Can You Marinate Frozen Chicken? How? (Detailed Guide)


If you are wondering if you can marinate frozen chicken, here is a detailed guide to help you out.

Let’s dive right in

Can You Marinate Frozen Chicken?

Yes, you can marinate frozen chicken, but the results may not be as good as you get when marinating raw fresh chicken. The reason is that the chicken is also defrosting along with marinating; these two processes do not go well together.

Why? you would ask.

The purpose of marinating is to infuse flavors into the meat. The acidic part of the marinades (e.g. lime, lemon, wine etc.) makes space on the meat’s surface for the flavors of the marinade to seep in.

Now, we understand what happens while marination; let’s get back to marinating frozen chicken.

To start with, experts say that soaking marinade by the surface of frozen chicken is slower. In fact, even raw chicken is considered marinade resistant, the situation gets more challenging when frozen chicken is involved.

This means you may have to soak the chicken into the marinade longer than you would do a raw chicken.

Secondly, when you marinate frozen chicken, defrosting causes the surface to lose water; this may wash away the marinade you have applied. Thus, portions of the chicken may not have adequate marinade.

A simple solution to this is to either soak the chicken fully in the marinade or reapply the marinate on the surface once in between the marination.

Here are some great chicken marinades for you –

How Does Freezing Chicken Affect The Marinade?

When you freeze chicken after applying marinade, the marinade stops acting on the meat. So, there is no marination process till the time chicken remains frozen.

To start the process, you need to thaw the chicken.

It is a good idea to ensure you pack the chicken in freezer bags or air-tight containers for this process.

It is also best to thaw marinated chicken in the refrigerator.

How To Marinate Frozen Chicken?

The marination process of frozen chicken is the same as that of the normal chicken. It is best to thaw the chicken before you marinate it; this ensures the marinade acts faster on the meat and uniformly too.

Here is a step by step guide to marinating frozen chicken –

How To Marinate Frozen Chicken

How To Marinate Frozen Chicken

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Active Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 30 minutes

This is a step-by-step guide on marinating frozen chicken.


  • Material for Marinade
  • Chicken
  • Freezer bags/plastic or glass containers


    1. Thawing (optional): Thaw the chicken, preferably in the refrigerator for best results otherwise you can marinate ot while thawing too.
    2. Prepare the desired Marinade: Prepare your desired marinade; chicken works well with all kids of marinades - mild or intense. Based on the recipe you plan to prepare, choose the marinade
    3. Apply the Marinade: Apply the marinade liberally and uniformly on the chicken
    4. Pack and Refrigerate: Pack the chicken along with the marinade in the fridge. It is best to use a freezer bag or plastic/glass containers. Avoid using reactive cookware to marinate as the acid may react with the metal
    5. Marinate Overnight: If you are thawing and marinating, then you need to keep the chicken for a longer time than usual. Overnight is recommended.
    6. Reapply marinade: Take out and reapply the marinade and keep it in the fridge again for a few hours
    7. Take out and cook

How Long To Marinate Your Frozen Chicken

It is best to marinate the frozen chicken overnight. The times are longer than raw chicken because thawing and marinating both need to happen at the same time and frozen chicken is less receptive to marinade.

It is safe to keep the frozen chicken in the fridge for as long as 48 hours.

Is It Better To Marinate Thawed Chicken?

Yes, it is better to marinate thawed chicken as that will fasten the process of marination. Marinades have a difficult time acting on frozen chicken.

If you do not want to run the thawing process separately then marinating and what to marinate frozen chicken, make sure you keep the chicken in the fridge for longer hours than usual.

Is It Safe To Marinate Frozen Chicken?

Yes, it is absolutely safe to marinate frozen chicken as long as you keep them in the fridge for marinating and do not run the process for more than 48 hours.

Is It Safe To Marinate Frozen Chicken Breasts?

Yes, it is safe to marinate frozen chicken breasts as long as you ensure that they are kept in the fridge during the process. Frozen chicken breasts will take a longer time to marinate than usual.

It is important to pack them properly while marinating.

Is It Safe To Marinate Frozen Chicken Wings?

Yes, it is fine to marinate frozen chicken wings. You just have to keep them in the fridge where they thaw and marinate at the same time.

Frozen chicken wings will take a longer time to marinate than usual.

Final Words

I hope this helped you decide if you can marinate frozen chicken.

In case of any doubt, please get in touch with us.

Do share this will all chicken lovers you know!

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About Barbara Foster

Barbara is a traveler who has traveled to more than 25 countries. She loves the variety of food she gets to experience on her trips and maintains detailed journals of her travels which she plans to publish as a book someday. She loves to bake. Her favorite cuisines are Italian, French, and Mexican.

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