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How Long to Boil Chicken Thighs

Boiling chicken thighs is a quick way to cook them, helping them to retain moisture and stay succulent and juicy. But you can’t just throw them in the pot and let them boil away without being mindful of time, or they’ll end up dried out and overcooked.

Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs Photo
The time required for boiling chicken thighs is dependent on whether on not they have bones. Bone-in thighs require more time to cook, about 45 minutes or so; whereas boneless chicken thighs only require 30 minutes.
When you boil chicken thighs, also known as poaching, it is important that the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 deg F. Use a meat thermometer and insert the probe into the thickest part of the thigh to get an accurate reading. Never serve chicken that is below this temperature as there is a risk of salmonella. 
Both bone-in and boneless chicken thighs are great boiled, but only when you know just the right amount of time to boil them for before serving.
Pan Roasted Chicken with Peach Blueberry Sauce Photo
Boneless chicken thighs are great for shredding or cubing, so you can boil up a large batch of fresh boneless thighs and create a freezer stash of cooked chicken, ready to add to your favorite meals like enchiladas, pastas, and soups! Bone-in thighs are meant to be served whole so it is a good idea to boil them in a flavorsome broth for succulent results. 
There are quite a few factors that affect the time required for boiling chicken thighs. Let’s take a look:

Size of the Thigh

Larger chicken thighs will require more boiling time, so do bear in mind that the times we have listed previously are just a guideline. Always use a meat thermometer to test the doneness of the thigh. Similarly, smaller thighs require less time, so monitor them carefully.
Spicy Ginger Grilled Chicken Thighs with Mango Avocado Salsa Photo

Frozen or Thawed

You can actually throw thighs into a pot of boiling water without thawing them, but you will need to add up to 7 minutes onto the boiling time for bone-in thighs and 5 minutes for boneless. Keep an eye on the thighs as they warm, so you can make sure they are separated as they thaw out. 


Yep, you read that right! Altitude does affect the boiling time. If you live 3,000 feet or more above sea level, the boiling time changes. Air is much more dry and moisture evaporates faster at higher altitudes, so this means you need to boil your thighs for longer.
You can also increase the heat to help speed up the boiling time needed, but just make sure your thighs aren’t drying out.
Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs Pic
You may need to add more water as it will evaporate faster at higher altitudes.
A general rule of thumb is that you will need to add 5-7 minutes to the boiling time if you are cooking thighs at higher altitudes. 
Luckily, chicken thighs are much more forgiving when compared to chicken breasts and do not dry out as much, so if you do cook them a little longer than you should have, they should still be delicious!