Can You Marinate Frozen Chicken?

Normally, chicken soaks up marinade better when thawed than frozen. What if you don’t have enough time to thaw then marinate it? Can you marinate while it’s still frozen rock hard and how?

Since you will need to thaw it first before cooking, you can marinate chicken while still frozen and put it in the fridge to thaw overnight. As the chicken thaws, it absorbs in the marinade although it might not have the full flavors since the ice crystals tend to wash off some marinade.

What is the function of a marinade?

According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, a marinade is a savory acid sauce meant to give flavors to your meat while tenderizing at the same time.

A marinade consists of cooking oil, an acidic liquid either(vinegar, lemon juice or wine) to tenderize the chicken and some herbs and spices for flavor.

Can you marinate frozen chicken?

Marinated chicken drum sticks

Marinating your frozen chicken is possible though not advisable. Your marinade becomes less effective on frozen chicken, and you will not get to taste the full flavors.

When you decide to mix in your marinade, and then thaw your frozen chicken, the water and ice from the chicken will water down the marinade. It will cause a reduction in the flavor of your marinade and the chicken may not be as tender as it is supposed to be.

How to marinate frozen chicken

Here’s how to marinate frozen chicken;

  1. Prepare the marinade(cooking oil,{vinegar, lemon juice or wine}, salt to taste, spice, and herbs of your choice)
  2. Apply the marinade to the frozen chicken
  3. Put it in the fridge to thaw overnight
  4. Reapply the marinade once its halfway thawed
  5. Discard the juice once it’s completely thawed before cooking

You can also freeze an already marinated chicken to save on time although just like marinating frozen chicken, it will not be as effective as it should be.

To freeze marinated chicken:

  1. Cut the chicken into smaller pieces
  2. Apply the marinade
  3. Put it in a zip lock bag
  4. Seal ensuring to remove excess air
  5. Label to avoid over freezing
  6. Put it in the freezer

Once you are ready to use it, transfer it to the fridge to thaw overnight and reapply marinade once it’s halfway thawed.

Can you marinate frozen chicken overnight?

When you marinate the frozen chicken overnight, you allow the marinade to sip in the chicken by giving it additional time to thaw. A key point to remember is that the chicken’s icy water will water down your marinade, thus not being as effective as intended.

Your best option would be to thaw the meat overnight, then add your marinade in the morning for better-tasting results.

How to thaw frozen chicken before marinating

What if you forget to thaw your chicken early? There are several ways that you can speed up the thawing process. One thing you should is, although some people may recommend thawing frozen chicken in hot water which indeed is faster. As it thaws it gets partially cooked on the surface creating a favorable environment for rapid bacteria growth.

Here are four safe methods that you can use to thaw frozen chicken

Thaw in a bowl of cold water

Fill a bowl to 3/4 with cold water, dip your frozen chicken inside, and place it on the kitchen counter. You can change the water after every 30 minutes to fasten the process.

Thaw under running water

Put the frozen chicken in the sink and run the tap. Although this method may waste water, it thaws the chicken faster than the normal method of putting it in a bowl of cold water.

Thaw in the Fridge

Thawing frozen chicken in the fridge ensures that it thaws in a safe environment away from bacteria growth. Since it is a slow process it is advisable to put it in the fridge overnight to thaw completely.

Thaw in the Microwave

You can use your microwave to defrost your chicken. When using the microwave process, it is best to defrost smaller amounts of chicken or chicken pieces. Thawing in the microwave is not advisable for a whole chicken.

Start by using the defrosting options located on the microwave menu. Set the timing to two minutes and start to thaw your chicken. Keep checking after two minutes, turning the chicken to make sure it is defrosting all around, and it is not getting dry.

You do not want your chicken to cook in the microwave. The chicken will start developing color around the edges. It is because the chicken reacts to the heating process, and it is not worrying.

The microwave process is a fast method for thawing your chicken in less than 10 minutes. Once the chicken is fully defrosted, you can go ahead and marinate it.

Is Marinating Frozen Chicken Unsafe?

The good news is that marinating frozen chicken is very safe. Sometimes, you might be in a hurry and run out of time to defrost your chicken.

You can start by letting the chicken thaw before cooking it. This process allows the meat to cook better and retain its tenderness and juices. The marinade might also work, though not all the way through, but the chicken will have flavor.

One thing to remember is, ensure you drain out any excess marinade. By doing so, you can avoid any bacteria and contamination such as salmonella on your chicken.

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