So you plan to cook chicken tonight, but it’s still a frozen block in the freezer? At this point, it’s tempting to defrost the chicken on the counter, but is it safe?
I answer that question and more on the best way to defrost chicken safely, so your recipes taste amazing and are safe to eat.
How Long Can Frozen Chicken Sit Out
Frozen chicken should sit out for no more than 2 hours at room temperature. Keep in mind this is not a recommendation but a pointer, so if you’ve accidentally left it on the counter within that time frame, the chicken can still be cooked.
If you don’t plan to cook immediately, transfer it to the refrigerator.
Is It Okay to Let Chicken Defrost on the Counter?
In short, the answer is no. You shouldn’t keep raw chicken at a temperature above 40F. The condensation from the frozen particles and warmer environment is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
No worries, there are plenty of ways to thaw chicken safely, which I’m happy to share with you. Your best options are:
Defrost chicken in the fridge overnight
This method takes the longest but is the safest and hands-free.
Place frozen chicken in a cold water bath
You can expect the chicken to be thawed in 1-2 hours. Make sure to change out the water every 30 minutes.
Defrost small amounts of chicken in the microwave
Best for a single pound of chicken. Make sure to use the defrost setting on your microwave, so it thaws evenly.
Cook frozen chicken
For real, this is the most underrated way to solve the I-planned-to-cook-chicken-but-it’s-frozen-fiasco. It’ll still taste good and works whether you want to prepare it in a skillet or the oven.
Want more tips on how to cook with chicken? The Chicken. It’s What’s for Dinner ebook shows you basic techniques to use on every cut of chicken plus 100+ delicious recipes to help you make juicy chicken that’s never dry.