How Long to Defrost Chicken in Microwave

It’s dinnertime already and the chicken is still in the freezer; it’s too late to wait for hours for it to thaw in water or refrigerator. What then can you do? You go for the quickest option – defrost chicken in microwave!

Note, though, that while defrosting chicken in microwave is the quickest way to go, it is not the most convenient, as it requires careful monitoring so that your chicken does not defrost unevenly. Unlike the other methods, defrosting chicken in microwave is not a ‘hands off’ process and you may have some of the chicken starting to cook as they defrost.

I know many people would want to know how long or how safe it is to defrost chicken in microwave. So here are some interesting tips that will help you defrost chicken in microwave.

Is It Safe to Defrost Chicken in Microwave?

Yes, it is safe to defrost chicken in microwave, but you must cook it immediately after it’s thawed. This is because the warm temperature quickly brings your chicken into the “danger zone” where bacteria can rapidly grow and multiply.

How to Defrost Chicken Safely in Microwave

As I said earlier, using a microwave is the fastest method to defrost chicken if you’re short on time. To safely defrost chicken in the microwave, the first thing to do is to remove the plastic or foil wrap before placing it in a microwave-safe dish or container and covering the dish/container loosely.

Set your microwave to defrost mode (this feature often requires you to insert the approximate weight of the food) and defrost for two minutes at a time, checking the chicken and flipping it periodically to ensure even thawing.

The flipping/turning is necessary because it is common (for microwave-defrosted chicken) for the chicken along the outside to defrost faster than the middle, and then those edges start to cook. To prevent that, you only microwave for 1-2 minutes at a time and then flip the chicken so that the ones on the outside don’t start cooking while the middle ones are still frozen.

For a microwave without the defrost setting, you can manually set it to cook at 30–50 percent of its maximum power. It will take 7-8 minutes for a pound of chicken to defrost, depending on the wattage of your microwave and the size and thickness of the chicken.

Check that the chicken is fully defrosted by touching it with your finger. If it isn’t, you can defrost again, this time, for only a few seconds at a time.

Remember that you must cook your chicken immediately after you defrost it with a microwave. This is because microwaves heat the chicken to a temperature between 40 and 140º Fahrenheit, which bacteria thrive in.

So, promptly cooking the chicken to proper temperatures is the only way to ensure that the potentially dangerous bacteria are destroyed. It is only when the chicken is cooked that it is safe to refreeze.

How Long to Defrost Chicken in Microwave 

It will take between 7-8 minutes to defrost a pound of frozen chicken in a microwave. However, defrosting a large quantity of chicken in a microwave may not be ideal.

If you do (that is, defrost a large quantity of chicken in the microwave), it is more likely that you have some parts of the chicken starting to cook and become Opaque while other areas are still raw. You can defrost in the refrigerator or water instead. 

How Long Does It Take to Defrost 2 Pounds of Chicken in The Microwave?

It will take about 15 minutes to defrost 2 pounds of chicken in the microwave since it takes 7-8 minutes for a pound (depending on the wattage of your microwave and the size or thickness of the chicken).

How Long to Defrost Chicken Thighs in Microwave

It will take 7-8 minutes per pound.

How Long to Defrost Chicken Legs in Microwave

It will take about 5-8 minutes to defrost chicken legs. You can take three to four pieces at a time and microwave in batches. With a sharp knife, make a small slit in the chicken leg’s thickest portion, then defrost for 1 minute at a time and always check if it is fully defrosted before cooking.

How Long To Defrost Frozen Chicken Breast In Microwave 

It will take 7-8 minutes per pound, depending on the wattage of your microwave and the size and thickness of your cut.

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How Long to Defrost Cooked Chicken in Microwave

It will take 6-8 minutes to defrost cooked chicken in the microwave. As soon as you finish defrosting your cooked chicken, heat it immediately on high heat in the microwave until it’s piping hot.

Alternatively, you can heat in the oven or on your stove after defrosting. Separate your chicken pieces before freezing and freeze them lying flat next to one other, instead of stacking or grouping them. They will defrost faster if they’re not touching.

How Long to Defrost Chicken Curry in Microwave

It will take between 5-10 minutes to defrost chicken curry in the microwave, depending on the size of your portion. Be sure to stir the curry every minute so that the heat will be evenly distributed.

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Other methods to safely defrost chicken include: 

  1. Using refrigerator.
  2. Using cold water.
  3. Cooking directly (without any preliminary thawing).

It is not only safe to defrost chicken in microwave, but it is also the quickest method (as I said earlier); so much so that many people now choose this as their go-to method, especially when they have little time to spare, or when they forget to take their chicken out of the freezer beforehand.

Nevertheless, when you defrost chicken in microwave, you must follow the guidelines and safety measures to ensure that the chicken defrosts properly and that it is safe to eat.

By Luong Tan

Luong Tan, the creative and passionate founder of Bourbono, is a multi-talented individual with a deep love for the culinary arts. An accomplished food blogger, cookbook author, and former Ambassador of US cuisine in Vietnam (2015-2016), Luong has been on a mission to share his appreciation for food with the world.

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