Finally, you decided to cook that chicken in the freezer.
Below are the different basic ways to defrost chicken in water, microwave, and fridge.
How to Defrost Chicken Using Cold Water
This method by far is the easiest. It does not require any other kitchen equipment apart from a bowl and tap water.
Important note: Chicken meat must be placed in water or leak proof plastic bag to prevent the bacteria from contaminating the meat. Also, make sure to use only cold water as warm water promotes bacteria growth.
- Fill a bowl (bowl size depends on meat quantity) with tap water.
- Put the bagged chicken meat in the bowl. The water level must be enough to cover the entire bag.
- Change the water in the bowl every 30 minutes to continue to thaw.
- Cook the chicken right after thawing.
The thawing time depends on the quantity of meat. A half pound of chicken can take an hour to thaw. The larger the meat package, the longer it takes to thaw.
How to Defrost Chicken Using Microwave
The microwave method is the quickest way to defrost a chicken. In as short as 10-15 minutes, your chicken is ready to cook. This may be the most convenient method, but totally unsafe if you leave the thawed meat inside the microwave for too long.
- Put the chicken meat in a microwave safe container.
- Select the defrosting setting and start thawing.
- Flip the chicken meat every 2 – 3 minutes to promote even thawing.
- Cook the chicken immediately after thawing. This is to destroy possible bacteria that thrived while thawing the chicken between 40 and 140ºF (4.4 and 60ºC) microwave heat.
How to Defrost Chicken Using the Refrigerator method
The refrigerator method is the safest and most recommended way of thawing. A smaller portion or package of chicken meat can take a whole day to be thawed while a whole chicken may take 24 hours.
- Simply put the chicken in a container, dish tray with cover, or a large sealed plastic bag before putting it in the bottom part of the refrigerator. Keeping the meat sealed prevents leaks and spoiling other food in the fridge.
- Also, set the temperature to 40°F or below.
- The chicken can remain in the fridge for another day or two. Or if you do not have the time to cook, the chicken can be put back to the freezer. However, doing so may affect meat quality.
How to know if the chicken is properly defrosted or thawed
Cut a small part on the thickest part of the chicken; meat must be soft with no ice crystals. Insert your finger on the slit to feel the meat. If the meat is still hard, then continue thawing using your preferred method.
Learning the proper way to defrost chicken is no brainer. Proper food defrosting not only makes your food taste good, but also lowers the risk of foodborne illness.
Chicken meat that is mishandled can cause illness due to Salmonella, E.coli, and other bacteria which that in raw chicken.
Remember that bacteria thrive at room temperature, so do not thaw your chicken below the required minimum Fahrenheit or Celsius. Another thing is not to rinse chicken under running water to prevent cross-contamination.
But did you know that it is totally fine not to thaw at all? According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), it is safe to cook frozen meat. This is an absolute savior if you do not have time to thaw. However, cooking may take longer compared to defrosted chicken.