How Long to Boil Chicken Thighs: Fresh or Frozen Boiled Chicken Thighs Guide

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Wondering can we boil chicken thighs? Actually boiling chicken thighs is a quick and easy way to cook the chicken, especially if you’re aiming for tender, shredded chicken. This guide will cover all you need to know about how long to boil chicken thighs, whether they are fresh or frozen. The boiling time can vary based on the size of the thighs and whether you’re working with bone-in or boneless chicken thigh meat.

How Long To Boil Chicken Thighs?

Boiling chicken thighs is a straightforward method for achieving tender chicken meat. The boiling time is around 30–50 minutes, which differs based on the size of the chicken thighs and whether they’re fresh or frozen. Generally, the chicken is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

How Long To Boil Chicken Thighs?
How Long To Boil Chicken Thighs?

Boil fresh chicken thighs

The boiling time typically takes about 30 to 40 minutes for fresh, bone-in chicken thighs, depending on the size.

Step-by-step guide to boiling fresh chicken thighs:

  1. Place chicken thighs in a pot.
  2. Fill the pot with water or chicken broth until it’s a few inches above the chicken.
  3. Bring the water to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, reduce the heat, cover the chicken, and let it simmer.
  5. After 30 minutes, check the internal temperature of the chicken with a meat thermometer.
  6. If it hasn’t reached 165°F (74°C), cook for 10–15 minutes.

Boil frozen chicken thighs

Frozen, bone-in chicken thighs will take longer to boil, about 45 to 50 minutes, depending on the size.

Step-by-step guide to boiling frozen chicken thighs:

  1. Place frozen chicken thighs in a pot.
  2. Cover the chicken with water or broth, ensuring the liquid is a few inches above the chicken.
  3. Bring the water to a boil on high heat.
  4. Once boiling, reduce the heat, cover, and let the chicken simmer.
  5. After about 20 minutes, check the internal temperature.
  6. If the chicken hasn’t reached the desired internal temperature, cook for another 10–15 minutes.

Note: If you prefer crispy skin, boiling may not be the best method. Boiling will make the skin soft, not crispy.

Following these steps, you’ll know exactly how long to boil chicken thighs to get tender, fully cooked meat. Always use a meat thermometer to confirm that the chicken has reached an appropriate internal temperature.

What You Need to Know Before Boiling Chicken Thighs

Before you find out how long to boil chicken thighs, it’s crucial to consider a few factors that can affect the cooking process.

What you need to know before boiling chicken thighs
What you need to know before boiling chicken thighs

Here’s what you need to know:

Importance of using bone-in or boneless thighs

Bone-In Thighs:

Bone-in chicken thighs often result in more flavorful and tender meat. The bone helps distribute heat evenly so the chicken reaches an internal temperature. However, these thighs take longer to cook than boneless ones.

Boneless Thighs:

If you boil boneless chicken thighs, the cooking time will be shorter. Smaller chicken thighs will cook even faster. Just check the internal temperature to confirm they are fully cooked.

Benefits and drawbacks of boiling chicken


  1. Easy to Defrost: Using frozen chicken thighs? No worries! You don’t need to defrost the chicken before boiling it, although it will take a few more minutes to cook.
  2. Cooking Assurance: Boiling ensures that the chicken reaches an internal temperature that makes it suitable for consumption.
  3. Tender Meat: Boiling chicken thighs, especially the dark meat, makes them tender and easy to shred.
  4. Simple to Do: Just place the chicken in a pot, cover it with water, and cook until it’s done. If the chicken floats to the top of the water, it’s often a sign that it’s cooked, but always double-check the temperature.


  1. No Crispy Skin: Boiling will not give you crispy skin. If that’s what you’re after, you’ll need to broil the chicken afterwards.
  2. Less Flavor: While boiling is great for tender meat, it can dilute the flavors somewhat. Using chicken broth instead of water can help mitigate this.
  3. No Instant Pot Speed: Boiling on the stove is not as fast as cooking chicken thighs in an Instant Pot, but it’s a method almost anyone can use.
  4. Skinless Limitation: If you prefer skinless chicken, note that boiling might make the meat less flavorful than other cooking methods.

Understanding these points will help you choose the best way to cook chicken thighs. Whether you’re using bone-in or boneless chicken thighs, fresh or frozen, knowing how long to boil chicken thighs can make your cooking process much smoother.

Tricks for Perfectly Boiled Chicken Thighs

Boiling chicken thighs is more than just tossing them in water and waiting. Here are some expert tips and tricks to ensure you always get tender and flavorful chicken.

Tips to ensure chicken is tender and not overcooked

  1. Check the Size: Before determining how long to boil chicken thighs, look at their size. Smaller thighs will cook faster, while larger bone-in chicken thighs may take a bit longer.
  2. Don’t Rush: Boiling the chicken too quickly on high heat can make the meat tough. A gentle simmer is the way to go.
  3. Thaw First for Even Cooking: If you have the time, thawing frozen chicken thighs in the refrigerator before boiling can lead to more evenly cooked meat.
  4. Use a Meat Thermometer: The most accurate way to know if your chicken is cooked is by checking its internal temperature. Aim for 165°F (74°C).
Use a meat thermometer
Use a meat thermometer

Seasoning advice

  1. Season the Water: You can add flavor to the water you use to boil the chicken. Consider using chicken bouillon or a mixture of herbs and spices.
  2. Marinate Before Boiling: If you have time, marinate your chicken thighs before you place them in the boiling water. This adds an extra layer of flavor.
  3. Post-Boil Seasoning: After you’ve boiled and drained your chicken, consider tossing them in a little BBQ sauce or your favorite spices to enhance the flavor.
  4. Flavor Injections: For flavorful chicken, consider injecting some of the boiling liquid or another marinade into the thighs before cooking.

By keeping these tips and tricks in mind, you can boil the chicken to perfection, whether working with fresh or thawed chicken thighs. This ensures that when you place your chicken thighs in the pot, you’ll always end up with tender and delicious meat.

Chicken noodle soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

Using boiled chicken thighs, you can create a comforting bowl of chicken noodle soup.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1 large pot
  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 knife
  • 1 measuring cup
  • 1 wooden spoon
  • 1 Meat thermometer


  • 2 boiled chicken thighs shredded (about 1.5 cups)
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups uncooked egg noodles
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Prepare the Ingredients: Make sure all your veggies are sliced and diced. Have your boiled chicken thighs shredded and ready.
  • Heat the Pot: Put your large pot on the stove over medium heat and add the olive oil.
  • Cook the Veggies: Place the diced onion and minced garlic in the pot. Stir and cook until the onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add More Veggies: Put the sliced carrots and celery into the pot. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Pour in the Broth: Add the 8 cups of chicken broth to the pot.
  • Let It Boil: Turn the heat up to bring the soup to a boil.
  • Add the Noodles: Once boiling, add the 2 cups of uncooked egg noodles to the pot.
  • Turn Down the Heat: Reduce the heat to medium-low. Let it simmer until the noodles are cooked, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the Chicken: Put the shredded chicken in the pot. Stir well.
  • Check the Temperature: Use your meat thermometer to ensure the soup reaches the temperature of at least 165°F (74°C).
  • Season: Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve: Your chicken noodle soup is ready to enjoy!


How do you know when chicken thighs are done boiling?

You can tell if your chicken thighs are ready in a few ways: they reach an internal temperature of 165°F, the juices run clear when you poke them with a butter knife, or the meat starts to fall apart easily.

How long to bake chicken cutlets?

It takes 15 minutes to fully cook chicken cutlets. This should make them fully cooked and crispy. The chicken is ready when the inside is hot enough, at 165 degrees.

Can I add seasoning or herbs to the boiling water for extra flavor of boiled chicken?

Yes, you can enhance the flavor of boiled chicken thighs by adding seasoning or herbs to the boiling water. This can infuse the meat with additional taste.

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