How to Cook Frozen Chicken: Secret Tips and Techniques

Sarah Food & Recipes
29 Min Read

Imagine a situation where you come into the kitchen to prepare a meal but lo and behold! You forgot to defrost your chicken! In these trying times, you only need someone to tell you how to cook frozen chicken.

Learning ways to create masterful dishes from frozen chicken is not a difficult skill. Once you know a few tips and tricks, it opens up a world of how you can prepare convenient meals and quick and easy recipes.

Whether you’re running out of time or you simply forgot to thaw your chicken beforehand, this article will cover everything for you! Read further ahead to learn the various tips and tricks as well as recipes on how to cook your frozen chicken.

Explore this page to discover a wealth of tips and tricks that will empower you to navigate your way through the kitchen with confidence and flair

1. How to Defrost Frozen Chicken

How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts Safely | Stove & Oven Methods

1.1 Refrigerator

Step 1 of how to cook frozen chicken is to put the frozen chicken in the refrigerator. Depending upon the quantity of chicken, it might take several hours for the chicken to defrost or even overnight. If you must cook something the next day, this is a great way to thaw your chicken.

1.2 Cold Water

Now put the chicken in a bowl of cold water. Submerge it for 30 minutes. After the specified time, change the water. This will be the safest and relatively easy way to thaw your chicken. This method takes anywhere between 2 to 3.5 hours, depending on the quantity. Well,  that is the way of how to cook frozen chicken.

1.3 Microwave

You should be aware of and adhere to certain safety measures when operating a microwave. To begin, employ the defrost function on your microwave for thawing the frozen chicken. The chicken should be used immediately after thawing. This is because sometimes, the chicken starts cooking during the thawing process.

How to cook forzen chicken
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A safety note to make is that the safe internal temperature upon which you should cook your chicken is always 165°F or 74°C. This is to ensure the prevention of any foodborne illness.

2. How to Cook Frozen Chicken: Prevention and Safety

You need to be very careful when you’re cooking with frosted chicken. There are many steps you need to take to make sure that your loved ones are enjoying a delicious meal that is risk-free and tasty. This part of the article lists some essential safety guidelines.

2.1 Thawing Properly – How to cook Frozen Chicken

Leaving the chicken unattended for a while promotes bacterial growth. some of the easiest ways to thaw a chicken are to use the refrigerator, cold water, or microwave. Avoid leaving the frozen protein at room temperature for a significantly long period, as it can lead to the development of harmful bacteria.

How to cook frozen Chicken
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2.3 Internal Temperature

If you are still unsure of whether it’s safe to use the frozen chicken after thawing, then use a reliable thermometer. The safe internal temperature upon a meat thermometer to which you should cook your chicken is always 165°F or 74°C. This is to ensure the prevention of any foodborne illness.

If you are reheating cooked frozen chicken on medium-high heat, then it should reach the same internal temperature as mentioned above. Avoid prolonged exposure to room temperature for cooked frozen chicken.

how to cook frozen chicken
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2.3 Cross Contamination

A lot of harmful bacteria are present in raw food. Therefore while thawing or cooking such food, ensure that they are kept separate from other substances and ingredients. Use a separate cutting board and other utensils while handling raw chicken or any other kind of meat.

2.4 Hygiene

Ensure that you wash your hands properly, even after you’ve touched the raw chicken or before you touch anything else. Wash the counter and any other utensils that touched the raw meat before using them for something else.

How to Cook frozen Chicken
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2.5 Dryness

Frozen chicken is prone to developing dryness. This is why, you should make use of sauces and marinades to elevate your cooking with them.

2.6 Leftover

You thawed chicken, you cooked it and now there are leftovers? It is important to refrigerate them within one or two hours of cooking. Additionally, consume them within the next few days. Avoid storing them in the refrigerator for an extended period.

2.7 Is it Safe to Cook Frozen Chicken

How to cook frozen chicken
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You may even do so as long as you adhere to certain guidelines. One of the greatest tasks of cooking frozen chicken is to ensure that you are handling it properly. This concern arises because you do not want to develop any foodborne illness.

That is why it is important to walk through the safety and prevention steps mentioned above. Keep in mind to prioritize hygiene to ensure a safe meal for everyone.

3. Salvaging Undercooked or Overcooked Frozen Chicken – How to Cook Frozen Chicken

How To Check A Roasted Chicken

3.1 How to Cook Frozen Chicken: Salvaging Overcooked Chicken

Overcooked chicken has that dryness that becomes difficult to swallow. One way to easily overcome this slight mishap is to shred or slice your chicken. You can use these slices or shreds after mixing them with marinades or sauces. The feeling of overcooked chicken will be barely noticeable.

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Image by Leo Fontes from Pixabay/ Copyright 2018

You can also serve them with gravy, or a creamy sauce. These are moisture-boosting sauces and will help you enhance the flavor of your overcooked chicken. You can consider braiding your overcooked chicken with some broth or wine. This will add back some moisture and also tenderize the meat.

Lastly, you can use your overcooked chicken as a protein for soups and stews. Add it to any brothy dish to salvage the overcooked chicken.

3.2 How to Cook Frozen Chicken: Salvaging Undercooked Chicken

Salvaging undercooked chicken becomes easier than salvaging Overcooked chicken cooking times. You can simply finish cooking it and check whether the chicken reaches internal temperature has reached 165°F. However, sometimes, it is stressful when there are large pieces of chicken in the oven that are undercooked.

One way to deal with this is to simply cut the chicken into smaller pieces. This exposes the undercooked part and helps in cooking. Otherwise, you can also slice the large pieces of chicken and grill or bake them separately.

We do know that salvaging an undercooked or overcooked kitchen doesn’t bring it back to its original quality of taste. However, employing these tips and tricks can help you enhance the flavor slightly. Additionally, you can also pair it with the right ingredients and use it correctly so that it doesn’t ruin the taste of a meal.

4. How to Cook Frozen Chicken: Recipes

4.1 How to Cook Frozen Chicken Thighs in an Instant Pot

The Best Instant Pot Chicken Thighs

4.1.1 Ingredients

  • 4-6 frozen chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 2 teaspoons of onion powder and an equal amount of paprika.
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric and an equal amount of coriander powder
  • Four minced garlic cloves.
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Thyme, to taste
  • Rosemary, to taste

4.1.2 Instructions

  1. Preliminary work: Take out the frozen chicken thighs. Make sure that they are separated. You don’t need to thaw them.
  2. Seasoning: Prepare the spices listed above in the ingredients list. That is, mix garlic, onion powder, pepper powder, paprika, turmeric, coriander powder, lemon juice, and other herbs in a bowl.
  3. Rub the seasoning: Take the spices that you have prepared and rub it carefully on both sides of the chicken thighs.
  4. Preparing the instant pot: Your instant must have come with a trivet. To set up the cooking process, insert the metal trivet into the instant pot and pour 1 cup of either vegetable or chicken broth into the bottom of the pan.
  5. Cooking: Place the chicken thighs on the mental trivet. Arrange them such that they do not pile on top of each other. Close the lid and seal the valve. Now you can select the manual setting program on your instant pot and set the time for around 12-14 minutes. If you’re using chicken with bones, it will take a little bit more time.
  6. Release pressure: This process usually takes around 11-12 minutes at a minimum or up to 15 minutes at a maximum. After this, you can turn the valve to a venting position. This will allow you to naturally release any more high pressure if remaining.
  7. For extra precaution, you can measure the optimal internal temperature of the chicken. The safe internal temperature upon which you should cook your chicken is always 165°F or 74°C. This is the correct temperature to ensure the prevention of any foodborne illness. Serve hot!

4.2 How to Turn Frozen Chicken into Kung Pao Chicken

Juicy chicken breast that is tender and succulent in one bite? Sometimes it is difficult to attain the tender texture of a frozen chicken. However, if you are someone facing this difficulty then this recipe will give you proper guidance.

Kung Pao Chicken

4.2.1 Ingredients

  • 2-3 frozen chicken breasts,
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
  • 2-3 dried red chili peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of ginger, grated
  • 1 medium-sized onion, diced
  • four tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • 0.5 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • Green onions, chopped for garnish

4.2.1 Instructions

  1. Thaw the Chicken: We have listed a set list of instructions about how to thaw your frozen chicken. Employ these tips and techniques to ensure that your chicken is properly thawed and ready for cooking
  2. Cutting: After defrosting the chicken, cut it into bite-size pieces.
  3. The Sauce: For the kung pao chicken sauce preparation, grab a small bowl and combine all the ingredients.
  4. Sauté: Take a well-seasoned wok and place it on medium-low heat. Add some vegetable oil and heat it properly. Add in your diced onions and half of the chopped garlic and half of the grated ginger. Set aside the remaining to cook with the chicken. Once you can smell the fragrance of the garlic, add the red, green, and yellow bell peppers and sauté them for 2-3 minutes until they soften.
  5. Cook the Chicken: Remove the cooked vegetables and add a little bit of oil in the same skillet. Now add in the chicken and the remaining garlic and ginger. Add in the dried red chili peppers and stir fry until they are soft and cooked. Get your rice going into the rice cooker at this step if you want to eat rice with this.
  6. Add the Sauce: Adding the sauce comes next after cooking the chicken. Drizzle the prepared sauce over the cooked chicken and thoroughly mix it in. The sauce will slowly start to thicken. Add the unsalted peanuts and sauté additionally. If your sauce is thickening too quickly, you can lower the heat. After this, you can combine the cooked vegetables and toss everything well.

5. How to Cook Frozen Chicken Wings?

Follow these steps to ensure that your frozen chicken wings remain succulent and juicy even after freezing them:

5.1 How to Cook Frozen Chicken Wings in Oven

In an oven method frozen chicken has traditionally been prepared. No air frying equipment or an instant pot method is needed! It can always have great chicken flavor.

How to cook frozen chicken
By Zhekos on Unlimphotos

5.1.1 Prep

Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.  Use a baking tray. Next, position a wire rack on top of the baking sheet. Placing a wire rack is essential because it allows your chicken wings to cook evenly and thoroughly.

5.1.2 Arrangement

Place the chicken wings on the wire rack. Keep some space between them.  This will guarantee that you get crispy chicken wings.

5.1.3 Season

Season the wings with all the flavors you all. Lemon and herbs, spicy chili garlic, or tangy orange and soy sauce. The call is yours!

5.1.4 Bake

The time of cooking may increase depending on the number of wings you’re putting into the oven to cook. At the midpoint of the cooking time, you can flip them. Doing so will guarantee that the wings are thoroughly cooked and crispy on both sides.

5.1.5 Check the Internal Temperature

The safe internal temperature upon which you should cook your chicken is always 165°F or 74°C. This is to ensure the prevention of any foodborne illness.

5.1.6 Sauce

Add a sauce of your choice if desired. Mix the sauce well with the wings so that it coats the wings thoroughly. Then, you can return it to the oven for a brief period to allow the sauce to set. Alternatively, you can just mix the sauce with the wings and serve them hot, without putting them back into the oven.

5.2 How to Cook Frozen Chicken Wings in Air Fryer?

5.2.1 Prep

Firstly, preheat your air fryer to 375°F or 190°C. That is way to prepare on how to cook frozen chicken.

5.2.2 Season Your Frozen Chicken

Now, take your frozen chicken wings and start seasoning them. Ensure that each wing is separate from the others and not adhering together. You can choose any of your preferred seasonings. Lemon and herbs, spicy chili garlic, or tangy orange and soy sauce. The call is yours!

How to cook frozen Chicken
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5.2.3 Cook

It will take approximately 25-30 minutes to thoroughly cook your chicken wings. Shake the air fryer basket halfway through. This action will ensure that you cook the chicken wings evenly and throughout. When done, check if the wings are fully cooked and crispy.

5.2.4 Precaution

The safe internal temperature of your chicken is always 165°F or 74°C. This is to ensure the prevention of any foodborne illness.

5.2.5 Sauce

Use spicy tabasco sauce or your favorite wing sauce like buffalo sauce, barbeque sauce, garlic and herb sauce, and sweet and sour sauce to elevate the flavor of your chicken wings.

These were two methods through which you can cook your frozen chicken. Make sure to follow the safety and precautionary tips we have highlighted at the beginning of this article. This will ensure that the heart meal you’re cooking for yourself and others is completely risk-free and healthy.

6. How to Cook Frozen Chicken Thighs

Need to prepare a meal but you forgot to thaw your chicken out of the freezer? Whether you’re running late or have decided to change plans and need to cook a last-minute dinner, frozen thighs can be your chosen source of protein! Frozen Chicken Thighs are versatile and with a few tips and tricks on the cooking method, you will be a pro at cooking them in no time.

6.1 How to Cook Frozen Chicken Thighs on Stove Top

6.1.1 Thaw

Please note that even if you can still thaw your chicken even slightly, it will be easy to cook it.

6.1.2 Seasoning

Simple seasoning with salt, pepper, and some herbs will do if you’re looking for a quick and easy fix. You can rub some spicy marinade or taco seasoning. You can also season your chicken with some lemon, cayenne, soy sauce, salt, garlic, and ginger.

how to cook black rice
Image by Jan Kuss from Pixabay

6.1.3 Cooking

Take a frying pan or a skillet and place it on the stove. Heat some oil. Now you can take your seasoned chicken thighs and place them into the skillet and cook it while each side looks brown. Cooking each side of the chicken thighs will take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Once each side of the thighs is brown, you can reduce the heat.

6.1.4 Add Liquid

We still need to cook the chicken thoroughly and completely from the inside. For this, you can add a liquid of your choice to the skillet or frying pan. Add chicken or vegetable broth or water or both! Wine is also an excellent liquid to add to your chicken thighs. Adding broth will help you to cook your frozen chicken thoroughly and evenly. This step will also help prevent the meat from becoming less tender.

6.1.5 Simmer

Now you can place a lid on the skillet or frying pan and let the broth simmer with the chicken thighs. It might take you a little more time, depending on the size and quantity of chicken thighs. The safe internal temperature upon which you should cook your chicken is always 165°F or 74°C. This is to ensure the prevention of any foodborne illness. An additional method to verify the chicken’s doneness is to ensure that when you cut the meat, there is no pink color present.

6.1.6 Serve

Once the chicken thighs are fully cooked through, you can let it rest for a few moments before serving. You can serve this with rice, roasted vegetables, or even some steamed vegetables. The call is yours!

Remember that the time mentioned here is the average time it takes to cook frozen chicken thighs. The time may vary for everyone depending upon the thickness of the meat, the size, the quantity, and even the heat settings of your stovetop. The best method is to check it with a thermometer. You can also check if the meat is pink. It’s not ready if it is.

6.2 How to Cook Frozen Chicken Thighs Using Oven Method

For this recipe, all you need is your chicken thighs, some cooking oil, and seasonings of your choice.

6.2.1 Prep

It’s always better to thaw your chicken at least partially before you start cooking them. But if you do not have the time for this and you need to make a quick meal, then you can skip that. Start with preheating your oven.

How to cook frozen chicken
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6.2.2 Line the Baking Sheet

Arrange the frozen chicken thighs on the lined baking sheet. While doing this, do guarantee that there is a space between.

6.2.3 Seasoning

Now, you can drizzle some olive oil on the frozen chicken thighs. Make sure that the olive oil covers all parts of the chicken. This is an extra precaution. While the olive oil will help the seasonings to stick to the chicken, it will also prevent the chicken thighs from sticking to the baking sheet. Covering the chicken thighs with olive oil will also ensure crispy browning when you cook it in the oven. Now you can season the chicken thighs with your preferred seasonings.

6.2.4 Cooking

They take around 45-50 minutes to cook. But the cooking time may also vary if you have used chicken thighs with bones. You need to flip the chicken thighs to ensure even cooking.

6.2.5 Check

To check whether your chicken is fully cooked and done, you can simply slice it and check. If the meat appears pink in color, it still requires cooking; if it doesn’t have a pink hue, it is considered done. Additionally, you can also use a thermometer. The safe internal temperature of a cooked chicken is always 165°F or 74°C. This is to ensure the prevention of any foodborne illness.

6.2.6 Rest

Do not serve them immediately once they are out of the oven. Rest them before you serve them. Resting the chicken once it’s out of the oven allows the juices in the meat to redistribute. It ensures the tender and succulent texture of the meat. It leaves your chicken thighs flavourful.

7. How to Cook Frozen Chicken Legs Using a Grill?

7.1 Thaw

Please note that even if you can still thaw your chicken even slightly, it will be easy to cook it.

7.2 Seasoning

You can season your chicken legs with any seasoning you like. One is a mixture of lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, cayenne, and cumin powder, and This involves ensuring that you clean and oil the grates thoroughly. Doing this beforehand is an essential step.

How to Cook Frozen Chicken
By Zhekos on Unlimphotos

Once you have prepared your grill, you can now heat it on medium-high. Direct heat simply means that it’s the area on the grill where the food will receive heat directly from the flames and burner. It is the area where the flames and burner are. Indirect heat is the area where there are no flames and burners. So the grill does not have a direct source of heat under the food. However, it should still be too hot to touch. 

7.23 Direct Heat Searing

You can place your seasoned chicken legs on the direct heat zone of the grill. Sear them on all sides for approximately 5 to 7 minutes per side. Do not leave them unattended and keep turning them occasionally. Ensure that you properly sear your chicken legs. They should have a delicious brown crusty layer.

7.4 Transitioning to Indirect Heat

As the chicken legs were frozen, simply searing them wouldn’t guarantee a thorough cooking all the way through. You need to move the seared chicken legs from direct heat to the indirect heat zone of the grill. At this point, close the grill lid. The chicken legs will retain their moisture under the covered lid

You can apply barbecue sauce to the chicken legs, basting them for extra flavor. You can toss the chicken legs in your favorite sauces like buffalo sauce, spicy sriracha, lemon, and herbs, or garlic and honey. After this, you can grill it for an additional 10 minutes. This will enhance the flavor.

7.5  Serve

After cooking the chicken legs, keep them aside to rest. This will redistribute the monster and ensure that the meat is tender and juicy. Serve hot and enjoy!

8. Conclusion

It is easy to learn how to cook frozen chicken.  Sometimes, in a lapse of time, you can forget to get the chicken out of the freezer. During these trying times, all you need is a quick easy way to cook a meal without thawing the chicken. This article comes to help you in these moments of weakness.  For your convenience, we have also listed different ways to cook other parts of the chicken.

Whether you want to grill your chicken legs or need an instant pot recipe for your chicken breasts, don’t worry! This article has a remedy for all. Hope you have learnt how to cook frozen chicken.

Last Updated on by ditz1010

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1 Comment
  • Thanks, author, for being a savior. Yes, once, I, too, forgot to get my chicken out of the freezer. This complete guide on how to cock frozen chicken is so worthy and tempting. I have planned to try out this recipe for a Christmas party for my friends by using grill and adding the listed items in it.

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