How to Defrost Frozen Skinless Chicken Breasts in the Microwave

You can just as easily thaw the chicken in the microwave.
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If you were planning to cook chicken breasts and forgot to thaw them, don't worry. You can just as easily thaw the chicken in the microwave. Follow these steps to defrost the chicken in the microwave.


Read more: The #1 Way to Cook Chicken Breast Without Drying It Out

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Thawing Methods and Food Safety

Before you get started, you should know that defrosting the chicken in the microwave is not mandatory; the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service explains that it is safe to cook food from the frozen state. The only caveat is that the cooking time may be up to 50 percent higher.

If you're short on time, thawing the chicken in the microwave is probably your best bet. Per the USDA, you can also safely thaw meat in the fridge or under cold water, but those methods take longer.

The big no-no when it comes to defrosting the chicken breast is leaving it out on the counter. According to the USDA, once raw meat starts to thaw and become warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, bacteria that may have been present in the meat before it was frozen can start to multiply. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services notes that harmful bacteria multiply fastest between 40 and 140 Fahrenheit.


Food poisoning isn't fun, so following a few basic food safety recommendations can help prevent you from falling sick.

Read more: How to Bake Chicken Breasts to Be Shredded

Defrosting Chicken in the Microwave

.Here's what you need to do:


  • Remove the packaging: Michigan State University Extension (MSU) recommends taking off all the packaging, including plastic wrap and foam trays, because it may not be very heat resistant. As a result, it may melt in the microwave, exposing the chicken to harmful chemicals.
  • Use a microwave-safe container: MSU suggests placing the meat in a microwave-safe container and covering it loosely.
  • Defrost the chicken breast: Opt for the defrost feature on the microwave. MSU explains that this feature operates at 30 percent power. It could take up to three to five minutes to defrost the chicken breasts in the microwave, depending on their size.
  • Rotate the chicken: Many microwaves rotate the food automatically, so that it thaws evenly. However, if the microwave you're using does not rotate, then you will have to open it halfway through to turn the container. Avoid touching the meat when you do this; according to the USDA, touching partially cooked food is not advisable because any bacteria present may not have been destroyed.
  • Cook the chicken immediately: Once you've thawed the chicken in the microwave, cook it immediately. You can cook it in the microwave itself, or on the stove, in the oven or on a grill. Cooking it promptly is the best way to ensure that any bacteria get destroyed immediately. Leaving it out on the other hand gives bacteria a window to multiply.


If you're looking for a recipe for the chicken breasts, suggests a quick, easy and healthy chicken breast recipe that uses lemon and capers. Just cook the chicken in a greased nonstick pan for about eight to 10 minutes, until both sides are browned and it is cooked throughout. Add some lemon juice and capers to the pan and swirl them around for a minute. Serve them on top of the chicken. Garnish with fresh parsley.

According to the USDA, a 100-gram serving of chicken breast has 165 calories, 20.4 grams of protein, 8.1 grams of fat and 1.06 grams of carbs. It also offers calcium and vitamin A.

Read more: General Nutritional Facts About Chicken




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