You want to defrost your chicken quickly but it’s really important to consider food safety first. Knowing how to defrost chicken quickly and do it the right and safe ways. Any raw meat like chicken contain bacteria that can make you sick. Chicken meat contains bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus. You need to thaw chicken correctly and then cook it well enough to kill these bacteria. Remember to err on the side of caution when it comes to food safety.
More Chicken Means Longer Defrost Time
The first thing is to consider the law of physics. A whole or half chicken takes longer to thaw then smaller chicken parts like breasts, thighs, wings and legs. Unless you need the whole chicken, using smaller chicken parts can help you thaw and defrost faster.
Never Leave Chicken Meat at Room Temperature
One thing you should definitely not do is thaw chick at room temperature. Also, don’t thaw chicken under running water because the splashing water may spread bacteria.
Microwave Method: Quick and Easy But Inefficient
When you think of quick defrosting, the microwave comes to mind. Nothing seems more convenient than punching in the amount of time into microwave and then letting the microwave nuke the chicken. All you need to do is to follow the defrosting instructions from your microwave. If you’re choose the microwave method to defrost chicken quickly, however, you need to cook the chicken immediately after microwaving. The reason is because most microwave cannot heat the chicken up hot enough to kill all the bacteria. Also, it’s harder for most microwaves to accommodate a whole chicken rather than small chicken parts, unless you have a large-sized microwave.
Cold Water Method
Using cold water to quickly defrost chicken may sound strange but this method works well. The cold water will actually gently defrost the chicken while the cool temperature will keep bacteria from growing (you don’t warm to leave chicken laying around near room temperature).
Place the chicken in an airtight plastic bag, making sure the chicken does not come into contact with the cold water. This is to avoid contamination and spreading bacteria. Squeeze out any air bubbles before closing the bag.
Leave the chicken inside the plastic bag and submerge it (use a weight to hold it down) in cold water about 39 degrees F or below. If the chicken is still partially frozen after 30 minutes, dump out the water and fill again with cold water. Let it thaw for another 30 minutes. Repeat this cycle until the chicken is completely defrosted.
Hot Water Method
You can also defrost chicken quickly in hot water but this method is only good for small chicken cuts like the wings, legs, breasts and thighs. You cannot use this method with a whole or half chicken because the heat can lead to dangerous bacteria growth, since it takes too long to thaw out the whole or half chicken.
You need to use very hot water (about 140 degrees F or above). Seal the chicken parts in plastic like in the cold water method. Put these chicken parts in a container like a pot and fill it with the hot water. Stir the water every few minutes. Check your chicken pieces every couple of minutes and take them out when they feel like they are not frozen anymore.
Defrost in Fridge in Advance
Another method that is “quick” is simply thinking way a couple days in advance and just taking out your frozen chicken and letting it thaw naturally in the refrigerator. It’ll thaw slowly and naturally, and the cold of the fridge will keep it safe from bacteria growth. Again, it requires thinking ahead to make this method “quick.”
Last Ditch Method
A last ditch method is to simply cook the chicken without thawing it. Yes, you can cook frozen chicken, but you’ll have to increase the cooking time up to 50 percent. Also, you’ll pay the price in terms of quality. For example, this method is not great for fried chicken because of the excess moisture still in the chicken.