.
** To crisp skin – Remove and pat dry the outsides with paper towels. Place in a single layer on a baking tray and brush olive oil (or bbq sauce) on the skin with a sprinkle of your favorite seasonings and/or herbs. Bake at 375 for additional 10-15 minutes or until temp reaches 165 + on the inside OR set to broil for 3 minutes or so to brown the skins and get to a safe internal temperature.
How do You Boil Chicken so it’s Tender
The trick to boiling a whole chicken or in pieces like this is to add your meat first. Yes, before you heat the water. This way the proteins can gradually increase their temperature. You will then cook the meat from the outside in low and slow essentially.
- If you instead boiled the water and then added the meat, it would be more a shock. It causes the meat to dry out more than you’d like unfortunately.
Just a little hack to remember when you are boiling meat on the stove, really any kind should be done this way. It is the opposite when it comes to vegetables though. Boiled broccoli would get mushy and a terrible texture if it sat in water for the 15 or so minutes it took to bubble and got hot enough to cook.
Now there is a way to boil bone in chicken thighs in Instant Pot too. It is more of a cross between steaming and boiling. BUT it still give you the same effect as you have here. Softer skin, fall apart oh so tender poultry in far less time though.
To be fully cooked you’re looking at a closer to 20 minutes or so, with time to pressurize. With the pot you’re looking at about 40 when waiting for water to boil.
Boiling Chicken in Slow Cooker
This is the final way you could consider boiling. It is just at a much slower pace but will get it done to the same texture and tenderness as the stove. For rock hard you can follow our frozen chicken in Crockpot instructions here. I typically will use boneless skinless chicken breasts for that way. Then just shred at the end and use inside taco shells for dinner.
OR you can toss in your favorite sauce at the end and make sliders out of it, super simple. All you need is either water or chicken broth to steam / boil the meat. This way gets each piece to falls apart with just two forks, so good.
Any side dishes work whether you serve these babies right out of the pot or with crispy skin as directed below. I will usually take out some frozen rolls, do a quick thaw on them and bake until fluffy. By far my girls favorite choice.
I always have to have a vegetable on the plate too so that depends on what is in season or in the fridge that needs to be eaten. 😉 If you do have leftovers they save well too. I like to pull the meat off the bone and store in a freezer bag when cooled. The next night I can take out, warm with a bit of broth and make tacos.
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 Chicken Thighs
- 1 pot
- Place chicken into pan and cover in water. Boil for 10 min. for boneless thawed, 15 minutes for thawed bone-in, 30-35 for frozen, or until thickest part reaches 165 degrees F. Can serve or shred now. If you are browning skin at the end you can remove when it reaches 160 degree F.
- ** To crisp skin – Remove and pat dry the outsides with paper towels. Place on a baking tray and brush olive oil on the skin with a sprinkle of your favorite seasonings and/or herbs.
- Bake at 375 for additional 10-15 minutes or until temp reaches 165 + on the inside OR set to broil for 3 minutes or so to brown the skins and get to a safe internal temperature.