Defrosting Chicken

There are so many high quality frozen uncooked chicken products that you can buy straight from the supermarket and use to prepare delicious meals, reducing your food waste and household bills.

All of our tips are for using chicken commercially frozen – this is uncooked chicken that has been frozen by the manufacturer, ensuring it is of the highest quality and can be cooked safely from frozen.

Please note: Frozen chicken should never be defrosted at room temperature as this is when bacteria can multiply rapidly.

CoolCookery-014 Defrosting ChickenDefrosting chicken

Option one – in the fridge
1. Do not remove chicken from packaging
2. Place chicken in a bowl
3. Place bowl at the bottom of the fridge
4. Leave until fully defrosted

Option two – in the microwave
1. Always refer to microwave instructions
2. Place whole bird or chicken pieces in a microwave proof bowl
3. Using the defrost setting microwave for two minutes and then check, repeat as many times as necessary
4. Always ensure chicken is fully defrosted – unless stated otherwise on the packaging.

Never defrost chicken at room temperature. Defrosted chicken cannot be refrozen until the meat has been cooked.

Defrosting chicken in the fridge

  • The temperature of the refrigerator should be kept at 5°C or below, as anything above this may allow the multiplication of bacteria
  • Keep the chicken in its packaging and place it in a bowl large enough to catch any juices away from any ready-to-eat foods
  • Store on the bottom shelf of the fridge so that no raw meat juices come into contact with other food
  • Our defrosting guide above shows how long chicken needs to defrost
  • This is the slowest but safest method of defrosting chicken.

Defrosting chicken in the microwave

  • Microwaving is the quickest method of defrosting
  • Make sure to refer to the microwave’s directions as the settings can differ
  • Care needs to be taken to make sure that the meat doesn’t dry out during defrosting
  • Remove any packaging before placing the meat in a microwave-safe dish to catch any dripping juices.
  • Using the defrost setting, defrost for two minutes at a time, checking the meat’s progress as you go.
  • Once the chicken has been defrosted, it should be cooked straight away.

Remember when defrosting a whole chicken remember to check the inside of the cavity for ice crystals

If in doubt, make sure to refer to the product’s instructions on the packaging.

Never refreeze chicken once it is defrosted. However, it is safe to freeze the chicken once it is fully cooked.

Want to read more? We’ve created guides on how to defrost sausages, fish, turkey and mince.