How to Defrost Chicken Breasts in the Microwave? (With Ease)


Quick Answer: How to Defrost Chicken Breasts in the Microwave

You can easily defrost chicken breasts in the microwave by using the defrost button present in the microwave settings panel. Measure the chicken before putting it in as you have to enter the correct weight of the chicken after clicking the defrost option. The entire process takes up to 2-3 mins and the pieces have to be flipped after every 30 secs.

This is an A-Z guide which shows you how to defrost chicken breasts step by step in the microwave.

I always use a microwave at home to defrost chicken breasts as it does not demand much time.

So let’s dive right into the process!

How to Prep Chicken Breasts before Defrosting it in the Microwave

There is no special preparation required to defrost chicken wings. It just needs to be brought out from the freezer and placed on your kitchen countertop.

Remove any packaging and put it on any microwavable dish.

How to Defrost Chicken Breasts in the Microwave

How to Defrost Chicken Breasts in the Microwave

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Active Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Quick Answer - To defrost chicken breasts in the microwave you should remove the pieces from any plastic packaging and use a microwave safe-dish. Place this dish inside the microwave and enter the defrost mode. The weight should also be entered correctly as this will help the microwave to determine the temperature to be used and time to be taken for the process to complete.


  • Frozen chicken breasts
  • Microwave safe-dish
  • Microwave gloves
  • A pair of tongs


  • Microwave gloves
  • A pair of tongs


    1. Placing the meat in the microwave: You should only place 2-3 pieces at once on the dish and put it in the microwave.

      Any packaging that is not microwave friendly must be removed.

    2. Adjusting the microwave settings: Switch on the microwave and enter the defrost setting. You should measure the weight of your chicken so that you can enter the accurate weight.

      This will ensure that proper heat is provided which will result in perfect thawing

    3. Checking the process in between: The chicken breasts should never be left unattended in the microwave. After every 30 secs put on your microwave gloves and take the dish out.

      Flip the pieces over using the pair of tongs and not bare hands.

    4. Repeat the process: the meat demands to be flipped over after every 30 secs to prevent overcooking.

      Continue this process for the next 2-3 minutes till the chicken breasts attain their softness.


Temperature: use defrost mode

Tips to Remember While Defrosting Chicken Breasts in the Microwave

Listed below are some tips and guidelines to be kept in mind when attempting to defrost frozen chicken breasts:

  • Remove the chicken pieces of its packaging as the material may not be microwave friendly.
  • To flip the meat never use your bare hands as any bacteria present might not be completely destroyed yet.
  • You should be vigilant to use the correct settings and the thawing should be less.
  • The dish you are using to place the chicken breasts on must be microwavable. If not available, use a glass or ceramic plate.
  • It is not advisable to refreeze the chicken breasts once defrosted.
  • Cooking defrosted chicken within 2 hrs after the thawing process is complete is an absolute must. Else, bacteria might thrive on it since it was already exposed to high temperatures.
  • Some microwaves have an in-built auto-rotate option. If you have it too, you do not need to take out the meat and flip it over.
  • If you are thawing the chicken breasts in cold water it is very important to put it in a ziploc bag. If the chicken comes in contact with the water there’s a high possibility of it absorbing some water which will hamper the taste of the meat.
  • Do not leave frozen chicken exposed at room temperature to defrost.

Alternate Ways to Defrost Chicken Breasts

When you do not have a microwave at hand you can opt for alternate ways to defrost chicken breasts. Take the chicken out of the freezer and store it in the refrigerator overnight. You can also place it under cold running water in the sink or submerge it in a bowl of hot water for a minimum of 25 min

If you have plenty of time, use the refrigerator to thaw your chicken. Put the frozen chicken on a tray and place it on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator.

Keep it for 20 hours per pound. To defrost chicken breasts in cold running water, put the meat in a ziploc bag and place it in the sink.

Do not plug it, let the water flow out. Turn on the tap and wait for the chicken breasts to turn soft.

Check out this video by NoClueHowTo for a better understanding of the process:

In case you want to defrost your meat using cold water, place the meat inside a resealable bag. Fill a bowl with hot water and put the bag inside it.

Make sure no water gets inside the bag. Put another bowl on the submerged meat to weigh it down. After around 20 mins you will get perfectly thawed chicken breasts.

Check out this video by ForkableBlog for a better understanding of this process :

How to Defrost Chicken Breasts Quickly

To defrost chicken quickly, put the chicken in an air-tight bag. Place it in hot water for at least 15 mins at a time and check the softness in between.

For this process, you need to put the chicken in a zip lock bag. To defrost chicken quickly, heat water to approx. 140°F.

Check the temperature using a thermometer or just by noticing a few tiny bubbles at the end of the pot. Now submerge the packed chicken in the water.

Do not leave it longer than 45 mins . This way the bacterial growth can be prevented as the meat remains in the “safe zone”.

Check out this video by “America’s Test Kitchen” to understand how to defrost chicken quickly :

Is it Safe to Thaw Chicken Breasts in the Microwave

According to the USDA, defrosting chicken breasts using a microwave is safe as long as it’s defrosted properly and cooked immediately after being thawed.

Defrosting meat improperly can lead the food to go into the “danger zone” where bacteria growth is very high. This temperature range is between 40°F-140°F.

So you should always use the correct settings to defrost chicken breasts and do not let it sit in the microwave after defrosting.

Defrosted chicken breasts demand to be cooked within 2 hrs after thawing. Storing the chicken above this time period might stale the meat and ruin its taste.

How Long does Thawed Chicken Breasts Last

Refrigerator thawed chicken breasts can be cooked after 2 days of it being thawed while if defrosted using a microwave, the chicken must be cooked immediately.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, chicken defrosted in the refrigerator can be stored for up to2 days.

If the chicken was defrosted in the microwave or under cold water or hot water it should be cooked immediately.

Because in this process, the meat must have been heated up to 40°F which is the temperature at which bacteria multiplies rapidly.


How to Defrost Chicken in a Microwave without the Defrost Button

If your microwave does not have a defrost button you can still use it to thaw your chicken breasts. Normally heat the chicken breasts at 20-30 percent of its full power.

For each pound cook it for only 8-10 mins, taking it out every 1 min to turn the pieces over. This will ensure even thawing.

Can you Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts

USDA has stated and quoted ”chicken can be cooked from the frozen state in the oven or the stove”. The cooking will be increased by 50% of the original cooking time.

Frozen chicken can be cooked into stir-fry’s , fajitas or baked sheet pan dinners. If you are using the microwave to cook frozen chicken, preheat it for 350°F.

Place the meat inside and wait for its internal temperature to reach 165°F for white meat and 175°F for dark meat cuts.


I hope this comprehensive guide has helped you defrost chicken breasts at your place with ease.

If you have any queries feel free to let us know. We would love your feedback and use it to enrich our work further.

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About Karen Wilson

Karen is a foodie to the core. She loves any variety of food - spicy or junk! Her slender body and height are deceiving, as she enjoys eating hearty meals that would leave most people gasping for air. She has an appetite for life, and wants everyone around her to share in it too.

1 thought on “How to Defrost Chicken Breasts in the Microwave? (With Ease)”

  1. I have never defrosted chicken breasts in the microwave before, but this seems like a really easy and effective way to do it. I’m definitely going to try this the next time I need to defrost chicken breasts. Thanks.


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