How To Cook Frozen Chicken Without Thawing?

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The omnipresent frozen chicken has been our savior since time unknown, and we couldn’t be more grateful. While the convenience of frozen chicken is unbeatable, a recurring problem with frozen foods is the time needed to thaw them. 

The general rule says thaw before cooking, but aren’t rules made to be broken? Yes, you got that right. It is possible to skip the thawing step when you are short on time. 

How to cook frown chicken in an air fryer – easy recipe

Air fryer cooking gives tasty chicken breasts (and legs!)

This article will provide you with general guidelines on cooking frozen chicken using different cooking methods. That too, keeping food safety and health in mind. 

How to cook frozen chicken in the oven?

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Place the chicken breast on a single layer baking sheet lined with foil. Brush it with oil, and season it with salt and pepper.

If you wish to glaze it with sauces like BBQ, wait until 15 minutes of cooking time. Remember to set the baking time 50 percent longer than the usual cooking time. 

Suppose, a regular unfrozen chicken breast weighing 5-7 ounces gets ready in 30 minutes at 350 °F. For a frozen chicken, it will take around 45-50 minutes. This also depends on the size of the chicken breasts. 

Measure the internal temperature of the chicken with the help of an instant read thermometer. Make sure it reaches a minimum of 170 °F.

How to cook frozen chicken on the stove?

Cooking whole chicken from frozen guide
Can you fry chicken from frozen on the stove or grill?

Photo by LikeMeat on Unsplash

Heat olive oil on a big non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place the frozen chicken pieces and let them cook for 10-15 minutes. Flip them and wait for another 10-15 minutes for the other side to get done. 

Then, season the chicken with your favorite condiments and spices. Remove the skillet from the stovetop and let the cooked chicken rest for a good 5 minutes before serving it. 

From start to finish, the total cook time for 4 to 6 ounces of chicken is about 20-30 minutes. 

How long to cook frozen chicken?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, raw or cooked poultry is completely safe to be cooked straight from the frozen state. The only condition is that it needs to get cooked around 50 percent longer than in the case of thawed chicken. 

It is also advised not to cook frozen chicken in a slow cooker. Because, it does the job of cooking slowly, which puts the chicken in the danger zone (temperature range where bacterial growth is at its peak). 

A normal 5-pound fresh chicken takes 1 and a half hours. That means a whole frozen chicken will take at least 2 hours and 15 minutes. 

Approximate cooking times for different cooking methods and meat quantities :

  • In the Oven (4 to 6 ounces boneless chicken breasts) – 30 to 45 minutes 
  • On the Stove Top (4 to 8 ounces chicken thighs) – 38 to 45 minutes 
  • In the Instant Pot (4 to 6 ounces boneless chicken breasts) – 10 to 15 minutes 
  • In the Air Fryer (4 to 6 ounces boneless chicken breasts) – 18 to 20 minutes 

Can you fry chicken from frozen?

Yes, you can fry chicken from a frozen state. However, health experts don’t deem it as one of the best methods. Chemistry says – the combination of two forms of matter leads to explosive reactions. You can still do it, but it’s risky.

Cooking from frozen is a thermal shock to the meat and spoils the taste
Frying from frozen isn’t the best way to cook chicken.

Image by RitaE on Pixabay

Heat the oil into your deep fryer to 360 degrees. Release the frozen chicken pieces one by one in the oil to prevent the hot oil from splashing over you. Keep frying for about 12 to 15 minutes. 

Remove the fried chicken from the cookware and place it on a plate covered with tissue paper. 

It is highly recommended to wear protective clothing while frying. 

Best way for cooking frozen chicken thighs

Out of all the cooking methods, baking in the oven is the best way for cooking frozen chicken thighs. It will serve you irresistibly tender, juicy chicken thighs with crispy outer layers.

Preheat the oven to 360 °F. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil. This ensures your chicken won’t stick and will be easily removed later. Rub the raw chicken with a blend of oil and spices. 

You can bake for 50 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the thighs and your oven. Check that the meat is cooked completely using the meat thermometer. 

Let it set for at least 5 minutes before serving. 

Can you cook frozen chicken in an air fryer?

For all the health-conscious folks who are hanging in this question, the answer is a huge yes. Air frying chicken is a great way to consume your cheat meal minus the guilt! 

Contrary to popular belief, the air-fried chicken turns out to be as tender and juicy as regular fried chicken. The flavors remain intact, texture enhanced, and overall is the perfect low-carb option. 

Not just that, the cooking process takes lesser time than it would take you to cook it with a different method.

Cook the frozen chicken breast for 15 to 20 minutes on both sides in a preheated air fryer at 400 °F.

Easy last-minute frozen chicken breast recipes

Here are some scrumptious last-minute frozen chicken breast recipes to your rescue :

  • Mariana Poached Chicken Breasts – Instead of plain water, chicken breasts are left to slowly simmer in marinara sauce, infusing aromatic flavors. Once done, poached chicken slices are tossed and served with spaghetti pasta. 
  • Caprese Chicken Breasts – Golden-brown pan-fried breasts layered with fresh tomato slices and mozzarella cheese.
  • Mustard Crumbed Chicken Breasts – Chicken coated with a mix of spices, oil, mustard, and breadcrumbs baked to perfection. 
  • Easy Chicken Stew – Wholesome chicken broth made with vegetables, diced chicken breasts, and a touch of cream. 
  • Sante Fe Chicken Salad – Southwest-inspired salad loaded with grilled chicken breasts, and crunchy vegetables, tossed with a jalapeño ranch dressing. 

What is the best way for cooking chicken from frozen UK?

As per NHS guidelines, fresh meat or poultry should be frozen before the use-by date on the pack. It should be consumed within 3 to 6 months. 

The best way for cooking chicken will depend on what you are having with it. If you are planning to add it to pasta or curry, using the stovetop is most people’s favorite method. 

For roast dinners, oven baking is a great way. You can also bake chicken wings to prepare a tasty side dish. 

FAQ relating to how to cook frozen chicken without thawing

Here are detailed answers to the most commonly asked queries about cooking frozen chicken without thawing:

Why can you not cook chicken from frozen?

Food experts don’t prefer cooking chicken from frozen. Because such food is unlikely to reach its necessary core temperature during the cooking process. This encourages harmful bacteria to contaminate the food. 

First, thaw the chicken using the right method and then proceed with cooking. Check the frozen food’s packaging for defrosting instructions. 

If you don’t have the time to thaw, make sure to cook the chicken twice the usual time. 

Is it OK to bake frozen chicken?

Frozen chicken is best baked in pieces
Slow baking is OK for frown chicken but make sure to cook it for longer

Image by RitaE on Pixabay

Yes, it is totally okay to bake frozen chicken as long as you are following these simple rules –

  • Baking for twice the time of thawed chicken.
  • Layer the smaller chicken pieces on the baking sheet to cook evenly instead of a lump of frozen chicken. 
  • Using an instant-read thermometer to check the chicken has reached a core temperature of 165 °F. 

How long does it take to cook a frozen chicken?

The general guidelines say you need to cook frozen chicken for 50 percent longer than the time taken by the thawed chicken. This is to ensure food safety and avoid sickness. 

For example, if a recipe mentions 20 minutes of recommended time, it will take 40 minutes for the frozen chicken to get properly cooked. 

This is the safest way to cook chicken taken out straight from the freezer. 

Is it better to cook chicken frozen or thawed?

Chicken in a frozen state requires twice the time needed to cook fresh or thawed chicken. And the primary reason you consider this shortcut method is to save time and effort. 

Additionally, it increases the risk of ending up with chicken that is cooked on the outside and raw on the inside. High heat cooking oftentimes leaves the meat dry and unpalatable. 

That’s why cooking frozen chicken is not ideal. However, an alternate way of dealing with frozen chicken especially when you are rushing is to use an instant pot.

The good news is, that there exist a few quick ways to thaw frozen chicken that will save your day. 

You can place the chicken on a microwave-safe plate and adjust the defrost setting for 1 minute. Another hack is submerging seal-packed frozen chicken in either cold water or hot water. This will defrost the chicken within half an hour. Avoid letting chicken thaw at room temperature as it can encourage bacterial growth. 

We love chicken