By Noel Christmas

You're ready to make a delicious chicken dinner, only your chicken breasts look like this!

Frozen Chicken Breasts | Photo by Getty Images

How to Thaw Chicken Breasts Safely and Quickly

Can you thaw chicken quickly? The short answer? Yes, yes you can. You've just got to be a little creative to get it done quickly enough that you're not making tonight's dinner tomorrow, and so it's not that uneven, half-cooked microwave defrosting no one ever wants to do.

Here's How It Works:

  • Run hot tap water into a bowl.
  • Check the temp with a thermometer. You're looking for 140 degrees.
  • Submerge the frozen chicken breast.
  • Stir the water every once in a while (this keeps pockets of cold water from forming).
  • It should be thawed in 30 minutes or less.

Conventional wisdom says that food must be thawed slowly. But food scientist Harold McGee found that short thawing times in hot water do not make the food less safe. Basically, it's because the chicken isn't in the temperature "danger zone" long enough to cause any problems.

Quick Tips

  • Keep it thin! You don't want anything more than an inch or so thick, so it thaws quickly
  • Make sure it's sealed in a bag. No waterlogged chicken.
  • Don't worry if the edges turn opaque. Hot water is mildly cooking the edges, but doesn't affect the flavor a bit.
  • Yes, it works on other cuts of meat! Just make sure that steak or chop is reasonable thin—say, 1 inch or less, so that it thaws quickly enough.


Check out our collection of Chicken Breast Recipes.

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