How to Defrost Chicken in the Microwave

The microwave is an excellent cooking solution for today’s busy life. It’s beneficial when you want to thaw meat as fast as possible. This article will show you how to defrost chicken in the microwave. So, you don’t have to worry when you forget to bring your frozen chicken from the fridge.

Can You Defrost Chicken in the Microwave?

Can You Defrost Chicken in the Microwave

Yes, it’s okay to defrost chicken using your microwave. It’s an easy and quick solution for busy lunch or dinner preparations. However, you must watch it closely to ensure complete and safe defrosting.

What are the steps in defrosting chicken in the microwave?

The microwave is a reasonably straightforward kitchen appliance. So, using it can be a breeze. All you need is to follow these few simple steps to defrost your chicken.

  1. Take out the chicken from its packaging.
  2. If there’s no indicated weight in the frozen chicken’s packaging, you must weigh the chicken first. It’s best to use a kitchen scale.
  3. Lay down the frozen chicken pieces on a microwave-safe dish. Place up to two pieces of chicken only on the plate.
  4. Program the timer using this formula: 2 minutes per pound of chicken. Then, hit the “defrost” button.
  5. Monitor the process and pause the microwave every two minutes. It is to check if the chicken is defrosting correctly.
  6. Rotate the dish. Then,  flip the chicken pieces to ensure even defrosting. Break some thawing pieces apart if necessary.
  7. If the chicken is already thawed, you may stop defrosting even if you haven’t reached the 8-minute mark.
  8. Remove the dish from the microwave.
  9. Clean the walls and floor of the microwave to ensure no chicken juices are left. These juices can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

How long can you defrost chicken in the microwave?

Every pound of chicken requires 2 minutes in the microwave. However, the amount of time it needs to defrost depends on the following factors:

  • The number of chicken pieces
  • Microwave wattage
  • The thickness of each frozen piece

Perhaps you’ll appreciate a more visual set of instructions in this video.

What are the dos and don’ts of defrosting chicken in the microwave?

  • Please don’t leave the chicken in the microwave for long, as it will dry it out.
  • Cook the defrosted chicken immediately after microwaving it. Leaving it on the countertop or placing it back in the refrigerator may enable bacteria to breed.
  • Don’t forget to clean the microwave and the dish after using them. Chicken juices are bacteria’s favorite breeding ground.
  • Don’t overcrowd the microwavable dish. Doing so will lead to incomplete defrosting.

Is it Safe to Defrost Chicken in the  Microwave?

Is it Safe to Defrost Chicken in the  Microwave

Generally, it is safe to defrost chicken in the microwave. However, it is essential to cook the meat immediately after it. When raw meat shifts from frozen to warm, it starts to go into the danger zone. It is a condition where bacteria grow fast, thrive, and multiply.

How can you ensure proper defrosting?

The general rule to ensure the chicken defrosted correctly is to monitor the time. You may use the following table as a guide.

Chicken Piece Weight Recommended Defrosting Time
Small chicken breast 1-2 lbs 4-6 minutes
Large chicken 4-5 lbs 8-12 minutes

How to tell if the chicken defrosted correctly?

How to tell if the chicken defrosted correctly

The following are ways to tell if the chicken has adequately defrosted.

1. Use your sense of touch

You can always really on your hands to test if the chicken thawed adequately. Use the back of your hands to feel the chicken’s temperature. If it is still cold to the touch, then defrost it some more.

Remember that you are aiming for a temperature of below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If the meat feels warm, there’s a chance you’ve defrosted too much. You need to cook chicken immediately after it has reached room temperature.

2. Test with your finger

Another way to test for proper defrosting is to test with your finger. First, get the thickest piece of chicken from the dish. The breast is the most recommended part.

Then, make a small slice and insert your finger into the meat. The chicken has appropriately defrosted if it is soft to the touch. There should also be no more ice crystals that remain on the meat.

3. Assess the texture

Touch the meat and observe its texture. If it’s hard and stiff, then the chicken is still frozen. You can also try bending chicken fingers. If it cracks, then you still have frozen meat in your hands.

4. Use a knife

Slice into the meat using a sharp knife. You can tell if the meat thawed with minimal resistance as you cut through it. If it’s difficult to slice the meat, then it’s time to defrost it more in the microwave.

5. Observe the color

Thawed chicken is usually pinkish. Meanwhile, frozen chicken appears opaque or off-white.

What’s the Problem with Defrosting Chicken in the Microwave?

What’s the Problem with Defrosting Chicken in the Microwave

Defrosting chicken in the microwave can be fast and convenient. However, some problems may arise if you don’t follow instructions correctly. The following are common mistakes associated with thawing frozen chicken in the microwave.

Defrosting the chicken for a long time

Leaving the chicken to defrost in the microwave longer than recommended can lead to some issues. If this happens, the chicken may seem cooked outside but frozen inside. When chicken is cooked unevenly, bacteria may start to breed rapidly.

Thawing the chicken and then storing it without cooking

One dangerous mistake is to thaw the meat and then store or refreeze it immediately. The FDA advises against this practice. Harmful bacteria can breed on the thawed chicken, so it’s best to cook it once it’s defrosted.

Forgetting to check the chicken often

Not checking the chicken every two minutes during defrosting may dry or cook it unevenly. The recommended time is not final. It’s still up to you to check if the meat thawed to your liking.

How to prevent problems in defrosting chicken in the microwave?

Although problems may arise when defrosting chicken in the microwave, there are ways to prevent them. You can ensure a safe and easy way of thawing your frozen meat with these tips:

5 Tips for Defrosting Chicken in the Microwave

  1. Always check the microwave manual before defrosting the chicken. Various microwave brands and models have different settings, so it’s best to refer to the official instructions.
  2. Don’t leave the kitchen while defrosting if possible. Checking the chicken often is the key to ensuring you get evenly thawed meat.
  3. Take the chicken out of its original packaging. It is not safe to microwave styrofoam or plastic wrapper.
  4. It’s best to use ceramic or glass dishes to hold your chicken inside the microwave. If you want to use plastic, make sure it is microwave-safe.
  5. Clean the microwave’s interiors and the thawing dish immediately after using them. Remember that raw chicken juices can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

Can you refreeze the chicken defrosted in the microwave?

It’s not safe to refreeze chicken thawed in the microwave. Bacteria can breed quickly in room-temperature chicken. It’s best to cook it before storing it to kill harmful pathogens.

How to Thaw Chicken Without the Defrost Button

Some microwave models do not have a defrost button. If this sounds like your appliance, you need not worry. You can still thaw your frozen chicken in it. All you need to do is to program the microwave to 30 to 50% power capacity.

This setting will prevent cooking the chicken on the surface while the inside remains frozen. After programming the microwave’s power setting, you can proceed to the abovementioned steps.

How do you defrost chicken without a microwave?

How do you defrost chicken without a microwave

Suppose you don’t have a microwave at home. Perhaps there’s a power interruption. Well, you can still defrost your chicken safely and efficiently. Check out the following methods you can use for thawing meat.

Thawing chicken in a water bath

It is probably the easiest way to thaw your chicken. Check out the following steps in thawing chicken in a water bath.

  1. Drop your frozen chicken pieces in a leak-proof plastic bag. A sealed container prevents cross-contamination.
  2. Set the bag of chicken in a clean basin or mixing bowl. Make sure it is large enough to accommodate the meat and water.
  3. Carefully pour cold water into the basin. Ensure that it is enough to submerge the plastic bag. Please make sure always to use cold water. Hot or warm water may cook the chicken meat unevenly. This condition is not safe since bacteria may thrive on it.
  4. Check the meat frequently to see if it’s defrosting correctly. Then, ensure to change the water for half hour.

Defrosting chicken in the refrigerator

Another option is to thaw the chicken inside the refrigerator. It is one of the best options since the meat can safely defrost at a controlled temperature. However, it would help if you prepared for it in advance. The process takes time, so it’s not advisable when you’re in a hurry to cook your meal.

Here are the steps to defrost chicken in the fridge:

  1. Place the packed chicken in a plastic container or glass dish.
  2. Cover it to avoid contamination with other food inside the fridge.
  3. Leave it inside the refrigerator.
  4. It takes 24 hours to thaw frozen chicken in the fridge completely.

Please watch this video to learn more about defrosting chicken without a microwave.


It’s nice to know how to defrost chicken in the microwave. The knowledge can be handy when you want to prepare your frozen chicken immediately. For example, you have unexpected guests or crave a delicious chicken meal.

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