Do Ahead Essentials: Poached Chicken for Salads

Andy Anderson !


I love good chicken salad. I use it on salads, and yummy chicken salad sandwiches, to name just two. The hardest thing about making chicken salad, is cooking the chicken.

To be honest, cooking a few bits of chicken is not what I would define as labor intensive; however, having it at the ready means you can whip up some chicken salad any old time the craving strikes you.

And my poaching method infuses the chicken with awesome flavors.

So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.


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30 Min
30 Min
Stove Top



  • 3 - 4 large
    boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 2 Tbsp
    lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 clove
    garlic, rough chop
  • 2 large
    bay leaves
  • 1/2 small
    yellow onion, rough chop
  • 1 sprig(s)
    fresh tarragon, or 1 teaspoon dry
  • 2 tsp
    salt, kosher variety, fine grind
  • 5 - 6
    black peppercorns, crushed

How to Make Do Ahead Essentials: Poached Chicken for Salads


  2. You will need a saucepan big enough to hold all of the ingredients.
  3. The not-so-secret, secret ingredient is tarragon. Tarragon and chicken love each other. It adds a subtle hint of, licorice. Not heavy, more a Je ne sais quoi moment. If you have never used tarragon with chicken before, I would suggest you try it. However, if you do not have any, just leave it out.

    Personally, I do not taste licorice; just another level of flavor.
  4. Gather your ingredients (mise en place).
  5. Add all of the poaching ingredients to a pan with room temperature water.
  6. Add the chicken breasts.
  7. You should have enough water to cover the chicken by about 2 inches (5cm).
  8. Turn the heat to medium and allow the water to come up to a simmer.
  9. Simmer for 6 – 8 minutes, then remove from the heat, and cover for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid and dice.
  11. Storage Tips
    If not using immediately, place in a covered dish, or Ziploc bags in the fridge for 2 – 3 days.

    For longer storage seal in bags, and place in the freezer for several months.
  13. When needed, use in any recipe that calls for diced chicken. Enjoy.
  14. Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

Printable Recipe Card

About Do Ahead Essentials: Poached Chicken for Salads

Course/Dish: Chicken
Main Ingredient: Chicken
Regional Style: American
Other Tags: Quick & Easy Healthy

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