You Can Cook Frozen Chicken, But You Might Not Have To
Balancing kids and a career can mean a lot of busy, unpredictable days. On days like those, there might not be time to spend defrosting chicken for dinner. If you've missed your thawing time and the evening meal is approaching, you can cook chicken directly from a frozen state. It requires a little more time and attention, but it's possible. However, you might find that you don't need to.
If you need to thaw chicken in a hurry, you don't have to take the time to thaw it in a refrigerator or bath of cold water. As long as you're going to cook it right away, it's safe to thaw frozen chicken in your microwave oven. The exact power settings and length of time required will vary depending on your microwave, and your owner's manual may have guidelines. For small amounts of chicken, this could be faster than the extra time it will take to cook your meal with frozen chicken.
Cooking Frozen Chicken
You can cook frozen chicken in an oven or on a stove, but don't try to cook it in a microwave or slow cooker. These methods may leave the chicken cooking at an unsafe temperature for too long. Cooking frozen chicken requires some extra time compared to cooking fresh or thawed chicken. This can vary, but a good guideline is that frozen chicken will take about 50 percent more time to cook as it would if it were thawed. Check the recommended cooking time for your recipe and adjust it accordingly. When cooking with frozen chicken, you will need to be especially careful to ensure that your chicken is cooked through; the outside of the meat might be cooked while the center is still raw or frozen.
Testing the Temperature
When you think your chicken is done cooking, it's time to test its temperature. The simplest way to do this is with a meat thermometer. Push the thermometer into the chicken, being careful not to touch any bones, which can give a misleadingly high reading. If the temperature of the meat is over 165 degrees Fahrenheit, it's safe to eat. If you don't have a meat thermometer, cut into the chicken with a sharp knife. If juices run clear and the flesh is firm and not pink or bloody, you're ready to serve. If not, the chicken needs some extra time to cook.
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Dr James Holloway has been writing about games, geek culture and whisky since 1995. A former editor of "Archaeological Review from Cambridge," he has also written for Fortean Times, Fantasy Flight Games and The Unspeakable Oath. A graduate of Cambridge University, Holloway runs the blog Gonzo History Gaming.