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It’s almost dinner time and you realize that the chicken you planned to cook is a solid mass in your freezer. Is it possible, to defrost chicken in the microwave and have it ready for dinner?

Defrosting chicken can be done in various ways, and using the microwave is one of the fastest methods of doing it.

Your microwave likely comes with a quick defrost button for frozen vegetables, meats, and also frozen chicken. You can actually use this setting to defrost chicken breasts as well as thaw a whole chicken in no time. However, this may seem like an intimidating endeavor especially if you have never done it before.

Thawing chicken can actually take anywhere from an hour to over 10 hours depending on the method you use. In this article, we shall look at how to thaw chicken in the microwave fast and safely.

We shall also look at important food safety tips to have in mind as you quickly defrost your chicken. This will help you to avoid harmful bacteria from uncooked chicken that is not completely thawed.

How Safe Is It to Defrost Chicken in the Microwave?

Defrosting chicken in the microwave is likely the quickest method to thaw your chicken out for a meal. How safe is it to defrost chicken in this way? It is safe to microwave defrost chicken if you cook it immediately once fully defrosted.

Usually, when you use the microwave defrost option to defrost your whole chicken, chicken breast, or chicken thighs, the internal temperature of the chicken will start to rise. This may cause parts of the chicken to start to cook.

Partially cooked chicken can develop harmful bacteria since it has not reached optimum temperatures to kill these microorganisms.

When chicken reaches a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and above, the bacteria that was present on it before freezing starts to multiply rapidly. If the thawed chicken is left out at room temperature for 2 hours, it is likely to become unfit for consumption. So ensure that your chicken is cooked immediately after defrosting to avoid contracting foodborne illnesses.

Should you be in doubt about how to defrost your chicken in the microwave, consult its manual.

Microwaves, just like any other electrical appliance, come with a manual. You are likely to find instructions on how to defrost different foods right in your manual. Check what it says about getting your chicken perfectly thawed all the time. Follow these instructions to the tee to avoid any food safety issues as discussed earlier.

What You Need to Defrost Chicken in the Microwave

Defrosting chicken in a microwave is the fastest way to thaw your whole chicken or chicken pieces. You do not need much in terms of preparation but these are the equipment that you will require for this process:

  • A microwave with a defrost setting
  • A microwave-safe plate
  • A microwave-safe food cover
  • Your frozen chicken or chicken pieces

How to Defrost Chicken in a Microwave

To go about defrosting chicken in the microwave, follow these easy steps:

Step 1

Cleaning Hand
Photo: pixels.com

Ensure that your hands are clean first. Raw chicken can get contaminated very easily.

Step 2

Frozen Chicken
Photo: freepik.com

Next, remove the chicken from the freezer and cut it out of its package. Do not defrost it in its packaging because the plastic could melt into the meat.

Step 3

Place the chicken (or chicken breasts) on a microwave-safe plate and cover it.

Step 4

Defrost butten
Photo: manuals.plus

Check the settings on your microwave and select the defrost setting. Defrost chicken in two-minute increments per pound. Check the chicken regularly to ensure that this process does not start to cook it. Leaving it in the microwave for too long could start cooking it in parts thereby increasing the chances of bacteria growth.

Step 5

Man slicing chicken
Photo: wikihow.com

To confirm that the chicken is fully defrosted, cut into the thickest part, usually the chicken breast. Insert a clean finger and you should feel only smooth flesh without ice crystals.

Step 6

If the meat still feels icy, continue defrosting it while checking on it regularly.

Be sure that you do not use the wrong setting to defrost the chicken. Always use the defrost setting. A perfectly thawed chicken should be cooked as soon as possible after defrosting. If you are not ready to cook it, it can be refrigerated for up to two hours, after that, it could be unsafe for consumption.

3 Essential Tips to Defrost Chicken in the Microwave

Use the Correct Setting

Every microwave should have a defrost button. Do not be tempted to use the food-warming option to defrost the chicken. The defrost button sets the temperature in the microwave lower to enable the chicken to be defrosted properly and evenly. Using any other setting could start to cook the chicken and encourage bacteria growth.

Always Use a Microwave-Safe Dish

Before defrosting chicken in the microwave, you must always remove the plastic packaging it comes wrapped in. Most plastics are not microwave-safe and could leach dangerous elements and chemicals into your frozen meat or food as it defrosts.

For this reason, also, you must always use a microwave-safe plate to defrost or cook chicken. These dishes can withstand the high temperatures in the microwave, as well as long exposure to these high temperatures. A microwave-safe dish is also made using materials that will not leach into your food. Using materials that are not microwave-safe could render your chicken unsafe for consumption.

Calculate the Amount of Time to Defrost the Chicken

Defrosting chicken in the microwave is one of the fastest methods of thawing chicken used mostly by home cooks. It can be a foolproof method if you follow the correct process. One of the most important tips to observe is to defrost your bird for just the correct amount of time.

Usually, its approximate weight will determine the amount of time it will take to thaw. A whole bird will naturally take longer than chicken breasts or thighs. Food experts encourage you not to go over or under the stipulated time to ensure that your chicken will taste great when you cook it eventually.

Other Options to Defrost Chicken?

When you want to defrost frozen chicken, the method you use will determine the amount of time the defrosting process will take. There are three main ways of safely defrosting chicken. These are:

  1. Microwave Defrosting
  2. Refrigerator defrosting
  3. Cold water defrosting

Microwave Defrosting

How to Defrost Chicken in Microwave Oven

Defrosting chicken in the microwave is the quickest way to get a chicken from the frozen state to a temperature safe enough to cook it.

At the same time, this method is not the safest way of defrosting your chicken. This is because it can easily become contaminated if you do not cook it immediately after it’s fully defrosted.

The time that it takes to thaw a whole chicken in the microwave may vary depending on the make of your microwave. However, the ballpark figure is about 8 minutes per pound of chicken. Defrosting a chicken breast is faster and could take 4 minutes, with a pause midway to flip it over. Different microwave brands have a defrost setting button which you should use for this process and not the full power mode.

Refrigerator Defrosting

Defrosting chicken in the fridge may take longer but it is the safest and most recommended way to properly defrost the chicken. This method of defrosting is definitely not a quick fix for your diner so you must plan ahead.

First off, you will take your chicken out of the freezer and place it in a ziplock or plastic bag. Place your chicken on a plate to prevent any juices that may leak out from contaminating any food in your fridge. The ideal amount of time to defrost chicken this way is to keep it in the fridge overnight.

However, the ballpark figure for defrosting chicken in the fridge is about 5 hours for every 450g. So do you have to cook your chicken immediately once it’s defrosted? Once your chicken is properly defrosted, you can keep it refrigerated for up to 24 hours and it will still be perfectly safe to cook and eat.

Cold Water Defrosting

How to Defrost Chicken with Cold Water

Thawing frozen chicken in cold water is simple and easy to do. This method will need the chicken to be sealed in a plastic bag. This will prevent water from seeping into the chicken and contaminating it.

Next, place the bag in a large bowl and fill it up with cold water. Ensure that the water is cold. Warm or hot water could promote bacteria growth. Change out the water every thirty minutes.

This method usually takes at least 1 hour to defrost 500g of chicken. However, check your defrosted chicken to confirm that it is fully thawed all the way before cooking it.

Frozen chicken vs. Fresh Chicken (Health Advice)

Frozen Chicken Vs Fresh Chicken

Contrary to popular belief, frozen meat is not less nutritious than fresh meat. In fact, following many debates, food experts now believe that frozen chicken may be just as nutritious as fresh chicken.

When chicken is frozen in commercial poultry plants, the process is quick and the meat is frozen with little to no ice crystal formation in the fibers. This helps to lock in all or most of the nutrients in the chicken.

However, when one buys fresh chicken to freeze at home, one may lose some of its nutrients. This is because home freezer units are not designed to freeze the meat. Rather, they work to keep frozen food in that state. Therefore, the process of freezing chicken at home takes longer which causes ice crystals to form in the fibers of the flesh. Ice will cause the chicken to lose some of its nutrients when you cook the chicken. The flavor and texture may also become compromised.

In reality, chicken, whether frozen or fresh, is a healthier alternative to red meats such as beef and lamb. The only downside to fresh chicken is its shelf life. The frozen chicken definitely lasts longer than fresh chicken.

Frozen Chicken Health Benefits

  • It keeps its nutritious juices if it is flash-frozen.
  • Contains a high mineral content of zinc and selenium.
  • Contains Vitamin E and B12.

Fresh Chicken Health Benefits

  • It is beneficial for weight loss due to its fewer calories.
  • Contains important nutrients such as protein, vitamins, and zinc.
  • Is great for proper thyroid, immune, and fertility functions because it contains selenium.
  • Plays a role in promoting brain function thanks to the B vitamins that it contains.

What We are Saying:

A microwave is a great appliance for cooking, warming, and defrosting just about anything. And defrosting chicken is one fast process that a microwave handles pretty well. So thawing your chicken in the microwave is the go-to method if you are looking for a fast way of defrosting chicken.

It has its advantages which include decreasing your cooking time by accelerating the defrosting process. Additionally, defrosting chicken in the microwave is safe for a full bird as well as different parts of the chicken such as the chicken breast.

Thanks to these easy and practical tips you can now correctly defrost chicken in the microwave, cut down on your cooking time, and enjoy wholesome delicious meals with your entire family.


Elanie has 10 years of sales experience cooking and other household appliances such as microwaves, ovens, toasters, inductions, blenders, dishwashers, ice makers, and electric pressure cookers. She has an in-depth idea about its working and its features and benefits. The long years of her experience in sales make her a reservoir of all the knowledge and ideas that can be implemented to make a sale successful. Coupled with this is her impeccable knowledge of her niche, which also emphasizes the importance of having niche-based writers in our organization. Elenie is the expert copywriter of our organization. Years of experience in sales have taught her a lot about how to sell a particular product. She can review the product and come up with the best of its features and find a way to highlight them to the finest. She is well aware of buyer psychology and knows exactly which words grab the attention of potential buyers and convert them into buying the product or appliance. Her years of sales have polished her skills in market research, through which she can gauge the customer's pain points and market the product accordingly. To take her sales online, Elenie started writing product descriptions of the appliances she would sell. It was noticed that many people were drawn to her descriptions and her copies converted brilliantly. She realized she had a lot of potential as a writer and not just a salesperson. She joined us, and she is one of the greatest assets of her organization when it comes to copywriting. Creating a product copy, writing sales descriptions, and driving your sales are what Elanie is amazing at!

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