How to defrost chicken

January 11, 2024
by Hellofresh Tips & tricks

    Freezing chicken immediately is a good way to help it stay fresh for longer. However, when it comes to defrosting chicken, there are various risks that need to be considered. If food is not defrosted properly, harmful bacteria can begin to grow.

    How to safely defrost chicken

    According to health and safety standards in the UK, these are some key points to keep in mind when defrosting food, to keep yourself and those around you safe.

    Plan ahead

    Firstly, make sure you plan ahead. Allow yourself enough time to defrost the chicken properly before cooking. Rushing the process could mean it’s not done correctly, posing potential harm.

    Defrost in a clean environment

    If you’re defrosting chicken in the fridge, ensure it is clean and there is enough space so that it does not contaminate other foods. Similarly, it is important to clean the space afterwards to ensure further contamination is not left.

    Keep chicken away from other food

    When defrosting poultry, ensure that it is kept separate from other foods to avoid cross-contamination.

    Cook with the chicken immediately

    Once the chicken is defrosted properly, you must cook with it immediately to ensure no harmful bacteria forms and it is still fresh.

    Defrosting chicken in the fridge

    Defrosting the chicken in the fridge is the safest way. Ensure you plan ahead and leave your chicken in the fridge to thaw for the recommended time. To safely defrost chicken in the fridge, it needs to be in a sealable bag or contained and placed on a clean plate. It should be placed on the bottom shelf and left for approximately 5 hours per 450g.

    It is recommended to leave the chicken to thaw in the fridge overnight, where it can stay for up to 24 hours before it needs to be used. If the chicken is not a whole, this may take less time.

    How to know when chicken is defrosted

    It’s important to take all precautions to confirm chicken is properly defrosted. Even when chicken looks visibly defrosted, the centre could still contain ice crystals and cause harm. The chicken is considered fully defrosted when the meat joints become flexible and no ice crystals are detected upon skewering.

    If extra care isn’t taken when dealing, handling and cooking with chicken, then you are at a higher risk of food poisoning. It’s best to handle frozen chicken in the same way as you would handle raw chicken. Freezing temperatures do not eliminate harmful bacteria, leaving you susceptible to food poisoning even when handling raw chicken.

    Cooking with defrosted chicken

    Once safely defrosted, you can get started on your favourite chicken recipes. Take a look at these HelloFresh chicken recipes and introduce new and exciting flavours at home.

    All food products vary. The instructions printed on the food packaging always supersedes those printed in this article and must always be followed.
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