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How to Defrost Chicken in Microwave

Defrosting! The method you use to defrost chicken can impact the quality of your final dish. With your microwave, you can defrost frozen chicken in no time.


Knowing how to defrost chicken in microwave is worthwhile yet challenging. How can you do it? Is it safe?


It’s easy! Get the frozen chicken out of its original container. Put the chicken meat on a microwave-safe dish or plate. Press on the defrost button or setting feature on your microwave to start defrosting. You can set the microwave to a power level of 30% and defrost the chicken for 2 minutes or until it fully thaws.


In our write-up today, we’ll discuss a handful of ways to defrost chicken in the microwave the right and safe way. 


Read Also: How to Defrost Pork Chops in Microwave


Can You Use The Microwave To Defrost Chicken?

The simple answer is yes. Microwaving is the easiest and fastest way to defrost a chicken. Put your pieces of icy chicken on a dish or plate that’s microwave-safe. Set the microwave to start thawing them for 2 minutes for every pound of meat.


Check on the chicken breast or thigh as it de-freezes in the microwave to determine whether it is defrosting or not.  As it thaws, pause to turn chicken on the plate or dish after every minute. By doing so, you’ll avoid the creation of some hotspots or drying out of your chicken.


Keep the heat low when defrosting your chicken in the microwave. Also, please don’t leave the chicken inside the microwave much longer. It may start cooking instead of defrosting.


Once you defrost your chicken in the microwave, cook it immediately. This prevents the growth of some harmful bacteria. USDA describes chicken as a very perishable food that’s prone to attack by bacteria.


How to Defrost Chicken in Microwave

You can best defrost chicken in the microwave with these steps:

  • Remove your frozen chicken from the original packaging material, either Styrofoam or plastic.
  • Put the whole or chicken pieces in a microwave-safe dish or plate. This allows you to collect the dripping juices from the meat during thawing. Ceramic or glass plates and dishes are often microwave-safe.
  • Use the defrosting setting on the microwave to thaw your chicken for two minutes. Check the doneness of the defrosting process after the two minutes interval. Reset the timer as necessary to ensure the meat thaws evenly.
  • Put aside the pieces of chicken meat that loosens and turn the meat while it thaws to avoid overcooking.
  • After the chicken defrosts fully, ensure your recipe is ready for cooking instantly. That’s the best way to restrict the growth of foodborne bacteria.

What If Your Microwave Lacks The Defrost Setting?

Don’t worry. You can still defrost your chicken in the microwave by setting its power level at 30%. This lower power will help thaw your frozen chicken effectively.


Or, you can defrost the chicken in bits of one pound for 2 minutes. Other factors that may influence the timer setting include:

  • The thickness of the meat
  • Weight of the chicken
  • The number of chicken pieces
  • Microwave’s wattage

Always remember to turn the frozen chicken after an interval of one or two minutes. Separate the meat pieces that detach after the defrosting period. 


This helps to increase the thawing time. Plus, the chicken will defrost evenly without overcooking some hotspots.


What Is The Best Way To Defrost Chicken In Microwave?

The process starts with recalling that every microwave comes with distinct settings. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for better thawing results.


Other tips include:

  • Use a microwave-safe dish, plate, or bowl.
  • Set the microwave appropriately in time (2 minutes) or power level (30%).
  • Check the defrosting process more often after a one or two-minute interval. Also, pause to rotate the chicken pieces after every 30 seconds or one minute.
  • Separate loose pieces and turn them to avoid overcooking some hotspots.
  • Avoid defrosting the chicken at room temperatures. This may increase the growth of harmful bacteria.

Is It Safe To Defrost Chicken In The Microwave?

Yes. Microwaving chicken to defrost it is the safest and fastest way. But ensure you don’t set the timer for a longer time as the cooking process will start. That’s because the microwave tends to use less heat to thaw. The chicken pieces may also start cooking slowly after it defrosts.


Generally, a microwave has an interior temperature of about 74-degrees Celsius (165-degrees Fahrenheit). This temperature is enough to kill harmful foodborne bacteria. 


Some of the foodborne bacteria include Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, or Staphylococcus aureus. They are dangerous and can make you sick or cause death.


Don’t defrost the chicken on the kitchen counter. That’s a danger zone where bacteria thrive under such room temperature. Cook the chicken immediately after thawing. 


Doing so will help prevent foodborne bacteria from contaminating your meat. Besides, cooking at suitable temperatures can help kill the bacteria.


Is It A Must To Defrost Chicken Before Cooking?

Yes, it’s crucial to thaw chicken before preparing any recipe. A chicken that freezes or fails to thaw evenly remains raw at the center. The outer parts and edges will overcook in the process.


USDA suggests three easy ways to defrost the chicken. They include:

  • Place the chicken in a bag, seal well. Then submerge it under cold running water to thaw.
  • Leave the frozen chicken inside the fridge to defrost overnight
  • Use a microwave oven

Defrosting makes the frozen chicken easier to cook. Ensure you cook the chicken immediately. This helps to restrict the growth of bacteria that the raw frozen chicken might have. 


Cook the chicken at a temperature of 1650 F for it to be ready for eating.


How Can You Defrost Chicken Quickly?

Microwaving is often the fastest method for defrosting chicken. Place your frozen chicken in a microwave-proof dish and cover it.


If your microwave has a defrost setting, use it to start thawing your chicken. But if it doesn’t have one, set the oven’s power level at 30% and let it run for two minutes for every pound of meat.


For thawing to occur faster, it’s vital to remove the original packaging material. Then place it in a microwave-proof dish or plate. Use the cover to trap any extra steam that tries to escape and heat the frozen chicken but not cook it.


As you thaw the chicken, rotate it to ensure it cooks evenly. If the center doesn’t thaw, repeat thawing for a 30-second interval until it de-freezes.


How Long Does It Take To Defrost Chicken In The Microwave?

In most cases, it takes 2 minutes to defrost one pound of frozen chicken in the microwave. This may vary depending on the weight and thickness of every chicken piece you intend to thaw.


The microwave’s wattage can also influence the time at which the chicken thaws.


As you defrost the chicken, you’ll need to place at least two chicken pieces on the dish at a time. Set the microwave’s timer to 2 minutes to thaw the frozen chicken.


It is vital to turn over the chicken pieces and rotate them around the dish halfway. This speeds up the defrosting process. It also prevents the formation of hotspots that may dry out. And it allows for even thawing results.


What will happen if you defrost chicken in the microwave for a longer time?

Defrosting your chicken in the microwave for an extended time makes it start drying out. This may ruin your recipe plans for lunch or dinner.


It may also start cooking slowly. This increases the chances for the foodborne bacteria to start multiplying much faster. And such bacteria can be harmful to your health or life.


The foodborne bacteria lands on or enters into a raw chicken. On putting the raw chicken in the fridge or a deep freezer, the bacteria become inactive. When you heat the chicken pieces above 400 F, the existing bacteria start growing much faster.


Leaving the chicken on the kitchen counter under room temperature increases infection risks. To avoid such risks, make sure you cook your chicken pieces right after thawing them.


According to USDA guidelines, you shouldn’t wait for about 2 to 4 hours before cooking it. You’ll expose the chicken pieces to a temperature risk zone (40-140 degrees Fahrenheit). That’s the perfect temperature at which foodborne bacteria thrive.


Final Words

Are you running short of time? Or you can’t wait long enough to enjoy your chicken meat? Microwaving is the best option for you. It is the easiest and fastest way to defrost a frozen chicken. 


But, you’ll need to be more careful not to leave it inside the microwave for longer periods. This may increase the growth of harmful bacteria that can cause illness or even death.


The chicken may also start cooking slowly and dry out instead of defrosting. Make sure you pay closer attention while the chicken de-freezes. Pause every minute to turn the chicken pieces on the plate to ensure they thaw evenly.


To this end, you now know how to defrost chicken in the microwave safely. Be sure to go through these steps and tips above.


By doing so, be rest assured to get better results with your chicken and prepare your recipe.

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