How to Cook Chicken for Chicken Salad (Poaching Method)

Learn the easiest (and BEST) method on how to cook chicken for a perfect chicken salad!


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 34 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons peppercorns, optional
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, optional
  • herbs and spices of your choice


  1. Place the chicken breasts in a large soup pot, and add 3-4 cups of water, just enough to cover the chicken by 2 inches. 
  2. Generously season the water with salt and your choice of spices and herbs. 
  3. Bring the water to a low boil over medium heat, then use a pair of tongs to flip the chicken breasts. 
  4. Place a lid over the pot and remove it from heat. Let the chicken sit in hot water for 10 minutes or until cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165F. 
  5. Remove the chicken breasts from the water and set them onto a large cutting board. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes before shredding or dicing.