How To Defrost Chicken With Delicious Home Meal Recipes

Many home cooks are concerned about how to defrost chicken safely and quickly since proper defrosting helps prevent dangerous bacteria from growing in raw meat.

How to defrost chicken

This matter is especially true when you prepare chicken, a common source of salmonella.

This article introduces common and effective methods to defrost the chicken for your next home-cooked meal, as well as professional tips and advice to guarantee even cooking of the defrosted chicken.

All the information will be broken down into the following sections:

Table of Contents

    Continue reading for more helpful information!

    How To Defrost Chicken At Home

    These are the most easy-to-follow guidelines on how to defrost chicken, namely in cold water, in the fridge, microwave, or cooking the frozen chicken directly with diverse kitchen appliances.

    Defrosting Chicken In Cold Water

    Using cold water is one of the simplest ways to defrost your chicken.

    Chicken Thawing In Cold Water
    Chicken Thawing In Cold Water

    Step 1: Prepare a sealed bag and ensure that it has no holes that potentially let water in. A zip-top bag is ideal in this case. Place the chicken inside.

    Step 2: Put the fastened chicken bag in a bowl where it will fit completely inside. It can either be a large, clean mixing bowl.

    Step 3: Place this bowl under running cold water to fill it up and submerge the bag completely. Make sure it is cold since warm or hot water may contribute to the bacteria development on the meat.

    Step 4: Change this submerging water every 30 minutes. Try your best to maintain the same water temperature to ensure its balance.

    It depends a lot on the amount of poultry you use since the chicken will defrost after different times. 1 lb. pieces of chicken typically take an hour to defrost but remember to give them a regular check.

    If the chicken has not defrosted at this time, repeat the process with a new water turn. You should cook the chicken right after defrosting.

    Defrosting Chicken In The Microwave

    Another popular way for you to quickly thaw chicken is using the microwave. With this method, you need to be highly attentive since the chicken left in the oven for too long or defrosted with the wrong setting is not safe to eat.

    Chicken Thawing In Microwave
    Chicken Thawing In Microwave

    Step 1: Take a microwave-safe bowl and place one to 2 chicken pieces on it at a time. Select one minute of the defrost setting for each round.

    Step 2: Make sure you keep an eye on the chicken thawed with this microwave method to see whether these frozen pieces have defrosted or not.

    If you happen to leave your chicken inside the microwave for longer than required, it may start cooking the meat. Do not forget that microwave thawing for the chicken requires cooking after defrosting.

    Defrosting Chicken In The Fridge

    Thawing chicken in the fridge may appear time-consuming at first, but this is the most recommended method for high safety. You want to keep track of how long it has been defrosting.

    Chicken Thawing In The Fridge
    Chicken Thawing In The Fridge

    Step 1: Place the raw chicken inside a large and sealed zip-top bag.

    Step 2: It is best to put it in a lipped bowl or plate to prevent excess juices from leaking from your chicken to the fridge and spoiling other food.

    Step 3: Make room for your chicken plate at the bottom of your fridge. 1 lb. of chicken should be left for 5 hours, ideally overnight.

    After defrosting your chicken with this method, you can continue storing it in the fridge at cool temperatures up to a day before use.

    Cook Frozen Chicken

    We do not recommend this defrosting method except for when you are pressed for time. You can skip thawing and cook the frozen chicken, but the quickest method does not equal safety and hygiene.

    Air Fryer Fried Chicken
    Air Fryer Fried Chicken
    • Using the stove: Cook the frozen meat directly in soups and sauces on the stove. Take into account that your overall cooking time would take approximately 50% longer than usual.
    • Using a smoker or grills: Try some good recipes like Mango-Ancho Sauce Grilled Chicken Thighs or Caesar Grilled Chicken Wings with grill/smoker an enhanced flavor.
    • Using an air fryer: Cooking with an air fryer has gotten popular recently due to its convenience. It guarantees to finish cooking your frozen chicken without thawing it in less than 30 minutes.

    Which Is The Fastest Way To Defrost Chicken?

    If you are in a hurry and need to have some cooked chicken breasts right away, how to defrost chicken fast? Using the microwave would be your finest option.

    You should be clear about the amount of frozen chicken because it affects the required amount of time for microwaving. Also, you have to pay attention to your chicken to ensure proper thawing every few minutes.

    This method should only be applied to chicken breasts due to their relatively even thickness. In other cases, microwave thawing often defrosts the thinnest part but leaves thicker ones semi-frozen.

    Tips On Defrosting Chicken

    Before moving on to some of the most common mistakes, you should get to know useful tips on defrosting the chicken to avoid making simple mistakes. They will help you thaw the perfect chicken every time.

    • Your chicken needs to be in the fridge the night before cooking. That is why you should transfer it from the freezer in advance. Set a reminder on your phone so you do not forget about the task.
    • The cold water method should involve a thick zip-top bag made out of plastic for security against water penetration.
    • You need to check frequently after each minute during the microwave thawing. If you spot any opaque or white parts, we suggest stopping to prevent the chicken from turning dry.

    Common Mistakes When Defrosting Chicken And Solutions

    Besides busy people who have to cook frozen chicken, many others may not have enough time to wait for a complete defrosting process. Have you been fully aware of the consequences of these mistakes?

    1. Defrosting Chicken In Hot Water

    Many people make this mistake using hot water to defrost chicken and other types of raw meat. Such high temperatures of a meat bath create the perfect environment for bacteria to grow in the poultry.

    That is why you need to follow the guidance above on submerging your packaged chicken in a cold water bath; ice-cold is even better. It helps speed up the thawing process in a highly safe and hygienic way.

    2. Defrosting Chicken On The Top Shelf Of The Fridge

    Chicken On The Top Shelf Of The Fridge
    Chicken On The Top Shelf Of The Fridge

    As cautioned earlier, it is important to defrost your chicken on the lowest shelf of the fridge, even if you place it on a plate or bowl. The container prevents blood and juices from leaking and making a mess inside the fridge.

    We suggest packing the chicken thoroughly and putting this piece of meat in a large and clean box full of ice for proper defrosting. After finishing all these steps, then you can consider placing it on the top shelf.

    3. Defrosting Chicken Near Its Garnishings Or Spices

    If your chicken is still defrosting, you would not want to thaw it near any garnishings or spices. The meat should be fully frosted before having any other ingredients added to the plate or its surface.

    4. Washing Unpacked Chicken To Speed Up The Process

    There is no convincing reason on Earth for you to wash unpacked meat that is either frozen or thawed. Doing so will contribute to a larger amount of bacteria spreading to your countertop and sinks.

    5. Refreezing Thawed Chicken At Room Temperature

    You should never defrost anything at room temperature. Thus, never refreeze the chicken, then leave it thawing again on your counter later. This double whammy is certain to make you sick.

    6. Defrosting Chicken With A Blowdryer

    Roasting Chicken With A Hair Dryer
    Roasting Chicken With A Hair Dryer

    Many home cooks think defrosting frozen chicken with a blowdryer is a good idea. Although it may seem quick and convenient a hairdryer can be easily found in every household, we do not recommend thawing chicken with it.

    Not only is this method highly time-consuming and not so effective, but the dryer also does not deliver a safe temperature range for even defrosting. It will only make way for more bacteria to breed on the chicken.

    7. Defrosting Thick Cuts Of Chicken On A Skillet

    Thinly-sliced or ground frozen meat can be cooked with ease on the skillet, but we know you will struggle with a thick cut. It may turn tough in the best case, or the center may be severely undercooked in a worse scenario.

    8. No Hand Washing After Handling Defrosted Chicken


    Just because your frozen chicken is in a solid condition, it does not mean its surface has no trace of harmful bacteria that can spread to other places in your house. Always wash your hands after thawing the chicken.

    5 Recommended Recipes For Defrosted Chicken Breasts

    Aside from detailed instructions and tips on defrosting chicken, we believe you want to consult tempting recipes to enjoy the best chicken breast taste. Here is how you can cook a delicious meal with this ingredient.

    #1 Stuffed Chicken Breast Wrapped In Bacon

    This first pick is a quick and easy-to-do recipe with defrosted chicken breast, even for an absolute novice in the kitchen. The combination of creamy cheddar cheese, tender chicken, and crunchy bacon will please anyone, even the pickiest eater.

    #2 Stuffed Chicken And Ricotta Cream

    If you ask a chicken lover the holy grail recipe for chicken breast, it would be the mixture of stuffed chicken with ricotta cream. It has a great depth and richness thanks to the amazing sauce and cheese.

    #3 Pan-Fried Greek Chicken Breast In 10 Minutes

    We cannot deny that 10-minute cooking is the most attractive part of this recipe. But you will be amazed by the tenderized chicken in different intense herbs and spices with a wide variety of sides to select.

    #4 Chicken Baked In Cheese

    Cheesy chicken bake is one of the most enjoyable recipes to cook your defrosted chicken breast. It does not limit how cheesy you want, and the best thing is this all-in-one-pot supper can lessen your cleaning hassle.

    #5 Parmesan-Crusted Chicken And Pesto Pasta

    What sounds more delicious than having Parmesan-crusted chicken breast with pesto for dinner? Adding vegetables or salad is excellent.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can You Defrost Chicken On The Counter?

    Defrosting chicken on the counter is a popular mistake that many people make during this process. You should never defrost meat at room temperature (20°C/86°F).
    It is within the risky temperature range between 4.4 and 60°C (40 and 140°F), possibly allowing dangerous bacteria to thrive quickly. Thawing chicken on the counter will expose it to many bacteria risks.

    How Long Does It Take To Normally Thaw Chicken?

    How long to defrost chicken completely with different methods? In general, a chicken will take anywhere from at least 30 minutes to 2 days to defrost, depending on your selected thawing method. The quickest way of using a microwave often takes you 10 to 20 minutes.
    On the other, defrosting chicken in cold water will require at least an hour per pound. At the same time, refrigerating the chicken can take up to 2 days since it relies on the amount of the frozen chicken breasts.

    Can You Refreeze Defrosted Chicken?

    It is possible to refreeze your thawed chicken inside a fridge within 1 to 2 days of complete defrosting. Regardless of whether your chicken is already cooked or still raw, you can apply this method easily.
    Nonetheless, if you defrost chicken in the microwave or a water bath, it should be cooked right after thawing. Only when you have done this, it is safe to refreeze your cooked chicken inside a refrigerator.
    Keep in mind that refreezing has a considerable effect on the quality of your chicken, similar to leaving it inside a freezer for longer than needed. But the good news is a frozen chicken is safe from growing bacteria.

    How To Tell When Chicken Is Properly Defrosted?

    You need to slice a small piece in the thickest part of your chicken breast or thigh to ensure thorough defrosting. The flesh has to be soft without any remaining ice crystals as you insert your finger in it.
    If you touch some ice crystals or feel the flesh still being solid, that means you need to continue the defrosting process a little longer.


    Now that you have learned how to defrost chicken at home with the safest and quickest processes, what is your favorite method? All of them can guarantee high food safety against potential health risks.

    Moreover, we also point out common mistakes during defrosting and guide you to the best solutions. Do not forget to take advantage of our home meal recipes to breathe life into a defrosted chicken breast.

    We are open to further questions on this article, so do not hesitate to contact us and subscribe to our website. Thank you for reading.

    Roger Lee
    Roger Lee

    Thanks for visiting my website. My name is Roger Lee, and I am a 30-year-old man with a hybrid blood of Chinese and Russian. I decided to set up this site to share with everyone my love and passion for open-air cuisine. It all started when my parents opened a restaurant and I had the chance of getting exposed to the art of outdoor cooking.
    This website aims at sharing about my hobby, recipes, and tips for cooking to everyone. Try them out and tell me about your experience.