The method you use to thaw chicken can prevent you from contracting a foodborne illness, but you must also consider how quickly it is consumed thereafter. Cooking a chicken five days after defrosting is unwise. Freezing poultry is an excellent way to prolong its expiration date, but defrosting it properly is important.
Never Linger Longer
When removing chicken from the freezer, defrost it safely either in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave on the defrost setting. After it has thawed completely, chicken must be kept in the refrigerator and cooked within one to two days, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If you choose to thaw the chicken in a microwave, cook it immediately because bacteria can begin to build due to some portions of the chicken being partially cooked.
Take Some Care
Never thaw any perishable food items on the counter or in hot water, and do not leave meat at room temperature for more than two hours. Chicken defrosted in the refrigerator can be safely refrozen with a couple of days, but the quality may be reduced. Any food thawed in cold water or in the microwave should not be refrozen before cooking them first.