What is the risk?
Firstly, why do you need to be careful when it comes to chicken? Salmonella. Salmonella or Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection most commonly caused when people eat uncooked meat. It can also be spread when people unknowingly use contaminated cooking utensils for example chopping raw chicken and vegetables on the same chopping board.
The bacteria grows at a temperature range of 5-47C° which is why freezing your uncooked meats is a great way to prevent growth but when you’re defrosting meat (chicken in particular) you need to be careful.
All of the methods below work for chicken breast, thighs, necks and whole chickens depending on the size and the weight, the length of time it will take will vary.
Defrosting chicken in the microwave
Time: 15 minutes
If you’ve forgotten to defrost your chicken and need it in a rush, using a microwave to defrost it is the most time-efficient option. Simply remove from the freezer and place the chicken on a plate in your microwave. Use your microwaves defrost settings in short bursts to defrost your chicken. Once defrosted cook immediately.
Hint: be careful not to put the chicken in the microwave for so long that it starts cooking.
Defrosting chicken in the fridge
Time: 5 hours per 500g
This is a timely method but is the safest and most recommended so get organised. It can sometimes take more than 24 hours to defrost a whole chook. Remove chicken from the freezer and place on a plate or a bowl to catch any excess juices. Leave in the bottom of your fridge until it has fully defrosted. Cook within 24 hours of defrosting.
Defrosting chicken in hot water
Time: 1 hour per 500g
Place your chicken in a sealed bag and submerge in a bowl of cold water. If your chicken is not defrosted in an hour, change the water and allow it to sit.
Hint: do not use hot water as it promotes the growth of bacteria.
How can I tell when chicken is defrosted?
Make a small slit into the thickest part of the chicken, no crystals should remain and the flesh should be soft.
How long can I keep chicken in the fridge after defrosting?
Whilst there is no countdown timer it is best to cook your chicken straight away rather than putting it back in the fridge.