The Best Cuts Of Chicken To Boil From Frozen For Flavorful Results

You can (hopefully) banish that feeling of horror that creeps in when you realize you forgot to thaw your frozen chicken if you simply boil it. The method works wonders in a time crunch, but it's not the best for every cut of chicken. If you're going to boil frozen poultry, make sure it's the thigh or drumstick.

Boiling chicken is a great way to ensure that the meat maintains its nutritional value; if it's frozen, however, boiling might not always be suitable. Although the chicken breast is a common cut, for example, it doesn't fare well when boiled from its frozen state. It's one of the leanest parts of the chicken, so it can easily become overcooked. Unless you're keeping a keen eye on your simmering chicken breast, the meat can quickly turn rubbery. Instead, it's best to go for fattier cuts like the thigh or drumstick.

To boil the chicken, add it to cool or room-temperature liquid rather than hot water; otherwise, you risk entering the "danger zone," a temperature range in which bacteria multiply rapidly. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce it so the chicken can simmer slowly. Frozen chicken has to cook for twice as long as its thawed counterparts, so don't be alarmed if it takes a while to reach the desired internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to flavor boiled chicken

Boiled chicken has a reputation — an unfair one, at that — for being bland. Sure, poultry simply simmered in water isn't super appetizing, but neither is chicken fried in oil without seasonings, or chicken baked without a glaze. For the best results, you need to build flavor. Treat it like you're making broth — add bay leaves, black peppercorns, rosemary, and some sprigs of thyme to the water. You can also spring for something bolder and include ginger and turmeric for a bright, fiery touch.

Of course, you can always elevate the flavor of chicken by boiling it in its broth. An umami-rich broth heightens the bird's savory flavor while infusing it with the sweetness of carrots and celery. Store-bought broth works in a pinch, but making your own ahead of time guarantees the best results. Build your broth with plenty of onions, garlic, and mushrooms for chicken that's on the earthier side.

Tomatoes are also known to deliver quite an umami kick. You can include diced tomatoes in the water or broth, or boil frozen chicken in tomato sauce for a flavor boost. Served over rice or orzo, this method is an easy way to make a no-frills meal. As the herbaceous sauce infuses the chicken with flavor, the bird's juices fall away into the sauce as it simmers, creating a deliciously sweet and savory combination.