Thaw Chicken Safely: Quick & Easy Methods

Ever forgotten to take out your chicken for dinner? Don’t fret! Here’s a guide to safely defrosting chicken in 3 ways, all approved by experts.

Safety First

Salmonella is a real concern with raw chicken. So, no matter which method you choose, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Use a container to catch any leaks from the chicken.
  • Disinfect surfaces that touch raw meat, like cutting boards and your sink.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw chicken.

Method 1: The Reliable Fridge Thaw

This method is foolproof but requires planning ahead.

  • Place the chicken in a container on the bottom shelf of your fridge. This keeps juices from dripping and maintains a consistent temperature.
  • Allow at least 24 hours per 5 pounds of chicken.
  • Bonus: This is the only USDA-approved method that allows refreezing! You can refreeze uncooked, thawed chicken within 2 days.

Method 2: The Speedy Water Bath

Need chicken fast? The water bath method is your best bet.

  • Submerge the unopened package of chicken in a bowl of cool running water (ideally below 70°F).
  • Keep the water flowing for faster thawing. Hot water isn’t more effective and can be unsafe.
  • Depending on the size, your chicken can be ready in as little as 15 minutes!

Method 3: The Microwave in a Pinch

While safe, the microwave defrost setting should only be used in emergencies.

  • This method requires immediate cooking after defrosting. No time delays!
  • Microwaves can unevenly thaw meat, sometimes cooking the outside before the center is defrosted.
  • We only recommend this for chicken that will be shredded or cooked in a lot of sauce.

With these tips, you can safely defrost chicken and get dinner back on track, no matter how much notice you have!

Leave a Comment