Having frozen chicken in the fridge can be a lifesaver. You can quickly thaw and cook it in many ways.
They’re best for sandwiches, soup, pasta, and casseroles. But what if you change your mind? Can you refreeze chicken? Is it safe to put the thawed chicken back in the freezer? This article will answer these pressing questions and more.
Can You Refreeze Chicken?
The best answer is yes; you can refreeze chicken. However, it all depends if it underwent proper thawing procedures. Generally, you can refreeze the chicken you’ve thawed in the fridge. But you only have up to two days to put it back in the freezer.
If you thawed the chicken in the microwave, you must cook it before refreezing. Thawing in the microwave may already cook or warm some chicken parts.
According to the US Department of Agriculture’s regulations, chicken must reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. It is the safe cooking temperature for this protein.
Lastly, you can also refreeze chicken thawed in water. However, it would help if you also cooked it. You can only consider poultry products safe if they remain consistently cold. Thawing in water significantly lowers the chicken’s temperature.
Is it safe to refreeze Chicken?
Yes, it’s safe to refreeze chicken as long as it follows safe thawing methods. However, you might notice changes in the protein’s texture and quality. Thawing can result in moisture loss, making it seem drier than usual.
Cooked, frozen, and thawed chicken is also safe to refreeze. You may store food if you have thawed it in the fridge. However, you only have three to four days to freeze the chicken portions.
You can also refreeze frozen chicken you bought from the grocery store or market. However, you need to ensure that sellers have handled them properly.
What are the safety guidelines for refreezing Chicken?
Here are some factors that can dictate your meat’s safety.
- Proper handling before freezing the chicken for the first time: You need to begin with chicken that’s been handled correctly from the start. The cutting tools used for the meat and its container should be clean.
- Immediate refreezing after thawing: You must refreeze refrigerator-thawed Chicken within a two-hour time frame. Going beyond that isn’t safe anymore.
- Right cooking temperature and methods: Please ensure that the Chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit when cooking.
- Safe handling of leftovers: If leftovers stay at 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s best to freeze them within an hour. Please ensure there is no cross-contamination with raw meat.
How to Thaw Chicken
Proper thawing significantly affects the safety of refrozen chicken. As you may have noticed, we have mentioned it quite a few times in this article. Food safety experts can’t emphasize it enough. So, how do you thaw chicken the safe way? This guide will show you how.
3 Ways to Thaw Chicken
The following are the safest ways to thaw proteins based on the USDA guidelines.
Thawing in the refrigerator is the safest way. However, it would help if you planned since it can take one to two days for the meat to defrost.
Please take note that the ideal thawing temperature is 4.4°C or 40°F. It would be best to place the frozen chicken pack in a container or plastic bag to avoid cross-contamination with other food in the fridge.
You can wait for a maximum of two days before cooking the chicken. So, don’t worry if you still can’t think of what chicken dish to make with it. Please note that it can safely stay in the fridge for 48 hours.
This kitchen appliance is a great idea, especially when you’re in a hurry. First, put the frozen meat in a microwave-safe container. Then, pop it in the microwave and use the defrost setting to heat the meat. Please rotate the dish to ensure even thawing.
It’s best to cook the microwave-defrosted protein right away. Then, clean the appliance thoroughly after using it. If you have no time to cook, cook it thoroughly before refreezing. You can sear it in a skillet or boil it. Whatever method you choose must ensure it reaches the ideal internal temperature.
3. Water Bath
Place the chicken in sealed packaging that’s guaranteed leak-proof. Then, dunk the frozen chicken in a bowl full of cold water. Remember to change the water every half hour. The goal is not to let the temperature go up. Otherwise, your chicken will not be safe for consumption.
What is the worst way to defrost chicken?
Defrosting on a countertop is not a good idea. Never leave frozen food at room temperature, even if you plan to cook it later. Bacteria love room temp, so thawing on the kitchen counter is not safe.
View this video to learn the steps in thawing chicken.
How to Refreeze Chicken
Food safety is a crucial part of cooking. Whether you’re cooking for business or your loved ones, you must ensure pathogens can’t thrive on your food. Refreezing chicken can be pretty tricky. However, you can do it properly using the following tips.
- Refreeze the meat as soon as you can. Refreezing it at its highest quality ensures it will taste and feel as fresh as the day you bought it.
- Avoid slow freezing. To avoid ice crystals, try to freeze the chicken as quickly as possible. When this happens, the chicken will turn out dry and tough. The meat’s structure can get damaged during the slow freeze. The solution to this problem is to freeze the protein in a shallow dish. It can speed up the process.
- Make sure to store the meat at -18°C or lower. This temperature can help prevent the chicken from spoiling. It will also help retain the chicken’s quality.
- Place the chicken in a spill-proof and air-tight container. Storing the proteins in the proper packaging can prevent freezer burn. Freezer burn can adversely affect the chicken’s texture, color, and taste.
- It’s best to remove the meat from its original grocery-store packaging before refreezing it. This practice can help seal in the chicken’s flavor and moisture.
- Squeeze out the air before sealing the container. Then wrap it in aluminum foil to protect the meat from freezer burn. Following this tip ensures your chicken will not become dull and grey.
These freezing tips ensure your refrozen chicken can last up to twelve months in the freezer. However, it’s best to consume it before the 9th-month mark to achieve excellent quality.
What shouldn’t you do when refreezing Chicken?
Some situations are not advisable when refreezing chicken. Knowing them can protect you from having spoiled or poor-quality Chicken.
- Don’t immediately freeze the chicken you’ve thawed in the microwave. The safest way is to cook it until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Never refreeze chicken you’ve thawed on a countertop or at room temperature.
- Don’t combine cooked and raw chicken in one container. It is not safe to refreeze these together.
How to Cook Refrozen Chicken
Now you know how to refreeze, thaw, and store chicken safely. It’s time to find out ways to prepare it. It’s nice to know you can serve your poultry dish after exerting all efforts to keep it safe.
Do you need to rinse refrozen Chicken?
It is not advisable to rinse thawed and refrozen chicken before cooking it. There might be some bacteria still lurking in the meat. Washing it in the sink may contaminate utensils and other food on your countertop. You don’t have to worry because cooking the chicken will eliminate bacteria.
What are the changes that can happen to refrozen Chicken?
Refrozen chicken may undergo some changes. If you know what will happen to the chicken after refreezing, you can adjust your cooking methods. Thawing meat can make chicken dry out. Meanwhile, freezing makes proteins lose moisture content. So imagine the amount of water lost when you thaw and freeze it again.
You may also notice some freezer burn when chicken you refreeze chicken. Improper storage can cause some discoloration as well. However, you don’t have to worry about following the proper thawing and refreezing methods.
What are some recipe ideas for refrozen chicken?
Do you want more recipe ideas for your refrozen chicken? Well, we have good news for you. You can use the following recipes the next time you have frozen chicken in your fridge.
- Baked Chicken Enchiladas: This Mexican fare is perfect for busy nights. All you need is to assemble the ingredients in a casserole dish. The mixture of cheese, tomatoes, and spices can easily brighten up your dinner time.
- Kung Pao Chicken Stir-Fry: You don’t have to order from a restaurant to satisfy your Chinese food cravings. This easy recipe requires frozen or fresh chicken breast.
- Chicken Noodle Soup: Chicken Noodle Soup is popular comfort food. It can boost your immune system and alleviate flu symptoms.
- Chicken Sandwich: This dish is perfect for any time of the day. They’re best for packed lunches or quick in-between-work meals.
So, can you refreeze chicken? Sure you can! There are some guidelines that you need to follow. However, handling it is still manageable. It would help to follow the rules to ensure you’re serving the best and safest chicken dish possible.