can you defrost chicken in hot water

Can you defrost chicken in hot water?” Is a common question people tend to usually ask.

We understand that It can be quite frustrating to wait a whole hour or even a day for your chicken to defrost, especially when you’re planning to have dinner with friends, and they’re soon coming over.

No one ever wants to wait that long, so tossing your poultry in a basin of hot water must have crossed your mind.

However, is doing this method safe? If so, how do you properly do it?

Are there other alternatives when thawing frozen poultry? There are many questions and concerns that are probably clouding your mind.

But no need to worry!

In this article, we will address them all. If you want the best guide in defrosting your chicken, then go forth and read on!

Can You Defrost Chicken in Hot Water?

Buying a good lump of chicken on sale and then freezing it to use for later is excellent.

However, forgetting to thaw it for a couple of days before using it is not a pretty good habit.

The recommended method of thawing the frozen chicken overnight in the fridge can take a day or two, and It also needs proper planning.

As a quicker alternative, many people opt to submerge their frozen chicken in cold water.

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But there’s an even speedier method: run it in a hot water bath.

What Happens if You Defrost Chicken in Hot Water?

Before you get all excited and toss that poultry in a basin filled with some hot water, You need to be aware that this method is HIGHLY NOT RECOMMENDED.

Thawing your chicken or any kind of frozen meat in hot water is dangerous for your health.

Although it does the job by speeding up your thawing process, it will negatively impact if consumed.

If you thaw poultry in hot water, the dormant bacteria found in the meat will slowly grow as temperature rises.

Thus, this will result in a spread of bacteria in the surface.

When the poultry is still frozen, it’s indefinitely safe.

However, as soon as they start to thaw and be submerged in water that’s hotter than 40°F, germs or bacteria that have been there before freezing can start to multiply.

How Can You Get Sick from Thawing Chicken in Hot Water?

thawing chicken in hot water

Whether you’re in a rush or not, you should never thaw your poultry or any meat on the kitchen counter, or in hot water.

They must not be left at room temp for more than two or three hours since this can trigger bacteria growth which can make you and those who eat the meal sick.

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You certainly wouldn’t want to end up in the emergency room for food poisoning.

Even if the center of the chicken may still be frozen, the outer portion of the meat could be in the “Danger Zone,” which is between 40 and 140 °F.

This range of temperature is where bacteria multiply rapidly.

So, if you don’t want to get any sickness-causing virus into your body or salmonella, then avoid doing this method.

However, if you’re planning to thaw meat that is thinly sliced (such as chicken breast, pork chops or Bacon), you can proceed with the hot water method but be sure you don’t let it stay for too long, 20-35 minutes will do!

How Can I Defrost Chicken Quickly?

Now that you know that thawing your poultry in hot water isn’t ideal and safe for your health, there’s no need to worry because there are other alternatives you can do to defrost your poultry quickly.

Shown below are the best ways people have sworn to effectively work when it comes to defrosting, not only your poultry but also other kinds of meat!

Method #1: Microwave Thawing

One of the most effective ways to defrost your chicken quickly is by placing it up on the microwave.

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Many people who are in a rush to cook a yummy honey garlic chicken pasta have sworn that this method is a total lifesaver.

Many microwaves have built-in features that enable you to defrost your chicken by merely pushing a button particularly.

Check out your instruction manual to know if your appliance has this featured setting and note the special instructions with the quantity of poultry and the kind of cut.

The Process:

Take out your frozen chicken and place it in your kitchen counter. Get a bowl or container which is safe to microwave that’ll fit all the poultry parts.

Be sure to avoid those containers with any metal rim since metal is dangerous if placed in the microwave.

Once you set up your container, transfer your poultry to the bowl. Place them in a position where they are spread out to ensure that all parts will get appropriately thawed.

Then place your chicken into the microwave and set to the defrost setting.

If your appliance does not have a featured meat defrost setting, you can still utilize your microwave for thawing, but it will need some extra attention from your part.

After setting the microwave to defrost, check it every 5 minutes to see if it is appropriately thawed.

Move your chicken parts around in the microwave generally, repositioning it and flipping it, especially if your appliance doesn’t have a rotating tray.

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Do this for 15-20 minutes or until your chicken is soft enough to cook.

Be sure you don’t overdo it since you might end up cooking the delicate parts of your chicken!

Take a fork and feel your chicken parts every time you check. When done, place it in a bowl and prepare to cook your dish!

Method #2: Run It Through Cold Water

Now it may come as a surprise to you that the way to unfreeze a frozen chicken is by dumping it in a bowl of cold water, but this method is actually practical!

Not only is it safe and easy to do, but it’s also quick at thawing your frozen meat.

Home cooks all over the world run to this method when they need their chicken as soon as possible, and until this very day, this method certainly does not disappoint!

When you host a family gathering that requires you to have food on the table tonight but forgot to move the chicken days before in the fridge, and you don’t have a microwave on hand, then the cold water approach is the best option.

The Process:

Start off by taking out your frozen chicken from the fridge and pull it out from its packaging (or if it’s in a bowl).

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Grab a clean and empty zip bag such as a Ziplock and transfer your frozen chicken into it.

Ensure that the bag you’ve chosen is enough to cover the whole chicken since you’ll need to seal it after.

Once your chicken is in the bag, squeeze out any air that remains. Before submerging it in cold water, make sure that there is no trace of air inside.

After making sure, no more oxygen remains, seal it properly to ensure no water comes in. Set aside.

Take out a basin that’s big enough to cover the whole chicken and fill it in with cold icy water.

Then put in your sealed frozen chicken and wait for it to fully thaw.

Change the cold water with a new one every 30 minutes to make sure that it always stays cold and continues to thaw the poultry.

Smaller cuts of meat (about a pound) can defrost in an hour or sometimes less, while larger quantities (4 to 5 pounds) may take 3-4 hours or more.

Once your poultry has fully thawed, cook it right away, so it’s freshness and taste will not be altered. Don’t refreeze the meat once you’ve thawed it!

Method #3: Cook Without Thawing

Cooking poultry is not generally a complicated process.

You just simply take your thawed chicken cut, place it in the oven or on your stove.

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And you heat it up until the center is no longer glossy and pink or the thermometer inserted in the cut has reached 165 °F.

However, what happens when you’ve had a busy schedule lately and forgot to thaw your cold cuts by doing the standard freezer to fridge method?

Don’t panic! Even if you didn’t thaw your chicken overnight or don’t have a microwave on hand, you can still cook your poultry without thawing!

It may sound a bit surprising, but many home cooks have sworn that this method works well.

As stated by the USDA, it is safe to cook your frozen poultry, as long as you follow some general guidelines.

The Process:

Take out your frozen poultry and place it in your kitchen counter as you prepare to cook it.

Set up your stove top and take a pan that’s enough to fit the whole poultry.

You may also use your oven if you desire to, depending on the kind of dish you are going to make.

After setting up the stove top, place your chicken and turn it on. Cook the poultry as you usually would.

Make sure the parts are not clumped up in one big ball, position the cuts away from each other to ensure they properly cook.

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Move the chicken every 5 minutes as you cook them.

Take note when doing this method, you need to add 50% more time when doing so.

For instance, if you plan to make a chicken soup that will take 40 minutes, add 50 minutes of cooking, so the whole recipe will take you about 90 minutes to finish.

Important Notice:

Don’t try this method in a slow cooker.

Since the appliance cooks things slowly, there’s a high chance that the poultry will stay too long in the danger zone—the temp range where germs and bacteria are most possible to grow.

But doing this so in an oven or on a stove top will enable the poultry not to spend much time in that range since they tend to cook quicker.


Now that you know the answer to “Can you defrost chicken in hot water”.

Also the other ways to thaw your poultry, you are now equipped with new knowledge that’ll not only keep you and your family safe but will also help you in the kitchen.

The next time you forget to transfer your frozen chicken or any meat from your freezer to the fridge, don’t forget to give this guide a recheck!

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