Can you boil frozen chicken? It is very convenient to have frozen chicken available when you need it. You just have to know how to cook it properly. Boiling is a popular cooking method for fresh, unfrozen chicken. Will it work for frozen chicken?
Is it okay to boil frozen chicken? According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), you can boil frozen chicken as long as the inner part of the chicken reaches a food-safe temperature of 165°F (75°C). You can use a thermometer to confirm that the chicken is cooked not too long or too short.
Note that it takes approximately 50 percent longer to boil frozen chicken compared to fresh, unfrozen chicken.
Read on to learn more about how to boil frozen chicken, including the steps involved.
Can You Boil Frozen Chicken?
You can boil frozen chicken. According to the USDA, it is safe to eat as long as the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F (75°C). You will have to add 50 percent more of the time you normally cook freshly thawed chicken. The simple reason is that the temperature of frozen meat is very low.
It takes a long time for the temperature in the frozen chicken’s inner parts to rise to boiling temperature. The consequence is that the chicken’s outer parts can be overcooked before its inner parts are cooked.
That means while the chicken’s inner parts are soft, its outer parts could be hard and tough. So, you really need to follow the right guidelines if you are going to boil frozen chicken.
This brings us to the steps for boiling frozen chicken breast, thighs, wings, or the whole chicken.
Method 1: Simple Boil in Water (2 Steps)
1. Put Chicken in a Pot of Water
Put the frozen chicken in a saucepan or pot. Fill it up with water so that the chicken is fully submerged.
2. Bring to a Boil
Bring the water to a boil. This step will take from 15 to 20 minutes. Always be sure that there’s water in the pot. Don’t let the water boil too long and evaporate out.
Chicken meat will acquire a whitish color when it is fully cooked. If you cut the meat, its inner color should also be whitish. If it is still pinkish, it is not yet completely cooked. Put the chicken back in the saucepan and cook it some more.
Ideally, you can use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is cooked to a perfect internal temperature of 165°F (75°C).
Optional: While the chicken is boiling, prepare noodles or rice and some veggies like peeled carrots, celery, and onions. Toss them into the pot if you sense that the chicken is nearing its cooking time. Then add salt and pepper to taste.
Method 2: Sear and Boil in Stock (6 Steps)
For a more flavorful chicken, follow the below steps when boiling frozen chicken breast, thighs, legs, or wings:
1. Sear the Frozen Chicken
Get a cooking pan and put a dash of cooking oil. Place the frozen chicken and sear on both sides. Next, add or season salt and pepper to the meat. You can also prepare small cuts of onions, pepper, carrots, and celery. After cooking the chicken, you can add them to complete the chicken dish.
2. Pour Chicken Stock into the Pan
Pour some chicken stock or chicken bouillon into the pan. The amount of water should be able to cover the chicken and leave some room for space.
3. Bring the Stock (and Chicken) to Boil
Allow the stock to boil and keep it boiling in medium heat. Add more water if necessary, along with some seasonings to improve its taste. Keep it boiling until the chicken’s internal parts reach 165°F (75°C).
4. Keep the Chicken in a Container with Some of the Broth
Put the chicken inside a dish with some of the broth covering the bottom of the dish. Let it stay there for approximately five minutes.
5. Cook the Veggies
While the chicken is in the prepared container, you can cook small cuts of onions, pepper, carrots, and celery.
6. Add the Cooked Veggies to the Cooked Chicken
Start plating the cooked chicken with the veggies. You can also add the broth as the sauce of the dish. Serve the dish and enjoy!
Tips for Boiling Frozen Chicken
Admittedly, boiling or cooking frozen chicken is not the usual thing people do. I prefer to thaw frozen chicken first and then cook it in a frying pan or bake it in the oven. I find the texture to be better, and the whole process doesn’t take as long.
If you don’t thaw it first, the chicken will take more time to cook. On average, the time you may have to add to boil the frozen chicken could be about one-half of its standard cooking time.
But sometimes, you need to boil frozen chicken because of the need of the hour. Rest assured that it is still safe to boil and cook frozen chicken.
You should follow certain guidelines to ensure that what you are doing is safe. Following such guidelines will also result in a chicken dish that is palatable to the taste. In this regard, I’d like to give you the following tips:
Tip No. 1: Don’t Boil Frozen Chicken in a Slow Cooker
Can you boil a frozen chicken or chicken parts in a slow cooker? USDA food experts do not recommend the use of a slow cooker to boil frozen chicken. A slow cooker is ideally designed to cook food at low temperatures. Your frozen chicken is at nearly zero degrees freezing point. Keep in mind that the frozen chicken’s inner parts must reach 165°F (75°C) for it to be cooked.
So, it’ll take some time for the slow cooker to reach that temperature. Or it may never reach it at all. It may even cause bacteria in the meat to multiply rapidly, making it unsafe to eat.
Tip No. 2: Don’t Boil Frozen Chicken in a Microwave Oven
It is not advisable to cook or boil frozen chicken in the microwave oven since its oven temperature is difficult to regulate. While it is boiling in the oven, bacteria in the chicken may grow rapidly. You can only use the microwave when thawing frozen chicken and other frozen meats. After thawing the meat, you should cook it immediately, or bacteria will grow fast.
Tip No. 3: Don’t Grill Frozen Chicken
It is not advisable to cook frozen chicken on a grill. When the grill is ready to cook food, its temperature is very hot. If you put the frozen chicken on top of the grill, it will overcook and even burn the chicken’s skin before the inner parts reach the safe cooking temperature of 165°F (75°C).
Tip No. 4: Use a Stovetop to Boil Frozen Chicken
You can safely use the stovetop to boil frozen chicken. But be careful. If you put frozen meat on a hot pan to sauté it, water can cause the hot oil to spit out. Hot oil touching your skin will cause burns and other more serious problems.
So, when you are using the stovetop to boil or cook frozen chicken, just simmer the meat. This cooking process will gradually raise the frozen chicken’s temperature instead of subjecting its meat to sudden heat.
Tip No. 5: You Can Also Use Instant Pot to Boil Frozen Chicken
How can you boil frozen chicken breast, wings, thighs, or legs using an Instant Pot? The boiling and cooking process is faster when using a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot. Because of its faster cooking process, it inhibits the growth of bacteria. Three to four chicken breasts could be boiled in an Instant Pot.
Add one cup of water and some spices. Boil and cook for 10 minutes and allow it to release the pressure naturally for around 2 minutes. Boiling and cooking bone-in chicken in an Instant Pot will take longer, but boiling chicken thighs will only take around 10 minutes.
Tip No. 6: Use the Oven to Boil and Cook Frozen Chicken
You can also use a standard oven to boil and cook frozen chicken. Place the chicken in an oven dish or pan, set the temperature at 350°F (176.6°C), and fire it up. It is safer to use a standard oven to boil and cook frozen chicken.
But you also need to add more time, about 50 percent, when cooking frozen chicken. With the added time, you can expect an oven-cooked chicken within 40 to 60 minutes. Again, be sure to check the inner parts if they have already reached the 165°F (75°C) mark.
Tip No. 7: Spread Individual Chicken Pieces
To boil or cook frozen chicken faster, you should separate each piece from each other. Spread them out in the pan or pot. The chicken should not be in one whole piece of hard frozen meat. By detaching them from each other, the heat will be able to work on them better and cook them faster.
Tip No. 8: Follow These Steps in Cooking Frozen Chicken Breasts in the Oven
This method will work best on frozen chicken breast.
- Separate the chicken breast from each other.
- Preheat your oven at 350°F (176.6°C).
- Lay down the chicken breast on the dish or pan in one layer only.
- Brush the breasts with a mixture of cooking oil, melted butter, and yogurt. Season them with ground black pepper and salt.
- Sprinkle their tops with bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese (optional).
- Bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Be sure that the chicken’s internal parts have reached 165°F (75°C).
Tip No. 9: Add 50 Percent More Cooking Time
Always keep in mind that it’ll take longer to boil or cook frozen chicken no matter what cooking method you use. On average, you will have to add 50 percent more time when cooking or boiling frozen chicken.
So, if it would take a five-pound chicken one and a half hours to roast, it would take at least two hours and 15 minutes for a frozen chicken to cook. Additionally, when cooking frozen chicken in a standard oven, don’t go lower than 350°F.
Tip No. 10: Simmer Frozen Chicken
If you have frozen boneless chicken, it is best to simmer them in a prepared sauce. Place the breasts in a pan or pot with the sauce. Cover the pot and put it over a stove. Simmer for around 30 minutes. Then check the chickens’ internal parts if they have already reached 165°F (75°C).
For whole legs, thigh pieces, and drumsticks, simmer them for around 90 minutes. One advantage of meat on bone is that if you see the meat falling off, that means it is already cooked.
Tip No. 11: How to Roast Whole Frozen Chicken
You can use this method to cook a 4-pound whole frozen chicken.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (176.6°C).
- Position the chicken with its breast side-up on a roasting pan, preferably with a rack.
- Brush cooking oil or olive oil and sprinkle ground black pepper and season with salt.
- Roast the chicken for 90 minutes. (About 60 minutes to the roasting, open the oven and remove the giblets. Add aromatics and herbs in the hollow or insides of the chicken).
- Close the oven and increase the temperature to 450°F (232.22°C).
- Continue roasting until the 90 minutes are up or until the chicken is cooked.
Conclusion – Can You Boil Frozen Chicken?
So, to recap, can you boil frozen chicken? It is possible to boil frozen chicken as long as the innermost parts of the chicken reach a temperature of 165°F (75°C). This is according to the USDA food safety guidelines.
Note that it will take approximately 50 percent longer to cook than freshly thawed chicken. You also need to follow some guidelines when boiling frozen chicken.