Can I Cook Chicken Straight From Being Frozen?

Fresh hen
Baking is an efficient and safe way to cook frozen chicken. (Image: Elena Shchipkova/Hemera/Getty Images)

USDA guidelines recommend thawing meat products in the refrigerator or cold water to prevent foodborne illnesses. But when you're short on time, go ahead and cook chicken straight from the freezer. Cooking times and methods may vary from thawed chicken, so check each piece with a meat thermometer to ensure that it reaches a safe temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Under Pressure

One of the fastest ways to cook frozen chicken is with a pressure cooker. Drizzle a little oil in the bottom of the pressure cooker, then turn the heat to medium-high. Sear each piece of chicken individually in the hot oil for about a minute per side, until the chicken begins to turn golden brown. Return all of the chicken to the pan, and sprinkle the top of each piece with your favorite spices. Put the lid on the cooker and bring it to high temperature according to the instruction manual. Cook the chicken for seven to 10 minutes. Avoid cooking whole chickens in a pressure cooker; they break down during the cooking process, reducing the overall quality of the meat.

Hot Out of the Oven

Baking is one of the simplest preparation methods for both whole and quartered chickens just out of the freezer. Grease the bottom of a baking sheet and place the chicken in an even layer in the bottom of the dish. Place the chicken in a preheated 350-degree oven and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and season it with your preferred spice blend. Season after the chicken has cooked for a few minutes, because the spices will slide off the frozen chicken. Return the chicken to the oven and cook for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken registers 165 degrees at the thickest point.

Stovetop Method

Cooking chicken on the stove often results in burned outsides and raw insides, but you can combat this problem by reducing the thickness of your chicken. Place the piece of chicken on a clean cutting board, and cut it into the desired shape. Long, thin strips of chicken breast work well for fajitas, while cubes are the perfect shape for soups and stews. Brown the cut chicken in a frying pan over medium heat, cooking until the meat is no longer pink and has cooked to the proper temperature. Cooking frozen chicken can take up to 50 percent longer than fresh chicken, so adjust cooking times accordingly.

Alternative Preparations

Avoid slow-cookers and microwave cooking when preparing frozen raw chicken. Slow-cookers bring up the temperature over a number of hours, and this creates a breeding ground for bacteria and foodborne illnesses, such as salmonella poisoning. Microwaves produce uneven cooking, resulting in some parts of the chicken being overcooked and other parts raw.

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