How to Defrost Frozen Skinless Chicken Breasts in the Microwave

You've forgotten to set out the frozen skinless chicken breasts again and now need them for your recipe. While you don't have sufficient time to thaw them in the refrigerator, the often recommended method, your microwave can provide a sufficient way to defrost the breasts. Since it heats the breasts instead of just allowing them to come down gradually in temperature, you have to watch them closely and make sure they don't start to cook. But when done properly, you can defrost them evenly to a cool temperature so they are ready to add to your favorite skinless chicken breast recipe.

Woman peeking inside of microwave while in kitchen. (Image: mauricio jordan/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Remove the chicken breasts from their packaging.

Step 2

Place the chicken breasts flat in a single layer on a microwave safe plate or other shallow container.

Step 3

Place the chicken breasts in the microwave.

Step 4

Select the defrost setting on your microwave. Some microwaves allow you to choose the type of food you are defrosting and the number of pounds.

Step 5

Heat the chicken breasts on the defrost cycle for 2 minutes if your microwave does not automatically set the amount of time to heat the food.

Step 6

Remove the chicken breasts from the microwave after 2 minutes regardless of if your microwave has an automatic setting.

Step 7

Turn over the chicken breasts.

Step 8

Place the chicken breasts back in the microwave and run the defrost cycle for another 2 minutes.

Step 9

Check and turn the chicken breasts every 2 minutes until they feel soft and have no cold spots.


Cook chicken breasts immediately after defrosting, making sure to cook to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Completely cook thawed chicken breasts before refreezing.

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