When dinner time is near, and that pound of chicken you had plans for is still in the freezer, the microwave can come in handy. However, it’s easy to turn frozen chicken into a partially cooked, partially frozen mess if you’re not careful.
There are several ways to thaw chicken, and in this post, I’m sharing step-by-step instructions on how to defrost chicken in the microwave so that your food tastes better and is safe to eat.
How to Defrost Chicken in the Microwave
Defrosting chicken in the microwave works when you’re in a pinch but can change the texture of the chicken if not done right. Make sure to follow the directions carefully, so everything thaws out evenly.
Defrosting Chicken in the Microwave
Remove the chicken from the freezer bag and place it on a microwave-safe plate.
- Check your Settings
Set the microwave to defrost or 50% power, this will prevent it from cooking on the outside while remaining frozen on the inside.
Two minutes on and one minute off, repeat as necessary until the chicken is soft but raw. If a small portion is still icy, stop thawing. If your frozen meat is in pieces, pause the defrosting every few minutes to break the pieces apart.
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The Defrost Button
Many microwaves come with a defrost button, that automatically sets the microwave to 30-50% of maximum power when used. This allows the food to reheat as evenly as possible and often requires you to insert the approximate weight of the food.
The defrost button is found on the microwave’s keypad, along with other settings for cooking vegetables, potatoes, and meat.
If your microwave doesn’t have a defrost setting, you can manually set it to cook at 30-50 % of its full power. Be sure to stop after each 2 minutes interval to see if the chicken is thawed through.
How Long Does it Take to Defrost Chicken in the Microwave
Depending on the microwave’s power (wattage) and settings, defrosting chicken breasts, thighs, and mixed pieces in the microwave will take approximately 8 minutes per pound.
You’ll want to stop the microwave every few minutes, about 4, to turn the chicken pieces over so the heat is distributed evenly during the process and all your pieces thaw out instead of cooking.
Larger quantities, over 2 pounds, should be thawed out in water, which is the second quickest method.
Below is a timetable with approximate thawing times for chicken thighs, breasts, and pieces in the microwave.
|1 pound||Defrost||8 min|
|1 pound||High (1100w)||6 min|
|1 pound||High (900w)||8 min|
|1 pound||Medium (800w)||10 min|
|1 pound||Low (600w)||12-14 min|
If you aren’t pressed for time, have you ever considered cooking frozen chicken? It’s perfectly safe and works whether you want to use the oven or stove-top.
Is it Safe?
While defrosting meat in the microwave is safe, it’s important to cook it immediately after it’s thawed. The warm temperature quickly brings it into the “danger zone” where bacteria can rapidly grow and multiply.
Can You Defrost a Whole Chicken in the Microwave?
I don’t recommend defrosting whole chickens in the microwave; it will results in the toughest, rubbery chicken- ever. Instead, use this method for boneless, skinless breasts and thighs.