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How to Poach Chicken, Fish and Shrimp

How to Poach Chicken, Fish and Shrimp

Words Heather Ramsdell

Poaching chicken, salmon and shrimp is an easy way to get tasty results and feel full for longer with the added protein for a lunch or dinner.

Looking to add protein to a salad or for a filling addition to your desk lunch? We’ll show you the basics for poaching chicken breasts, salmon filets and shrimp. The recipe is completely adaptable, but the technique and ingredient list will stay the same.

poaching chicken breast
poaching salmon

Gently poached chicken breasts are mild and sweet tasting, juicy and tender. They make some of the nicest chicken salad around, but you can shred them for chicken tacos, slice or chop for salad, or even toss into a stir-fry.

Poaching salmon is easy and requires very little cleanup. The result is tender and mild.

Shrimp takes just a minute in the poaching liquid and yields great results for any salad or grain bowl.

OXO How to: 30 Minute Protein Prep

Poached Chicken, Shrimp or Salmon


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 ½ lbs), 1 ½ lbs salmon filet, pin bones removed, skin off or 1 pound large shrimp

¼ tsp peppercorns

3 bay leaves

1 crushed garlic clove

Handful of celery leaves

Lemon rind, optional

1 ½ tsp salt


  1. Put a silicone steamer into a medium pot and nestle the chicken, salmon domed-side-up or shrimp on the steamer.
  2. Add the peppercorns, bay leaf, garlic clove, celery, and two five-finger pinches of salt. Add water to cover the chicken by about half an inch.
  3. Bring the water just to a boil over high heat. Turn it down to a simmer so the bubbles slow down but the water will still move.
  4. For chicken: Cover and simmer until the center of the chicken breasts reach 160 degrees when a thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the breast, about 15 minutes.
  5. For salmon: Simmer until the salmon is firm to the touch and just cooked through to the center of the thickest part, about 5 minutes, or about 130 degrees on a digital thermometer.
  6. For shrimp: Simmer until shrimp turn pink and curl and are just cooked through to the center of their thickest part about 1 minute. Have a bowl of ice water nearby. Pull the shrimp from the water and lower the shrimp into the ice water to stop the cooking.
  7. Transfer all protein to a sealable container and store refrigerated until ready to eat.

Now that you have a protein, add any kind of roast vegetable to your dish to make it a complete meal.

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By Heather Ramsdell

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