Defrosting chicken w/o cooking

Joined Dec 7, 2009
I yanked a couple boneless skinless from the freezer to whip up some chicken marsalla for the wife for dinner and it seems like when ever I try to defrost this meat it ends up half way cooked.

Do I need another setting? Often my cooking is spur of the moment and I want to get it ready to cook in less than 25 minutes.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Are you saying you cooked it while still partially frozen? Never a good idea.

If you haven't thought to defrost it properly (i.e., overnight in the fridge), second best is to use cold water. Most people just put the chicken (or whatever) directly in a bowl or under running water. But that can leech away flavor and nutrients. Instead, put the food in a waterproof plastic bag, then submerge the whole thing.

I'm guessing frozen chicken breasts will take 20-30 minutes to defrost?
Joined Aug 4, 2008
Wife made chicken terriaki tonight, and the breasts were completely rock hard 20 mins prior (the chicken breasts, not the wifes).

Personally I think the cold water method is better than the refrigerator over night, just be sure to keep them wrapped.
Joined Feb 26, 2007
lol Doc,very funny. (Although there's some models out there who would be the opposite).

Nuke them on defrost, but watch them carefully, lay them out as flat as you can, and make sure to loosen the plastic wrapping a bit. (if they are in a bag, pierce it couple times). Turn over couple of times to get an even defrost. If any edges go white, take them out.

(Oh oh here comes the anti- microwave crowd.....)
Joined Jun 16, 2007
I say microwave ovens are great for some things (even cooking fish). But defrosting in the microwave is kind of tricky for me, so I don't do it. It's too easy to cook part of it while another part's still frozen. Maybe I don't have the touch :smiles:
Joined Oct 8, 2004
It took me a few years when I started using a microwave, but I seem to have the defrosting thing down pretty good now. At least my wife thinks so :)

In general I will not thaw fish in the nuker, it is the only one that tends to cook a little no matter how careful you are because it is so delicate. But, this is a good thing in a way because just about any piece of fish will thaw quickly in a vacu seal bag and a bowl of cool water.

As for chicken, I treat it about the same I treat ground meats and most other meats. Each nuker is a little different so play with it a bit.

Now the following times are for a 1 pound package that has been double saran wrapped or vacuu sealed. For larger or smaller quantities you will need to adjust and I'll throw a few example times in to give you the idea...

**note, I will use the numbers 1 to 10 with 1 being the lowest power setting and 10 the highest. If yours has a different scale, adjust accordingly.

For 4 medium chicken breasts I start with 6 minutes on power 4. This is to break the "hard" freeze where the meat is still like concrete. After the 6 mins it should start to feel a touch soft on the outside but still mostly frozen.

Next I do 4 minutes on power 2. This starts to get it very close to thawed on the outside, but still mostly solid frozen in the middle. After this step, let it sit for a few minutes to let the temperature completely even out on the breasts. (e.g. - to let any developing warm spots on the out side edges of the meat cool)

Finally I do 4 minutes on power 1 (lowest) and let sit to to even out. I will repeat this until they are completely thawed, which is usually 2 or 3 times.

In all 4 breasts take about 30 mins (6+4+3+4+3+4+3 = 27mins) to thaw perfectly with no cooked bits on the outside edges.

For 2 breasts I start with only 4 mins on power 6 and maybe 3 on power 2 and pay more attention to the resting time to make sure they don't cook.

For larger pieces such as roasts which are 2 lbs or more, I'll allow longer time and start with say 10 mins on 3, or 5 min on 5 to break the hard freeze and go for longer times on power one with resting until it is thawed.

Hope that helps and please let me know if you have any questions.

Joined Jun 16, 2007
(6+4+3+4+3+4+3 = 27mins)

Calculus and cooking don't mix:lol: But if you get to know your microwave oven well enough that you can do that stuff, great.

I cook thawed fish in the microwave, not frozen. It takes hardly any time to cook, so it's not hard to get it right.
Joined May 29, 2006
Your settings in the micro are off. Try putting in micro a few minutes to get slightly soft then in cold water.. Microwaving makes breast tough and tends to dehydrate.:laser:
Joined Feb 26, 2007
I'm obviously a fan of the microwave...but... I was silly enough many moons ago to try and defrost a roast beef in one. Oh boy....what a mess up and waste. Outside semi cooked and horrible, inside still frozen. Silly idea, you live and you learn.

Not good for fish, water bath in a bag is plenty for them. But for flat cuts, its good in an emergency. But you must learn to get to know your particular unit.
Joined Apr 3, 2008
I place whatever is frozen in a bowl with warm water. At first I have to change the water every 2 minutes or so because it turns very cold. I got 2 pork tenderloins that were stuck frozen together to thaw out in 30 minutes in this way last night.
Joined Dec 2, 2009
It's ok , Yeti. I got your back. The hubs does a lot of salt water fishing so in order not to waste, he must eat some that is not fried. Doesn't care for baked in oven, but the micro make a brilliant tool for steamed en papillote (trying a cajun interpretation tonite).
Joined Jun 6, 2007
A couple of things to consider here:

it is always a good idea to have frozen stuff in portion size and separate (i.e IQF).
If you use the sealed and submerged underwater method to defrost, make sure you do not surpass 30 minutes prior to cooking. This means you can use warm water for individual frozen tenderloin safely but it becomes unsafe for a large porc roast for example that will take hours to defrost. For large piece you should defrost in cold water (and it is advisable to let the tap run: this is according Quebec regulations).

Pathogenic bacteria need time to replicate and they can only quadruple in numbers within 30mins in warm water which is manageable (they double every 15min). Anymore time you can get in trouble. Also toxin making bacteria require more than 30 min to start making their poison (unless they have done it before freezing). freezing does not kill bacteria only puts them to sleep until they are revived with heat again.
(sorry, I am a Food Safety instructor and I can go on and on like this for 12 hours)

Luc H.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
I prefer the cold water method, too. However I slice them one end to the other, then put parchment between the pieces of chicken. Then I load them into a zipper bag or a FoodSaver bag. I let them thaw for a day in the fridge. I place the plastic bag in cool water and make sure the water doesn't get too cold.

If you can't do this one day ahead, try the fridge method two days in advance.
Joined Aug 13, 2006
I never remember to take something out of the freezer until i want to eat. Then it;s way too late. Or, when i have taken it out, something comes up and i'm invited out to eat or a couple of extra people are coming home and I have only defrosted two pork chops, have no more, and end up having to make something else. In comes the microwave, and if it were only for this, it would be worthwhile.
Mine has a defrost setting, and you can set to defrost steaks and chops, or poultry, or ground meat, or cake or bread. You punch in the weight and off it goes.
However, there is STILL the problem of parts of it cooking.

I;ve defrosted roast in the micro without much problem - i open it every once in a while and move the roast to a different position on the rotating plate. That way i don;t get hot cooked spots. Seems ok.

For chicken pieces, i usually package them for the freezer with parchment paper between, and a whack on the counter, or a prying with a heavy knife will pry them apart. I try not to have any ends sticking out - either all flat, around the plate, or piled up pretty evenly. I usually have to move them around occasionally to make sure they defrost evenly and don;t cook.

I would say, without the "defrost" setting, as I'd have to do on my old microwave, i'd just put it to a low setting.

Other than for defrosting, i like my combination functions, where you can put it on high temp oven and low wattage micro, for when i have to cook something quickly and don;t want it raw inside but want a nice crispy outside, which i always want like potatoes, or meats (steamed meats have little appeal to me). It doesn;t come as good as when you cook only in a hot oven, but when there;s little time it's no worse than what i usually get elsewhere.
Joined Feb 26, 2007

Yes I concur. Was meaning defrosting them in m/v not good. It's as you say, results aren't nice.
Joined Feb 7, 2010
See Alton Brown. Imersed in slightly running water provides the fastest way to thaw. It all has to do with heat conduction.
Joined Feb 3, 2010
I have had luck with the microwave... I freeze portions, then have to cook them pretty quickly once the orders come it. I place the meat in a glass dish and barely cover it with water (the dish isn't much bigger than the meat I mean to defrost) then I nuke it for 2 minutes at a time, averaging about 2 minutes per 1/4" thickness. I'll flip the meat after each 2 minute run and double check that the water still just-covers.

It hasn't failed me yet * is looking for some wood to knock on, quick * :bounce:

Latest posts

Top Bottom