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Steeped Chicken and a Tasty Chicken Sandwich

June 19, 2010

By Kath Dedon


I think I first learned about “steeping” from Sunset magazine many years ago. Steeping is a Chinese method of cooking lean cuts of meat, like chicken breasts or pork tenderloin. The meat is put in boiling water; the pot is immediately removed from the heat and covered. The meat “steeps” in the hot water until done. The result is very tender, moist meat; it doesn’t get tough like it would if you were to boil it.

It’s important to use plenty of water (the meat should be covered by at least an inch), and the individual pieces of chicken (or pork tenderloin) should be no larger than 3/4 pound.

Boneless skinless chicken breasts are ideal for this method. The steeped chicken will be ready in 20 – 25 minutes and is perfect to use for sandwiches, salads, or casseroles that call for cooked chicken.


Steeped Chicken

(Adapted from an article published in Sunset’s Summer 1997 Special Issue—Quick, Light and Healthy)


(print the recipe)


1½ pounds chicken breast halves, boned and skinned


1. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil.


2. When the water is boiling, put the chicken breasts in the water, cover the pot, and remove it from the heat.

3. Set the timer for 20 minutes. (The exact time will depend on the size of the chicken breasts.)


4. At 20 minutes, check the chicken breasts. Quickly remove them from the pot and put the lid back on. (You want to maintain the temperature of the water in case you need to put the chicken back in.) You can use a meat thermometer (the internal temperature should be 165˚) or just cut the largest one in half to see if it’s done.

5. If the breasts are not quite done (mine were not), put them back in the pot, cover with the lid and check again in another 5 minutes. (25 minutes was the perfect timing for my chicken breasts.)

6. When done, you can use the meat right away for any recipe calling for cooked chicken, or refrigerate it to use later.


I used some of the chicken to make tasty chicken (lightly salted), onion, avocado, and  “just a bit” of mayonnaise sandwiches on lightly toasted whole wheat bread. I saved the rest to be used in a Cobb salad later.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    June 20, 2010 6:19 pm

    Would this work with chicken thighs?

    • June 20, 2010 6:59 pm

      You know, I it probably would. It’s a method for lean cuts of meat, like chicken breasts or pork tenderloin, but I bet it would work with boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You’d want to trim off any visible fat.


  1. Cobb Salad « In the kitchen with Kath

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