Can You Boil Frozen Chicken? Best Thawing Methods

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You’ve forgotten to take that frozen chicken out of the freezer again this morning, haven’t you? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there, and asked this same question! While boiling is a great way to cook unfrozen chicken through and know that it is safe, does the same apply to frozen chicken? This is your complete guide explaining how can you boil frozen chicken so that you know it is safe to eat.

Can You Boil Frozen Chicken? Best Thawing Methods

Table of Contents

Can You Boil Frozen Chicken?

Frozen chicken can be boiled, so long as you do it correctly.

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To ensure that chicken is safely cooked, the internal temperature must be 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 degrees Celsius). Because the chicken is frozen, you must add 50% extra cooking time than you would normally cook a freshly thawed chicken. This is to ensure that the interior of the chicken is not only completely thawed but completely cooked through too.

The internal temperature of the frozen chicken will take a long time for it to rise to the temperature of the exterior. This will risk overcooking the exterior of the chicken, while still trying to cook the interior. The outside of the chicken can turn out hard and challenging to chew, to get the inner parts of the bird soft and cooked. This is why you cannot just pop it in and there’s a bit of technique to this cooking.

Therefore, it is essential that you follow one of these easy methods to ensure the chicken is perfectly cooked both internally and externally.

Can You Boil Frozen Chicken?

Ingredients You’ll Need

When boiling frozen chicken, having the right ingredients on hand is key for infusing flavor and making a tasty broth. Chicken is obviously the essential component, but herbs and spices transform the cooking liquid into a mouthwatering potion.

Simple Seasonings

Keep things easy by having these basic ingredients ready for seasoning the chicken and broth:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder

They make excellent natural flavor enhancers that beautifully complement the simple chicken flavors.

Creative Alternatives

Get creative with ingredients like:

  • Onion
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Bay leaves
  • Parsley
  • Thyme

Experiment with different herb and spice blends to put your unique stamp on the dish. The options for seasoning boiled frozen chicken are endless!

Equipment

The Ideal Pot

When boiling frozen poultry, a heavy, deep stock pot with a thick bottom works best. The heavy material helps distribute heat evenly, preventing scorching, while the deep design leaves room for plenty of liquid to surround the chicken as it cooks. Stainless steel, ceramic, or enameled cast iron pots are top choices.

Utensils

  • Long-handled tongs 
  • A pair of heat-resistant mitts 
  • A large ladle 

Method 1: How to Boil a Frozen Chicken in Water Properly

First, let’s look at how to properly boil frozen chicken step-by-step!

1. Put the Frozen Chicken in a Pot Of Water

Place your chicken in the saucepan or pot of your choice. Fill the pot with water until the chicken is completely submerged in the water.

2. Bring to a Boil

Bring the water to a boil, which should take 15 to 20 minutes. This takes a little longer because the frozen chicken cools it down.

Make sure that there is always water in the pot. Do not let the water boil for too long so that it all evaporates out. If the water level goes low, just fill some more water back into the pot.

The chicken will take on a whiteish color when it is fully cooked. If it still looks pinkish, then it is not completely cooked. Keep the chicken in the water and let it cook for longer.

Ideally, you should use a meat thermometer to ensure that the chicken is completely cooked through and the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 degrees Celsius).

Method 2: Sear Chicken and Boil in Stock

This method will provide a more flavorful dish and is better for cooking chicken in its individual parts.

1. Sear the Frozen Chicken

Using a cooking pan, add a dash of your chosen high-smoking point oil, such as canola oil. Once the pan has reached high heat, sear the chicken pieces on both sides.

Next, season your chicken pieces with salt and pepper. At this point, you can also prepare some loosely cut onions, pepper, carrots, and celery.

2. Add Chicken Stock to Your Pan

Using your chosen chicken bouillon or stock, add this to the pan dissolved in enough boiling water to submerge the chicken. Leave enough space to add stuff at a later stage.

3. Bring the Chicken and Stock Mix to a Boil

Bring the pot to a boil and let it simmer on a medium heat. If necessary, add some more water if the water levels seem to drop low. As you please, you can add some seasonings to improve the taste, such as rosemary or thyme, as well as salt and pepper.

Keep the pot boiling until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 degrees Celsius).

4. Store the Chicken in a Container with Some Broth

Once the chicken is completely cooked through, transfer the chicken to a separate container with some of the broth just covering the bottom of the dish. Just let it rest there for approximately five minutes.

5. Cooking the Vegetables

While the chicken is resting in the prepared container, you can cook the small cuts of onions, peppers, carrots, and celery in the water.

6. Add the Cooked Vegetables to the Cooked Chicken

Finally, you can plate up the cooked chicken with cooked vegetables. The broth can also be used as a sauce for the dish to pour over the chicken and vegetables!

Serve up and enjoy!

Dos and Don’ts for Boiling Frozen Chicken

While boiling frozen chicken is not the proper conventional method for cooking chicken, sometimes needs must be met. You will get much better results from thawing a chicken and then either roasting it or can even cook in a Dutch oven.

1. Don’t Boil Your Chicken in a Slow Cooker

While slow cookers are great for many different foods, they are not suitable for cooking frozen foods, particularly chicken. Chicken can be dangerous if not brought to a certain temperature.

The idea behind slow cooking is cooking food at a lower temperature for a long period. If you were to put the frozen chicken into the slow cooker, it is unlikely that the slow cooker would be able to bring the interior of the chicken above the USDA recommended temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 degrees Celsius).

The interior may never reach this temperature because it is being brought up from such a low temperature. What’s more, it may bring the chicken’s interior to a temperature that could cause bacteria to multiply rapidly, making it very unsafe to eat.

2. Don’t Boil a Chicken in the Microwave Oven

The temperature of a microwave oven is very difficult to regulate on a regular basis. Cooking a frozen chicken would be no exception.

If you were to cook frozen chicken in the microwave, it is very likely you would end up with a tough overcooked exterior, and an undercooked, even still frozen interior.

3. Don’t Grill Frozen Chicken

Grilling is also an unsuitable method of cooking frozen Chicken. When the grill is ready for food to be cooked on it, it is already at a very high temperature.

Therefore putting the frozen chicken on the grill will only cause the exterior of the chicken to overcook and more than likely burn, while the interior will likely not have reached the safe cooking temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 degrees Celsius).

Can You Boil Frozen Chicken? Best Thawing Methods

1. Do Use a Stovetop to Boil Frozen Chicken

It is safe to use the stovetop to boil a frozen chicken. This method must be practiced with caution.

If you put frozen meat in the hot pan in order to sauté it, the water in the chicken can cause the hot oil to splash out of the hot pan, which can cause severe burns to your skin.

When using a stovetop to boil or cook frozen chicken, make sure you simmer the meat. This cooking process will ensure that the temperature of the chicken will be gradually raised as opposed to subjecting the meat to a sudden temperature change.

2. Do Use an Instant Pot to Boil Frozen Chicken

The cooking process used in an instant pot is faster due to the high pressure, so boiling frozen chicken breast, wings, thighs, or legs will be safe. The fast method of cooking these individual pieces will inhibit the growth of bacteria.

To do this, you need to add one cup of water and some spices. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Allow the pot to naturally release the pressure for 2 minutes.

This method is good for individual chicken bits, such as chicken thighs, but if you are cooking a whole chicken, this will take longer.

3. Do Use the Oven to Boil and Cook Frozen Chicken

You can use a conventional oven to boil and cook a frozen chicken. Just place your chicken in an oven pan or dish, and preheat the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 degrees Celsius).

Place in the oven at the proper temperature. In order to cook a chicken from frozen safely, it is safer to use a standard oven to cook or boil. Due to the frozen nature of the chicken, you need to add approximately double the cooking time. If cooking a whole medium approximately 5-pound chicken from frozen, it should take at least 2 hours and 15 minutes (where it would usually take 1 hour 30 minutes.

This should result in a fully cooked chicken, but you need to make sure that the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 degrees Celsius).

If you don’t have an internal thermometer, you can get one here:

Tips and Variations

Boiling frozen chicken opens up a world of possibilities for infusing flavor and experimenting with different cooking methods. Here are some handy tips for enhancing the flavor, along with recipe variations to give your boiled chicken an exciting twist.

Amp Up the Flavor

Don’t be afraid to add herbs, spices, vegetables, and other aromatic ingredients to bring the chicken flavor to life. Some options to try:

  • Fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano – add woody, earthy notes
  • Spice blends with chili powder, cumin, paprika, curry – infuse Southwestern or Indian flavors
  • Lemon, lime, vinegar – bright, zesty accents to cut through rich chicken broth
  • Soy sauce, and sesame oil – for an Asian-inspired boil
  • Onion, carrots, celery – standard veggies to complement chicken

Get creative with the possibilities! Layering flavors creates a more complex, tasty broth.

Explore Alternative Cooking Methods

Besides the standard stovetop boiling method, there are other techniques for cooking frozen chicken while still retaining moisture:

  • Poaching – gentle simmering in flavorful liquid like broth or wine
  • Steaming – placing chicken in a steamer basket over boiling water

Is It Better to Boil Chicken Frozen or Thawed?

Boiling frozen chicken cuts down on prep time since you skip the thawing step. You can toss frozen chicken straight into the pot. Going from freezer to boiling water quickly brings the chicken up to a safe, bacteria-killing temperature. However, frozen meat exposed suddenly to heat can toughen and dry out—the outside risks overcooking before the inside thaws.

For the best texture and moisture, thawing chicken in the fridge overnight is ideal. The gradual thawing helps evenly distribute moisture throughout the meat. Thawed chicken also boils more quickly since it cooks in an evenly heated state. Yet thawing takes advanced planning and isn’t always convenient.

Ultimately, flexibility plays a role in deciding between frozen or thawed. Thaw for ideal flavor and texture if you’ve got 12-24 hours before dinner. But frozen works great in a pinch when you need chicken fast. Proper seasoning and gentle cooking help counter any drying effects. Either way, safety remains priority number one!

How To Shred Chicken

Shredding boiled chicken is a cinch once you know some key techniques for getting the texture just right. While you can shred chicken with two forks, using the proper kitchen tools helps speed up the process and achieve more consistently sized shreds.

Shredding Utensils

Sturdy tools are your best friends when shredding chicken. Options like bear claws, chicken shredders with rotating blades, or even an electric hand mixer make quick work of chopped chicken. The key is evenly shredding the chicken into bite-sized pieces or long strands to then incorporate seamlessly into your favorite recipes. Don’t forget sharp knives and kitchen shears for finely dicing chicken.

Achieving the Perfect Texture

When shredding chicken, aim for a texture suitable for your intended dish. Finely shredded chicken works well mixed into soups, salads, and wraps. If making chicken tacos or enchiladas, larger shredded pieces add nice texture and contrast with fillings and toppings. For chicken casseroles or pot pies, a chunkier shred allows the chicken to retain moisture during extended baking.

Shredding and Serving Chicken

Get creative in how you utilize shredded chicken straight from the boiling pot. Toss with barbecue sauce for easy sandwiches. Stir into cooked pasta along with veggies and cheese sauce. Layer over nachos and top with all your favorite fixings. The possibilities are endless once you master proper shredding techniques to whip up the ideal chicken texture.

How to Store Poached Chicken

Refrigerating

Refrigeration keeps poached chicken fresh for a few days post-cooking. Be sure to let the chicken cool thoroughly before packing it into airtight containers. Glass or plastic resealable containers work well. The chicken should be submerged in its poaching liquid to prevent drying out. Fill containers all the way leaving little headspace. Label containers with the date before placing them in the coldest section of the refrigerator, away from the door. Consume refrigerated poached chicken within 3-4 days.

Freezing

For longer freezing, pack cooled poached chicken into labeled freezer bags, eliminating as much air as possible before sealing. Lay bags flat in the freezer to quicken freezing time. Frozen poached chicken keeps for 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using. Alternatively, vacuum-sealing pouches exclude air most effectively for frozen storage. Just remember – freeze poached chicken as soon as possible post-cooking for best results.

How to Use Leftover Broth

After boiling that frozen chicken, you’re inevitably left with a surplus of delicious, flavorful broth. Rather than pouring that precious liquid down the drain, get creative with ways to repurpose your leftover broth.

Savory Soups and Stews

Freeze the broth in ice cube trays for easy use later, toss a few broth cubes into veggie soups for a boost of savory flavor, or use as the base for hearty bean or lentil stews simmered with herbs and spices. 

Cooking Rice, Beans and Veggies

For a simple, tasty side dish, use your leftover broth in place of water when cooking rice, beans, or steaming veggies. The chicken essence infuses tons of flavor into the dish. Feel free to add other seasonings like garlic or onions too. It’s an easy way to inject a flavor punch into basic grains or veggies.

Gravies and Sauces

Chicken broth has a clear, golden color that makes an excellent base. Thicken with a roux or corn starch to make fast weeknight gravies to top chicken, pork, or beef. Get creative blending broth with cream or nut milk too for creamy gravies or sauces.

So, Can You Boil Frozen Chicken?

Overall, it is safe to boil a chicken from frozen. It is definitely the safest way to cook a frozen chicken.

Just be mindful not to overcook the exterior while undercooking the interior!

FAQs: Can You Boil Frozen Chicken

Is it Safe to Boil Chicken from Frozen?

Chicken can be cooked from frozen. It will take twice as long to cook than thawed meats will. You can use a fast cooking method, such as pressure cooking but cooking in the oven or boiling is also safe.

How Can I Tell if My Frozen Chicken is Cooked?

The color should be whitish, and the internal temperature should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit/75 degrees Celsius.

Is it safe to cook frozen chicken without thawing?

No, it is not safe to cook frozen chicken without thawing it first. Cooking from frozen can lead to uneven cooking, with the outside overcooked while the inside remains undercooked and prone to bacterial growth. Always thaw chicken thoroughly in the refrigerator before cooking.

Can you cook already frozen chicken?

Yes, you can cook chicken that has already been frozen, but it must be completely thawed first. Thaw frozen chicken slowly in the refrigerator for over 24 hours. Cooking chicken that is still frozen or partially frozen risks unsafe handling and consumed chicken.

How long should you boil chicken for?

Chicken should be boiled for 10-15 minutes to cook the meat through. The minimum safe internal temperature for cooked chicken is 165°F. Check the internal temp with a food thermometer after boiling to ensure any bacteria has been killed. Do not boil for longer than needed.

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind CooksDream.com, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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