Can You Marinate Frozen Chicken? (Tips & Explanation)

Chicken is well-known as one of the nutritious and delicious meats, which applies to many culinary skills. Indeed, soaking it in the marinade is an essential method to maximize its taste.

However, what happens if you don’t have sufficient time to thaw the chicken before marinating it?

Related: The most popular types of meat you should know about

Can You Marinate Frozen Chicken?

Yes, you can marinate frozen chicken, but it only penetrates some flavor due to the icy water. As a result, the meat is probably not as tasty and juicy as usual.

But it won’t be the most effective way to get the full flavor.

The primary reason is that the ice crystal melts while thawing, which might wash off some flavor. Therefore, the meat cannot absorb all the marinade.

Instead, it is advisable to defrost the chicken entirely before marinating to enjoy the tender and succulent meat.

What Is The Function Of A Marinade?

The marinade plays an integral part in flavoring and tenderizing the meat or foods at the same time.

Following USDA FISS, it is savory and often mixed with other elements, including acid ingredients, cooking oil, herbs, and spices.

Notably, the acid sauce is the vital component allowing the meat to soak up other herbs better. Furthermore, the acid elements help to break down tissues and tender the meat. That’s why soaking the meat in the marinade will make it juicier.

A Step-by-step Guide

Follow the simple steps below for better preparation.

Step 1: Preparing the marinade

There are various marinade recipes to pick, but the ideal one should have acidic juices elements, for instance, lime juice or vinegar. Otherwise, the chicken might be tough and less juicy.

Besides, you can opt for the read-made marinade at the store to save your time and effort instead.

Step 2: Soaking the chicken with marinade

Before getting it out of the freeze, you should prepare proper food containers to contain it. One of them is sealable bags or a large bowl with a cover or plastic wrap. In this way, you make sure the chicken can impart all flavors without reapplying again.

Then place it in the containers and season it with your prepared marinade.

Step 3: Place it in the fridge

It is recommended to place the seasoned frozen chicken again in the fridge for thawing, preventing it from exposing bacteria outside.

Step 4: Taking it out of the refrigerator for cooking

After the chicken absorbs most of the flavor from the marinade, you can take it out and prepare it for cooking.

Can You Marinate Overnight?

Yes, but it is not effective as expected. 

Leaving the marinated poultry overnight means there is more melting icy water to wash off the marinade. Hence, it might soak up less flavor in this situation.

Instead, it will be better to thaw it overnight before marinating it for the tastiest flavor.

How To Thaw Effectively

Undoubtedly, you better defrost it first before marinating. But selecting the most effective and safe method might make you overwhelmed. So then, the three thawing options below will be all you need!

In the fridge

If you don’t bother taking a long time to defrost, feel free to thaw it in the fridge. Not only is this way practical, but also avoidable from bacterial growth.

So, your simple task is to leave it in the fridge overnight, and then you have a great prepared chicken to cook in the morning.

In the microwave

In case you don’t have much time for thawing, utilize the microwave. The heat power can instantly defrost everything within several minutes.

In addition, be mindful of setting proper time and defrost temperature for not cooking your chicken. Generally, the ideal time will be within 2 minutes with a 30% heat power level.

In cold water

Prepare a large container of cold water and dive the frozen chicken into it. Cover it with the wrap or lid before leaving it on the counter to prevent it from being exposed to bacteria. Moreover, you might take more effort because you need to replace the water every 30 minutes to speed up the thawing process.

Is Marinating Frozen Chicken Unsafe?

Fortunately, it is safe to do so.

Admittedly, the chicken might not get the most fantastic flavor as it’s fresh or unfrozen by seasoning this way. However, if you’re in a hurry or forget to thaw it in advance, marinating the frozen poultry will come in handy.

Besides, it is reasonable why many people are concerned about the safety of this way because chicken can cause salmonella food poisoning, especially when preparing it improperly.

Therefore, if you use the marinating frozen chicken process, don’t forget to throw out all excess marinade to protect you from consuming harmful bacteria.

Can You Marinate And Thaw At The Same Time?

Defrosting the meat initially then marinating it might be time-wasting. Meanwhile, you can marinate and thaw simultaneously, though the meat won’t absorb the full flavor until it is entirely defrosted.

So, the familiar and straightforward way for this method is placing both the meat and marinade in a container. Then let it in the fridge to thaw and penetrate the flavor as well.

Can You Marinate Chicken Too Long?

For the desired result, it is not advisable to marinate the chicken for too long. The ideal time is within 12-24 hours, given that you leave it in the fridge environment.

Otherwise, the meat might not retain the perfect tenderness as expected because of the acidic elements in the marinade.

If you intend to cook chicken soon, marinating the fresh chicken for around 20-30 minutes will be enough to savor its juicy and tasty flavor.

Is It OK To Cook Chicken Not Fully Defrosted?

Following the recommendation from USDA, it is safe to cook the partially thawed chicken, provided that you increase the cooking time by 1.5 times compared to the original time. The extra time is essential to make chicken deforested entirely as well as well-done.

However, it is not ideal to consistently apply this method to absorb the essential nutrients and the full flavor of chicken meat.

Mariana Rouco

Mariana Rouco is the editor-in-chief of Elpasony.com. She loves traveling and writing about foods and cooking in general. She has a degree from the New England Culinary Institute and enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines the most.

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