can you precook chicken before grilling

Can You Precook Chicken Before Grilling?

Chicken is a popular protein choice for grilling and barbecues. However, cooking chicken thoroughly can be time-consuming. One solution is to precook chicken before grilling it. In this article, we will explore different methods of precooking chicken for grilling, the advantages of using precooked chicken, and the precautions necessary when handling food safety.

Factors to Consider When Precooking Chicken

Before choosing a method for precooking your chicken, there are several factors to consider that can impact the final result:

  • Type of Chicken Being Used: Different types of chicken (e.g., breast, thigh, drumstick) may require different cooking times or methods.
  • Cooking Method for Precooking: Boiling, baking or smoking may work better on certain cuts of chicken.
  • Storage and Reheating Processes: The way you store and reheat your precooked chicken affects its flavor and texture when you come to grill it.

Different Methods of Precooking Chicken for Grilling


Boiling is a simple method for precooking chicken before grilling. Here are the steps:

  1. Bring water to boil in a pot.
  2. Add the chicken breast or any part of the chicken you want to cook.
  3. Cook for an average of 15 minutes or until fully cooked.
  4. Cool the precooked chicken in cold water.

The Advantages of boiling include that this method is quick and easy especially when you’re looking to prepare a large amount of chicken for grilling. However, boiling can make the chicken lose flavor, as most of its taste will leech into the boiling water.


Another method for precooking chicken is baking. Here are the steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place chicken breast or desired parts onto baking sheet covered with a non-stick surface.
  3. Cook for about 25 minutes or until fully cooked.

The advantages of using this method include the ease of cooking it through thoroughly and giving it a nice crisp texture before grilling it. Additionally, it is easier to maintain the flavor of your chicken when baking compared to boiling.

Sous Vide

Sous vide is a low-temperature cooking method that involves sealing chicken in an airtight plastic bag and placing it in a water bath heated between 130°F–140°F for at least an hour. This makes sous vide another incredible method of precooking your chicken before grilling it.

The primary benefit of using this method is that the sous vide allows you to marinate your chicken while preserving its texture and avoiding overcooking, thereby retaining its breeding juices and flavor till it’s ready to be grilled.


If you want great-tasting chicken smoky flavored before grilling, then smoking is an excellent method for you to choose as a preservative technique. You can pre-smoke chicken breasts or other parts by following these steps:

  1. Preheat smoker to desired temperature.
  2. Add wood chips and set rack and load cook chamber with the chicken parts.
  3. Cook for approximately two hours or until fully cooked.
  4. Cover with foil, cool and refrigerate until ready to grill.

The advantages of using smoker as a precooking method include giving your chicken its unique smoky taste while it’s also being cooked for a perfect time. However, this method requires a smoker, which many people won’t have at their disposal.

Precautions While Precooking Chicken

Anytime you’re cooking any form of meat; the chances of foodborne illnesses are high if the right safety rules are not observed. Here are some basic precautions to take when handling and cooking your chicken:

  • Never touch raw or undercooked chicken with your bare hands.
  • Always take your chicken’s internal temperature with a calibrated thermometer to ensure safe temperature levels(165°F)
  • Clean all preparation surfaces and tools thoroughly before and after cooking
  • Always store precooked chicken in an air-tight container at below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Never let your precooked chicken sit outside for more than two hours.

Benefits Of Precooking Chicken Before Grilling

Precooking offers several advantages over grilling raw chicken:

  • You reduce overall cooking time: precooking allows you the chance to cook large cuts of chicken fast without compromising the quality of your grilled chicken.
  • You preserve flavor: By preserving the flavorings, seasoning, marinades and color during precooking periods and the flavoring is locked in until you grill it.
  • You get even grilling: Unlike raw meat, precooked chicken is consistent in thickness and texture, reducing your guesswork about cooking time and ensuring an even grill.
  • You reduce the cook time for larger cuts of meat (like the breast or thigh) for grilling.

Using Precooked Chicken for Grilling Recipes

If you’re looking to try any of our precooking methods, check out these quick ideas on how to use your precooked chicken:

Grilled BBQ Chicken Skewers with Pineapple

  • Thread grilled pineapple and onion chances onto skewers.
  • -season your cubes of precooked chicken breast and add onto the skewers.
  • once warm, brush with your BBQ sauce and allow it to caramelize over the grill.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Mango Dressing

  • Mix your precooked chopped chicken breast with salad greens.
  • Add veggies such as tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, butternut squash to the salad.
  • Mango dressing includes pureed mango blended with olive oil, lime juice, honey, red pepper flakes and salt. Serve cold or at room temperature over salad.

Grilled Chicken Fajitas

  • Slice pre-cooked chicken breasts and heated in a skillet coated with cooking spray or olive oil.
  • Add veggies like onions, peppers, and mushrooms to the skillet mixture until cooked through..
  • Toss this mixture in a tortilla wrap or lettuce wrap according to preference.

Grilled Lemon-Pepper Chicken

  • Brush precooked chicken breasts with olive oil and generously coat with lemon-pepper seasoning.
  • Grill on medium heat for an average of 4-6 minutes per side until heated through and grill marks form.


In conclusion, precooking chicken is an excellent method of cutting on the cooking time for that perfect grilled chicken using a wide variety of methods. Boiling, baking, smoking and sous vide are just a few options to explore. Keep in mind the necessary precautions required towards food safety such as internal temperature reading. Take advantage of precooking by experimenting with our recipe ideas or creating your own to find your favorite grilled chicken meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can pre-cooking chicken before grilling make it tender?

Absolutely! Pre-cooking chicken before grilling can help ensure that it cooks thoroughly without charring on the outside. Plus, the process allows for additional seasoning and tenderizing.

2. How do I pre-cook chicken before grilling?

Pre-cooking chicken before grilling is a simple process. Place the chicken in boiling water for about 15-20 minutes or until fully cooked. Once done, remove from heat and let it cool completely before grilling.

3. Can I pre-cook chicken the day before grilling?

Definitely! Pre-cooking chicken a day in advance saves time and energy when preparing for a barbecue. Simply store the cooked chicken in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to grill.

4. How do I ensure that the pre-cooked chicken doesn’t dry out while grilling?

One way to avoid dryness while grilling pre-cooked chicken is to brush it with olive oil or marinade before putting it on the grill. Also, be sure to cook at lower temperatures and avoid overcooking – this will keep your pre-cooked chicken juicy and flavorful.

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