How to Thaw Chicken Quickly (3 Safe Ways)

TheGrillingDad.com is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no added cost to you.

Are you looking for an easy to follow guide on thawing chicken? 

You’re in the right place!

In this TheGrillingDad.com guide, you’ll learn:

  • 3 different ways to thaw frozen chicken
  • How to do it quickly 
  • Reasons why you need to handle raw chicken safely
  • And much more!
how to thaw chicken

Forgot to take out your chicken from your deep freezer? Don’t worry. We have got you covered! 

Chicken is king when it comes to a quick-and-easy kitchen staple.

This lean white meat is not only a nutritious dinner option, but it’s also versatile meat that can be served in a variety of ways, from delightful finger snacks to wonderful grilled chicken breast dishes. 

Everyone enjoys a delicious chicken meal, and if you’re a planner, you have some chicken stored away in your freezer right now.

Whether you want chicken wings, drumsticks, breasts, or a whole roast chicken, having some frozen meat on hand is a good idea.

And because of this, you’ll eventually find yourself with the chicken still frozen when it’s time to eat — which is when you’ll need to know how to defrost chicken quickly and adequately.

Defrosting chicken properly is an essential phase in the preparation of the food. It guarantees even cooking of all frozen chicken pieces.

Defrosting chicken entails bringing frozen chicken to room temperature until it is no longer frozen. 

The safest way to do this is to defrost the chicken in the refrigerator, which keeps it at a safe and temperate temperature while it defrosts. There are many faster methods for defrosting chicken, such as utilizing a cold-water bath or a microwave.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to thaw chicken safely at home using three different methods.

Jump To A Section

How Long Does it Take to Defrost Chicken?

Chicken might take anywhere from 2 days to 30 minutes to thaw, depending on the method you use.

  • Refrigerator Method: Depending on how many pounds of frozen chicken breast you have, the refrigerator method can take up to two days.
  • Cold Water Method: The cold-water procedure can take up to an hour per pound.
  • Microwave Method: The microwave takes 10-20 minutes, depending on the amount of chicken.

Read More >> How Long Does Chicken Last In The Fridge?

How to Thaw Chicken Correctly?

There are various handy and foolproof options for properly thawing frozen chicken in time for a tasty, no-fuss lunch. As advised by the USDA, we’ve listed three distinct ways to thaw chicken, so you may choose the one that best fits your needs. 

Of course, you could always skip the thawing and cook it right away after taking it out from the freezer, but it is not recommended as it is a long, tiring process that will add around a good fifty minutes to your cooking time. And cooking frozen chicken might also make your chicken seem cooked from the outside, but it may be raw or undone from the inside. 

It could also contain bacteria which could be dangerous for your health. Another thing to remember is that leaving your chicken out on the counter or soaking it in hot water may allow bacteria to multiply quickly. So, if you want to thaw your chicken without spoiling its texture and nutrients, you’ve come to the right place. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through different methods for thawing your chicken so you can enjoy its natural flavor whenever you want without any bother of ruining your meat.

Read More >> How To Reheat Chicken Wings

fact about thawing chicken.

How to Defrost Chicken fast?

The USDA recommends fast and safely thawing chicken in one of three ways:

  1. Inside the microwave
  2. With a cold bath
  3. In the refrigerator

Let’s go over the ways for defrosting chicken the right way!

How to Defrost Chicken in the Microwave? (Quickest Method!)

Have you ever been planning a meal and then realized you forgot to take your main course out of the freezer? Although defrosting chicken takes time, a kitchen device can help you get dinner on the table quickly.

Microwave defrosting is a safe and straightforward technique to get your chicken ready to cook when done correctly. Defrost settings on many microwave ovens allow consumers to defrost meat faster. 

It is the quickest approach; however, it is essential to cook your chicken right away after defrosting it in the microwave.

Microwaves heat chicken at temperatures between 40-140-degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 and 60 degrees Celsius), which allows bacteria to grow.

The bacteria will only be killed if the chicken is cooked to the right temperature. 

This is known to be the quickest way to thaw chicken, but it isn’t the most effective. It is advised to cook your chicken right after thawing it in the microwave and only refreeze it once it’s all done.

Follow the following steps for quickly defrosting your chicken:

  1. Take the meat out of the freezer. The estimated weight of your product determines timings, so check the label or weigh it before proceeding.
  2. Make sure you place your meat in a microwave-safe container.
  3. Defrost your microwave by pressing the defrost button. Set your microwave to cook at 20-30% of its total power if you don’t have a defrost button.
  4. Set the timer for cooking. Keep in mind that most meats, such as chicken, beef, and pig, require 8–10 minutes per pound to defrost. The time it takes for fish, or other seafood to thaw varies, so consult the packaging for more details. Consider using your microwave’s options for defrosting by weight or specific items for the most remarkable results.
  5. Do not leave thawing meat in the microwave unattended. Instead, set a timer for a few minutes and turn the meat once or twice during that time. This ensures that the thawing uniformly takes place.
  6. Cook the meat right away after removing it from the microwave. Once your meal has finished cooking, you can refreeze it.

When defrosting chicken in the microwave, make sure to thaw only as much chicken as you plan to eat. 

When defrosting meats in the microwave, there may be warm spots or places that have already begun to cook during the defrosting process. As a result, it’s essential to defrost only what you need and cook the meat straight away.

Safety Tip >> After defrosting, carefully clean the microwave.

How to Defrost Chicken With Coldwater? (One Hour Method)

When you’re ready to prepare a tasty chicken meal but your chicken breast is frozen, try these simple steps to defrost a boneless, skinless chicken in a safe and timely manner and get cooking right away.

Though faster than thawing in the refrigerator, this method necessitates greater attention.

Here are a few things to bear in mind before we get into the bathing technique:

  • Begin with thin chicken breasts. You don’t want anything more than an inch thick for quick thawing.
  • The hot water somewhat cooks the edges, but this does not affect the flavor.
  • It might even take two to three hours to complete this task, depending on the size of the chicken.

To thaw your chicken with cold water, follow these steps:

  1. Place the chicken in a plastic bag that will not leak. This will prevent bacteria or germs from infecting the food and causing damage to the meat tissue.
  2. Fill a sink or a big mixing bowl halfway with cold tap water.
  3. Use a thermometer to check the temperature. You want room temperature water. 
  4. Place the packaged frozen chicken in the water.
  5. Stir the water occasionally to prevent pockets of cold water from forming. Every 30 minutes, change the water.

Try the cold-water method if you have a few hours before cooking your chicken.

Your chicken could defrost in as little as an hour (ground chicken, for example) or as long as several hours for larger chunks, depending on the cut.

Foods that have been thawed in this manner should be cooked before refreezing. Depending on how long your meat has been out of the fridge, you’ll want to cook it quickly after it has thawed.

Read More >> How to Grill Chicken Breasts

How to Defrost Chicken in the Refrigerator? (Safest Method)

Food must be thawed gently, according to traditional principles. Thawing chicken in the refrigerator is the ideal method but requires more time than the rest. This strategy necessitates the most planning, but it is also recommended. 

Thawing chicken might take up to a day, so plan your meals ahead of time. The chicken can be kept in the refrigerator for a day or two after being thawed.

This procedure requires some forethought, as the defrosting process must begin at least 1 day before the chicken is used. 

The amount of time it takes to work will be determined by the size of the chicken parts.

Chicken breasts, bone-in chicken, and whole chickens can take 1–2 days to thaw in the refrigerator.

Refrigerating frozen chicken is the safest way to defrost it. This approach is safe since the chicken is kept chilly while defrosting in the refrigerator, keeping it from becoming too warm for too long.

For this method, take the following steps:

  1. Take the chicken out of the freezer at least 24 hours before you plan to cook it.
  2. Put it in a zip lock bag or a container with a lid.
  3. Place it on a low shelf in the refrigerator and leave it there until thoroughly defrosted.

This is ideal for defrosting your poultry since it avoids exposing the flesh to higher temperatures, which is better for safety and texture.

While it does necessitate some forethought (consider setting a reminder on your phone), it is also the option that takes the least amount of hands-on care.

Remove the chicken from the freezer two days before you plan to cook it, place it on a plate, and store it on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator. 

Defrosting your meat in this manner will keep it fresh in your fridge for an extra 1 to 2 days, but it cannot be refrozen once it has thawed unless you plan to cook it in a liquid such as stock soup or stew.

Refreezing thawed meat causes the protein cell structure to break down, resulting in poor flavor and texture.

Read More >> How to Smoke a Whole Chicken

Cooking the Frozen Chicken Right Away!

According to the USDA, cooking chicken without thawing it in the oven or stove is entirely safe. What’s the disadvantage, though? It will take a little longer – roughly 50% longer in most cases.

The USDA advises against using a slow cooker for cooking frozen chicken. It’s best to defrost the chicken first, then cook it. The USDA advises against using a slow cooker for cooking frozen chicken. Thawing the chicken first and then cooking it in the crockpot can be a delicious way to prepare a meal. 

It’ll be ready to eat by dinnertime if you start it early in the day. But if you’re short on time, skip the thawing and cook frozen chicken. Just keep in mind that cooking times will be roughly 50% longer. You may also use a pressure cooker for cooking frozen chicken but avoid slow cooking because it creates the ideal condition for bacteria to thrive.

You and your family will be less likely to contract the foodborne disease if you handle poultry meat properly. If you make it a practice to schedule your meals at least 24 hours ahead of time, you’ll have no issue ensuring that your poultry is ready to cook when dinnertime arrives.

Key Takeaways

We’ve gone through all the thawing options for chicken, and now I’ll leave you with a few pointers for impeccably thawed chicken!

  • The night before you plan to cook, grab the chicken from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator. Set a reminder on your phone to remind you to do so, as this will make it difficult to forget.
  • For the cold-water procedure, use thick plastic zip bags.
  • If you’re using the microwave, make sure to monitor the progress every minute. 
  • It’s better to stop cooking if any white or opaque areas appear, as this will cause the chicken to dry up.

Read More >> Buffalo Chicken Dip Recipe

Is there a right way of thawing your chicken?

There are various handy and foolproof options for properly thawing frozen chicken in time for a tasty, no-fuss lunch.

As advised by the USDA, we’ve listed three distinct ways to thaw chicken, so you may choose the one that best fits your needs. 

Of course, you could always skip the thawing and cook it right away after taking it out from the freezer, but it is not recommended as it is a long, tiring process that will add around a good fifty minutes to your cooking time. And cooking frozen chicken might also make your chicken seem cooked from the outside, but it may be raw or undone from the inside. 

It could also contain bacteria which could be dangerous for your health.

Another thing to remember is that leaving your chicken out on the counter or soaking it in hot water may allow bacteria to multiply quickly.

So, if you want to thaw your chicken without spoiling its texture and nutrients, you’ve come to the right place. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through different methods for thawing your chicken so you can enjoy its natural flavor whenever you want without any bother of ruining your meat.

Read More >> Best Woods for Smoking Chicken

Health Benefits of Chicken

Is it true that eating chicken is healthy? Yes, of course! 

Chicken is a low-calorie, low-fat protein source that provides essential nutrients throughout our lives. Chicken is a famous cuisine in Asian countries, and it is prepared in a variety of ways in every family, from soups to fried, grilled, and roasted forms. 

It is one of the most popular foods globally among people of all ages. It is not only an essential part of numerous culinary traditions, but it is also highly nutritious and tasty. It is preferred more than beef and mutton because comparatively, it’s easy to handle, requires less time to cook, and is just as tasty.

Any person would tell you how dependent they are on chicken. Chicken is the most popular poultry on the planet, and for a good reason. Not only is it tasty, but it also provides numerous health benefits. According to a recent study, chickens grown on unsanitary farms can be unhealthy. 

On the other hand, chicken is still healthy, lean meat with high nutritional content. Here are some of the many health advantages of eating chicken:

Aids muscular growth

Chicken is one of the best non-vegetarian protein sources out there. Chicken has a lot of protein, which is essential for keeping our muscles healthy. It is lean meat, implying it has a higher protein and fat content. A 100g meal of roasted chicken contains 31g of protein, making it ideal for bulking up and building muscle. 

Keeps your bones strong and healthy 

In addition to protein, chicken is high in minerals like phosphorus and calcium, which help keep bones in excellent condition. It also contains selenium, which is believed to reduce the risk of arthritis.

Stress-relieving 

Do you know which ingredients can help you relax? It’s a combination of tryptophan and vitamin B5. Chicken is high in both nutrients. Chicken also contains magnesium, which helps to alleviate PMS symptoms. Overall, eating chicken can assist you in living a stress-free life. Chicken is a good option after a stressful day because both have a calming effect on your body. It also tastes delicious, which contributes to its stress-relieving and happiness-inducing qualities. 

Weight-loss

Have you ever seen a nutritious meal that didn’t include chicken? Chicken is always included in a healthy diet because it is essentially lean meat, meaning less fat. As a result, eating chicken daily can assist you in healthily losing weight.

Reduces PMS symptoms

Magnesium, a mineral found in chicken, aids in the relief of PMS symptoms and the prevention of mood swings that can occur during a woman’s period.

Boost Testosterone levels

Men should eat foods high in zinc because it helps control testosterone levels and enhance sperm production.

Strengthens immunity

Have you ever wondered why doctors recommend chicken soup as part of your recovery meals when you have a cold or the flu? Soup made with chicken is ideal for recovering from most diseases and colds. Chicken aids the body’s immune cells, and the steam from the soup clears the nasal passages. At the same time, the thick liquid covers the throat to prevent microorganisms from invading and infecting the respiratory linings. According to a study, chicken soup suppresses the migration of neutrophils, a kind of immune cell, decreasing inflammation and improving immunity during common infections.

So, if you incorporate chicken into your diet, you’ll be as healthy as your taste buds. There are numerous health benefits of eating chicken, and the taste isn’t awful too. However, consuming hybrid chicken or deep-fried varieties will not provide you with the same benefits as other types.

Tips on Getting the Best Out of Your Chicken

Before preparing chicken, ensure all visible fat is removed because it is terrible for your heart.

These fat deposits are usually white, and if you have difficulties detecting them, you can ask your seller to point them out for you. 

To make it healthier, marinade it with healthy spices like turmeric, ginger, garlic paste, and coriander, as well as curd. Hence, the chicken absorbs all the nutrients and becomes more flavorful.

After that, you can cook it in a pressure cooker until the chicken is soft and delicious. You may also bake or grill it in the microwave, which is a healthy choice.

Hazards of Handling Chicken Improperly

Your chicken is still in the freezer, and it’s almost dinnertime? In these settings, food safety is often an afterthought, partially because people don’t take the foodborne illness seriously until they are the ones who are sick. Foodborne disease is dangerous and can be fatal

If mishandled, chicken has the potential to get you severely ill. The following bacteria strains are most likely to be discovered on raw chicken, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

These bacteria can make you sick, at the very least. In worst-case scenarios, they have the potential to kill you. You can quickly lower your risks of getting this hazardous illness by following proper thawing procedures and preparing chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). 

It simply takes a few minutes to learn how to thaw chicken properly. It won’t just improve the taste of your dinner; it’ll also make you feel better when you have healthy food. 

Precautions for Thawing Chicken

With the introduction of cold storage, many people have begun to eat frozen chicken. But it’s essential to thaw your chicken without ruining it properly. So, before you reach for your freezer and start thawing your chicken, there are a few things you should know:

  • Never thaw your chicken on your kitchen counter because bacteria flourish in a warm environment.
  • Do not rinse your chicken under running water. This can spread bacteria throughout your kitchen, perhaps resulting in cross-contamination.
  • Once a frozen chicken has been thawed, it should never be refrozen. 
  • Only thaw the amount of chicken you’ll need at the time.

FAQs for Thawing Chicken

Is thawed chicken unhealthy to eat?

Despite all the myths, thawed chicken is not unhealthy on its own. But if it is thawed incorrectly, it might catch bacteria harmful to your health. The nutritional difference between fresh and properly frozen chicken is insignificant. Chicken, whether frozen or fresh, is a better alternative to red meats.

How to tell that your chicken is completely defrosted?

Cut or slice a small slit in the center of the thickest portion of your chicken to see if your chicken is completely defrosted or not. Insert your finger inside; if you feel the soft flesh, it means your chicken is completely defrosted, and you can start cooking right away, but if you come in contact with ice crystals or solid flesh, it means you need to continue defrosting. 

Can you refreeze the chicken?

Yes! It is entirely safe to refreeze raw or cooked chicken. Only the chicken that has been thawed in the refrigerator should be refrozen because freezing the microwaved defrosted chicken will only contain bacteria.

Although chicken can be frozen indefinitely, the taste may be compromised. Refrigerate chicken in airtight packing at or below 0°F (-18°C) for the best quality and use within 4–12 months.

How long does chicken last in the fridge?

While storing chicken in the refrigerator is handy, many people are unaware of how long they can properly store it. According to the US Department of Agriculture, you can keep the raw chicken in the fridge for 1–2 days (USDA)

Meanwhile, you can keep a cooked chicken for 3–4 days in the refrigerator. Bacterial development is slowed by storing chicken in the refrigerator, as bacteria grow slower at temperatures below 40°F. It’s preferable to keep chicken in the freezer if you need to keep it for more than a few days.

Is it safe to thaw food in the microwave?

Some people may have warned you about the dangers of microwave defrosting in the name of food safety. Poor defrosting in the microwave can cause food to enter the danger zone, a temperature range where hazardous bacteria can develop. To avoid this, don’t leave defrosted items to sit about; instead, take them out of the microwave and cook them right away. It’s not the safest way, but microwaving is the ideal way to thaw your chicken if you are short of time.

Final Thoughts on Chicken Safety

Defrosting your chicken safely and easily will make cooking it a breeze. Choosing a method from the above article to suit your requirements will ensure you safe and quick defrost so that you can serve your friends and family with fresh, safe, and nutritional meals. Make sure to experiment with each of these techniques to discover which one you like. 

Whatever method you pick, be sure to provide enough time for the process—rushing it is not a good idea!

Leave a Comment

Shawn Hill

Shawn Hill

Hey, I’m Shawn and I run this site. With a wife and 7 kids, I get most of my grilling practice from feeding my own family.

I’m here to help you learn more about grilling, smoking, and backyard BBQ! With almost a decade of manning the grill and helping over 25,000 aspiring grill masters, you’re in great hands!

I’ve tried just about every type of grill, accessory, and gadget you can imagine. Because of that, I am here to help guide you to the best of the best and help you save time and money by avoiding the junk.

About The Grilling Dad

You’ve got grilling questions. We’ve got the best grilling answers from a network of seasoned grilling pros.

Recently Published Guides

Join The Grilling Dad’s Monthly Newsletter

You’ll receive 1 monthly newsletter containing grilling tips, tricks, and the latest gear.