Freezing whole, uncooked chicken is a very common practise but it is amazing how little information is available, particularly online, as to how long it takes to defrost the chicken before we can cook it. That is what I hope to explore in depth in the content of this article.
The first thing we should do is look at how we should not defrost our chicken. We do not wish to make it unsafe for human consumption or waste it in any other way. We must therefore never leave it to thaw at room temperature, either sealed in its packaging or unsealed. Chicken can develop harmful bacteria in this way that we would not wish to digest in to our bodies. Similarly, if we choose to defrost the chicken in the microwave, we must cook it immediately afterwards, as the cooking process may have begun and will facilitate the growth of such bacteria if the bird is left to sit for any length of time.
By far the best way to thaw chicken is on a tray in the refrigerator. Remove or loosen any packaging and sit the tray on the very bottom of your refrigerator. The tray will hopefully catch most of the defrosting juices and water but what we do not wish to happen is for any such liquid to drip on to other food in the refrigerator and contaminate it. It will take a small chicken around twenty-four hours to defrost in this way or up to forty-eight hours for a larger bird.
If perhaps we do not have this time available to us to defrost our chicken or we simply forget to take it out of the deep freeze far enough in advance, we can always fall back on the cold water method. This involves leaving the bird sealed in its packaging and submerging it in cold water. The water should be changed hourly and the chicken will defrost in a maximum of about twelve hours, again dependant upon its size.
It is vital that we ensure the chicken is fully defrosted before we cook it and if any doubt remains we must afford it more thawing time, regardless of what this will do to our dining plans or schedule. Remember also that thawed or partially thawed chicken must never be re-frozen prior to being cooked.
Finally, we must ensure that we cook chicken properly and never under any circumstances eat it in any way under-cooked. The easiest way to tell whether a whole chicken is properly cooked or not is by sticking a metal skewer deep in to the thickest part of the thigh then, with the same skewer, pressing firmly down on top of the puncture we have made so that the juices run out. If the juices are clear, the chicken is ready; if they are in any way red or even pink, more cooking time will be necessary.
I hope that I have helped you resolve the dilemma of how long it will take to defrost your chicken and that you enjoy its succulence to the full.