How to Defrost Chicken in Microwave: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Defrost Chicken in Microwave

If you’re running late for dinner and your chicken is still frozen, or you forgot to take it out of the freezer to defrost overnight, microwaving it can be a quick solution. Here are some tips and step-by-step instructions on how to defrost chicken in the microwave safely and effectively. This guide is useful for both novice and experienced cooks.

Can You Defrost Chicken In The Microwave?

Defrosting chicken in the microwave is possible by using the defrost setting and following the instructions based on the weight of the chicken. To ensure even defrosting, the chicken needs to be turned over periodically and monitored closely. Compared to other methods, microwave defrosting is quicker and more convenient, taking only a few minutes depending on the size of the chicken.

However, using the microwave to defrost chicken has some drawbacks. Uneven cooking and dryness can occur due to partial cooking in some spots, so it’s important to check and move the chicken frequently. Additionally, microwave defrosting can result in a loss of flavor and texture compared to other methods.

Is It Safe To Thaw Chicken in the Microwave?

Thawing chicken in the microwave is safe if you follow some basic guidelines. Use a microwave-safe dish and remove any packaging before setting the microwave to the defrost setting and following the manufacturer’s instructions based on the weight of the chicken. Turn the chicken over periodically to ensure even thawing.

While microwaving chicken is safe, there are some potential risks to consider. Thawing chicken in the microwave can create an environment for bacteria growth due to the outer layers becoming warm. Therefore, it’s important to cook the chicken immediately after thawing to minimize this risk. Furthermore, it’s crucial to ensure the chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) before consuming it to prevent foodborne illness.

How to Defrost Chicken in Microwave

Now that we understand the potential risks of defrosting chicken incorrectly, let’s explore how to safely defrost chicken using a microwave.

1. Prepare the Chicken

Before defrosting chicken in the microwave, it’s important to ensure it’s safe to eat. Check for freezer burn or unusual smells. If it looks or smells bad, discard it. If it looks okay, ensure it’s stored properly in an airtight container or plastic bag.

2. Choose the Defrost Setting

Many microwaves have a defrost setting for safely and quickly thawing frozen food. Set the defrost setting on your microwave and input the weight of the chicken. If your microwave doesn’t have a defrost setting, use the lowest power setting and defrost in short bursts while checking the chicken frequently.

3. Defrost the Chicken

To defrost chicken in the microwave, put it in a microwave-safe dish, and cover it with a lid or plastic wrap to prevent moisture loss and ensure even defrosting. Set the microwave to defrost and check on the chicken every few minutes, flipping it over to ensure even defrosting. The chicken should be fully defrosted in approximately 8-10 minutes per pound.

4. Cook the Chicken

After defrosting chicken, it’s crucial to cook it right away to prevent any bacterial growth. You can cook chicken using various methods, such as grilling, baking, or sautéing, based on your liking. Nonetheless, ensure that the chicken is cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to avoid foodborne illness.

Tips for Defrosting Chicken in Microwave

When defrosting chicken in a microwave, safety is key. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Use a Microwave-Safe Dish

It’s important to use a dish that’s safe for microwaving when thawing chicken in a microwave. Make sure the dish is made of heat-resistant materials and doesn’t have any metal elements that can cause problems.

2. Use the Defrost or Lowest Power Setting

When defrosting chicken in a microwave, use the defrost or lowest power setting. This will ensure that the chicken thaws evenly without starting to cook. Avoid using a high power setting, which can cause uneven defrosting and unsafe cooking.

3. Check on the Chicken Frequently

Check on the chicken frequently while defrosting in the microwave. Use a fork to separate any parts that have started to thaw and turn them over to ensure even defrosting. Checking on the chicken every few minutes will also help prevent overcooking or cooking in the microwave.

4. Never Refreeze Chicken

Once chicken has been defrosted in a microwave, it’s unsafe to refreeze it. Cook the chicken immediately or store it in the fridge. Refreezing chicken that has been thawed in a microwave can increase the risk of foodborne illness.

Do I Need To Defrost Chicken Before Cooking?

The answer to whether or not you need to defrost chicken before cooking it depends on the cooking method you plan to use. If you plan to bake, roast, or grill the chicken, it’s generally recommended to thaw it first.

This is because if the chicken is still partially frozen, it can cook unevenly, resulting in dry or undercooked meat in some spots. Additionally, if the chicken is cooked from frozen, it can take significantly longer to cook, which can increase the risk of overcooking and drying out the meat.

However, if you plan to cook the chicken in a recipe that involves simmering or boiling it, you can cook it from frozen. This is because the liquid in the recipe will help to thaw and cook the chicken evenly, and the longer cooking time will give the chicken enough time to cook through completely.

However, it’s important to note that cooking frozen chicken can increase the risk of bacterial growth, so it’s important to make sure that the chicken is cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) before consuming it.


Defrosting chicken in a microwave can be a quick and easy way to prepare your meals. By following these simple steps, you can safely defrost chicken in a microwave and avoid any health risks associated with improper defrosting. Always make sure to cook the chicken immediately after defrosting and use a microwave-safe dish. We hope this article helps you prepare your chicken in a safe and convenient way.

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!