How To Defrost Chicken Fast and Quick

How To Defrost Chicken Fast and Quick

Everyone loves chicken, well except for the vegetarians. It is easy to cook and healthy too no to mention it’s amazingly delicious taste. You can prepare chicken in several ways depending on how you like it. You now have your chicken, but you keep it in the freezer to keep it fresh till the time you need to cook it. What do you do when you accidentally forgot to defrost it? To achieve the optimum taste of your chicken no matter how you prepare it, you have to defrost it in the right way. Some people assume that dipping the chicken in hot or boiling water from the freezer is good, but it’s not. The best way to defrost chicken is to defrost it in the fridge. However, this time round, you didn’t defrost the chicken, and you don’t have time.

How To Defrost Chicken Fast and Quick

We all have been there before wondering what to do now that you forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer. A lot goes through the mind at this moment. Is dinner all ruined? What other options do I have for dinner? Will my guests be disappointed now that it is Thanksgiving? Worry no more, nothing will go wrong if you read this blog to the end.

How much time do you have?

Time is the most significant factor when it comes to defrosting the chicken. The time you have determines how you defrost it because different methods take different amounts of time. The USDA warns people not to leave the bird on the counter to thaw. This is dangerous because the chicken is now exposed to bacteria which can multiply on it making it unsafe for eating. So how much time do you have? Here are tips on how to defrost the chicken fast depending on the time you have:

Submerging it in a cold water bath

Proper defrosting of chicken doesn’t mess with the texture or quality of the meat. Professional kitchens use this method to defrost meat because it is fast and doesn’t mess with the quality of the meat. This method requires 20-30 minutes to defrost a one to two-pound frozen chicken completely.

Fill a salad bowl with cold tap water and fully submerge the bird. You will have to be timid and change the water after every ten minutes replacing with fresh cold water. If you have somewhere else to be in the 30 minutes and you can’t afford to stay and change the water that frequently. You can put the salad bowl with the submerged chicken in the sink and turn the tap on to let out a thin trickle of fresh cold water.

To quicken the process, pull the pieces apart as the bird defrosts. If it is a full chicken, make sure cold water gets into the cavity and remove any ice to reduce the defrosting time. The bigger the bird, the longer it takes to thaw.

Use the microwave

If you have absolutely no time to waste, but you need to cook the bird asap, the microwave comes in handy. It is quick, but you have to pay attention to the bird as it defrosts. Sometimes it tends to get cooked rather than getting defrosted, and this makes the meat stringy and tough.

You have to be careful with this method because a microwave makes the water molecules vibrate at high speeds together creating heat. Leaving the chicken in the microwave for long or with a high heat setting means you are steaming the meat inside out.

The trick is to set a moderate heat setting and keep on checking the progress from time to time to make sure you remove it immediately it gets defrosted.

This method is best for the skinless chicken breast and not so good for bone-in pieces. The microwave doesn’t defrost equally, and this is the problem. Some parts of the bird might be entirely thawed and start cooking while some of the other parts are still frozen. Am not sure why so many people love this method.

Use hot water

This method takes ten to fifteen minutes, but you have to be cautious and cook it immediately after defrosting.

Run kitchen tap water till it reaches 48 degrees on the calibrated cooking thermometer. Fill a pot or sanitized sink halfway with hot water and submerge your chicken. Cut the pieces as you defrost as the smaller pieces take less time to defrost.

Frozen chicken by default cools hot water so make sure you have hot water by the side to continuously add to the chicken to make sure the temperature is high all the time. Also, remember to stir the water to prevent cold spots and quickens the process.

When using this method, the outside surface of the bird is exposed to bacteria, so you need to cook it immediately after thawing. If you don’t, bacteria start multiplying on the chicken’s surface which can easily lead to food poisoning. While cooking the chicken defrosted using hot water, make sure the internal temperature goes as high as 74 degrees before serving. This ensures no bacteria survive and also the chicken gets cooked completely.

Forget defrosting, just cook

This method takes no (defrosting) time at all, but you have to be keen. If you have the right recipe, this method can save you time as you get to skip one step in the cooking process.

The method might save on defrosting time, but it is slow in cooking. Add about 50% more time than what the recipe says. If you are required to simmer for an hour, do it for half an hour.


Never defreeze chicken that you have previously defrosted using any of the methods above. The chances of bacteria multiplying on the surface of the chicken are high. Food poisoning can occur within minutes after eating a chicken that hasn’t been appropriately thawed. Leaving the chicken on the counter after defrosting is leaving plenty of room for bacteria to thrive.

Tips on quick defrosting

  • It works well with small to medium sized birds. If you have a turkey-sized bird, don’t forget to defrost it using the fridge.
  • Never thaw chicken on your countertop. Room temperature is optimal for bacteria growth.
  • Cook the chicken first before refreezing.
  • Use a calibrated kitchen thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken when cooking. Clean the thermometer if you had checked the temperature of the raw chicken before using it on the cooked food.


Next time you forget to defrost your chicken, or extra guests show up, or your favorite pet steals your dinner, use one of the above defrosting techniques. They are fast and safe if you follow them to the letter and they work having gotten me out of hot water more than once. If you have time like a day or two depending on the size of the bird, throw it in the fridge, and all goes well.

If you have a chicken emergency and need to cook the bird as fast as you can, you are now equipped to handle that situation. Don’t panic and everything is going to be fine. One assurance though, you are still going to have the chicken for dinner.

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