Learn how to boil chicken legs for tender, juicy chicken that you can enjoy as a main dish or add to casseroles and soups. Boiled chicken legs are flavorful, versatile and economical so they are perfect for busy families on a budget.
Boiled chicken legs are easy to make and cook in under 30 minutes. These delicious, juicy and tender chicken legs are perfect for a quick and easy meal or for using in your favorite recipes. If your family loves dark meat, they will love this tasty meal.
While everyone thinks of boiling foods like pasta and eggs, you might not think of boiling chicken. But it can be really convenient to make future meals.
How to boil chicken legs is one of my best meal prep secrets but today, the cat is out of the bag and I'm sharing this simple cooking method with you. Wether you are a beginner cook or a seasoned pro, chicken drumsticks are so affordable and par-boiling them in big batches makes it so easy to make quick dinners later on.
If your family loves chicken, you'll love these other chicken recipes:
- Oven Baked Bone In Chicken Breasts
- Crispy Air Fryer Panko Chicken Thighs
- Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings
- Slow Cooker Roasted Chicken
- Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Breasts from Margin Making Mom
- Chicken – use chicken legs, also called drumsticks with the skin on.
- Salt – Use kosher salt to taste.
- Pepper – Freshley ground black pepper brings a lot of flavor.
- Italian Seasoning – Dried Italian seasoning is a combination of dried basil, dried oregano, dried rosemary, dried thyme and dried marjoram. Substitute your favorite seasoning blend as desired.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Boil Juicy Chicken
1. Add chicken legs to a large pot. Sprinkle salt, pepper and seasoning over the chicken.
2. Fill pot with water so chicken is covered. Turn heat to medium high and bring to a boil.
3. Turn heat down to medium so chicken comes to a simmer. Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Internal temperature should be 165 degrees F when using a meat thermometer.
4. Remove chicken from water and season with extra salt and pepper if necessary. Store for later use or put under the broiler or on a high heat grill for a few minutes on a baking pan until the skin gets crispy and golden brown.
Hint: If serving these as a main dish, placing the legs under the broiler for a few minutes is the best way to getting crispy skin. Watch closely so they don't burn.
- Frozen Chicken Legs - You can boil chicken drumsticks from frozen. You will want to add about 10 minutes to the cooking time. Check for doneness with a meat thermometer.
- Change the Seasoning - Salt, pepper and Italian seasoning is the perfect all-purpose seasoning for chicken legs. You can easily change up the seasoning to give the chicken any flavor you prefer.
- Use Different Cuts – This cooking process is a simple way to cook all your favorite cuts of chicken. In addition to whole chicken legs, this same method works with chicken breasts, chicken leg quarters and bone-in chicken thighs.
- Add Fresh Vegetables – Aromatic vegetables like onions, garlic, celery and carrots or fresh herbs can add flavor to the cooked chicken legs.
Boiled chicken legs are low in carbs, high in protein and perfect for eating on a variety of diets including gluten free, paleo, keto and Whole30.
Storing and Using Boiled Chicken Drumsticks
Once you know how to boil chicken drumsticks you can precook large batches of them for easy meals later on.
Boiled Drumsticks can be stored in and airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can also freeze boiled chicken legs for up to 3 months. Store the meat on the bone with the skin on if you plan to serve them whole. You can pick the meat off the bones and store it in 1 cup servings for easy use. Never leave cooked chicken to sit out for more than two hours. Check out my post about storing chicken and food safety for more information.
Making boiled chicken drumsticks for meal prep is so economical because chicken legs are so affordable. Once they are boiled they can be quickly grilled, broiled, bake or fried for a quick dinner or use in another recipe.
Finish chicken drumsticks in the broiler or on the grill to crisp up the skin and brush with BBQ sauce, buffalo sauce or your favorite sauce or marinade. Add cooked chicken to soups, made quick burritos, pasta, place on top of a salad or make a tasty chicken salad. No matter how you serve boiled chicken legs they will be tender and delicious.
Using the meat from boiled chicken legs in other recipes is a great way to get more bang for your buck. Here are some of our favorite ideas:
- Take the chicken meat off the bones and use in this Gluten free Chicken Noodle Soup or Hearty Chicken Vegetable Soup.
- Go from bland to bold when you add the chicken to Buffalo Chicken Flatbread or Chicken Stuffed Poblano Peppers.
- Shred the meat and keep it in the fridge for easy snacks like Air Fryer Chicken Quesadillas.
- Use a large pot that will easily hold all the chicken you wish to cook. A Dutch oven works well!
- Cover the raw chicken with enough water to cover the chicken by at least a half an inch.
- Bring the water to a full boil.
- Cover with a lid while boiling.
- Always cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees farenheight.
Save the cooking liquid the chicken cooks in! The chicken and herbs will add flavor to the water and you can use it as chicken stock or broth in other recipes. Refrigerate the leftover water for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Yes. Use the same method as cooking chicken drumsticks but keep an eye on the time it will vary depending on how big the pieces are. To keep the meat juicy, I like to use bone in breasts and thighs.
Truth be told, the skin becomes a but rubbery when boiling chicken drumsticks so when I don't have time to broil them, I tend to remove it. I highly suggest you leave the skin on for cooking because it packs a lot of flavor that it will impart into the cooking water.
It takes 20-25 minutes to fully cook chicken legs when boiling. The cooking time can vary depending on the size of the chicken legs. Always use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. The chicken should reach a safe minimum temperature of 165 degrees F.
Boiled chicken actually retains more of its nutrients than broiled chicken. It's low carb, high in protein, gluten free and perfect for keto, paleo and Whole30 diets.
If you liked how to learn how to boil chicken legs, please leave a 5-star rating for the recipe below.
Boiled Chicken Legs
- 6 chicken legs or drumsticks
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus extra to taste
- 1 teaspoon pepper, plus extra to taste
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- Add chicken legs to a large pot. Sprinkle salt, pepper and seasoning over the chicken.
- Fill pot with water so chicken is covered. Turn heat to medium high and bring to a boil.
- Turn heat down to medium so chicken comes to a simmer. Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Internal temperature should be 165 when using a meat thermometer.
- Remove chicken from water and season with extra salt and pepper if necessary. Store for later use or put under the broiler or on a high heat grill for a few minutes on a baking pan until skin gets crispy and golden brown.
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