Chicken is one of the most popular and common types of poultry food around the world, and is prepared in meals in a huge variety of ways. It is a popular food with people who prefer not to eat red meat, and it’s also healthier and lighter than red meat too.

Cooking chicken is relatively straightforward, and frozen chicken makes this a popular and very affordable addition to any meal. However, when you cook any raw meat, it is absolutely essential to take all necessary handling and cooking precautions when dealing with raw chicken.

If those steps aren’t taken, then this may result in you and anyone else that you’re your cooked meals having food poisoning, salmonella or worse. We show you in this article how to safely defrost and prepare chicken for cooking the right way.

If you’re not cooking chicken today

Any chicken that you’ve bought from your local supermarket or shop today that isn’t being cooked should be stored in your freezer on the same day, for cooking at a future date. You can usually store whole, uncooked chicken for up to 12 months in your freezer.

It is important not to leave the chicken outside on your kitchen worktop for example, as this will make it spoil. Put it in the freezer as soon as you get home, if you aren’t going to cook it immediately.

When you’re ready to cook that frozen chicken

There are a number of options you can take to defrost your frozen chicken; depending on how much time you have to wait for it to defrost.

Option 1 – The fridge (slow but safe)

Take the frozen chicken out of your freezer and put it in your refrigerator to thaw out. This will normally take about 5 hours or so, but is the safest method of thawing out frozen chicken, decreasing the likelihood that any nasty organisms will develop in the process.

If you were going to use the chicken as part of an evening meal, you could take the frozen chicken out of the freezer and put it into the fridge at lunchtime, and then by dinner time it will have defrosted and be ready for you to cook it.

Option 2 – The kitchen counter + fridge (quicker but risky)

Image by undergroundcookery

This method of defrosting is much quicker than using your fridge alone. Simply put the chicken on a plate, cover the chicken with a tea towel and leave it for about 2 hours. After that, put it inside the fridge to complete the defrosting process.

It’s a slightly risky option, as you have to keep an eye on the chicken when it’s defrosting – warmer weather means that the chicken will defrost even quicker, and if you just leave it to defrost and walk away, there is a chance that it could spoil.

Option 3 – The bowl in the sink (quicker but risky)

Image by Kikiri Quirch

Place your frozen chicken inside a bowl of cold water and leave the bowl and chicken inside your (empty) sink. Don’t let anyone use the sink, and don’t use hot water on the chicken as this can cause bacteria to grow on it.

Make sure that you change the water every 30 minutes. If this is done correctly, you will be able to maintain a sanitary working environment. This method of defrosting takes about 1 to 2 hours.

Option 4 – The microwave (quickest, and riskiest)

Image by Yummy

The microwave is going to be your last resort for defrosting a chicken. The problem with defrosting a chicken in a microwave is that it is not only the least healthiest way of defrosting, but potentially dangerous because if it starts to cook the chicken then you have pretty much ruined an otherwise perfectly edible chicken.

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