If you are in a rush to put dinner on the table you may be tempted to place that package of chicken you need to thaw in hot water to make it thaw quickly. Or you may think it will be okay to pull the meat from the freezer and leave it on the counter to thaw while you're at work. Never fall into this trap, it is unsafe and can cause forborne illnesses. The best way to thaw food is in the refrigerator, but when you do not have that much time it is perfectly acceptable and much faster to defrost it in cold water. You must follow the USDA guidance to ensure you defrost the meat safely.
Pour cold tap water into a large bowl or casserole dish.
Put the chicken you want to thaw into a sandwich bag if it is not already in a sealed freezer bag. Zip close the sandwich bag.
Place the sandwich bag of chicken into the dish of cold water.
Change the water ever 30 minutes to ensure the thawing process continues. It should take about an hour to thaw a pound or less of poultry. For 3 to 4 pounds it will take about two to three hours.
Cook the chicken immediately once thawed. Do not re-freeze unless the chicken is fully cooked.
Ensure you change the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold and continue the thawing process.
Never use hot water to thaw meat.
Cook or refrigerate the chicken immediately and do not re-freeze the chicken once thawed unless you cook it first.