How long can you keep defrosted chicken in the fridge before cooking?

In this short guide, we are going to answer the question “How long can you keep defrosted chicken in the fridge before cooking?”.  In addition, we will discuss how to safely defrost chicken. Finally, we will discuss how to buy easy-to-defrost chickens.

How long can you keep defrosted chicken in the fridge before cooking?

You can keep defrosting chicken in the fridge before cooking for three days. This only applies if the chicken has been thawed in the fridge overnight. The biggest risk of thawing came inappropriately is providing an enabling environment for the role to provide support. This happens a lot when the process is done in the sink or with hot water, for example.

That way, in addition to increasing the quality of the meat, you also increase the chances of contaminating the utensils that are also in the sink (which makes the problem worse). As a consequence, the health of the people who will participate in the meal is also at stake.

Therefore, it is important to worry about the right way to leave the meat ready for preparation.

How to safely defrost chicken?

To safely defrost chicken, it should never be thawed on the counter at room temperature or in a bowl of hot water. In general, larger cuts of chicken, especially a whole chicken, should be thawed in the refrigerator, as the chicken will start to cook on the outside if thawed in the microwave, and will take a long time in a bowl of water. 

But if your pieces are small and boneless, you can just use a bowl of cold water or even use a microwave oven.

There are basically two ways to do this safely and we’ll talk about them next:

1-Defrost with water: Place the chicken inside a well-sealed plastic (preferably vacuum) and use a basin — or any other container — that is big enough to fit the package and completely cover it with water.

Ideally, the water should be at room temperature and change it every 30 minutes, approximately. Be aware that this process takes a little longer and that 500g of chicken can take about an hour and a half to fully thaw (this may vary depending on the temperature in your region).

2- Defrosting in the microwave: Completely remove the chicken from the original packaging and place it on a microwave-safe plate. Afterwards, wrap it in plastic that can be used in the device. Using medium to low power, program the microwave on the “defrost” function.

Once the cycle is over, check to see if there are still any ice crystals, especially in the middle or inside the chicken. If you still notice some hard parts (still frozen), continue to microwave, but this time at smaller intervals. The time needed to complete the process will depend on the power of your equipment and the size of the meat.

If you bought the meats and froze them in large blocks, you’ll probably have a hard time defrosting the ideal amount for the meal. As it is not recommended to return the item to the freezer, there is a great risk of suffering from waste. Therefore, plan to remove only the necessary portions at the time they will be prepared.

Pay attention because be careful, it’s never too much.

How to buy easy-to-defrost chickens?

You can buy chickens made by the IQF (Individual Fast Freezing) system. It is a technology developed to freeze products individually, facilitating portioning when preparing. That way, in practice, whenever you buy a chicken with an IQF freeze, you’ll be able to take separate parts out of the freezer, instead of taking out those big blocks.

Can you imagine getting just the right amount of pieces (or portions) that will be prepared at that moment? The products that undergo freezing in IQF make your routine even more practical and faster, as they are easy to handle, let the meat be removed in a dosed and loose way and also avoid waste.

In addition, IQF technology helps to preserve the natural characteristics of foods, while also preserving flavor, texture and color.

Purchasing food with IQF freezing, as you might already imagine, is a decision that makes planning your meals a lot easier. Among the other benefits, we can mention:

  • more practicality in everyday life
  • waste reduction (since you only take out what you are actually going to use)
  • loose meats in the package (you can only get the quantities you need for each meal


In this short guide, we answered the question “How long can you keep defrosted chicken in the fridge before cooking”. In addition, we discussed how to safely defrost chicken. Finally, we discussed how to buy easy-to-defrost chickens.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.