How Long Does It Take Chicken To Thaw?

A whole chicken will take two to three hours to thaw. If you have a giant chicken, it may take even longer. You can thaw it in cold water, and if you can pull the pieces apart, you can thaw the chicken even faster. If you don’t have any leftover chicken, you can place the frozen chicken in a bowl with cold water and add ice cubes to prevent the water from getting too warm. You should thaw the whole bird in two to three hours.

When defrosting chicken, the safest way is to place it in the refrigerator. This method requires a day’s planning, so it’s not practical for people who need their chicken quickly. In this case, you can defrost your chicken in the refrigerator faster. However, before placing it in the fridge, make sure it’s placed in a rimmed container, which will prevent drips and bacteria from entering the meat.

How Long Does It Take Chicken to Thaw?

According to the USDA, food can be stored in the freezer indefinitely, but bacteria can begin to grow during the thawing process. When the temperature of the food rises above 40°F, this happens. When dangerous thawing methods are used, the meat’s interior can remain frozen while the exterior layer is in the “danger zone.” Temperatures in this range (40° to 140°) allow bacteria to grow and reproduce quickly, and food stored at these temperatures for long periods can cause foodborne illness.

Thawing large roasts or turkeys might take an extended period. For every five pounds of weight, it takes 24 hours to defrost a turkey! Fortunately, chicken is a little animal, especially if you’re thawing boneless skinless chicken breasts. Each thawing method has its timetable, so keep reading to learn how to defrost chicken using the USDA’s three techniques.

4 Ways To Thaw chicken

1. Coldwater bath

This list begins with a procedure that has been tested and confirmed in professional kitchens all across the world. This process, also known as the cold water bath, is one of the quickest and most influential in preserving the quality of the meat. Fresh meat always tastes better than defrosted poultry, but this procedure preserves a lot of the flavor and texture you’d get if you cooked the chicken from scratch.
This method takes 30 minutes to thaw 2 pounds (900 grams) of chicken flesh and doesn’t require additional cooking equipment.

Submerge your meat in a big dish filled two-thirds or three-quarters full of cold water. Refill the water every 10 minutes to keep it fresh and at a perfect chilly temperature. It will take longer to cook a complete chicken than thighs, wings, or breasts. Separate the bird as it thaws to speed things along to get around this. Due to this, water will be able to get into more regions of the bird, including the cavities. Use cold water as often as possible. This will help prevent the meat from reaching the dangerous temperature range of 40°F to 140°F, where germs thrive.

2. Microwave

Microwaving meat has been tried and tested for years and is one of the most widely used defrosting meat. While this approach is quick, taking only 5 to 10 minutes necessitates your whole attention while defrosting. It’s easy to get carried away with this procedure and start cooking rather than thawing. This can destroy the texture of your meat, making it extremely tough and exposing it to microbial growth. You must get this right. It will be ruined if the temperature is too high or the microwave duration is too lengthy.

The meat’s ice will melt into water and then steam, cooking it from the inside out. Every one to two minutes, check the meat to see if it has defrosted. Transfer it to your grill or oven to finish cooking once it’s ready.
Take care. This procedure is only suitable for skinless, boneless chicken breasts and not any other bone-containing bird sections. If your microwave doesn’t have a defrost function, I recommend using the medium-low setting for two to three minutes. Turn the chicken over and microwave on low for an additional two minutes per pound of breast meat. Stop the microwave every minute and flip it until it has thawed and is ready to cook.

Although the microwave is one of the quickest and most convenient cooking methods, it runs the risk of overcooking and spoiling meat. It also won’t work with any bone-in chicken piece, such as the wing or thigh.

3. Hot Water Stream

Hot water is a great last choice if you don’t have access to a cold water bath or a microwave. You’ll need an accurate meat thermometer to obtain the most outstanding results because you’ll need to get your temperature readings dead-on. As I previously stated, chicken meat temperatures between 40°F and 140°F risk allowing germs to grow, putting you at danger of food poisoning.

The difference between this and cooking cold chicken is that the high temperatures on a grill or oven mean that the meat is only in this temperature range for a brief period, allowing bacteria to proliferate. A similar idea can be used to the use of hot water. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest portion of the chicken’s flesh in a large mixing basin. Maintain a steady stream of hot water over the meat. Allowing it to sit in hot water causes the water to cool, rendering it useless. To avoid the impact of bacteria on the surface of the chicken, cook it as soon as possible after thawing it.

4. Slow Cooker

Okay, so this isn’t precisely thawing, but some types of cooking can be done directly from frozen. Slow-cooking meals (such as stews, curries, and soups) are excellent examples. These methods immerse the meat in heated temperatures, allowing it to cook without becoming a breeding ground for bacteria.

Tips For Thawing Chicken

Here are some essential points for thawing chicken:

  • If you don’t have time to wait for the chicken to thaw in the refrigerator, you can thaw it in a bowl of cold water in the sink. Avoid using warm water, as this can cause bacteria to grow.
  • If you’re thawing a large piece of poultry, you can do it in a single sitting. Ideally, it will take about two hours per kilogram or one hour per pound. After the taw is complete, you can serve the chicken immediately.
  • Removing a sizeable whole chicken from the freezer is essential when you’ve thawed it. Do not leave the chicken on a counter for hours, and the food will start to thaw in a few hours. Remember that you should not leave the chicken out on the counter for that long. To avoid the risk of bacteria growth, use a sterile bowl and clean it with mild bleach.
  • If you aren’t sure how to thaw a whole chicken, you can use a plastic bag, and it’ll thaw in an hour or two, depending on the size of the chicken. It’s best to avoid putting the frozen meat directly on the countertop as this can cause bacterial growth and food poisoning.
  • If you cannot thaw a whole chicken in a refrigerator, you can thaw it in a bowl of cold water in your kitchen. The water temperature should not be too hot or too cold because it can promote bacteria growth.
  •  It is essential to check the meat regularly and change the water if it needs to reheat. When thawing a whole chicken in a bowl, you should also check the temperature of the meat.

Can You leave The chicken Out To Thaw?

According to the USDA, meat should never be thawed at room temperature or in hot water. Meat enters the food “Danger Zone” when it hits 40 degrees F when bacteria can develop and make it dangerous to eat – this can happen if it has been sitting at room temperature for more than two hours.
Frozen chicken should never be thawed in a dish of hot water or on the counter at room temperature. 1 Allowing the frozen chicken to defrost on the counter or soaking it in hot water might promote bacterial development and make people sick.

Is It Possible To Thaw Chicken In Four Hours?

How Long Should Chicken Thaw in Water? Ground chicken (or turkey) takes about an hour to thaw; a tiny amount of boneless chicken takes 1 to 2 hours to defrost; more significant amounts and larger pieces may take several hours.
After that, you’ll have to change the water every 30 minutes to keep it from warming up and reaching the danger zone. Small chicken slices should defrost in approximately one hour, but a whole chicken could take up to three hours.

Is It Possible To Refrigerate Defrosted Chicken?

When the defrosted chicken, make sure it stays cold before putting it back in the fridge. Then put it in a jar or carefully wrap it in plastic wrap and put it back in the fridge for up to two days.
Raw and cooked chicken can be safely refrozen within their respective shelf lives. Still, only refreeze raw chicken that has been thawed in the refrigerator. When handled properly, it’s safe to refreeze raw and cooked chicken within their respective shelf lives.


A large portion of chicken can take 10 minutes to a full day. Small pieces can be defrosted in an hour or two, and a more extensive package will take anywhere from two to three hours to defrost. The temperature in the refrigerator should be at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure proper thawing. Once the chicken has defrosted, it should be cooked right away or placed back in the refrigerator for another use. While a large bowl will thaw chicken more quickly than a refrigerator, it requires more attention. It would be best to use a leak-proof package to prevent water from entering the food or damaging the meat’s tissues. If you can’t find a leak-proof package, you can use a large bowl. If you thaw a whole chicken in a bowl, it will take about two hours for a pound or one kilogram.