Thawing Chicken Safely

Defrosting or thawing chicken can be done safely one of three ways;

in the refrigerator,

in cold water

or in the microwave.

Cooking frozen chicken can take as much as fifty percent longer than cooking fresh or thawed chicken.

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Chicken Thawing Tips

  • Cover the chicken or leave it in the container it was frozen in to defrost in the fridge or in cold water.
  • Only put microwave safe containers in the microwave, you might have to use something different than your freezer container.
  • In the fridge or microwave make sure the chicken is on a plate to catch any liquid that escapes.
  • Chicken can be cooked from frozen on the stove, in the oven or on the grill.
  • Thaw chicken before putting it in a crock pot or slow cooker.

Thawing chicken in the fridge is the safest defrosting method.

Boneless chicken parts will usually thaw in a day or so.

Bone in parts can take an extra day and whole chickens may take three days or more.

Try not to put the chicken your trying to thaw in the back, or coldest parts of the fridge.

Also, if you choose not to use the chicken it can be refrozen safely.

However, if it’s been more than three days I recommend fully cooking it before refreezing.

Cold Water
This is a good method for people who are not in a huge hurry and are home able to change the water often.

Make sure the chicken is in an airtight container that will not leak.

Place the bag in a sink or bowl of cold water and use a plate or bowl to weigh the chicken down.

You want the chicken fully submerged for safe thawing.

Every half hour you should change the water to keep it cold.

A whole three or four pound chicken should thaw in about 3 hours.

A one pound package of boneless chicken meat should take around half hour to thaw.

Chicken thawed in cold water must be cooked before being refrozen.

Microwaving is the fastest method for defrosting chicken.

Chicken thawed this way may become too warm and needs to be cooked immediately.

Do not refreeze unless fully cooked.

Use the defrost cycle on your microwave to keep the chicken from cooking.

If it cooks it the microwave it will be dry and rubbery.

Times will vary with each microwave.

Chicken can not be thawed safely on the counter.

Harmful bacteria can grow between 40F and 140F.

Freezing does not kill bacteria, it just stops it from growing so bacteria will continue to multiple if your thawing chicken on the countertop.

Bacteria must be consumed on food to cause illness according to the USDA.

If you doubt that your chicken is safe do not taste it.

When in doubt throw it out.

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