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What Are the Best Tips for Boiling Chicken Legs?

By Amanda R. Bell
Updated May 16, 2024
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Boiling chicken legs can be a good way to quickly prepare it for use in other dishes, create a stock or even for an easy meal. Some of the best tips for doing so include rinsing the chicken prior to cooking it, using a flavorful liquid in which to cook the chicken, and keeping the liquid at a low, rather than rolling, boil. It can also be helpful to bring the chicken up to a boil in the liquid, rather than placing it in already-boiling liquid.

Cooks typically disagree as to whether or not chicken needs to be rinsed prior to cooking. When boiling chicken legs, however, rinsing the chicken off quickly with cold water can help to remove any liquids or residue that would change the flavor of it once cooked. Using a slow, steady stream of water, rather than spraying the chicken down with the faucet at full-blast, can help to reduce the chances of bacteria splattering on the surrounding cooking area. Once the chicken is rinsed off, spraying down the sink with a disinfectant can help to prevent cross-contamination.

Unlike dry cooking methods, in which the chicken legs can be flavored directly, boiled chicken legs rely on the liquid in which they are cooked for taste. For this reason, using a flavorful liquid is one of the best tips for boiling chicken legs. Root vegetables, spices, and herbs can be added to water, stock, or other liquids so the chicken absorbs all of the flavors during the cooking process. Even if you are only making basic boiled chicken legs, seasoning the water with salt and pepper prior to cooking will help to enhance the natural flavor of the chicken, while still keeping the flavor neutral enough to work in a variety of dishes once cooked.

Dropping chicken legs in boiling liquid can cause the meat to cook unevenly, causing you to have to overcook some parts in order to fully cook others. One of the best tips for boiling chicken legs is to place the chicken in seasoned liquid and then place the pot on the stove cold. Bring both the liquid and chicken up to a boil at the same time so that the chicken cooks through at an even temperature.

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Discussion Comments
By anon998918 — On Sep 20, 2017

Does the cooking time start from the time you place the chicken in the cold water or when the water starts boiling?

By Ocelot60 — On Dec 04, 2014

@raynbow- When I boil chicken legs, I always add herbs and spices to the water. Not only does this give the chicken meat a great flavor, but it also creates a broth that can be used for other purposes once the legs have cooked.

Enhancing the natural flavor of the chicken legs is the goal when you boil them. For that reason, I like to use herbs and spices like rosemary, thyme, and basil. Paprika and chili pepper are also great for people who like a little heat on their chicken legs. If you don't have individual spices, a seasoning salt is ideal to use in the boiling water because it consists of a variety of herbs and spices.

Once you have boiled your chicken legs in the seasonings, they will have a flavor that will go great with any dish you decide to use them in. You can also use the seasoned broth to boil noodles or cook vegetables for a tasty side dish to go along with the main course.

By Raynbow — On Dec 03, 2014

Isn't it a good idea to season boiling chicken legs so the flavor cooks through? If so, what are some ideas for using the best herbs and spices during the cooking process.

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