How Long to Boil Chicken Thighs? (Plus 4 things to Avoid!)

If you are wondering how long to boil chicken thighs, you’re in the right place! There are many benefits to boiling chicken. 

How long to boil chicken thighs

Why Boil Chicken?

First, boiled chicken can be more tender than roasted or grilled poultry because overcooking is more difficult. If you know how long to boil chicken thighs and other cuts, you are more likely to serve a moist chicken.

Second, learning how long to boil chicken thighs can produce a perfectly crafted broth. The liquid used for boiling chicken can be used in other meals or recipes. Use your chicken broth for a delicious chicken chili or chicken and rice soup.   

Third, boiled chicken thighs can be used in many chicken dishes. Consider using boiled chicken for tacos, sandwiches, or nutrition-focused side dishes. 

Is Boiled Chicken Healthy?

An additional benefit worth mentioning is that boiled chicken requires no oil or butter. This protein is healthier than other versions, as it lacks extra calories and fat. While chicken thighs are fattier then other cuts, boiling is a healthier option to consider.   

How to Boil Chicken Thighs

When learning how to boil chicken thighs, it is important to consider whether your chicken is fresh or frozen.

Although most of the process is similar, frozen chicken will take longer to cook. Using bone-in thighs is also a good idea, as it contributes to the leftover broth. 

Making boiled chicken in a microwave with a microwave-safe bowl is possible. Please note that these instructions are intended for stovetop use.   

How Long to Boil Fresh Chicken Thighs

For a quick and simple recipe for fresh chicken thighs, start with your seasonings and herbs. Consider using rosemary, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Or you can use your favorite mix of seasonings! 

Other seasonings that pair well with chicken include Italian, Cajun, peppercorns, or even a barbecue rub or sauce.

When it comes to boiling chicken thighs, your seasoning options are wide open! Add other ingredients, such as potatoes, carrots, celery, or other vegetables to create a full meal. 

Oil the chicken thighs and generously apply spices before you place the chicken thighs in a stockpot or dutch oven and cover them with water. You can add more seasonings to the water if you prefer a more robust flavor. Some great options include a bay leaf or a few springs of fresh thyme. 

Heat the water at medium-high heat until the water reaches a boil and then simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Of course, how long to boil chicken thighs depends on a few factors. Consider the size of the thighs and whether they are bone-in or boneless. 

Because of the varying factors, it is vital to watch the temperature of the chicken to avoid overcooking. Generally, bone-in chicken thighs need 20 minutes. The cooking time of boneless chicken thighs is around 15 minutes. 

If you prefer a crispy skin on your chicken, place them on a baking sheet and broil for five minutes or less.   

Uncooked Chicken Thighs

How Long to Boil Frozen Chicken Thighs

Boiling frozen chicken thighs is possible, but it takes longer than the alternative. It is always ideal to thaw the chicken before boiling it. If that is not possible, you can use frozen chicken thighs. 

One important consideration to make about boiling frozen chicken thighs is that seasoning will not stick to frozen cuts of meat. You can use oil and seasoning somewhat, but the flavor will be more subtle.

When boiling frozen chicken thighs, you will want to be sure your water is seasoned well. A fresh bay leaf is a great way to garner an intense aroma and flavoring in your water. You can add garlic, salt, black pepper, and thyme to your pot for increased flavor.

Place the chicken in a pot and cover it with water. Heat the water over medium heat to boiling. Add a lid and simmer. 

To ensure that you properly cook your chicken thighs, you will want to check the temperature regularly. Adequately cooked chicken is at a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Start with the same timeline as boiling fresh chicken thighs and continue to monitor the temperature as it cooks.   

How Long to Boil Chicken Thighs for Dogs

Did you know that boiled chicken is an excellent meal for dogs? This is especially true when your pup has been having some tummy troubles. You may also choose to boil chicken thighs for your dog when you want to know precisely what is in their food.

Learn how long to cook chicken thighs for your dogs, and you can help them feel better faster. 

Seasoning is the most significant difference in boiling chicken thighs for dogs over people. Your dog does not need (nor should he have) any seasoning on his chicken. Unseasoned chicken might seem bland, but your dog will still enjoy the meal.

  1. Start by placing the chicken in a stockpot.  
  2. Add enough water to cover the chicken.  
  3. Heat until boiling.
  4. Reduce to a simmer.
  5. Cook for an additional 20 minutes.  
  6. Ensure that the chicken’s temperature has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

When your dog’s chicken has fully cooked, you will want to remove it from the bone (or you can skip this step by using boneless thighs) and shred it. Add boiled chicken to dog food, canned pumpkin, white rice, or plain yogurt. You can feed your dog boneless skinless chicken thighs, but it alone will not provide the necessary nutrients.   

How to Boil Chicken Legs

Once you’ve learned how long to boil chicken thighs, you’ve learned how long to boil chicken legs. The two cuts are similar since they are from the same part of the chicken. Chicken legs are comprised of the thigh and the drumstick.

Many refer to the chicken drumstick as a chicken leg. Since the drumstick and thigh are from the same cut, the flavor, texture, and fat levels are comparable. Like with the chicken thigh, boiling chicken legs depends on whether it is fresh or frozen.   

How Long to Boil Fresh Chicken Legs

Boiling fresh chicken legs requires the same steps as boiling fresh chicken thighs. Start with the seasoning mix. Choose your favorites, or consider a mixture like this:

  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

After creating your seasoning mix, apply olive oil to chicken legs. Then, add seasoning mix to coated legs. Place chicken drumsticks in a large pot and add water to cover.

Heat until boiling, then lower to a simmer. Continue to cook for an additional 20 minutes. Ensure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

How Long to Boil Frozen Chicken Legs

Remember the challenges with frozen chicken thighs? Frozen chicken legs will also not allow the seasoning to adhere. Add plenty of seasoning to your water for the flavor to be enough.  

The perfect time for cooking frozen chicken legs is difficult to determine. Know that you need more time with frozen than you do with fresh. Given the approximate 20-minute time to cook fresh legs, frozen chicken legs would likely take closer to 30 minutes. 

Be sure to check the temperature of your chicken legs frequently to avoid overcooking. Overcooked boiled chicken is tough.   

Four Things to Avoid

When you’ve learned how long to boil chicken thighs and legs, there are a few more tips worth absorbing. These tips are four things that you want to avoid when boiling your chicken. 

1. Not using a meat thermometer.

Whether new to the kitchen or a seasoned pro, using a meat thermometer is crucial to producing the best-cooked chicken. It can be challenging to tell when chicken is cooked correctly if no thermometer is used. By sticking a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken, and away from the bone, you can ensure that your chicken is fully cooked.

A properly cooked chicken is the best-tasting chicken – and the safest! Undercooked chicken poses many health threats from bacteria, including salmonella. To avoid food poisoning, a meat thermometer is essential.   

2. Overcrowding the pot.

It can be tempting to cram as many chicken thighs or legs into the pot as possible, especially if you’re trying to cook for a group. Unfortunately, doing so can result in uneven cooking. To avoid cooked chicken in some areas and raw in others, ensure the chicken has breathing room to reach the necessary temperature.   

3. Not seasoning the pot.

Seasoning rubbed directly into the chicken will result in a tasty dish, but seasoning the pot adds that extra kick of flavor that you don’t want to miss. It also brings about a more potent aroma. For the most flavorful chicken, be sure to season the pot! 

4. Overcooking the chicken.

Overcooked chicken is tough to eat, let alone enjoy. Even when you boil chicken, overcooking can result in an overly dry thigh. Although overcooked chicken is still edible, it is not pleasing but may be salvaged by adding thin strips to a salad.

How long to boil chicken thighs
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How to Boil Chicken Thighs? (Plus the 4 things to avoid)

If you want to learn how long to boil chicken thighs or legs, there are several factors to consider. For instance, boiling frozen chicken thighs will differ from boiling fresh chicken thighs. Learning the best process for both types, as well as important things to avoid, can help you improve in the kitchen.  
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, French, Spanish
Keyword: blackened chicken recipe, Chicken thighs
Servings: 4 bone-in chicken thighs
Calories: 134kcal


  • 4 Chicken Thighs (Bone in)


  • Start by placing the chicken in a stockpot.  
  • Add enough water to cover the chicken. 
  • Heat until boiling. 
  • Cook for an additional 20 minutes.  
  • Ensure that the chicken’s temperature has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit.  


Calories: 134kcal | Protein: 22g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 107mg | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 277mg | Vitamin A: 27IU | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg
How long to boil chicken thighs

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