Taking fresh chicken out of the fridge is much less daunting than figuring out how to defrost chicken so that it is safe to cook and eat. However, there are many good reasons to freeze chicken.  Frozen chicken lasts longer and it's way more cost effective to buy chicken in bulk and freeze it than it is to buy a little at a time and refrigerate it.

If you are confused about the best ways to defrost chicken, fear not. I've compiled a guide to the best and the worst methods for defrosting chicken.

1. Submerge it in cool water.

fish, sweet, bread, seafood, meat
Emma Glubiak

This is my personal favorite way to defrost chicken. Simply fill a bowl with cool water and submerge your wrapped chicken in the water. Two key things to remember with this method are:

1. Do not use warm water. Warm water + raw meat = a breeding ground for disease.
2. Make sure your chicken is wrapped. I just leave my chicken in the plastic wrap that I froze it in, but you can also place it in a plastic bag. Normally it takes about half an hour for one serving of chicken to fully defrost using this method.

2. Put it in the fridge.

fish, seafood, sweet
Emma Glubiak

This method is super simple, but it requires some planning ahead. If you know you are going to have chicken for dinner, take your chicken out of the freezer and place it in the fridge in the morning before heading to work. By the time you return home in the evening, your chicken should be totally thawed.

Remember to keep your chicken wrapped up while it's in the fridge and to place it on the bottom shelf in case of any leaking.

3. Microwave it.

sweet, dairy product, fish, flour, dough
Emma Glubiak

You should only microwave your frozen chicken if you are in a huge rush. It's totally safe to microwave it on defrost mode, but the microwave might cook part of the chicken.

This means when you go to cook it on the stove or in the oven, it will cook unevenly and parts will be dry. As you can see in the picture, the outside of the chicken has begun to cook while the inside is still frozen.

If  you use the microwave to defrost chicken, you likely won't end up with a very tasty meal.

4. Don't leave it on the counter.

meat, fish, sweet, seafood
Emma Glubiak
According to the USDA, raw chicken should never be left out at room temperature. If you use this method of defrosting your chicken, the outside might begin to thaw and reach temperatures that bacteria can grow at, while the inside will remain frozen.

It is much safer to use one of the three methods above rather than risk getting a food borne illness by leaving your chicken out. 

5. Cook it frozen.

chocolate, candy
Megan Prendergast
If you really are in a time crunch, you can always cook your chicken while it is still frozen. It will take longer to fully cook the chicken, but other than that it is perfectly safe.

From tandoori chicken to chicken alfredo, poultry is the star ingredient in many versatile and delicious dishes. Don't miss out on incredible recipes just because you're scared of defrosting the main ingredient.