How to Defrost Chicken in the Microwave?


Quick Answer: How to Defrost Chicken in the Microwave

To defrost chicken in the microwave you need to put the meat in a microwavable bowl and place it inside the microwave. Click on the ‘defrost button’. Take the bowl out after every 2 minutes, turn the pieces over and place it back for the entire process to complete. Once it is thoroughly soft, the chicken is ready to be cooked.

This is the ultimate guide to defrost chicken at your place using the microwave. This method can be used at ease as it follows very simple steps.

I have personally used this method to defrost frozen chicken at my home and it works like a charm.

So let’s dive right into it and get a wonderful soft defrosted chicken ready to be cooked.

How to Prep Defrosted Chicken before Microwaving

There is no specific preparation required to defrost frozen chicken. You just need to take it out of the freezer and bring it to your kitchen countertop. This makes the process very hassle-free.

How to Defrost Chicken in the Microwave

How to Defrost Chicken in the Microwave

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes

Empty the contents in a microwave safe-dish and put it in the microwave.

As per your guide manual click on the buttons instructed. Flip the pieces over in between the process, this will help in even distribution of heat.

Continue this process until the required result is achieved.


  • Block of chicken
  • Microwavable bowl


  • Microwave gloves
  • A pair of tongs


    1. Putting chicken in the microwave - Put the block of chicken in a microwave-safe dish. Place this dish inside the microwave.

      Remember to remove any packaging before placing the chicken in the microwave.

    2. Adjusting the microwave setting - Switch on the microwave. Click on the defrost button and heat for two minutes at a time.

    3. Checking in between in the process - It is not advisable to leave the meat unattended in the microwave at any moment. The progress demands to be checked after every two minutes.

      For this, you should put on the microwave gloves or take the bowl out and then flip the pieces using a pair of tongs.

    4. Continue till desired result is achieved - After flipping the pieces place the bowl back in the microwave and repeat this cycle until the desired softness is achieved.

    5. Ensuring a perfect thawed chicken - To check if the chicken has been perfectly thawed, make a slit in the thickest part of the meat and insert your finger.

      Feel for some ice crystals. If absent, be sure that your chicken is ready to be cooked.


Temperature: use defrost mode

Check out how Laura Fuentes in MOMables is using a microwave to defrost chicken (look from 1:50 min - 2:33 min)

Tips to Remember While Defrosting Chicken in Microwave

Here are some tips to be taken care of while defrosting chicken in the microwave :

  • The USDA has restricted storing raw chicken in the refrigerator only for upto 2 days and cooked chicken for 3-4 days.
  • Make sure to use a microwave with low power when you are defrosting the chicken meat so that the heat is evenly distributed.
  • Do not put too many pieces inside of a microwave.
  • Do not leave the defrosting process while you are using the microwave
  • Remember not to use too much heat else it might get cooked.
  • It is advisable to never defrost chicken at room temperature. At this temperature bacterial growth happens exponentially which will stale the meat.
  • It is advisable to put the meat in the microwave only after removing the packaging.
  • Always wash your chicken thoroughly before cooking it.

Alternate Ways to Defrost Chicken

The alternate ways to defrost chicken when you do not have access to a microwave is, you can put the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or you can also place it under running water for a minimum of 30 mins depending on the weight of the chicken

Take the chicken , place it on a dish and put it on a dish and put it in a refrigerator overnight at 40°F ( 4.4°C).

It will be perfectly defrosted by dinner time the next day. This method might be the easiest but sure takes a very long time.

The other method is a little faster. For this one, take the chicken pieces wrapped in plastic , put in a dish and place it under running water in the sink.

Depending on the size of the chicken this method will take between 30 mins – 2 hrs. Replace the water after every 30 mins.

How to Store Defrosted Chicken

Defrosted chicken can be stored back in the refrigerator but the taste and texture may be compromised. It is best to wrap the thawed chicken in a freezer bag or cling film before storing

Once defrosted , it is best to cook it within 24 hrs and heat until piping hot all the way through. If the entire bulk of chicken is not required you can refreeze it again.

Thawed chicken can be stored in the freezer indefinitely, but it’s taste , texture and colour may be affected.

Using air-tight packaging is very essential while storing thawed chicken back in the freezer. This will prevent freezer burn.

Also keep in mind to only refreeze raw chicken that has been thawed in the refrigerator. The sooner you refreeze chicken, the better.

How to Defrost Chicken in the Microwave Without the Defrost Button

To defrost chicken in a microwave which does not entertain a ‘defrost button’ you need to normally heat it and turn the pieces every two minutes.

Some microwaves do not have a ‘defrost button’. In that case, the USDA suggests setting the microwave to cook at 20-30 percent of its full power.

Microwave at 2 mins per pound separate pieces when it loosens. Do not leave it unattended and make sure to flip the pieces from time to time to ensure even defrosting.

How to Defrost Chicken 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 in Microwave

It is definitely safe to thaw chicken in the microwave as long as it’s cooked right after the process.

The USDA says that defrosting chicken in the microwave is safe as long as it’s cooked right after thawing, otherwise the meat can go into the “danger zone” where bacteria multiplies rapidly.

Hence, it is not very advisable to refreeze chicken once it has gone through the defrosting process.


How long does it take to defrost chicken

Defrosting chicken takes minimum 30 mins – 2 hours to fully soften. It usually depends on the weight and size of the chicken and the process you are adopting.

If run under cold water it will take at least 30 mins for one pound of chicken to defrost. While defrosting chicken in the refrigerator might take upto 2 days.

But thawing chicken in the microwave is the most recommendable method as it is easy and hassle-free and takes 10 – 20 mins minimum.

Can I Cook Frozen Chicken

You can cook frozen chicken while keeping certain rules in mind but using a microwave to thaw chicken properly before cooking is always more preferable.

Yes, you can definitely cook frozen chicken but there are certain strict guidelines to be followed for a healthy meal.

When you attempt to cook frozen chicken you must increase your cooking time by at least 50%. This is to be done while using an oven or stove top.

But it is always better to defrost chicken before cooking because when cooked in the frozen form it’s highly likely that the outside of the chicken will get cooked while the centre remains frozen.

This will promote undesirable bacterial growth.


I hope this article has helped you in easily defrosting chicken using the microwave.

If we have missed anything do let us know through comments and mail us.

Also feel free to share this with your friends who love chicken and would benefit from these facts.

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About Amanda Jones

Amanda is a person with an eye for detail. She has been cooking since her childhood and loves to bake too. Recently, she's made the decision to pursue baking full-time and quit her 9 to 5 job. In the meantime, she still enjoys cooking and baking for friends and family, especially when it comes time for special occasions like birthdays or holidays!

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