defrost chicken

Three safe ways to defrost your chicken

Chicken is a delicious accompaniment to almost any meal and is one of the healthiest forms of protein available. Defrosting chicken is easy. But you have to keep a few things in mind. Here are some safe ways to defrost the chicken.

Thaw chicken in the refrigerator

Take your frozen chicken out of the freezer and place it in the fridge.

This is the safest way to defrost the chicken. However, it takes longer than other methods. Place the chicken on the front of the lower shelf while it is defrosting to avoid spilling excess meat juices on other foods in the refrigerator. Once the chicken is unpacked, place it in a pan or bowl to prevent the spilling of the meat juices.

Watch the time.

The standard rule is that 450g of chicken takes 5 hours to thaw in the refrigerator. It takes more than 24 hours to thaw a whole chicken in the refrigerator. Plan accordingly.

Take the chicken out of the fridge once it’s thawed.

The chicken will no longer be covered in ice or frost and will feel spongy. To check if the whole chicken is thawed, put your hand in the largest cavity of the chicken. If there are ice crystals in the chicken, you will need to defrost it longer.

Store the thawed chicken in the refrigerator.

The thawed chicken will keep safely in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. A chicken that has already been thawed should not be refrozen. Store the chicken in the coldest part of your refrigerator. This keeps your chicken bacteria-free for a longer period of time.

Defrost chicken in the sink

If your chicken isn’t already bagged, place it in a Ziploc freezer bag.

The freezer bag prevents bacteria from contaminating the chicken during thawing. It also prevents bacteria from contaminating the sink.

Get a bowl that will fit the whole chicken.

Make sure the bowl is big enough to completely cover the chicken with water.

Place the bagged chicken in the bowl and fill the bowl with cold water.

Make sure the top of the chicken is covered. Don’t use hot water. Hot water promotes the growth of bacteria.

Change the water every 30 minutes.

You can defrost 450g in about an hour using this method. If you’re defrosting a whole chicken, be prepared for it to take a little longer. If your chicken weighs 3 pounds, you should defrost it for 3 hours or more.

Cook the whole chicken before storing it back in the fridge.

Raw chicken thawed using this method cannot be stored again while raw.

Defrost the chicken in the microwave

Remove the wrapping from your chicken.

Place it in a microwave-safe bowl so the juices don’t spill out while it’s thawing.

Microwave defrosting can put your chicken in the danger zone.

This means if it is thawed for too long it will become warm and thus more susceptible to bacterial growth. In general, you should avoid defrosting a whole chicken in the microwave. Because with a whole chicken, the probability of getting into the danger zone is greater. Defrosting a whole chicken in the microwave also loses a lot of nutrients and flavor.

Put the bowl in the microwave.

Set the microwave to defrost. If you don’t know how long to thaw that specific amount of chicken, defrost for 2 minutes. Let stand 1 minute and check how far the chicken has defrosted. Make sure the chicken doesn’t start to cook.

Prepare the chicken immediately.

You must cook the whole chicken that you thawed using this method immediately before you can refrigerate it again.


The lower the temperature at which you thaw the chicken, the less likely it is that dangerous bacteria will spread to the chicken.


Avoid defrosting room-temperature chicken in the kitchen. If you leave the chicken at room temperature for too long, the risk of bacterial growth is very high. Be sure to wash your hands after handling the raw chicken. Whole chicken does not defrost very well in the microwave. You can still use this method, but there is a higher risk of bacterial growth.

About the Author

Nicole King

Nicole is a shopaholic with decades of experience. With a passion for writing and an undeniable ability to grab the best deals, Nicole enjoys helping others feed their inner-shopaholic too. Her work has been featured on Business Insider, Lifehacker, The Motley Fool, USA Today, and Moneyish.