What Are the Best Tips for Boiling Chicken Legs?

Large, continuous bubbles covering the surface of the water signal a rolling boil.
It may be easier to control the cooking temperature of chicken with a gas burner.
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  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2014
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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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