Can You Defrost Chicken Wings in the Microwave? (Answered)

Categorized as Microwave Cooking
defrosting chicken wings in microwave

Any intro about chicken is not complete without mentioning that chicken has become one of the most popular foods in the world. It’s versatile, it’s affordable, and it’s easy to make.

But there’s one question that always seems to come up when it comes to chicken what is the best way to defrost chicken wings especially if time is of the essence? Can you defrost chicken wings in the microwave?

Yes, chicken wings can be defrosted in the microwave. However, although the microwave is a fast and convenient way to thaw chicken wings, there’s also a risk of partially cooking the chicken in the process. You won’t have this problem if you use the traditional defrosting method of leaving the wings in the refrigerator overnight or if you use the cold-water method of defrosting.

This is why it’s important to be careful and follow the instructions closely when defrosting chicken wings in a microwave. The good news is that with a few simple tips, you can defrost chicken wings in the microwave safely and quickly.

Here’s everything else you need to know about how to defrost chicken wings in the microwave.

Is It Safe to Defrost Chicken Wings in the Microwave?

According to the USDA, it is perfectly safe to defrost chicken wings in the microwave. However, you must cook the food immediately after it has finished defrosting. This is because some areas of the food may begin to cook during the defrosting process. Holding partially cooked food is an invitation for bacteria growth.

The second safety tip is to use a microwave-safe container for the chicken wings. Using a non-microwave-safe container is a recipe for disaster as the container could leach chemicals into the food or even melt and possibly catch on fire.

Finally, rotate and flip the chicken wings over halfway through the defrosting process. This helps ensure that all areas of the chicken wings are completely thawed and evenly heated.

How Long Does It Take to Defrost Chicken Wings in the Microwave?

Defrosting chicken wings in the microwave is relatively fast. Depending on their size and the wattage of your microwave, it will take between 5 to 10 minutes to thaw chicken wings.

But I don’t recommend just setting the timer for 5 or 10 minutes and walking away. You need to monitor the process closely and check the wings every 1 or 2 minutes. To check the wings, you simply use your finger to feel if they are still frozen solid or thawed out.

How to Defrost Chicken Wings in the Microwave: Step-By-Step Instructions

Now that you know how long it takes to defrost chicken wings in the microwave and what safety precautions to take, let’s go over the process step-by-step.

  1. Place chicken wings in a microwave-safe container.
  2. Put the container in the microwave.
  3. Set the microwave to defrost mode or 30% power.
  4. Microwave for 2 minutes.
  5. After 2 minutes, rotate and flip over the chicken wings.
  6. Microwave for another two minutes.
  7. Check the wings every 1 to 2 minutes and rotate/flip them over if needed.
  8. When done, remove them from the microwave and cook immediately.

Alternative Ways to Defrost Chicken Wings

If you don’t have a microwave or simply prefer not to use one, then there are two other methods of defrosting chicken wings: refrigerator thawing and cold-water thawing. Let’s take a look at both of them.

1. Refrigerator

The safest way to thaw chicken wings is in the refrigerator. This gives you enough time to do it safely and also prevents you from having to rush through the process.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove the chicken wings from the freezer and place them into a sealed bag.
  2. Put the bag of chicken wings on a lipped plate then place it in the refrigerator.
  3. Leave it at the bottom of the refrigerator for at least 5 hours so it can defrost slowly.

2. Cold Water

Another way to thaw chicken wings is in cold water. This method is slightly faster than the refrigerator method but it still requires some monitoring. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Put the chicken wings in a sealed bag.
  2. Fill a large bowl with cold water and submerge the bag of chicken wings in the water.
  3. Change out the cold water for fresh water every 15 minutes.

Related: Microwave Defrosting Guide for Chicken.

Best Side Dishes for Chicken Wings

There’s no denying that chicken wings are delicious, but they can be even better when served with the right side dishes. Here are some of my favorite sides for chicken wings:

1. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a great source of complex carbohydrates and fiber, both of which are essential for proper digestion. They’re also packed with vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium. Plus, they taste great! Just be sure to avoid adding too much sugar or salt to them.

2. Stuffed Mini Peppers

Mini peppers are a low-calorie way to get your daily dose of vegetables. Plus, they’re an excellent source of vitamins C and B6. Stuff them with some healthy shredded chicken and you’ve got a perfect pairing for your chicken wings.

3. Avocado Fries

Avocados are a good source of monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to improve cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease. They’re also packed with vitamins C, E, and K, as well as potassium and magnesium. And when they’re breaded and fried? They make the perfect side dish for chicken wings.

4. Onion Rings

Onions are loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients that can boost your immune system and reduce inflammation. They’re also a low-calorie way to add some crunch to your meal. Just be sure to go easy on the salt!

5. Cornbread

Cornbread is another excellent source of complex carbohydrates and fiber. It’s also packed with vitamins A, B6, and C, as well as iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. Plus, it tastes great! Just be sure to avoid adding too much sugar or butter to it.


All three methods — microwaving, refrigerating and using cold water — have their own set of pros and cons. So, which one should you use? If you’re short on time microwaving is your best bet as long as you’re careful not to overcook them. However, if you have more time or want to play it safe, thawing them in the refrigerator or cold water is probably your best bet.

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!