How to Defrost Chicken | HelloFresh

May 3, 2024
by HelloFresh Tips & tricks

    Freezing chicken immediately is a good way to help it stay fresh for longer. However, when it comes to defrosting chicken, various risks need to be considered, especially if you want to defrost chicken fast. If food is not defrosted properly, harmful bacteria can begin to grow.


    How to quickly defrost chicken

    To defrost chicken quickly, you can use a microwave (see below) or cold water. To defrost chicken in cold water, first put the chicken in a sealed Ziploc or sandwich bag and then into a large mixing bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water so that the chicken is submerged, and change the water every 30 minutes. Small pieces of chicken, like those used for this Asian-style chicken noodle stir-fry, will defrost quicker than a whole chicken. It typically takes about 1 hour to defrost 500g of chicken. Do not use warm or hot water because this can encourage bacterial growth and render the chicken unsafe to eat. Check to ensure the chicken has fully defrosted before cooking it.


    Plan ahead

    The best way to defrost chicken safely is to plan your meals ahead of time. The night before you intend to use it, take the chicken out of the freezer and defrost it slowly for 24 hours in a fridge. Once safely defrosted, you can get started on your favourite chicken meals, like one of these high-protein recipes. Ensure you leave the chicken in the fridge to thaw for the recommended time. To safely defrost chicken in the fridge, it needs to be in a sealable bag or contained and placed on a clean plate. It should be placed on the bottom shelf and left for approximately 5 hours per 450g. After properly defrosting your chicken, you must cook with it immediately to ensure no harmful bacteria forms.


    Keep chicken away from other food

    When defrosting poultry, keep it separate from other foods to avoid cross-contamination. If you’re defrosting chicken in the fridge, place it on the bottom shelf and make sure there’s enough space so it does not touch or drip onto other foods. 


    Defrosting chicken in the microwave

    You can also use a microwave to defrost chicken quickly. First, allow 8-10 minutes per 450g of chicken, and use the defrost setting or around 20% of the microwave’s power. Otherwise, the chicken could be cooked on the outside but remain frozen inside. Rushing the process could pose potential harm. Check the chicken every few minutes to ensure it hasn’t started cooking.


    How to know when chicken is defrosted

    It’s important to take all necessary precautions to ensure that chicken is thoroughly defrosted. Even when the chicken looks visibly defrosted, the centre could still contain ice crystals and cause harm. Chicken is considered fully defrosted when the meat joints become flexible and if no ice crystals are detected upon skewering. 


    If extra care isn’t taken when handling and cooking chicken, you are at a higher risk of food poisoning. It’s best to handle frozen chicken in the same way as you would handle raw chicken. Freezing temperatures do not eliminate harmful bacteria, leaving you susceptible to food poisoning, even when handling raw chicken.


    Cooking with defrosted chicken

    You can cook defrosted chicken as you would fresh chicken. Find an easy and delicious recipe for pan-fried, stir-fried or roasted chicken. Browse these HelloFresh recipes for inspiration, like an Indian-style chicken curry, chicken salad, one-pot chicken pasta, roast chicken, and many more.

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