Can you cook half-frozen chicken?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you cook half-frozen chicken” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not you can cook half-frozen chicken. Moreover, we are going to discuss the proper way to freeze and thaw the chicken.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Can you cook half-frozen chicken?

Yes, you can cook half-frozen chicken but it takes longer (about 50% longer cooking time) to thoroughly cook the half-frozen chicken as compared to the fresh chicken or the one that has been thawed first. You should cook half-frozen chicken till its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

In case you are roasting whole half-frozen chicken, it is recommended to start checking the internal temperature after regular intervals once the cooking time is past the 60 minutes mark.

The particular method that you want to use to cook your chicken depends upon your personal preference as you can bbq, grill, fry, roast or bake your half-frozen chicken.

To properly cook the half-frozen chicken, you should start cooking it at a low temperature and increase the temperature gradually (but make sure that the temperature won’t be lower than 350 degrees Fahrenheit for safety concerns). 

It is worth mentioning that the time it takes to cook chicken depends upon several factors like the quantity of chicken, the extent to which it is frozen, the internal temperature to which chicken is cooked, the way you are going to cook it (roast in the oven, boil in a saucepan or fry in the pan), the storage conditions in which the chicken was kept, slaughter age, the time for which the chicken has been stored, humidity and temperature. 

Keep in mind that you should cook the chicken thoroughly till its internal temperature reaches about 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, when it comes to large cuts of chicken, it is better to thaw them beforehand to ensure even cooking.

Can you use a slow cooker to cook half-frozen chicken?

It is not recommended to cook half-frozen chicken in a slow cooker or crockpot. The reason behind this is that cooking half-frozen chicken in the slow cooker results in it spending too much time at a temperature at which the bacterial growth takes place at a faster rate. 

The slow cooker takes several hours to reach the temperature that is necessary to kill the bacteria and ensure the safety of chicken and we know that bacteria grow at a faster pace at 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, the potential for the half-frozen chicken to stay in this danger zone is too long in case it is cooked in a slow cooker, and staying in the danger zone for too long can allow bacteria like Salmonella to thrive on the chicken.

Therefore it is not recommended to cook half-frozen chicken in the slow cooker. On the other hand, if the chicken has been thawed beforehand, then you can cook it in the slow cooker easily.

The proper way to freeze chicken

You can easily store the chicken by wrapping it in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and afterward putting it in the plastic freezer bag or heavy-duty freezer container before storing it in the freezer to protect your chicken from freezer burns. 

Moreover, to preserve the quality of the chicken for quite a long time you can opt for vacuum sealing it which is quite effective in prolonging its shelf life.

Vacuum sealing involves the process of putting the chicken in a plastic zipper bag, removing air from it, and almost sealing the bag with a little space left while lowering it into water. Afterward, press out the bubbles from the bag starting from the bottom of the bag and once you reach the sealed end, you should press the seal closed. 

The reason behind doing vacuum sealing is to ensure that there is minimum air present in the plastic zipper bag with the chicken. As air has moisture and oxygen in it that favors bacterial growth, so by removing air, chicken can retain its freshness for a long time.

It is a good practice to divide the chicken into portions or serving sizes that you generally need. By doing so you will be able to just thaw the quantity of chicken that you need while the rest of the chicken can stay in the freezer untouched. Thus keeping the chicken in the freezer will increase its shelf life considerably owing to the cool temperature of the freezer that halts the bacterial growth on the chicken.

The proper way to thaw chicken

When it comes to thawing the chicken, there are a couple of ways to do so and you can choose any of them depending upon your choice.

  1. The recommended way to thaw the half-frozen chicken is to leave it in the refrigerator overnight and let it thaw there. 
  1. You can thaw the half-frozen chicken in a bowl of cold water but you should cook it immediately after thawing. 
  1. If you are thawing the chicken in the oven or microwave it is recommended to cook it immediately. 

The reason behind cooking the chicken immediately after thawing it in a cold water bowl or microwave is that when you warm chicken using these methods, the temperature at the surface of the chicken gets higher than that of 40 degrees Fahrenheit before the core temperature can become 40 degrees Fahrenheit and it can thaw completely and that’s when the bacteria can start to grow on the surface rapidly.

Therefore it is advised to cook such thawed chicken immediately until its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Because it is only by cooking the chicken properly that we can get rid of the bacteria completely.

You can read turkey vs chicken here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you cook half-frozen chicken” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not you can cook half-frozen chicken. Moreover, we discussed the proper way to freeze and thaw chicken.

Citations

https://www.livestrong.com/article/482129-how-to-bake-partially-frozen-chicken/#:~:text=You%20can%20bake%20your%20partially,to%20increase%20the%20cooking%20time.&text=FoodSafety.gov%20recommends%20you%20cook,around%20the%2060%2Dminute%20mark.
https://www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/techniques/how-to-cook-frozen-chicken-safely-without-thawing
https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/food_and_recipes/2743546-Is-it-safe-to-cook-half-frozen-chicken

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.