How Long Does It Take to Boil Chicken Thighs?

Boiling is one of the simplest and fastest ways to cook chicken thighs. It can, however, be a challenge to know how long to cook them for. How long does it take to boil chicken thighs?

It takes about 30 minutes to boil boneless chicken thighs and 45 minutes to boil bone-in chicken thighs. The chicken is cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius).

The simplest recipe for boiled bone-in chicken thighs is as follows: Add water and salt to a pot. Bring the water to a boil. When the water starts boiling, lower heat to a simmer and add the chicken thighs. Boil bone-in chicken thighs for 45 minutes. If you use boneless chicken thighs, boil them for 30 minutes.

Read on to learn more about how long it takes to boil chicken thighs and an excellent boiled chicken thigh recipe.

How Long Does It Take to Boil Chicken Thighs?

It takes about 30 minutes to boil boneless chicken thighs and 45 minutes to boil bone-in chicken thighs. The chicken is cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius).

You can get two kinds of chicken thighs – bone-in and boneless. You may choose accordingly for the recipe you’ll be using. But, regardless of the kind you get, you can boil them the same way. 

However, the boiling time is different for each. Bone-in chicken thighs take longer to boil than boneless thighs. This has to do with how the heat is distributed throughout the meat. The meat around the bone cooks slower than the rest of the meat.

So how long does it take to boil chicken thighs? For bone-in chicken thighs, boil them for 40 to 45 minutes. Bone-in chicken thighs are best for dishes that require the chicken thigh to be served whole.

For boneless chicken thighs, boil them for 30 minutes. Boneless chicken thighs are best for recipes that call for shredded, cut up or cubed chicken pieces.

Below are factors that affect how long it takes to boil the chicken thighs:

Size of the thighs – smaller thighs will require less cooking time than bigger thighs. Today, however, chicken suppliers supply the market with uniform size chicken pieces that are usually medium to large in size.

Frozen or not Are your chicken thighs frozen or not? It is usually advised to boil chicken that has thawed out. But, if you need to boil frozen chicken, add another 5 to 7 minutes to your boiling time. For boneless thighs, add 5 minutes. For bone-in thighs, add 7 minutes. Make sure to separate the pieces completely after they have started to thaw out in the boiling water.

Altitude Believe it or not, altitude affects boiling time. If you live 3,000 feet above sea level, boiling time will change. This is because if you are cooking at a higher altitude, the air is drier and so moisture evaporates faster. Add water as you notice it to lessen in the pot, as evaporation will be faster in higher altitudes. Add another 5 to 7 minutes in your boiling time if you are cooking at a higher altitude.

how long to boil chicken thighs

How to Boil Chicken Thighs?

1. Place your chicken thighs in a pot big enough to hold water to cover all the chicken pieces. Tip: You may also opt to boil them in a different liquid other than water. Broth works well if you want to add flavor straight away. 

2. Season the chicken thighs. Salt and pepper are standard ingredients for seasoning chicken but you may also want to add herbs and spices depending on your taste. Tip: Thyme, Basil and a dash of chili will give your chicken a delectable taste. 

3. Bring it to a boil. Once you’ve added all those herbs and spices, cover the pot and bring the thigh pieces to a boil. Once it starts bubbling over high heat, start your timer. Then, reduce the heat to medium and uncover the pot. When it is almost done, use a thermometer and check that the internal heat has reached 165 deg. Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius). Remember, it takes 30 minutes to boil boneless chicken thighs and 45 minutes to boil bone-in chicken thighs. 

4. Take the chicken out with a slotted spoon and lay it on a plate to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. When the chicken pieces are cool enough to handle, you may cut, cube or shred them. Any leftover chicken may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

We’ve answered the question, “how long does it take to boil chicken thighs?”; Next, let’s look at an easy boiled chicken thigh recipe.

An Easy Boiled Chicken Thigh Recipe

The simplest recipe for boiled bone-in chicken thighs is as follows: Add water and salt to a pot. Bring the water to a boil. When the water starts boiling, lower heat to a simmer and add the chicken thighs. Boil bone-in chicken thighs for about 45 minutes. If you use boneless chicken thighs, boil them for about 30 minutes.

If you want a more special boiled chicken recipe, try the one below. This is the best boiled chicken recipe I’ve tried so far. It works well for sandwiches and salads.

time to boil chicken thighs

Ingredients:

  • 1lb chicken thighs, skin on (skin will be removed after cooking)
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 can low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ tsp dried or 1 to 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • About ¼ tsp whole peppercorns
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

Dice the celery, onions, and carrots. Set aside. In a spice sachet, combine bay leaf, peppercorns, and thyme. Set aside. Carefully lay the chicken thighs in a pot that is big enough to cover all with the liquid. Fill with water until all the pieces are fully immersed.

Bring the water to a boil over high heat. When the liquid starts boiling, put the celery, onions, and carrots in the pot. Drop in the spice sachet. Add the low-sodium chicken broth. Keep boiling but switch to medium heat. Uncover pot and let boil for the given time – 30 minutes for boneless thighs, and 45 minutes for bone-in thighs. 

Once it has boiled for 30 – 45 minutes, remove the chicken thighs from the pan and set aside to cool a little. Remove the chicken skin and dice, cut thinly, or shred. Use to make sandwiches, or to mix in with salads or as a taco filler. You may want to keep the liquid the chicken boiled in as it may make a great soup or base for a sauce or gravy.

The below video shows another simple recipe for boiled chicken thighs. Like usual, with the below video recipe, it takes about 45 minutes to boil to perfection the bone-in chicken thighs:

The Slow Cooker Alternative

There’s an alternative to boiling chicken other than the conventional pot-on-stove way. If you’re out the whole day and want your chicken cooked and ready when you come home, the slow cooker will be perfect for you to use for boiling chicken thighs.

  1. Place your chicken thighs in the slow cooker and make sure they are all fully immersed. 
  2. Add your seasoning, herbs, and spices. You may also add in some broth. 
  3. Lid the pot and let it cook on high for about 45 minutes. Reduce the heat and cook at medium for another 7 hours. 

How to Boil Chicken Thighs Faster

If time is not on your side and need the thighs boiled as fast as possible, there are some ways to speed it up.

1. Cover the pot the whole time it is boiling. The usual recommendation is to boil the chicken thighs uncovered after it reaches a rolling boil. But covering the pot all throughout will cut your cooking time by about 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Choose boneless chicken thighs and smaller pieces. Boneless chicken thighs require less cooking time. Smaller pieces will cook faster too. Boneless thighs require only 30 minutes of boiling time compared to the 45 minutes for bone-in thighs.

3. Use a pressure cooker. Using a pressure cooker usually cuts up the cooking time in half. The trade-off here is that it may be less tasty. Boiling chicken the conventional way, makes the chicken absorb the seasoned liquid more. So if you use a pressure cooker, there will be less time for the chicken to sit in the seasoned liquid.

The Versatility of Chicken Thighs

Chicken gained its popularity because chicken meat is very versatile. Because chicken thighs are dark meat, they are naturally tastier and have a more intense flavor than any other part of the chicken.  They may be used for quite a number of recipes and dishes. Here are some ways to use them.

*Cut up or cubed, boneless chicken thighs would go well with salads to jazz up the salad with some lean protein.

*Go Mexican with some shredded boiled chicken thighs for enchiladas, fajitas, tacos or quesadillas. 

*Shredded thigh meat will also be a delicious pizza topping and sandwich filler. Of course, it always goes well as a main ingredient for soup.

*There’s always the all-time favorite fried chicken. You can fry chicken thighs after boiling them. They will be moist and tender. Chicken thighs are a good choice for fried chicken because of their unique texture.

Really, the possibilities are endless for chicken thighs as long as they’re boiled properly.

Conclusion – How Long to Boil Chicken Thighs

Boiling is one of the fastest and easiest ways to cook chicken thighs. It can, however, be a challenge to know how long to cook them for. How long does it take to boil chicken thighs?

It takes about 30 minutes to boil boneless chicken thighs and 45 minutes to boil bone-in chicken thighs. The chicken is cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius).

The simplest recipe for boiled bone-in chicken thighs is as follows:

  1. Add water and salt to a pot.
  2. Bring the water to a boil.
  3. When the water starts boiling, lower heat to a simmer and add the chicken thighs.
  4. Boil bone-in chicken thighs for 45 minutes. If you use boneless chicken thighs, boil them for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the chicken thighs from the water, let it rest, and then shred it for a salad or any other dish.