how long can you defrost chicken in the fridge

how long can you defrost chicken in the fridge

Thinking about making a delicious meal with chicken? Before any chicken dish is made, you’ll need to thaw the frozen poultry first. But how long can you let it defrost in the fridge for? Not sure what the safe answer is? Don’t worry! This article will explain how to safely defrost your frozen chicken in the fridge, so you can enjoy your meal in no time.

Defrosting chicken in the fridge is a safe and effective way to ensure that your chicken is defrosted quickly and correctly. You can safely leave chicken in the fridge for a few hours to thaw before cooking. However, you must keep an eye on it and make sure that it’s defrosting in a sealed container.

Once fully defrosted, chicken needs to be cooked quickly. The bacteria that cause foodborne illness can double in number every 20 minutes, so cooked chicken should not stay in the fridge for more than two hours. Cooked chicken can last up to four days in the fridge, as long as you make sure it’s stored properly.

Here are some helpful tips to ensure safe defrosting and storage of chicken in the fridge:

  • Check for any signs of spoilage — look for discoloration or a sour smell, before consuming. If there are any signs spoilage, discard the chicken.
  • Do not leave frozen chicken out at room temperature. Chicken should always be immediately transferred to the fridge from the freezer.
  • Don’t rinse chicken — some believe that rinsing chicken before defrosting it is an effective way to thaw it quickly, but this actually increases the chance of cross-contamination as bacteria on the raw chicken can contaminate the sink.
  • For best results, separate the chicken into smaller portions — this helps to reduce the defrosting time. Make sure that each portion is individually wrapped and sealed.

Following these tips will ensure that your chicken is defrosted, and stored, safely in the fridge.


Q: How long can I safely defrost chicken in the fridge?

A: Generally, it’s safe to defrost chicken in the fridge for up to two days. However, the safest and most time-efficient way to defrost chicken is to use the cold water method. Simply submerge the chicken in cold water in a sealed container and let it sit until it is completely thawed. This method should take around 20 to 30 minutes. Make sure to change the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold.

Q: What are the risks of defrosting chicken in the fridge?

A: The fridge is a reliable and safe way to defrost chicken, but it is a slowly process. Because of this, bacteria can start to grow on the food if it is left in the fridge for longer than two days. Additionally, when the temperature of the chicken rises unpredictable at the start of the defrosting process, there is a higher risk of bacteria developing and spoiling the food. It is important to keep close watch on the chicken and only leave it defrost in the fridge for up to two days.

Final notes

We hope that you have now feel more confident about how long it takes to defrost chicken in the fridge safely. Lastly, as always, before you cook chicken, make sure to check its temperature with a food thermometer to ensure it has reached a safe internal temperature. Now that you have the proper info on defrosting chicken, you can enjoy this delicious meat without worrying about food safety mishaps. Thanks for reading!
If you find yourself in a pinch and need to know how to quickly thaw out chicken before cooking it, you’re in luck! There are different methods that can be used to thaw chicken; one of the methods is to defrost it in the refrigerator. It is important to understand that defrosting chicken in the refrigerator takes time, so you must plan accordingly.

So, how long should you defrost chicken in the fridge? Generally, defrosting chicken in the refrigerator should take anywhere from four to five hours per pound. For example, if you are planning to cook a two-pound chicken, it will take anywhere from eight to ten hours to thaw in the refrigerator. If you are in a rush, you could aim to double the time and plan on having the chicken finished within four to five hours.

It is important to understand that the time it takes to defrost chicken in the refrigerator will depend on the size of the chicken and the temperature of the refrigerator itself. The refrigerator temperatures should be between 40°F to below 40°F, since meat should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours.

Some untrained cooks might not know that leaving chicken out to defrost on the counter is not the safest option. Bacteria can quickly start to grow at temperatures around 40°F, meaning that the chicken could end up becoming unhealthy quickly. Thawing chicken in the refrigerator means that the chicken is constantly exposed to temperatures of 40°F or lower, which slows down and even kills bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses.

Not sure if you have enough time to thaw the chicken in the fridge? You can use the hot water method instead. To defrost chicken in hot water it usually takes less than 30 minutes to an hour to fully thaw. It is important to be mindful that this method is not for the faint of heart as it involves a few extra steps.

You already know that chicken should never be defrosted at room temperature. So, if you’re running out of time, it’s best to stick to the hot water method. Whether you’re thawing chicken out in the refrigerator or hot water, it’s important to cook the chicken immediately after it has been thawed in either of these two methods. By taking the necessary precautions, you can avoid the risks posed by foodborne illnesses and enjoy a flavorful and delicious meal.