Did you forget to pull out some chicken for dinner? Do not worry, the microwave is your friend and ready to help get your chicken ready to go in the oven or the air fryer. Even better, it’s super easy to use the microwave to get your poultry at the right temperature for cooking. First, however, you need to keep a few things in mind and follow some simple advice to get the job done right.
First, let’s discuss some important factors that can change your chicken. If you do not follow these steps, your chicken may come out with a changed texture. Also, defrosting chicken in the microwave can be unsafe because of bacteria which is why most people leave their chicken to thaw evenly in lower temperatures like in the refrigerator.
Keep in mind that chicken will take about 2 minutes per pound of chicken to defrost in the microwave. Chicken pieces can take longer as they may not all fit on the plate at the same time. Additionally, you need to remember to flip the chicken over halfway through to ensure even defrosting. Overall, the time necessary to defrost the chicken will take between ten and fifteen minutes.
Do not walk away from the microwave during the process, as you may need to check the chicken often to prevent cooking the chicken instead of defrosting the meat. Many microwaves now have a defrost setting to make the process easier at the click of a button. The button should provide 30 percent of the microwave’s capable power. At 30 percent power, the chicken will defrost without cooking. Add in the two minutes per pound, and you have the magic formula to defrost chicken in the microwave.
Avoid trying higher temperatures than 30 percent as this will spot cook the chicken and make an unappetizing texture. Furthermore, the added temperature can lead to a danger zone where bacteria can grow and lead to food-borne illnesses. Let’s go over the steps, and then we can talk more after.
Steps to Defrost Chicken in the Microwave
- Prepare your chicken by removing it from the wrapping or bag and put it on a microwave-safe plate or container. A glass or ceramic container works best as it can catch water better than a plate.
- Set the microwave to 30 percent power and add two minutes for each pound of chicken. This will take a little bit longer than some places that suggest 50 percent power but also will not change the texture or cook the outside of the chicken.
- At the one-minute mark, open the microwave to flip the chicken over to defrost both sides evenly. Then put the chicken back in and allow it to cook for another minute.
- Repeat these steps until the chicken is thawed enough to cook. You may need to separate pieces as you go.
Tips to Defrost Chicken
Keep a meat thermometer on hand to check the temperature of the chicken when it starts to get more done. Cook the chicken right away after it’s defrosted to prevent bacteria growth or food-borne illnesses. Check the chicken by cutting a small slit in the thickest part and insert your finger. It should not have ice crystals and should be soft.
Do not defrost an entire chicken in the microwave, as the bones will make it difficult to defrost evenly. Furthermore, this can make for a tough and rubbery chicken. If you are worried about the texture and moisture of your chicken, then brine for thirty minutes after defrosting to increase moisture. Mix salt with water to brine the chicken and then put it in the fridge. Once it’s been 30 minutes, take the chicken out and pat it dry, and now it’s ready to cook.
Using the microwave to defrost chicken is very easy but requires a little attention to detail. Follow the steps listed above, and you will have thawed chicken ready to cook in a few minutes. Remember to cook the chicken as soon as possible after defrosting to prevent bacteria and illness. Happy Cooking!