How to defrost chicken safely

How to defrost chicken safely

Freezing and defrosting food are actions to be carried out with the utmost care , in order to avoid making the food dangerous to health and unappealing to the taste . This goes for anything but chicken meat is undoubtedly among the most delicate foods, because if eaten raw or badly preserved, more than others it can give rise to poisoning or negative events for the body.

How long does chicken meat last

Fresh chicken stored in the fridge lasts a maximum of three or four days before it is at risk of spoiling. Storing it correctly in the freezer, on the other hand, lengthens these times considerably, making it a consumable food without problems even many months later. Provided of course to defrost it with the right methods.

The mistake not to make when defrosting chicken

Before understanding how to carry out safe defrosting, it is important to identify the most common mistake that can be made in this delicate phase, i.e. leaving the chicken meat to defrost on the kitchen surface at room temperature.

In doing so, the meat enters a temperature range halfway between freezing and complete thawing, in which the bacteria grow more rapidly.

This bacterial growth can lead to foodborne illness which in turn causes nausea , diarrhea and vomiting .

Also, with this technique the thawing is not smooth and while the center is still frozen, the outermost parts probably aren’t and are more likely to develop harmful bacterial growth.

Best way to defrost chicken

Removing the chicken from the freezer and placing it in the refrigerator for 24 hours , or even more if you can, is the safest way to defrost it and also the one that keeps the taste of the meat most intact.

The safety of this technique lies in the fact that the chicken defrosts gradually, without being exposed to too low temperatures which facilitate the proliferation of bacteria. Obviously, in order to put it into practice, it is necessary to think about it in advance, given that although the thawing time depends on the temperature at which your fridge is set and on the size of the pieces of meat, less than a day is hardly necessary.

A further advantage of this operation is that once the chicken has been defrosted it can also be eaten a day or two later , obviously remaining in the refrigerator.

Better not to refreeze it instead. If the chicken has gone from the freezer to the refrigerator, theoretically it can go the reverse way for a couple of hours without the bacterial load starting its work.

However, it is never advisable to do so because even minimal changes in temperature can affect its taste and make it much less good to consume.

How to defrost chicken faster

The previous method involves long times but fortunately there are techniques capable of significantly shortening them while remaining extremely safe.

One of these is to immerse the chicken in water, but closing it in a leak-proof plastic bag , so as to prevent bacteria present in the air or water from penetrating the meat.

The duration of the operation depends on the water temperature and the quantity of chicken. A pound might take an hour or less, while a whole chicken might take two or three hours. However, it is advisable to change the immersion water every 30 minutes.

Once thawed using this method, the meat should be cooked right away.

Even the microwave can be used to defrost as quickly as possible but this method although fast, can also be risky if not done right.

This appliance, in fact, starts the cooking process , so if you decide to defrost the chicken like this, you must then cook it immediately afterwards, in order to avoid interrupting the process and generating rapid bacterial growth.

If you let partially cooked meat rest, any bacteria present have not yet been killed, giving it a chance to grow.

Furthermore, the microwave reduces the quality of the food a little, which often is no longer as good as if it were defrosted in another way. When a thicker piece of chicken thaws, the thinner, smaller pieces and edges have already started to cook and become rubbery.

Cooking frozen chicken

A viable option is also to cook the chicken while it is still frozen , without going through the defrosting phase. It is in fact an absolutely safe method .

The only drawback is that this usually takes about 50% more cooking time than fresh or defrosted chicken, although you can cut the time somewhat by cutting the meat into smaller pieces. Be careful though, cooking frozen chicken makes it very difficult for the golden crust to appear on its surface because the water that leaks during defrosting remains in the pot or pan, continuing to wet the meat.



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