can you marinate frozen chicken

How to Marinate Frozen Chicken?

No menu is complete with some form of chicken meal on it! There are endless ways in which chicken is used in our everyday cooking. It is used in soups, stews, dips, snacks etc. And when that’s not enough, we go out of our ways to roast, grill, fry and bake the chicken in multiple ways.


can you marinate frozen chicken

Chicken meat comes in a variety of cuts, from boneless and skinless chicken breasts to frozen drumsticks and chicken wings. And every time we open our freezers to get the chicken to cook a nice meal, we can’t help asking ourselves that one question- Can I marinate the frozen chicken?

No! Marinating the frozen chicken is not a good idea! And Let me tell you how!


Why Is Marination important?

The purpose of marination is to infuse the flavors of the spices or the herbs used in the marinades deep into the meat. The longer the marination, the juicier and tastier the chicken turns out after cooking. Marination is a slow process and the ingredients in the marinade take some time to pass through the layers of meat and reach deep into the strands.

can you marinate frozen chicken


Can You Marinate Frozen Chicken?

No! Marinating frozen chicken without thawing is a bad idea. When the frozen chicken is put in the marinade, it starts thawing during marination. Thawing means that it will release all its water content into the marinade. As a result, the marinade will get too diluted and will not give the best flavors to the frozen chicken meat.

The best way to marinate the frozen chicken is to thaw It first, then add the desired marinade to get the best of the taste and texture.


Is it safe to marinate the frozen chicken?

Yes, it is safe to marinate the frozen chicken, but only if you are giving it sufficient time to thaw. Cooking the frozen chicken directly without thawing can leave some of the meat uncooked, and that can get unsafe for the health. Moreover, direct cooking never gives the chicken a juicy and tender texture after cooking. So, it is best to first thaw the frozen chicken and then cook it.


How to Defrost or Thaw the Frozen Chicken?

Well, there are some simple and easy methods to thaw your frozen chicken. Once defrosted, you can easily marinate the chicken using your favorite spices:

  • Use Hot Water

Running hot water through the frozen chicken is a good and quick way to defrost the chicken. Instead of running the hot water, you can also soak the frozen chicken in a bowl filled with lukewarm water and leave it for 30 minutes. Continue replacing the water until the chicken is completely thawed.

  • Thaw Frozen Chicken in The Fridge

Can you defrost the frozen chicken in the fridge? Yes, you can! But it will take longer than 30 minutes to defrost it in the fridge. If you are planning to use the frozen chicken, then place it in the fridge at least a night or before cooking in the fridge.

Place the frozen chicken packet in a colander, set it on a plate and then transfer it to the fridge. In this, all the excess liquid is will draining out of the colander into the plate.

  • Thaw Frozen Chicken in The Microwave

You can microwave frozen chicken breasts, drumsticks or wings by using its defrosting option.  This method is particularly suitable for a small amount of frozen chicken. It is not effective to thaw a whole chicken.

There is a defrosting option available in most microwaves, so place the frozen chicken in the microwave and let it heat on the defrost for 2 minutes. Continue heating on this mode until the meat is defrosted.

Avoid defrosting the frozen chicken on high heat in the microwave because it might cook the chicken a bit which is not good before marination.

  • Freeze Small Chicken Pieces to Thaw Easily

Large pieces of chicken or whole chicken take longer to thaw. If you want your chicken to get thawed quickly, then always freeze the chicken after cutting it into small pieces.


How Long Does It Take to Thaw The Frozen Chicken?

can you marinate frozen chicken

Well, that depends on the method you are using to thaw the frozen chicken. If you are defrosting the frozen chicken in the fridge, then it will take 24-48 hours for thawing.

However, the basic hot water technique will reduce the thaw-time to 30 minutes. This is quicker than the fridge method, but when you defrost the chicken in the fridge, you are not compelled to cook it immediately. Refrigeration prevents the chicken from spoilage even when left for few more hours than the actual thawing time.


What Is The Quickest Way to Thaw The Frozen Chicken?

By far, the microwave technique is the quickest way to thaw the frozen chicken. In the microwave, you can defrost the frozen chicken in just 5-10 minutes.


Best Tips to Thaw the Frozen Chicken

There are certain things that to be kept in mind while thawing the chicken and preparing it for marination:

  1. Never leave the frozen chicken at room temperature for more than 2 hours else the meat will get spoiled.
  2. Do not thaw the chicken without covering it even when you are refrigerating it. Open chicken meat can catch all sorts of bacteria and contaminants.
  3. Once the frozen chicken is thawed completely, do not wait; just start cooking this meat.
  4. The slow thawing method is not only effective but also healthier than the other quick methods. Try to plan your meals in time to thaw the chicken well in time.
  5. When you thaw the chicken in the microwave, and you start seeing the chicken getting white color, then immediately stop the heating.
  6. Do not refreeze the defrosted chicken after marination because the chicken will lose its good taste and texture.

Fresh herbs- cilantro is used in the cilantro lime marinade and adds a bright, fresh flavor. The leaves do get soft after baking.


How long to Marinate the Frozen chicken?

Once you are done with the thawing part, the next stage is to marinate the chicken. Marination time can vary between 1, 2, 4 or 12 hours, depending on the type of the cut.

can you marinate frozen chicken


Completely thawed chicken generally gets good taste when marinated for 30-60 minutes. Again, you can decide the marination period according to the demand of the recipe and the type of meat cut used.

For short-term marination, you can leave the chicken at room temperature for 20 minutes but after hours of long marination, make sure to place the chicken in the fridge.


Cooking After Marination

After the marination, the next important step is to cook the marinated chicken. Remove the chicken from the marinade, then either cook it directly or coat it with flour dredging before cooking to add a nice crisp. Here are some simple ways to enjoy juicy chicken:

Baking or Roasting

At 425 degrees F, preheat your oven. Then bake the chicken in a baking sheet or pan for at least 15 minutes until it gets a nice golden color on the outside.

Grilling and Smoking

You can always grill the marinated chicken at medium or medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes per side.

Air Frying or Deep-Oil Frying

To get crispy chicken every time, you can always try air frying or deep oil frying.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are you still having some trouble getting around the idea of marinating the frozen chicken? Well, here are some queries and their answers to clear your mind!

Can you put frozen meat in the marinade?
Do not put the frozen meat directly in the marinade as it will make the marinade too diluted. Always thaw the frozen meat before adding it to the marinade.
Can you marinate chicken then freeze it?
Freezing the marinated chicken is not a good idea unless you have no choice but to keep it. When the chicken freezes, it stops absorbing the flavors and spices from the marinade, so marination gives no good results in this way. A better idea is to marinate the chicken at room temperature or in the refrigerator for a good 3 to 4 hours or as per the recipe directions and then freeze.
Can you marinate and thaw the frozen chicken breast at the same time?
No, when you thaw and marinate the frozen chicken at the same time, it will dilute the taste of the marinade, and the chicken might not absorb as many flavors as you want it to. It is best to first thaw the chicken then marinate it.
How long can you marinate defrosted chicken?
The 30- 60 minutes of marination time is sufficient to add flavors to its meat. You can also increase the marination time to 3-4 hours for better taste and texture or as per your recipe instructions.
How Do You Add Flavor to Frozen Chicken?
You can add flavor to frozen chicken by letting it defrost completely before adding it to the marinade. The longer the chicken is left for the marinate, the more flavors it gets during marination. Remember that roasting frozen chicken isn’t recommended at all.


Roasted Chicken Thighs Recipe

Yield: 8 servings

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 minutes


½ of a small apple, peeled, cored and chopped

1 bunch scallion, trimmed and chopped roughly

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon sesame oil, toasted

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon coconut aminos

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 pounds chicken thighs


  1. In a blender, add all ingredients except chicken thighs and pulse until smooth.
  2. Transfer the mixture and chicken into a large Ziploc bag and seal it.
  3. Shake the bag to coat the chicken with marinade well.
  4. Refrigerate to marinate for about 12 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange a rack in foil paper-lined baking sheet.
  6. Place the chicken thighs on the rack, skin-side down.
  7. Roast for about 40 minutes, flipping once halfway through.














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