How to Defrost Chicken in Microwave [Easy & Quick]

How to Defrost Chicken in MicrowaveYou’re seated at your dining, staring at your platter of chicken. The smell is irresistible, and you can’t wait to dig in.

But there’s one problem: You tear apart the limp and notice an eerie white glaze covering it. It’s frozen solid! What do you do? Call for takeout?

Well, worry no more. A microwave is your best way to defrost that chicken in no time flat. Here’s how to defrost chicken in microwave.

Remove the chicken from its package and set it on a high-edged microwave-safe plate or dish. Cover loosely and microwave on defrost settings for 2 minutes per lb. In the absence of the defrost settings, nuke at 30% power for the same amount of time. On both methods, regularly flip to ensure even thawing.

And there you have it! You can now cook your meal with minimal fuss.

In this post, we’ll discuss each of these steps in detail and provide some valuable tips along the way. We’ll also cover critical questions revolving around the topic. Finally, we’ll wrap up by answering any lingering questions you may have about microwaving frozen chicken.

Can You Defrost Chicken in the Microwave?

defrosting that chicken 11zonMicrowaves are well known for reheating or cooking food. But, what many people don’t realize is that you can also use them to defrost frozen foods. Their convenience makes them an ideal tool for thawing meat and poultry quickly.

If you have no other way of defrosting your chicken, using a microwave may be your best bet.

However, it would be best to take some precautions when doing so. Here are some helpful hints for safely defrosting chicken in the microwave:

  • Remove all packaging from your chicken before defrosting it in a microwave. This includes a plastic wrap, Styrofoam trays, and other protective materials. Most of these materials are not microwave safe and could melt or catch fire while in use.
  • Cut your chicken into smaller pieces if it’s still partially frozen when you remove it from its packaging. The more surface area you have, the faster it will thaw.
  • Place your cut-up chicken onto a microwave-safe plate or dish with raised edges to contain any juices that leak out during defrosting.
  • Cover your chicken with a paper towel or napkin before defrosting it in a microwave. This is to absorb moisture released by your food during heating. The last thing you want is for steam to build up inside your microwave, which could cause an explosion.
  • Remember to use the low setting when defrosting your chicken. Using high heat will cause your meat to cook rather than defrost, defeating its purpose entirely.
  • Do not defrost your chicken for longer than necessary. Even though microwaves cook food quickly, they can also dry it out over time. Similarly, do not defrost your frozen chicken at room temperature since bacteria can proliferate in such conditions.
  • Check on your chicken periodically while it is defrosting in a microwave. Rotate it every few minutes so that all parts get cooked evenly.
  • Cook your chicken immediately after defrosting it in a microwave. Only once cooked should you store it in your refrigerator.
  • Read through your owner’s manual before using your microwave. Different models work differently, and some features may differ from what you expect.

Benefits of Defrosting Using a Microwave over Other Traditional Methods

How to Defrost Chicken in MicrowaveIt’s no secret that a microwave is the mother of all kitchen appliances. From warming leftovers to melting chocolate, it’s an essential part of any home cook’s repertoire. As mentioned before, microwaves are also great for defrosting frozen foods.

Here are five reasons why you should use your microwave next time you need to defrost the chicken.


1. Defrost Fast

If you’re trying to cook dinner for your family, you probably don’t have time to wait around for your chicken breasts or thighs to thaw on their own.

Microwaves defrost by using radio waves that penetrate frozen food and cause water molecules to vibrate, which breaks down ice crystals. This process doesn’t take very long, about 2 minutes for a pound of chicken.

2. Retain Taste and Flavor

When you defrost food using other methods, like cold water or on your countertop, it’s easy for flavor and nutrients to leach into surrounding liquids. This is because the ice crystals that form when your chicken freezes can rupture walls when they melt.

However, microwaves don’t use water to defrost foods, so there’s no chance of any freezer burn. Your chicken breasts will taste exactly as wonderful as they did before they were frozen (if not better).

3. No-Risk of Cross-Contamination

Let’s face it; if you’re trying to defrost chicken on your kitchen counter, there’s always a chance that some of its juices will drip onto other foods or to your kitchen floor.

This is especially true if you have children prone to dropping food. By using a microwave, there’s no risk of cross-contamination because all of your frozen food stays safely inside while it thaws.

4. It’s Safe

Food safety is always a crucial consideration for cooking, and microwaves are no exception. Since they don’t use water to defrost food, there’s no risk of bacteria growth or contamination during thawing.

This means that your chicken will be safe for consumption once it has finished defrosting. However, cook instantly after thawing to avoid any potential bacterial growth.

How Long To Defrost Chicken in Microwave?

How to Defrost Chicken in MicrowaveIf you’re the type of person who is always on the go, defrosting any meat can be a hassle. Luckily, your microwave can help you in this endeavor. Not only does it cut down on defrosting time, but it also helps keep your kitchen clean and free from messy dishes.

So, the question remains: how long does it take to defrost chicken in the microwave? The answer is contingent on two things.


  • How much chicken you’re defrosting: The more chicken you have or how thick it is will determine how long it takes to defrost.
  • Your microwave’s wattage: Unfortunately, microwaves don’t come with a standard wattage. Some are 1000 watts, while others are as high as 1200 or more. This means that if you have a lower-wattage microwave, it may take longer for your food to cook properly (and vice versa).

But, on average, it will take 2 minutes for every pound of chicken you defrost. So, if you have 4 pounds of chicken that needs defrosting, expect it to take 8 minutes.

Make sure to flip your chicken halfway through so both sides get equal time in your microwave. The best way to tell when your chicken is done is by using an instant-read thermometer. Stick it into one of your thicker pieces and wait until it reads104 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to Defrost Chicken in Microwave: Step by Step

How to Defrost Chicken in MicrowaveA microwave provides you with one of the easiest and quickest ways to defrost the chicken. The method works best with smaller chunks of meat, such as breasts or thighs under a pound. If you have large portions of frozen chicken, chop them into smaller pieces before placing them in the microwave.

Here are some steps you can follow to defrost chicken in your microwave:


What You’ll Need

  • Microwave-safe plate
  • Plastic wrap
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Oven mitt

Step 1: Remove From Packaging

Remove your chicken from its packaging and place it on a high-edged plate or bowl. Read the instructions on your package for more information about how effectively and safely defrost your chicken.

Step 2: Cover with Plastic Wrap

Cover your chicken with plastic wrap. This will help retain moisture and keep your chicken from drying out while it defrosts. Make sure it’s loosely wrapped, as you don’t want to trap too much heat or steam inside.

Step 3: Place in Microwave

Place your plate of chicken into a microwave. Using the defrost setting (usually located on your microwave’s control panel), defrost for 2 minutes for every 1 pound of your chicken. For example, if you have two pounds of frozen chicken, set your microwave to defrost for 4 minutes.

Check on your chicken, flipping it periodically to ensure that all parts defrost evenly.

However, if your microwave doesn’t have a defrost setting, nuke your chicken for 2 minutes per pound and flip it every 30 seconds. Use 20-30% power as opposed to 100%. This will prevent any potential hot spots from forming on your chicken.

Step 4: Check for Doneness

Once your chicken is defrosted, please remove it from your microwave and check for doneness. Poke your meat with a fork or knife to see if it’s still frozen inside. If not, microwave for another 30 seconds and continue flipping until your chicken is fully defrosted.

Step 5: Remove your chicken from the microwave

Once your chicken is fully defrosted, remove it from your microwave using an oven mitt. It’s recommended that you cook your chicken immediately instead of storing it for later use. Microwaves heat to extreme temperatures, promoting the growth of harmful bacteria.

Faqs on How Defrost Chicken in Microwave

1. How do you defrost chicken in the microwave without drying it out?

Make sure you don’t defrost your chicken for too long. For each pound of your chicken, defrost it for 2 minutes and cover loosely with either a wet paper towel or plastic wrap. This will keep it from drying out while it thaws. Remember also to rotate it frequently so that all parts defrost evenly.

2. How do I defrost chicken quickly?

How to Defrost Chicken in MicrowaveA microwave is one of the most efficient ways to defrost chicken fast. It will take about 2 minutes for every pound of chicken. Always defrost your meat in a microwave-safe dish on the defrost setting, rotating it periodically to ensure even defrosting.


If you opt to nuke your chicken instead, use 30% power and set a timer for 2 minutes for every pound.

3. Can you get sick from defrosting chicken in the microwave?

The USDA recommends that any meat or poultry defrosted in a microwave be cooked immediately. Microwaves heat food unevenly, resulting in warm spots where harmful bacteria can survive and grow.

4. Is defrosting chicken from the microwave bad?

No, defrosting chicken using a microwave is entirely safe. In fact, it’s one of the easiest ways to do so. All you need is to follow simple guidelines, such as using the right amount of time and power setting for your microwave. Also, cook instantly after thawing.

5. Can you microwave raw chicken?

Yes, you can microwave raw chicken. However, ensure that you cook it thoroughly until its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius). You want to kill any bacteria and make sure that your food is safe to eat.

6. How long should you defrost meat in the microwave?

The time it takes for meat or poultry to defrost depends on its thickness and your microwave’s wattage. In general, plan on about 10 minutes per pound for whole cuts of beef and lamb, 5 minutes for ground meats, and 2 minutes for chicken parts. Always cook these foods instantly after thawing them.

7. What temperature is defrost in the microwave?

Most microwaves have their defrost setting set at 40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. This ensures all parts of your chicken are evenly defrosted.

8. Can you defrost the chicken in the microwave and then marinate it?

Yes, you can defrost the chicken in a microwave and then marinate it. However, if you marinate your chicken before defrosting, you may mix water released during thawing with your marinade. This could result in dilution of flavor or even spoilage.


Defrosting chicken in a microwave is by far the fastest method available. It’s also one of the most convenient methods, as it doesn’t require any special equipment or preparation.

However, you must adhere to proper defrosting guidelines for food safety reasons. Importantly note that this method involves partially cooking the meat as it defrosts. For that reason, you must cook your chicken instantly after defrosting to prevent food-borne illness.

Overall, defrosting using a microwave is an excellent choice when you have limited time, and convenience is paramount.

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