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Is the boiled chicken water edible?

Many home cooks pour the leftover water from boiling chicken down the drain without a second thought. However, this flavorful broth contains vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients extracted from the chicken during cooking. So, is it safe and nutritious to consume boiled chicken water? Let’s take a closer look.

What is Boiled Chicken Water?

Boiled chicken water, also known as chicken broth or chicken stock, refers to the liquid left behind after boiling chicken. It is produced when chicken meat, bones, and connective tissue simmer in water, releasing proteins, fats, and water-soluble vitamins and minerals into the cooking liquid.

As the chicken cooks, its nutrients seep into the water, creating a nutrient-rich broth. The longer you boil the chicken, the more nutrients are extracted. A boiled chicken can lose up to 11% of its total weight in dissolved solids into the cooking water.

Nutritional Value

Chicken broth made from boiling whole chicken contains the following nutrients:


Chicken broth provides high-quality complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids. About 1 cup provides 7-15 grams of protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

Boiled chicken water is rich in B vitamins, particularly niacin, vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, and folate. It also containsNotable mineral content includes calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. Vitamin and mineral content is higher when using chicken bones.


Chicken broth made with bones supplies collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body. Collagen promotes gut, skin, joint, and bone health.


Depending on preparation method, boiled chicken water contains a small amount of fat, providing calories and healthy fats.

Potential Health Benefits

Regularly consuming boiled chicken water may offer the following health perks:

Immune-boosting effects: Chicken broth is rich in amino acids cysteine, glycine, and glutamine that support immune system health. The vitamin and mineral content also bolsters immunity.

Anti-inflammatory properties: The glycine in chicken broth exhibits anti-inflammatory activity that may relieve joint pain and promote injury healing.

Gut health: The collagen, gelatin, and amino acids in broth can coat and heal gut lining to improve digestion. The nutrients also feed gut microbiota.

Hydration: The electrolytes in chicken broth enhance hydration, making it a comforting beverage when sick.

Reduced joint pain: Studies link collagen consumption to reduced osteoarthritis pain and joint damage. Chicken broth provides collagen.

Lower blood pressure: One study found chicken broth lowered blood pressure as effectively as some blood pressure lowering drugs.

Improved sleep: Glycine in chicken broth may promote better sleep quality.

Muscle preservation: The protein content of chicken broth, especially when cooked with meat, helps preserve muscle mass as we age.

Downsides of Consuming Boiled Chicken Water

Despite the many benefits, there are some potential downsides to drinking boiled chicken water:

– May contain harmful bacteria if chicken was contaminated. Properly cooking chicken should kill bacteria.

– Provides a high amount of sodium, ranging from 200-800mg per cup depending on recipe. Too much sodium can increase blood pressure and heart disease risk.

– Has less nutritional value than homemade bone broth simmered for 12+ hours which extracts more vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and collagen.

– Not a significant source of important nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin D, and magnesium. Should not be a sole source of nutrition.

– Can contain saturated fat if simmered with chicken skin and meat. Too much saturated fat raises cholesterol levels.

– May contain hormones and antibiotics if using conventionally-raised chickens. Opt for organic chicken.

Is it Safe to Consume?

Consuming boiled chicken water is generally safe if Basic food safety guidelines are followed:

– Use fresh, uncontaminated chicken. Discard chicken with an off smell or slimy texture.

– Fully cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) or higher to kill bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli.

– Quickly refrigerate broth and eat within 3-4 days or freeze for longer storage.

– Avoid giving boiled chicken water to infants under 12 months old due to botulism risk.

– Don’t consume if allergic or intolerant to chicken or eggs.

Provided these precautions are taken, most people can safely consume boiled chicken water. Those with liver or kidney issues should check with a doctor first.

How to Make Safe, Nutritious Chicken Broth

Follow these tips for getting the most nutrition and flavor from homemade chicken broth:

– Use chicken bones and connective tissue like feet, necks, and wings. The collagen is released from simmering bones for multiple hours.

– Add chicken meat on bone for more protein. Breast or thigh meat works well.

– Roast bones before boiling to enhance broth’s depth of flavor. Roast at 400°F for 30-60 minutes.

– Simmer broth for 6-24 hours. Longer simmering times extract more nutrients.

– Add vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery for additional vitamins and minerals.

– Acidic ingredients like vinegar or lemon juice help extract nutrients from bones.

– Use filtered water for purity. Avoid adding salt during simmering.

– Once cooled, skim off and discard fat that solidifies on top. Or make bone broth.

– Drink broth as a hot nourishing beverage or use for soups, stews, sauces, and cooking.

Healthiest Ways to Use Boiled Chicken Water

Here are nutritious ways to use up boiled chicken water:

Sip as a hot broth – Enjoy chicken broth as a warm, soothing drink on its own.

Boost soups – Use it as the liquid base for healthy soups packed with veggies, beans, grains, etc.

Cook grains or beans – Cook rice, quinoa, oatmeal, or beans in chicken broth instead of water.

Make sauces and gravies – Whisk chicken broth into pan sauces and gravies for extra flavor.

Braise vegetables – Braise veggies like carrots, onions, and mushrooms in chicken broth.

Steam or boil – Poach fish or chicken in broth or use for steaming vegetables.

Marinate meats – Soak meats in broth-based marinades to keep them extra juicy.

Make pet food – Cook rice or quinoa in broth then mix with your pet’s regular food.

Use in place of water – Substitute broth for water in recipes like broth-based juices, smoothies, oatmeal, etc.


Is drinking boiled chicken water good for you?

Yes, chicken broth made by properly boiling whole chicken contains protein, vitamins, minerals, collagen, and other nutrients that provide health benefits. It supports immunity, gut health, joint health, heart health, and hydration.

Is boiled chicken water safe to drink?

Boiling chicken water is safe to drink as long as fresh chicken is used and fully cooked to 165°F or above. Rapidly cool the broth and drink within 3-4 days. Avoid giving to infants under 12 months. Those with liver/kidney issues should exercise caution.

Is boiled chicken water good for weight loss?

Chicken broth can aid weight loss due to its high protein content which keeps you full and preserves muscle. It’s lower in calories than creamed soups. Drinking broth also increases satiety before meals. Avoid adding noodles, cream, oils, etc.

Does boiled chicken water go bad?

Yes, boiled chicken water can go bad if not handled properly. Store cooled broth in the fridge for 3-4 days max or freeze for several months. Signs it has spoiled include off smells, sliminess, and mold. When in doubt, throw it out.

Can you drink too much boiled chicken water?

It’s best to limit boiled chicken water to 1-2 cups per day. Excess sodium from broth raises blood pressure risks in some individuals. Very high intakes may impact kidney function. Also, balance chicken broth with other healthy fluids like water and herbal tea.

The Bottom Line

Boiled chicken water that results from properly cooking whole chicken provides a range of vitamins, minerals, collagen, and other nutrients that offer potential health benefits. Drinking this broth in moderation as part of a balanced diet is generally safe and nutritious. To get the most nutrition, simmer chicken bones for at least 6 hours with vegetables. Use your homemade chicken broth for soups, cooking grains, braising veggies, and more. Limit intake to 1-2 cups daily and pair with plenty of water. With the right preparation, this free byproduct of cooking chicken can be an everyday superfood.