How Long Do You Boil Chicken Before Grilling?

Chicken is one of the most protein-filled foods that are a part of every BBQ session. There are multiple techniques that can help you grill some deliciously cooked chicken. However, one involving parboiling is the easiest way to cook yummy chicken full of nutrition. But, do you know how long do you boil chicken before grilling?

Boil whole chicken for approximately 35 minutes. On the other hand, if you are grilling chicken breasts, anything between 10-12 minutes of boiling would be sufficient. For more tender parts such as legs and thighs, you should not boil more than 6 minutes. However, chicken wings require at least 15-18 minutes for a perfect grilling session ahead. 

How Long Do You Boil Chicken Before Grilling?

Parboiling might seem the easiest thing to do during a BBQ session. However, it can significantly impact the ultimate cooking results if done improperly. The purpose of this guide is to help you learn how to parboil multiple chicken parts and how to achieve the perfect flavor. So, read on!

Why Do I Need to Boil Chicken Before Grilling?

 Do you want to eliminate the constant issue of undercooked chicken breasts? Have you ever wanted to shorten the grilling time for chicken? Parboiling is the solution if you answer  YES to any of the questions mentioned above. 

When you boil chicken before you grill it, you reduce the grilling time since the food is already half-cooked. 

However, one of the most important aspects where boiling can help you is to get rid of constant half-cooked grilling results. The uneven thickness of multiple chicken parts makes it difficult for newbies and intermediate grillers to achieve an even flavor throughout the food. 

As a result, I’ve heard them constantly complaining about half-cooked chickens and an unsatisfactory BBQ experience. The only thing that can help them eliminate this problem is parboiling, a technique where you add your chicken to simmering water to prepare semi-cooked food ready for grilling.

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Let’s see how can you boil chicken before grilling to obtain the desired results.

How to Boil Chicken Before Grilling?

Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you parboil your chicken to get the results and taste of your choice. 

Step 1: Cut into the Right Size and spread it in the pan

The first thing you need to do in this regard is to prepare accurate cuts of meat for the desired recipe. Choose the size properly as it will directly impact how long you need to boil chicken before grilling. 

Once you have cut the chicken into multiple pieces, it’s time to place it in a wide pan before we proceed to step 2.

Step 2: Add a Liquid

You might be confused why have I used the word “Liquid” instead of water. Because I’ve parboiled chicken in multiple liquids over the years of grilling experience. For instance, the following are some possible alternatives to consider in this regard:

  • Apple Cider
  • Chicken Broth
  • Water

However, I’d highly recommend parboiling your chicken in water if you don’t have any experience with how grilling works. 

Let’s talk quantities now. Dip the chicken slices completely in the liquid.

Step 3: Add Some Extras

Adding some extras such as onion, celery, cloves, and any other vegetable infuse great flavors into chicken. That is why it is worth considering some extra additions to the pan for a perfect taste. 

I’ve tried adding many things such as carrots, turmeric, and ginger, besides other things mentioned above. And, all of them work great for me.

Read Also: How Long To Boil Ribs Before Grilling?

Step 4: Turn on the Flame Until the Water Boils

Place your pan on your stove, and set the heat on high to medium levels. The water inside the pan will start boiling in a couple of minutes. At this time, you can reduce the heat to let the chicken simmer at a low temperature. 

Step 5: Cover the Pan, and Wait for Some Time

In the last step. Cover the pan that contains chicken. Wait until the pinkish hue of the chicken disappears. For newbies, I’m going to mention some useful guidelines regarding how long they need to keep the pan on the stove in this situation. 

How Long Do You Boil Chicken Before Grilling?

You might be scratching your head with confusion if you don’t know how much time to wait in step 5, mentioned above. Well, here are some important things to consider in this regard.

How to Boil Chicken Before Grilling?

The exact time and duration of boiling depends on the size and thickness of the chicken you are trying to grill. Here are some rough estimates that work for me:

Part Type Duration
Whole ChickenRoughly 35 minutes
Chicken Wings18-20 minutes
Chicken Breasts10-12 minutes
Chicken legsUp to 5-6 minutes

However, it is important to mention that these are rough estimates based on my years of grilling experience. In reality, the time it takes to achieve the perfect results may vary by 2-3 minutes from the above timeline.

With that said, is it an all-safe practice to parboil chicken before boiling? Can there be any risks involved in doing so?

Well, the answer is YES. Let’s see how! 

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Risks Associated with Parboiling

Below are some risks associated with parboiling chicken before grilling:

When you dip chicken in hot water for some time, the taste diffuses into the water. In this way, you’ll be losing some of the taste you’ve achieved had you not boiled it. However, it is not something that will change the taste completely. In fact, boiled grilled chicken differs just a little in taste from traditionally cooked chicken. 


There are two possible solutions to consider in this regard:

  1. As I’ve already mentioned, the best thing to do in this situation is to mix some herbs/vegetables/spices of your choice into the water before you start boiling. In this way, you’ll be able to diffuse taste into the chicken instead of taste going out. 

Plus, adding some herbs will automatically improve the nutritional content of the entire recipe.

  1. The second option is to remove water from the process. Yes, you heard it right! The main idea behind boiling water is to get rid of unevenness and inconsistency in taste. You can do the same with dry-heat methods. 

For instance, you can use a microwave oven to par-cook your kitchen before you start grilling.  For this purpose, set your oven or microwave to 340-350 degrees and cook the meat until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees. Hurrah, you’ll have the same benefits as is the case with boiling chicken.

  • Overboiling the chicken is the second potential problem. You might over-boil chicken, which would ultimately result in a waste of effort. The only thing that can help you is the timeline mentioned above. 

Follow appropriate guidelines regarding the type of meat you are cooking, and there will be no risks of overdoing it.


When you know how long to boil chicken before grilling, you will be able to consume perfectly cooked meat at the dinner table. I hope the guidelines provided in the article have helped you achieve the results you were trying to achieve. Don’t forget to check out similar blogs on our site if you want to master everything BBQ.

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