How to Defrost Chicken Drumsticks in the Microwave?


Quick Answer: How to Defrost Chicken Drumsticks in the Microwave

Chicken drumsticks can be defrosted by placing them in a large microwave-safe dish, and then the microwave can be set on the defrost setting and adjusted as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Without the defrost settings, the chicken drumsticks should be defrosted in separate batches for 2 minutes and flipped and checked after every 30 seconds.

This is a comprehensive guide on how to defrost chicken drumsticks in the microwave with ease at home

I have tried and tested this method several times and it works really well :).

Defrosting is an important process on the road to making a scrumptious chicken dish. So without further ado, let’s get started.

How to Prep the Chicken Drumsticks for Microwaving?

Before defrosting the chicken drumsticks in the microwave, take a stainless steel knife and make slits on the thickest parts of the chicken leg, it is preferred that you do it on both sides of the leg, this is done so that the chicken gets defrosted properly.

Make sure to refer to the instructions (if there are any) written on the packaged chicken regarding microwaving.

How to Defrost Chicken Drumsticks in the Microwave?

How to Defrost Chicken Drumsticks in the Microwave?

Prep Time: 1 minute
Active Time: 2 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Quick Answer - After prepping the chicken drumsticks as mentioned in the prep section, place the drumsticks on a microwave-safe, then set the microwave timer for 2 minutes or use the defrost settings, if your microwave has them. Check the drumsticks every 30 seconds, and flip them, when the temperature is around 165 degrees Fahrenheit take them out and cook immediately.


  • Chicken Drumsticks (1 pound)


  • microwave-safe bowl/plate


    1. Prepping the Chicken Drumsticks: To prepare the chicken legs, first, take them out of their packaging, then make slits on them with a knife just as it is described in the prep section.

      Microwave Settings: Some microwaves come with inbuilt defrost settings which are set according to weight, read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully in this case.

      However, in case your microwave doesn’t have these settings, you can set the timer for 2 minutes and set it on a low heat setting.

    2. Placing the Drumsticks in the Microwave: Put the chicken drumsticks on a microwave-safe plate, ensure that you don’t put them over one another, spread them so they defrost evenly, before placing them in the microwave.

      For 1 pound of chicken drumsticks, don’t cook them altogether, put them in separate batches in the microwave.

    3. Checking and Flipping the Chicken: Keep checking the chicken at intervals of 30 seconds and flip it on the other side accordingly so that it defrosts evenly and properly.

      You can use a meat thermometer to check the temperature, if it reaches around 165 degrees Fahrenheit, take the chicken drumsticks out of the microwave.

    4. Repeating the Process: If the chicken legs are not thawed properly, you can repeat the entire process but at a low heat setting and for a shorter time.

    5. Taking Out of the Microwave: Do not let the raw drumsticks sit for longer periods inside the microwave, cook them immediately.

Tips to Remember while Defrosting Chicken Drumsticks:

  • Make sure to read the instructions related to microwaving on the packaging of the chicken drumsticks.
  • Use a sufficiently large microwave-safe dish to place the chicken legs, so that the dish can catch any juices or excess moisture that might be released after defrosting.
  • It is necessary to cook immediately after defrosting as the raw chicken legs are warm and bacterial infestation can easily occur.
  • To ensure that the chicken legs are defrosted, place your finger in the slit and you should feel the soft meat, and no ice crystals but if that is not the case then defrost again.1
  • Do not exceed the time to defrost as it might dry the meat.

Is it Safe to Defrost Chicken Drumsticks in the Microwave ?

Microwaving is a safe and easy choice when it comes to defrosting chicken drumsticks, but defrosting should be done properly (follow the tips mentioned above) or else harmful bacteria present in the chicken can potentially lead to illness.

Chicken drumsticks should be cooked immediately after they are defrosted in the microwave as the warm temperature is ideal for bacterial growth.

How Long does it Take to Defrost Chicken Drumsticks in the Microwave?

If you are using a microwave with inbuilt defrost settings then the timer has to be set according to weight, but in general, you can defrost chicken drumsticks in small batches for 2 minutes each.

Check the chicken drumsticks every 30 seconds, you can use a meat thermometer, then flip them on each side so that they cook evenly.

Alternate Ways to Defrost Chicken Drumsticks

1. Defrosting Chicken Drumsticks in Water: Place the chicken drumsticks in a sealed plastic bag or a Zip-lock freezer bag, this ensures that the water doesn’t get in and contaminate the drumsticks.

Submerge the bag in a bowl full of water and make sure the water is cold and check it every 30 minutes if the water turns warm change it.

The time to defrost depends on the quantity of the chicken.

Pro Tip: Esther Clark of ‘BBC good food’ recommends that 500gms or around 1 pound of chicken will take about 1 hour to defrost.

2. Defrosting Chicken Drumsticks in the Fridge: Place the drumsticks in a sealed plastic bag or a zip-lock freezer bag.

Place this on a large plate so that any juices or excess moisture doesn’t spoil the nearby food items. Refrigerate overnight to defrost.

Is it Important to Defrost Chicken Drumsticks before Cooking ?

Defrosting chicken drumsticks ensures that the cooking time is reduced and that the chicken drumsticks are cooked evenly.

When frozen chicken is cooked there is a risk that it might only be cooked from the outside not be cooked from the inside, and eating raw chicken can be dangerous to one’s health.


Is it Safe to Refreeze Defrosted Chicken Drumsticks?

It is safe to refreeze chicken drumsticks that have been defrosted at a temperature below 5 degrees Celsius or 41 degrees Fahrenheit, this happens usually when the defrosting happens in the refrigerator, but refreezing defrosted chicken drumsticks can deteriorate their quality.

Refreezing chicken drumsticks which have been defrosted in the microwave is not advisable. The drumsticks should be cooked immediately.

Is it Safe to Defrost Chicken Drumsticks at Room Temperature?

It is not safe to defrost chicken drumsticks at room temperature unless you are soaking the packed chicken in cold water.

Leaving the drumsticks on your kitchen counter can lead to bacterial growth which can cause fatal illness since bacteria thrive at room temperature.

Bottom Line

I hope this article helps you to defrost chicken drumsticks in the microwave with ease.

If you have any queries or doubts, please inform us via comments or mail. We look forward to any other useful tips or tricks that can be added to this guide.

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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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