Frozen Chicken Left Out Overnight- Is it Still Good for Cooking?

Frozen meat left at room temperature is prone to any harmful bacteria surrounding it. The longer it stays at room temperature, the worse the contamination gets and within no time you will be tossing it off to the dustbin as it will be unfit for consumption.

Frozen chicken gets contaminated and hence unsafe to eat if left out at room temperature for more than two hours. Therefore,  if you wish to thaw your chicken at room temperature, dip it in a bowl of cold water and make sure to change the water after every 30 minutes.

Is it OK to Leave Frozen Chicken out Overnight?

Frozen chicken wings

Chicken is a perishable food and requires to be stored at low temperatures all through. Once frozen chicken gets to a temperature of 40°F, it becomes prone to contamination and can also easily contaminate other foods surrounding it. It is therefore advisable to keep it refrigerated or frozen until you are ready to cook it.

Is Chicken Good if Left out Overnight

People prefer thawing chicken overnight to save time especially if it is meant for breakfast. However, the method you choose matters since it will be 12 long hours and you don’t want to end up with bacteria-manifested meat.

Leaving frozen chicken out overnight gives room for harmful bacteria to multiply rapidly. Although cooking is meant to destroy the harmful bacteria in food, over-exposed foods can cause food poisoning even after cooking.

To avoid the risk of foodborne diseases you can put your frozen chicken in the fridge to thaw overnight maintaining safe temperatures.

How long can Frozen Chicken Sit out at Room Temperature?

Frozen chicken can sit out at room temperature for one to two hours before harmful bacteria start multiplying and making it unfit for human consumption. Since two hours is not enough time for the frozen chicken to thaw completely, an extra hour at room temperature will only compromise your meat.

For safety purposes, keep frozen chicken under low temperatures not more than 40°F even when thawing.

Best Ways to Thaw Frozen Chicken

There are safe ways to thaw frozen chicken without exposing it to harmful bacteria that cause food poisoning. However, the size of the chicken depends on the method you choose in terms of safety and time. For instance, it will be safer to defrost whole chicken in the fridge as takes time to thaw completely. The rise in temperature is what makes frozen chicken prone to contamination. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your chicken does not get to temperatures above 40°F while thawing.

Here are safe methods for thawing frozen chicken:


Thawing frozen chicken in the fridge is the safest way especially if you want to do it overnight. Although it is time-consuming, the chicken maintains safe temperatures throughout the process.

To thaw frozen chicken in the fridge, simply put it in a bowl or a tray to catch the juices as it thaws to prevent contaminating other foods in the refrigerator.

In a cold water bath

If you wish to thaw chicken safer and at room temperature, then this is the method you should go for. The cold water helps to ensure that your chicken doesn’t get to the danger zone of below 40°F. Although this method requires your presence in order to change the water from time to time, it is faster than refrigeration.

Defrosting chicken in a water bath

To thaw frozen chicken in a cold water bath;

  1. Put your frozen chicken in a waterproof bag.
  2. Place the chicken in a bowl
  3. Put cold water into the  bowl until the chicken is fully covered
  4. Change the water after every 30 minutes until the chicken is completely thawed.

Use cold water to thaw your chicken at room temperature as hot water promotes bacteria growth and starts to cook it on the outside before the inside thaws.

In the Microwave

Thawing frozen chicken in the microwave is the fastest method compared to the refrigeration and cold water bath methods. When going for this method, you need to be ready to cook your chicken immediately to prevent bacteria growth. As the chicken thaws in the microwave, it cooks partially on the outside before the inside is fully thawed putting it at risk of contamination if left on the counter.

To thaw frozen chicken in the microwave;

Defrosting chicken in the microwave
  1. Remove the chicken from the freezer bag.
  2. Place it on a microwave plate
  3. Put it in the microwave and set the microwave to defrost
  4. Turn the chicken after every 5 minutes to thaw evenly.

Cook the chicken right away once completely thawed.

If you wish to refreeze the chicken, make sure to cook it thoroughly before putting it back in the freezer.

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