Can You Boil a Whole Chicken That's Frozen?

Studio shot of raw chicken

Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Boiling Frozen Chicken

Whether you are cooking a hearty chicken soup or a spicy chicken couscous, boiling a whole chicken on the stove top may be part of the plan. A frozen chicken is just as useful an ingredient as a fresh chicken, but you may need to add some extra time to your cooking timeline for extra boiling time and preparation for the amount of servings you’re doing. As long as you remove the giblets from the frozen chicken, you are ready to go. Follow this step-by-step guide to answer all your FAQs about cooking frozen meat – frozen chicken breasts, chicken thighs, or even a whole chicken!

Before You Freeze

Commercially prepared whole chickens usually contain a plastic or paper bag filled with giblets -- the chicken's heart, liver and gizzard. This bag can melt during cooking and contaminate the chicken if you don't remove it prior to cooking. The bag is a bit difficult to remove from the frozen bird. If you are freezing a fresh chicken or simply placing a store-bought frozen chicken in your freezer, take out the bag beforehand to assure that you can transfer the chicken straight from the freezer to the pot when you get ready to cook.

Extend the Cooking Time

Cooking times vary depending on the size of the chicken, with frozen poultry taking up to 50 percent longer to cook than thawed. You’d don’t need to thaw frozen chicken or defrost the chicken – just extend the total time it takes the chicken or chicken pieces to cook. Add the frozen chicken to the pot just as you would thawed chicken. Add enough water to cover, bring it to a boil, and boil chicken over high heat. Remove the scum that comes to the top of the boiling water using a metal skimmer. Reduce the heat and simmer until done.

Check the Temps

While a thawed whole chicken may take one hour to thoroughly boil, frozen chicken may take up to 1 1/2 hours. Check for doneness using a meat thermometer; the internal temperature of the cooked chicken should measure 165 degrees Fahrenheit on the meat thermometer when you press it into the thickest part of the chicken, away from the bone. If you get a lower reading, simmer the chicken longer, checking every 15 minutes with the thermometer. Be sure to follow food safety tips and stay away from the danger zone to avoid food poisoning from raw chicken or chicken eat.

Frozen and Stuffed

If you purchase a commercially frozen, stuffed chicken, the USDA recommends that you skip thawing. Any frozen poultry, stuffed with dressing, must be cooked from the frozen state to avoid the ingestion of bacteria that lead to food-borne illness. The USDA directs consumers to the manufacturer’s label for cooking instructions. Manufacturers usually recommend cooking frozen chickens containing stuffing for several hours in the oven, not on the stove top.

Serving Suggestions

There are many ways to use your chicken meat. Try mixing shredded chicken with BBQ sauce and spreading it in a single layer on a baking sheet and cooking it for a few minutes in the oven to heat it. Now you have the perfect filling for BBQ sandwiches or tacos! You can also do this in a slow cooker or air fryer. Or you can use shredded chicken to make a chicken salad. Chicken also goes with many side dishes – try noodles or rice! Be sure to season your chicken with plenty of olive oil, salt, and black pepper after cooking. These chicken recipes offer easy ways to use your delicious chicken with minimal prep time - enjoy!