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How to Defrost Chicken in Microwave

How to defrost chicken in microwave is here! Thawing chicken breasts, drumsticks and wings works quickly even without the defrost button. Just one of many microwave recipes on our site.

How to Defrost Chicken in Microwave

We have ALL the ways of how to defrost chicken in microwave for you today. If you are forgetful like I am and need defrost quickly or understand how to cook frozen chicken we have the complete rundown for you here. I have been there my friends, a lot. 😉 (affiliate links present)

How to Defrost Chicken in Microwave Without Defrost Button

Ok so you thought you were out of luck because your machine didn’t have the handy dandy setting to defrost all the things. NOT. True. I am here to tell you to not worry or buy a new machine, you can do it the same way manually. It’s easier than you might think.

This is the one I use. It is new only because the model that came with our house died. It does in fact have auto settings inside to make things easier (I guess) but it’s just as fast to set it yourself. To do this you just need the power level button, they all have that.

thawing chicken in microwave

Defrosting Chicken in Microwave

Here is a picture of the two options below. I have an arrow showing that we do in fact have the defrost poultry setting but to the left bottom of that arrow there is power level too. You can use either one if you do have both.

What microwave setting is defrost?

If you do not have this button, not to worry. All it is is an automatic way to set your machine to 30% power. That way you can thaw meat in microwave without actually cooking it. You can just press power and reduce from 100 to 30 percent for this.

How long to defrost chicken in microwave?

That depends on what pieces you have and whether or not they are bone in or boneless. I will share with you here how to defrost chicken breasts, drumsticks and chicken wings in microwave quickly. Using the right settings they will thaw without cooking.

Now that you have that down and understood we can move on to cook times necessary to thaw each piece on your bird. (you can use these tips on defrosting ground beef in microwave too friends!)

defrosting meat in microwave

How to Defrost Chicken Quickly

I will discuss timing for each piece below but first I need to explain the best method for all. Low and slow is key. Not like our Crockpot frozen chicken, that takes all day and actually cooks it, but kinda’ the same philosophy. This is for defrosting, not cooking so you want to rotate it often!

  • Use your defrost setting, choosing poultry if you have it and enter the total weight
    • if not, set your desired cook time and then choose power level
    • move setting down from 100 (where it starts at) to 30, which means 30% power
  • Place frozen meat on a plate, not overlapping
  • Open door and rotate each piece every 2 minutes until it has defrosted all the way
  • For very thick pieces, like frozen chicken breast, slice lengthwise to peek inside to the middle to ensure it is no longer icy and/or hard

Then you’re ready to cook as you wish thereafter. I will share all of my favorite air fryer chicken recipes and Ninja Foodi chicken recipes below.

How to Defrost Chicken in Microwave Without Defrost Button

How to Defrost Frozen Chicken

Of course there are several defrosting methods out there. Safely defrosting meat to avoid bacterial growth is key. You never want meat, especially pork or chicken, to sit out at room temperature to thaw. Food safety guidelines all say this is the number one way it will not be safe to eat this way.

  • You can leave in a bowl of cold water, replacing every 15 minutes to keep cool, for about an hour to properly defrost this way.
  • Thawed in the refrigerator overnight in a sealed bag is probably the most common method. This is said to be best for the least bacteria growth amongst all the choices.
  • We will talk about how to defrost in the microwave which is the fastest of them all.

Once that is successful you can cook the chicken any which way you’d like. Believe it or not you can cook chicken from frozen too, we do this often with frozen chicken wings in air fryer. Best way to cook the whole bird rock hard is to follow our slow cooker frozen whole chicken instructions. Game changer.

How to Defrost Chicken Breast in Microwave

How to Defrost Chicken Breast in Microwave

All of these times refer to 1 pound of chicken; The breast will take longer to defrost. It will take approximately 8-10 cycles of 2 minutes. As with any other cut, total cook time will depend on the weight of each piece and whether it’s boneless. Total timing will vary between about 16-20 mins.

If you have the defrost, poultry button you will use that with how much weight you’re defrosting total. For manually defrosting poultry in microwave you’ll push cook time, power level, and adjust down to 30 (meaning 30% power)

  • Turn the frozen poultry breast every 2 minutes to avoid overheating at one point. At the end of the defrosting process, you can see that in the thinnest part of the fillet, it has begun to cook.
  • To avoid this, you need to tuck this part under the bottom of the fillet
    • This will allow it not to heat up so much.
  • Total time until it is fully defrosted will be between 16-20 min, so 8-10 rotations.

To make sure that the fillet is completely thawed, make an incision in the middle.

How to Defrost Chicken Quickly

How Long to Defrost Chicken Legs in Microwave

Take the frozen chicken out of the package. Put it on a plate and put it in the microwave. Use the defrost mode, poultry if you have it with the weight. Depending on the weight of the product, the microwave will calculate the defrosting time.

It is advisable to check every 2 minutes, as the chicken may start to cook at some point. If you don’t have this setting just press cook time to 14 min, power level, and then adjust down to 30 vs 100 (in percentages).

  1. You’re going to heat in 2 minute increments at a time, no longer.
  2. After each 120 second timing, open and flip the legs that are still icy to the other side and continue to defrost for 2 minutes at a time.
  3. After 7 cycles of 2 minutes (14 mins), the legs were completely defrosted, ours looked like they were fresh as you can see below.
  4. You really want all the drumsticks to be the same size or else some will cook faster and they will begin to start cooking which you don’t want.

How to Defrost Chicken Thighs in Microwave

You’re going to use the same step by step method and cook time (will vary and be longer if you have bone in chicken thighs vs. boneless) as above for this cut.

How Long to Defrost Chicken Legs in Microwave

How to Defrost Chicken Wings Quickly

Remove the wings from the packaging and place on a plate. Place in the microwave and defrost in cycles of 2 minutes. If you are confident in your microwave, you can increase the cycle to 3 minutes. But in this case, you can make the meat drier.

If you have auto buttons you can use defrost and the poultry setting with how much your meat weighs total. To manually defrost poultry in microwave you’ll push cook time for 10 min, power level, then adjust down to 30 (meaning 30% power).

  • If the wings are frozen one to the other, then as they thaw, separate them.
  • After the top wings become soft, you need to transfer them to the bottom of the plate. So you need to change the wings in places so that they evenly defrost.
  • For the wings, 5-6 cycles of 2 minutes will be enough (10-12 mins).

Do not microwave for too long or else the meat will begin to cook.

How to Defrost Meat in Microwave

How to Thaw Chicken Fast

Time needed: 20 minutes.

How to Defrost Chicken in Microwave

  1. Plate

    Set frozen thighs, breasts, wings or legs on a plate. Do not overlap the pieces for best results.

  2. Set

    Put plate into microwave and push defrost, poultry button with how much your meat weighs and press start. If you do not have this pre-programmed button, set cook time and then press power level button and adjust to 30 instead of 100. Then press start.

  3. Defrost

    Enter defrost timing for frozen breasts at 16-20 minutes, frozen thighs or legs at about 14 minutes and chicken wings closer to 10-12 minutes.

  4. Rotate

    Every two minutes open the door and rotate each piece of meat to the other side. After a few rotations check and only flip the pieces that are iciest with the hard side facing up.

  5. Cook

    Once your meat is thawed all the way thru to the center and tender when pinched gently, cook as you wish. It is best to slice thick breasts lengthwise to ensure it is thawed to the very center.

This is how long to bake chicken drumsticks at 400 if you need those instructions.

How to Defrost Chicken Wings Quickly

Cook Chicken in Microwave

This isn’t the goal but it can be done. If you want to actually cook let’s say a breast you can but just note that the texture isn’t ideal.

  1. Place meat in a baking dish wish a glass lid or cover with plastic wrap tightly so it can steam.
  2. Cook on HIGH in the microwave for about 4 to 5 min. for each chicken breast.
  3. SO if you want two cooked thru, it would take about 8-10 minutes for thin cut, about 10-12 min. for an average size.
    1. boneless works much better than bone-in for this

Pair with a bowl of macaroni and cheese in the microwave and BAM you’re ready to eat.

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