The safest method is to thaw the chicken in a refrigerator, which maintains a safe, comfortable temperature throughout the process. In this post, we’ll discuss how to safely defrost chicken and present three options for doing it at home.
Raise the temperature of the frozen chicken to the point that it is no longer frozen in the process of thawing the chicken. The safest method is to thaw the chicken in a refrigerator, which maintains a safe, comfortable temperature throughout the process. In this post, we’ll discuss how to safely defrost chicken and present three options for doing it at home.
in the refridgerator
Thawing chicken in the fridge is the safest way to thaw it, but it takes about a day to prepare ahead of time, so skip ahead if you need a quicker alternative. Transfer your chicken from the freezer to the refrigerator the day before you plan to prepare it to allow it to thaw slowly for at least 24 hours. Place raw chicken in a rimmed container or bowl, preferably in the back of your refrigerator, to prevent it from dripping onto your other foods as it thaws. Thawing meat this way will keep it fresh in the fridge for an extra day or two, but once thawed, it can’t be refrozen unless you plan to cook it in a liquid like broth, soup, or stew. Refreezing thawed meat disrupts the cellular structure of the protein and introduces unwanted moisture, resulting in poor flavor and texture.
This method is the fastest way to defrost frozen chicken, however it is not the best. Because microwaves produce hot patches, your raw meat can get hot in some areas while remaining frozen in others, putting it in the Danger Zone temperature range (40 to 140 degrees F). Cook it immediately after thawing in the microwave and only refreeze it once you’re all set.
in cold water
If you only have a couple of hours, you can defrost the chicken using the cold water method the same day. Chicken should not be thawed in hot water or at room temperature, according to the USDA. Meat enters the food danger zone when it reaches 40 degrees F, where bacteria can grow and make it unhealthy to eat. This can happen if the meat is left out at room temperature for more than two hours. Failure to properly cook raw meat (poultry requires an internal temperature of 165 degrees F) increases the risk of foodborne illness, as well as contamination of other foods you may have on the kitchen counter.
Place the frozen chicken in a leak-proof plastic bag and, per USDA recommendations, submerge it in a large bowl of ice water. Never leave a bowl of raw chicken in water in the sink, as this can contaminate the entire area and the meat will end up absorbing some of the water. Before the chicken comes in contact with water, it should always be completely sealed. A 1-pound piece of chicken can take an hour or less to thaw completely, while a larger package that weighs 3 or 4 pounds can take more than two hours. Every 30 minutes, replace the water to speed up the process. The only time you should refreeze meat is if you plan to cook it first and then store it in the freezer.