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I keep store-bought chicken in the freezer, and usually defrost it in the refrigerator for ~36 hours before cooking the chicken. But this method requires me to decide 36 hours in advance when I would like to eat chicken. Is there a quick and easy method for defrosting frozen chicken breast?

I've tried using the microwave, but the chicken has a rubbery texture when I use the microwave and never tastes as good when cooked. I have also tried the method of running the chicken under water, but that method still takes a long time and wastes a lot of water.

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    You've tried the microwave, at what setting? Max power is probably never a good idea when defrosting. – Mast Dec 22 '14 at 22:43
  • I have always just boiled chicken breasts from frozen. (edit: making sure, as always, it's thoroughly cooked after) – Timeless Dec 9 '17 at 11:48
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Tim asks (in response to Mooseman's answer):

Is warm water safe [if you] get it out in the morning and eat in the evening...?

If you need to reduce the defrosting time a bit but don't need the meat immediately, just submerge the chicken in a water-filled metal container and put it in your refrigerator. The water will improve heat conduction without bringing the temperature up so high that it creates dangerous conditions for bacteria growth.

If you were planning on brining your chicken, you can do this at the same time.

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Similar to the "running water" method, you can plug your sink and fill it with warm water. This is less wasteful and quicker.

Depending on how you are preparing the chicken, you may be able to use it from frozen.

(after a nudge from Mooseman) make sure you sanitize the sink first with bleach or some such cleaning agent. Sinks are really dirty and germ-infested and soaking the raw meat in a uncleansed sink for a long time is unlikely to do you any good It would be better to use a clean bowl.

  • I've done the "fill a sink with water" option; only I used a bucket ;-) – Shokhet Dec 11 '14 at 2:37
  • I specifically mentioned chicken in the duplicate question. – user100 Dec 11 '14 at 3:36
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    Yes, but you might get it out in the morning and eat in the evening...? – Tim Dec 11 '14 at 18:17
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    @Tim: this post on cooking has good info about turkey hanging out in the temperature "danger zone". – hairboat Dec 11 '14 at 22:35
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    @bigbadmouse You make a good point. Are you familiar with editing others' answers on Stack Exchange sites? – Mooseman Dec 1 '17 at 18:14
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Miracle Thaw is a thickish piece of aluminum with a non-stick coating that you heat up with warm water and put frozen meat on. Hmmmm.... If only I had something like that in my kitchen already that I could just heat up with water from the tap.

Something that I usually use on the stove... Something that I fry eggs in... It seems like I should have something like that already in my kitchen...

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When I buy chicken breasts I usually freeze them individually in quart size freezer bags. If I need one quickly I thaw it by immersing the bag in a bowl of hot water.

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I use a bowl of cold water, refreshing it if necessary after 20 minutes. If I were going to leave it all day, I'd put the bowl in the refrigerator.

  • Hmm. Campylobacter anyone? – Chenmunka Jun 18 '15 at 12:12
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There's a commercial device called a Miracle Thaw -- a simple aluminum plate that you warm in hot tap water and lay the meat on. The high conductivity of the metal quickly transfers heat into the meat, and will thaw a chicken breast in about a half hour (turn at 15 minutes).

But, you don't actually need the branded item; you can do the same thing on a metal range top. Heat the oven to baking temperature and turn it off (assuming it's under the range surface -- if not, this still works, but takes longer), put a sheet of foil on the range top (to protect both the range and the chicken cut), and lay the chicken on the foil. Turn in twenty minutes or so, and your chicken breast will be thawed in much less than an hour.

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My oven has a defrost setting where it blows cool air over the food - it thaws a whole joint of meat in about two hours - a single piece of chicken should be fairly quick to thaw and also fairly safe. See if your oven has one? Mine is indicated by an icon of a snowflake; perhaps you never noticed it on your oven

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The Miracle Thaw is basically just a heat sink that speeds up conductive heating in the chicken by pulling the heat of the room into it and up into the chicken by direct contact. I bought an aluminum grill/griddle that is made for the BBQ or stove top and it works exactly the same way; thaws out a chicken breast in about 1/2 hour if the room is 70F or higher. Immersing it in warm water first helps only a little, I haven't noticed a difference and don't even bother with it, but if the kitchen is cold it might be a good idea.

The trick is, you want something that has a flat surface to make the most contact possible with the meat, doesn't have holes in it because the juices will drip all over, but you want ribs on the opposite side (from where you place the meat) like a heat sink, to maximize the surface area for heat absorption. A cast iron griddle / grill will work too, but aluminum moves heat faster.

This is what I got at Home Depot, it was more expensive than the miracle thaw but is also more useful for other things, the miracle thaw can't be used for cooking... flat side ribbed side

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