Freezing chicken is a great way to save money when poultry goes on sale. Stock up when prices are low and keep frozen chicken for up to a year in the freezer.
Cooked frozen chicken makes for quick meals on busy nights.
How to Freeze Chicken
Wrap well in freezer containers. Plastic freezer wrap and butcher paper or bags work well for raw chicken. Plastic containers or freezer bags are ideal for cooked chicken. For long term storage consider using a vacuum sealer.
Place chicken in the coldest part of the freezer. Do not stack your chicken until after it is frozen solid so it doesn’t freeze in odd shapes.
Freezing Raw Chicken
Freeze raw chickens and chicken parts like breasts, legs and thighs can be frozen for up to a year. Wrap them well to protect it from freezer burn and preserve quality. Bacteria does not grow in the freezer so one year is a guideline for quality not for safety. Also make sure that your container will not leak when the chicken thaws.
Freezing Cooked Chicken
Freeze cooked chicken to save time on busy nights and get meals on the table fast. Freeze it sliced or shredded if it will be used in other meals. If it’s going in a dish that will be cooked again you might not even have to thaw it first.
Use frozen cooked chicken within a month or two, cooked meat doesn’t have as much moisture as raw meat and gets freezer burnt much quicker.
If your freezing cooked chicken for longer than two months freeze it in broth or use a vacuum sealer. The broth protects the meat from drying out and can be drained away when you thaw it. The vacuum sealer makes sure there is no air in the bag to dry out the meat. However, most vacuum sealers don’t work well with liquids so don’t combine these methods.
To Thaw or Not To Thaw
I never thaw my cooked chicken before making BBQ pizza because it will get plenty hot in the oven. However, for fajitas I do thaw it because I’m only cooking them long enough to melt the cheese and so the chicken might still be cold if it was frozen.
Use your best judgment based on your cooking method and the size of your chicken pieces. If your not sure thaw it, biting into partially frozen food when your expecting a hot meals just isn’t very appetizing.
Raw chicken can be cooked from frozen on the stove, grill or in he oven. Learn more about cooking frozen chicken and thawing chicken.
Freezing Chicken Meals
Cooked chicken in frozen meals follows the same rules. If it’s in a sauce, broth or gravy it will last much longer without losing quality than a meal kit where the cooked chicken is frozen separately.
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