Defrosting Chicken In The Microwave

So, have you considered how to defrost chicken in the microwave? Can it even be done, and if so, what is the best way to thaw a frozen chicken in the microwave?

You know that feeling when you’ve been planning that perfect roast chicken all day? The baked potato is in the oven, the salad is ready to go, and you suddenly realize you have forgotten to thaw the chicken. We’ve all been there!

Whole cooked chicken

We will explore two defrosting methods to ensure you have a fully thawed chicken.

If you want to discover new chicken recipes, have a look at How To Poach Chicken Breast, Sriracha Chicken Wing, and Sticky Soy And Garlic Chicken Wings.

Why is defrosting a chicken in the microwave such a convenient option?

Here are a couple of reasons why you’ll love the option to defrost frozen chicken in the microwave:

  1. Speed: Microwaving is a super speedy way to defrost a whole chicken. It takes a couple of minutes (usually) to partially thaw chicken in the microwave, as opposed to hours in the refrigerator.
  2. Space saving: Instead of using the fridge, popping your chicken into the microwave to defrost is a real space saver. Save valuable space in the refrigerator from the freezer to the microwave.
  3. Convenience: Thawing chicken in the microwave is super convenient for anyone short on time. It eliminates the need to plan ahead!
defrosting a chicken in the microwave

It’s important to note that some food safety organizations do not recommend using a microwave to defrost a chicken. They prefer you to thaw the frozen chicken in the refrigerator instead.

Efficient Chicken Defrosting in the Microwave

To start with, you’ll need to make sure you have a microwave-safe dish, some plastic wrap, and, of course, a microwave.

Here are the steps to the defrosting process for a frozen chicken in the microwave:

  1. Prepare Microwave-Safe Dish: Use a microwave-safe dish large enough to hold the chicken without touching the sides of the dish.
  2. Remove Packaging: Take off any packaging or plastic wrap from the chicken before placing it in the dish.
  3. Cover Properly: Instead of plastic wrap, cover the chicken with a microwave-safe lid or invert another plate over the dish to prevent splattering and help in even thawing.
  4. Use Defrost Setting: If your microwave has a defrost setting, use it. Otherwise, set your microwave to a low power setting for defrosting.
  5. Monitor and Rearrange: Check the chicken every 5 – 8 minutes, turning it occasionally to ensure even thawing.
  6. Cook Immediately: After defrosting, cook the chicken immediately to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure it is safe to eat. Do not let the thawed chicken sit out at room temperature to prevent bacterial growth.

These are a few steps to safely and quickly defrost a whole bird in the microwave.

Check out these interesting chicken articles.

Tips and tricks for defrosting a chicken in the microwave

Here are a couple of pro tips and tricks to defrost chicken in a microwave:

  • Remove All Packaging: Ensure all packaging and internal packets are removed before defrosting.
  • Cover Without Plastic: Opt for a microwave-safe lid or a damp paper towel for covering the chicken, promoting even thawing and preventing splatters.
  • Monitor and Adjust: Regularly check and turn the chicken to thaw it evenly throughout.
  • Cook Immediately: After thawing, cook the chicken right away to maintain food safety and prevent bacterial growth.
Tips and tricks for defrosting a chicken in the microwave.

How to defrost a chicken in the refrigerator

If you’d like to try defrosting chicken in the fridge, here are the steps. This method is a little slower but is generally considered the safer method for thawing frozen poultry.

  1. Remove Packaging: Take all packaging off the chicken before defrosting to avoid contamination.
  2. Thawing Time: Expect thawing in the fridge to take 24 hours for small cuts or up to 2 days for a whole chicken, depending on several factors like fridge temperature.
  3. Bottom Shelf Placement: Place the chicken on the bottom shelf to prevent any drips from contaminating other foods.
  4. Loose Covering: Optionally, you can loosely cover the chicken to prevent dryness, using wax paper or letting it thaw uncovered is also safe.
  5. Use Promptly: Once thawed, cook the chicken within 1-2 days for safety.
  6. Refrigerate Raw Chicken: Always store any uncooked chicken in the fridge, not at room temperature, to minimize bacterial growth.
defrost a chicken in the refrigerator


Microwave thawing is a fast, convenient way to defrost chicken, perfect for quick meal prep. Remember to follow safety tips like using microwave-safe containers, not over-thawing to prevent bacteria growth, and rotating chicken for even defrosting.

Adhering to these guidelines ensures safely thawed chicken, ready for a delicious, safe meal.


How to defrost chicken quickly?

The best way to defrost chicken quickly is to submerge the entire chicken into cold water. This cold water method of defrosting chicken protects your chicken from bacterial growth.

Can you thaw a whole bird in a microwave?

Yes, it is possible to thaw an entire frozen chicken in the microwave. However, the process of thawing will take longer. Therefore, it’s always recommended to cut the chicken into pieces before microwaving it. Unless you need the bird to be whole, it’s safer to your the cold water method.

Can you refreeze defrosted chicken?

It’s not recommended to refreeze chicken once it’s been defrosted due to bacteria.

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