First thing, don't let it sit on the counter. Instead, try these methods:
(Eat This Not That) Method 1: Defrost chicken in the refrigerator
“The refrigerator is the safest thawing method, but takes the longest amount of time,” Carothers says. “You will often have to plan ahead when thawing in the refrigerator to allow the chicken enough time to fully thaw.”
Sidoti says that if you know you have at least 12 hours before you plan to cook the chicken, opt for the refrigerator method.
“This is the best method, since it doesn’t expose the meat to warmer temperatures and it also requires the least amount of attention,” she says. “Take your chicken out of the freezer up to two days before you plan to cook it.”
Method 2: Defrost chicken in cold water
If you’re in a time crunch, the cold water method is a faster, just as effective method. The only catch is that the frozen chicken you’re defrosting must be sealed in a leak-proof package or plastic bag.
“If the bag leaks, bacteria from the air or surrounding environment could be introduced into the food. Also, the meat’s tissue may absorb water, resulting in a watery product,” Carothers says. “The bag should be submerged in cold tap water, changing the water every 30 minutes so it continues to thaw.”
Method 3: Defrost chicken in the microwave
The fastest method of the three is undoubtedly the microwave, which has a defrost setting. Whichever quick method you choose (cold water or microwave), one thing remains the same—you should always cook the chicken immediately after it thaws. If you put the thawed chicken back in the refrigerator to cook at a separate time, it could invite harmful bacteria to grow on the meat and potentially make you sick.
Click here to read more tips about defrosting chicken.
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