How to defrost chicken: 3 safe and fast methods

Defrosting chicken involves raising the temperature of freeze wimp until it is no longer in a freeze state of matter. The safest method for doing this is using a refrigerator, which keeps the chicken at a safe, cool temperature while it defrosts. There are besides other ways to defrost wimp that take less time, such as using a cold water bath or a microwave. In this article, we will explain how to defrost chicken safely, and outline three methods for doing sol at dwelling.

How to safely defrost chicken

Raw frozen chicken in vacuum-sealed bags ready to be defrosted. share on Pinteresttornado98/Getty Images The safest way to defrost chicken is to place it in a refrigerator. This method is safe because the refrigerator keeps the chicken cool while it is defrosting, preventing it from getting excessively quick for excessively farseeing. To use this method, do the take after :

  1. Remove the chicken from the freezer at least 24 hours in advance.
  2. Place it in a ziplock plastic bag or container.
  3. Put it in the refrigerator on a low shelf and leave it there until fully defrosted.
  4. Cook within 1–2 days.

This method requires some plan ahead, as a person will need to begin the defrost process at least 1 day before they plan to use the chicken. The time it takes to work will depend on how big the pieces of the wimp are. Chicken breasts, bone-in chicken, and whole chickens can take 1–2 days to thaw in the refrigerator.

How to defrost chicken quickly

To defrost chicken more cursorily, people can use a cold water bath by following these steps :

  1. Ensure the chicken is in an airtight packaging, or place it in a leakproof ziplock bag.
  2. Place it in a bowl or basin deep enough to completely submerge the chicken.
  3. Cover the chicken with cold water.
  4. Change the water every 30 minutes to ensure it stays cold.
  5. Once the chicken has thawed, cook it straight away.

never use warm or blistering water to defrost chicken. If body of water from the faucet is warm, add ice rink cubes to the basin before using it to defrost the chicken. The United States Department of Agriculture ( USDA ) estimates that this method will take 2–3 hours for a whole wimp, while a 1-pound package of wimp breasts can take 1 hour or less. If there are multiple pieces in one cup of tea that are freeze together, it may speed up thawing time to break them apart once they have thawed adequate to do so. Break pieces apart from the outside of the bag to avoid opening it.

How to defrost chicken in the microwave

many microwave ovens have defrost settings that leave people to defrost kernel even more quickly. People can refer to the owner ’ s manual for specific instructions on how to use the defrost set for chicken. When using the microwave to defrost chicken, it is crucial to :

  • thaw only the amount of chicken a person needs at that time
  • place the chicken in a microwave-safe container
  • cook the chicken immediately after defrosting it
  • clean the microwave thoroughly afterward

Using a microwave to defrost meats can result in quick spots or areas that have already started to cook during the defrost summons. For this argue, it is important to defrost entirely what is necessity and cook the meat right away .

Can you defrost chicken on the counter?

People should never defrost chicken at board temperature, on the kitchen counter, or in places such as a porch or basement. Room temperature is about 68°F ( 20°C ), which is well within the “ danger partition ” for poultry storage. This refers to the temperature range in which it is potential for bacteria to grow in large numbers, which is between 40–140°F ( 4.4–60°C ).

Defrosting chicken at room temperature means exposing the kernel to dangerous temperatures for longer than is safe. Doing indeed raises the risk of bacterial growth and foodborne illness .

Can you cook frozen chicken?

In many cases, it is possible to cook chicken from frozen. The USDA states this is safe to do in most cases american samoa long as a person extends the cook prison term by 50 % and ensures the chicken reaches a condom inner temperature of 165°F ( 74°C ). however, there are a few exceptions to this rule. People should not cook freeze chicken in a behind cooker or in the microwave, for model. These methods cause the chicken to remain at an insecure temperature for besides long. To cook chicken using these methods, it is best to defrost it fully first. To safely cook wimp from freeze, a person should do the pursuit :

  • Wash the hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before handling raw chicken.
  • Do not wash the chicken. This is potentially harmful for both frozen and unfrozen chicken.
  • Treat the frozen chicken in the same way as unfrozen one with regard to food safety. Use a separate chopping board and utensils and avoid cross-contamination with cooked ingredients.
  • Use a method of cooking that heats the chicken up quickly, such as on the stove or in the oven. Lengthen the normal cooking time by 50%.
  • When done, check the internal temperature of the chicken using a meat thermometer. When it reads 165°F (74°C) or above, remove the chicken from the heat.
  • Wash the thermometer with hot water and dish soap.
  • Using antibacterial wipes or soap and water, wipe down any kitchen surface that may have made contact with the chicken or with the fluids from the defrosting chicken.

Can you refreeze defrosted chicken?

People can refreeze the chicken that they defrosted in a refrigerator within 1–2 days of amply defrosting it. This applies whether the chicken is silent raw or already cooked. however, if a person defrosts the chicken in a water bath or the microwave, they should cook it immediately after defrosting. merely when they have done this can they safely refreeze it. If a person defrosts chicken in the microwave or in a water bath but they do not immediately cook it, it may not be safe to eat. It is besides not safe to refreeze chicken in this scenario. Refreezing can affect the choice of the chicken, as can leaving it in a deep-freeze for besides long. however, while freeze, the chicken is safe from bacterial growth .

Why thawing techniques matter

Proper thawing techniques are important for keeping chicken out of the danger zone of 40–140°F ( 4.4–60°C ). If chicken stays in this temperature roll for excessively retentive, this increases the gamble of people contracting foodborne illnesses once they eat it. Foodborne illnesses, such as food poison, are ascribable to bacteria, viruses, and toxins. Some of the bacteria associated with wimp admit :

  • Escherichia coli (E. coli)
  • Salmonella
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Campylobacter jejuni

While thoroughly cooking chicken can kill these types of bacteria, they can leave toxins behind. These toxins remain in the food flush if a person cooks it at a safe temperature. One example of this is E. coli, which produces a toxin that can be fateful. This is why people must defrost chicken safely in addition to cooking it in a safe manner. similarly, it is impossible to tell whether meat has gone bad barely by looking at or smelling it. This is because the pathogens that cause foodborne illnesses do not necessarily cause food to rape, so there is no way of detecting dangerous levels of these organisms by spy or smell. Food poisoning affects 1 in 6 people each class. While many people recover in a few days, some forms of food poisoning can be more serious. People who are more vulnerable to unplayful cases of food poisoning admit :

  • adults over the age of 65
  • children under the age of 5
  • people with compromised immune systems
  • pregnant people

Foodborne illnesses can besides lead to complications. For exemplar, some people with irritable intestine syndrome ( IBS ) develop symptoms after having an acuate intestinal infection from contaminated food or water. Experts refer to this as post-infectious IBS. If a person is in doubt as to whether their chicken is safe to eat, it is best to be timid and avoid consuming it.


Defrosting chicken at a cool temperature in the refrigerator is the safest method acting. People who have less fourth dimension at their disposal can use a cold water bath or the defrost setting on their microwave. When defrosting chicken using one of the quicker methods, it is significant to cook it immediately once it is no longer freeze. Following food condom guidelines can help people stay healthy and avoid foodborne illness .