When it’s time to make dinner, but your chicken is frozen solid you probably find yourself wondering “can I cook frozen chicken?”.
I have great news, you absolutely can bake frozen chicken and still have a flavorful, juicy chicken dinner tonight. In this post, I’m sharing everything you need to know about baking frozen chicken breasts so they turn out perfectly every single time.
Chicken is a kid-favorite protein that can be cooked up in a variety of different ways. While I love grilling and pan-searing chicken, baking is often my go-to method since by simply adding a veggie or two to the pan, it transforms into an epic sheet pan dinner.
Ideally, chicken is always defrosted and ready to cook when it comes time to make dinner, but realistically that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, we’re left with a solid block of chicken and no ideas for dinner.
If that sounds like you, read on, I’ll take you step-by-step on how to pull of dinner tonight without ordering takeout.
Can you Bake Frozen Chicken?
When it comes to cooking chicken into delicious, family-pleasing meals, I’ve learned quite a few tips and tricks over the years, including how to bake frozen chicken straight from the freezer, no thawing required.
While you can bake and pan-fry frozen chicken, it’s important to know that chicken should never be cooked in a microwave or slow cooker straight from the freezer. These methods keep the raw, frozen chicken above 40F for longer than the recommended 1 hour. Making it an ideal environment for bacteria to breed and contaminate the food.
How to Cook Frozen Chicken in the Oven
To cook frozen chicken in the oven you will need a sheet pan, chicken breasts and your choice of seasonings, marinade, or sauce. Here’s what to do:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a large baking dish or sheet pan with olive oil or cooking spray.
Place the chicken breasts on the baking sheet in a single layer.
Now is when you would season the frozen chicken with your choice of spices or marinade. You can also baste the chicken with BBQ sauce or teriyaki sauce but be sure to add it in the final 15 minutes of cooking so it doesn’t burn or runoff.
Bake, as directed, adding 50% of the recipe’s original cook time to the total time or until the chicken, reaches an internal temperature of 165F for white meat or 175F for dark meat cuts.
Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Want to watch how it’s done? Check out this video and I’ll walk you through everything so you can see the whole process.
Following a Recipe with Frozen Chicken
When cooking with frozen chicken, expect the cook time to increase by 50% of the original cook time. For instance, if the recipe called for 30 minutes, plan for 45 minutes. However, this can vary based on the size of the chicken cuts.
Taking the extra step to pre-slice, cut, or butterfly the chicken ahead of time can help reduce the cook time. The chicken will cook faster and evenly compared to a whole frozen 8-ounce chicken breast.
An oven temperature of 375 and an internal temperature of 165F are ideal for perfectly cooked frozen chicken.
It’s just enough heat to cook the chicken evenly and low enough so that you can cook vegetables and other ingredients at the same time.
However, you can go as low as 350F and as high as 400F, just be sure to use the meat thermometer to check for doneness. Below is a chart to help you gauge the time it will take your chicken to cook based on oven temperature:
Frozen Chicken Breasts Baking Chart
|Size||Oven Temp||Cook Time|
|small 4-6 oz||350F / 175C||32-45 minutes|
|traditional 8 oz||375F / 190C||37-45 minutes|
|traditional 8 oz||400F / 200 C||approx 30 minutes|