Microwave defrost settings offer a convenient and quick option to defrost frozen vegetables, meat, poultry, and pre-packaged meals. But what's the best way to defrost chicken in the microwave? And how long does it take? We have researched these questions for you. And in this post, we will discuss them.
Here are the steps to defrost chicken in the microwave:
- Check the label on pre-packed chicken.
- Place the chicken on a casserole dish.
- Set the microwave on the appropriate to defrost setting.
- Check the chicken periodically.
When you remove frozen chicken from the freezer, it's always best to defrost it as quickly as possible before preparing it. The reason is that you want to prevent bacteria from growing on the meat while it's uncooked. This will also ensure that the meat cooks evenly. Continue reading to learn more about how to quickly and safely unthaw chicken in the microwave.
Steps To Defrost Chicken In The Microwave
Always practice food safety when handling uncooked chicken and other meat products. This means ensuring that meat touches as few surfaces as possible before being cooked completely. And any surfaces that it does touch be sure to thoroughly clean and sanitize them afterward.
Things you'll need:
- Microwavable plate or casserole dish
- Microwave food cover
1. Check the label on pre-packed chicken
Before placing the chicken in the microwave, check the package for the best way to defrost it--this only applies to pre-packaged chicken. If the chicken is not pre-packaged, remove it from the freezer and place it in a microwavable dish. Keep in mind that some prepared food options may not require defrosting, and if they don't, they may say something to the effect of "Keep frozen until ready for use."
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If the chicken is in packaging, remove it before placing it on the microwave dish. If you have it wrapped in plastic or inside of a plastic bag, be sure to remove it from the chicken before placing it inside the dish. You'll also want to ensure that no foil or other type of wrapping is on the chicken. This will ensure safety, but it will ensure that the water from the chicken will drop directly onto the casserole dish.
If your microwavable dish has a cover, place the cover on top of it, leaving it open (do not fasten the cover to the dish's top). Place your microwave cover on the chicken if you don't have a cover for your casserole dish. Be sure that there is open space at the top of the dish. The lid should be cracked about 3-4 inches.
2. Set the microwave on the appropriate defrost setting
Set the defrost setting for about 3 minutes. Every microwave is different. So you may need to play with the defrost settings to determine how long it will take to defrost the chicken completely. Keep in mind that it will all depend on how large the chicken is. Larger pieces of chicken will require more time to defrost. Overall, the defrost process can take anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes or more.
3. Check the chicken periodically
Every couple of minutes or so, open up the microwave and check the chicken to determine if it's completely thawed out. Try not to touch the chicken with your hand come on but instead, use a knife, fork, or a thermometer. Insert the utensil into the thickest section of the meat to see if it's still frozen (if it is, you should be able to pierce the chicken completely).
Once the chicken has completely thawed, remove it from the microwave. Next, please start the process of preparing the chicken so that you can cook it immediately. Don't fret if you don't have a microwave or find that the defrost setting is not working properly. You can always throw out the chicken manually. Keep in mind that this may take a bit longer, but it's just as effective. Let's look at a few ways to do it.
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Using Cold Water to Defrost Chicken
Using cold water will safely remove the ice from the chicken without the meat going into the danger zone. The danger zone is when the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit which will cause the chicken to begin to develop bacteria. The bacteria can make the chicken unsafe to eat.
1. Place the chicken in a Ziploc bag
Start by placing the frozen chicken in a Ziploc bag. It's best to use a gallon bag as they allow you to fit bigger pieces of chicken inside of them. Before sealing the bag, be sure to press it against the chicken to remove as much air as possible.
Once you submerge the chicken in water, the air will allow the water to make closer contact with the ice on the chicken, resulting in a faster thawing process. It's best to use a new Ziploc bag instead of an old one, as you don't want to risk any contaminated water spilling out.
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2. Submerge the chicken in cold water
Next, take a large mixing bowl and fill it with cold water. Then place the chicken inside the bowl and then inside the sink. If you need to add a weight on top of it to help it stay submerged, consider using another bag of frozen meat that you can sanitize afterward. You can also use a heavy pot.
3. Stir the water every few minutes
Use your hand to stir the water about every 10 to 15 minutes. This will help prevent the water from freezing, as the meat will develop a bit of a cold barrier every 5 minutes or so. Stirring will help speed up the thawing process.
4. Replace the water every 20 to 30 minutes
About every 25 to 30 minutes, inspect the chicken to see if it's unthawed. If not, replace the water with fresh cold water. This will prevent the cold water from reaching a freezing point, slowing down the thawing process. Once the chicken is unthawed, pour out the water, clean the bowl and the sink, and move the chicken to the counter or a chopping block or dish for preparation and cooking.
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How to defrost chicken in the microwave without a defrost button
If you have an old-school microwave that doesn't have a defrost button, you can still use it to defrost your chicken. The only thing you have to do is turn the power level down about 20-40% for anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how thick the chicken is. Keep in mind that if you're defrosting a whole chicken, you may need to play with the settings a bit to avoid actually cooking the meat during the process.
Start by setting the defrost to about 2 to 3 minutes initially and then checking the chicken to determine how quickly it unthaws. Use a knife, fork, or thermometer to check the chicken after each run.
You can also speed up the defrosting process by submerging the chicken in a Ziploc bag in cold water for about 15 minutes before placing it in the microwave. This will remove the outer layer of ice on the chicken, making it easier for the interior to unthaw.
How long to defrost whole chicken in the microwave?
The time that it takes a microwave to defrost the chicken will depend on the microwave's wattage and the size of the chicken. Naturally, smaller pieces of chicken will defrost faster than larger ones. On average, it can take a microwave anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to completely defrost the chicken.
Is it okay if chicken cooks a little while defrosting?
It's best if the chicken does not cook during the defrost process. However, this can occur if the temperature reaches this danger zone, which is anywhere from 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. At this level, temperature bacteria will begin to grow and quickly. To prevent this, always check the chicken every 3 to 5 minutes.
How long does it take to defrost 4 chicken breasts in a microwave?
It can take the chicken breast anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes to defrost completely, depending on the microwave's wattage.
Wrapping Things Up
If you're looking for a quick way to defrost your chicken, the microwave is probably your best bet. However, if you don't have a microwave, you can always use a Ziploc bag and a bowl of cold water. Remember to monitor the chicken frequently to avoid cooking it during the defrosting process; this will help you keep the chicken out of the danger zone.
Before you go, be sure to check out some of our other posts:
Can You Shred Chicken In A Food Processor?