Chicken Breast Poached in Butter and Heavy Whipping Cream

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A few days ago, I had a crazy idea: what if I poach chicken breasts in melted butter?Tonight, as I was getting ready to cook my lunch for tomorrow, I ran the idea by the #cooking channel on Ars Technica IRC. There, it was suggested that I also use heavy whipping cream as part of my cooking liquid. After the chicken was cooked, I made a sauce from the remaining poaching liquid. Let me tell you that this dish is heaven in your mouth.


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Start with a medium pot on medium-high heat. Add one stick of butter. I had a little extra in the fridge so I threw it in.


Add the heavy whipping cream. I was a little short because I made peanut butter fluff the other day (recipe forthcoming) but the extra butter made up for it, right?

Season your liquid with salt, coarse pepper, and poultry seasoning. I love poultry seasoning and use it in lots of other places, too.

Mix everything thoroughly.

Bring just to a boil.

Plop in your chicken breasts. In the bottom right of this picture, you can see the messy stove. Roomie2 made chili a few days ago.

Cover the pot.

Set your timer for 20 minutes. At this point, it is very important that you do not realize that you have no sound set to play when the timer ends.

Cook the chicken for 2 minutes. Continue to be oblivious to your timer gaffe.

Turn off the burner. Don’t open the lid!

When you have about 10 minutes left (I lost track of time)…

…flip the chicken over as quickly as possible and put the lid back on. You don’t want to let out very much heat!

When your timer goes of, be ignorant of the fact. Get worried after you think the timer should have gone off three minutes ago. Look at your phone. Freak out when you don’t still see the timer going. Run downstairs and check the temperature of the chicken. You want them to be 155°F.

Remove from the heat, and cover with foil. Let the chicken sit for 5 minutes while you make the sauce. No picture of the covered chicken but that’s ok because it’s boring. Instead, here is a picture of the cat.

Turn the stove back on to medium-low. Bubbles should just barely break the surface of the liquid. Sprinkle in three three-finger pinches of xanthan gum and let it sit for about 20 seconds.

This is how I get my best results with xanthan gum. Sprinkle it with your fingers and let it sit for a bit before stirring. Also, do not try to wash the xanthan gum off—you’ll just end up a slippery mess. Use a dry paper towel to wipe it off your fingers.

Whisk in the xanthan gum and let the sauce come just to the boil. Check the consistency with a spoon. Dip the spoon in the sauce then run your finger through the sauce. It should leave a line on the spoon.

Give the sauce a taste. I felt it needed a bit more salt so I stirred some in.

Put a puddle of sauce on the plate, then arrange slices of the chicken on top of the sauce. Eat. Die and go to heaven.


5 responses to “Chicken Breast Poached in Butter and Heavy Whipping Cream”

  1. Amy Thompson Avatar
    Amy Thompson

    Ok I have eaten this type of dish my whole life. It was an old Charleston recipe (that’s what I was told). The recipe was chicken thighs cooked slow in butter. When done add heavy cream and half & half until its just below boiling point for five minutes
    Serve over grits. Seasonings optional

    1. Oh, that sounds awesome!

    2. Brenda Avatar

      Amy, My Swedish Grandma made this kind of chicken but no one learned the recipe. I think a combination of yours and Randy’s would come close. Can you share?

  2. The Dutchman’s Wife Avatar
    The Dutchman’s Wife


    I made this dish for my husband who enjoys chicken breasts and I have a hard time finding ways to keep it interesting. This was delicious. I had no cream so I used Oaxacan table cream (3 tbsp?) and 1.66 cups of whole milk. Sautéed onion and garlic w/ the butter, added the dairy, my own spices, and some powdered beef bouillon. I did keep the pan on very low heat because he likes well done breasts. He’s a gravy man, so he is in heaven right now. I whisked rice flour into the butter cream mixture for thickening. Side of rice & veggies – Daddy’s going to sleep good tonight…

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. I’m so glad my recipe inspired you!