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Can You Boil Frozen Chicken? Safety Tips You Need to Know

Forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer? Don’t worry; dinner isn’t doomed! You can boil the frozen chicken.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), you can boil frozen chicken safely and turn it into a fully-cooked, yummy dinner.

When boiling chicken, it is important to keep it warm and at an active boil until it is cooked throughout.

There are several things to keep in mind when boiling frozen chicken.

Guidelines For Boiling Frozen Chicken

Out of all the methods you can do with chicken, boiling is the easiest, fastest, and healthiest preparation. However, it requires the correct cooking time when boiling frozen chicken, as overcooked or undercooked chicken can ruin the taste and be harmful to your health.

Here are simple guidelines when boiling frozen chicken:

Put a pot of water to boil on high heat. Leave it to boil for about 20 minutes before adding your chicken. You can also use vegetable or chicken broth.

Submerge the frozen chicken into the boiling water. For a quicker cook, you can remove the bones or choose to boil filleted chicken.

Slowly reduce the heat and allow the chicken to simmer. Reducing the heat prevents the water from evaporating, so the chicken is submerged in water for the whole cooking time. This also allows the chicken to cook evenly.

The USDA states that the chicken must reach an internal temperature of 165F for it to be ready. Use a meat thermometer to be sure of its temperature.

Watch the whitish stuff that floats on the water as the chicken boils to avoid a cloudy-looking soup. However, the white/gray matter is protein and is not harmful.

You cannot boil frozen chicken in a slow cooker. While a slow cooker is easy to use, the temperatures are too low and will cook the chicken too slowly, which may trigger the growth of bacteria.

How Long to Boil Frozen Chicken?

Frozen chicken usually takes 50% more time to cook than thawed chicken. The time it takes to boil also depends on the cut of the chicken.

Here are the different cuts of chicken and the time they take to boil:

Cut of chicken

Time to boil

Boneless chicken breasts

30 minutes

Bone-in chicken breasts

45 minutes

Boneless chicken thighs

30 to 35 minutes

Bone-in chicken thighs

40 to 50 minutes

Chicken legs

30 minutes

Whole chicken

1 hour to 1 hour and 45 minutes

It is usually quicker to cook boneless chicken compared to having the bone in. However, you should always stick to the specified cooking times to ensure that the chicken is cooked throughout.

How to Cook Frozen Chicken?

Chicken cooked straight from the freezer can make a delicious meal! With the help of some pantry staples, the chicken will have a lovely golden color and tender texture that we love.

Remember these tips when cooking frozen chicken:

Spread the chicken breast out on the tray with lots of space between them. This ensures the chicken cooks evenly and has the same tenderness throughout. If you want to add some vegetables, such as tomatoes, you should add them after the chicken has cooked halfway.

Coat the chicken in olive oil or butter. This fat will allow the chicken to retain its tasty juices on the outside while the inside cooks properly.

Ensure that the chicken is done. It is very important to check if the frozen chicken is cooked throughout before serving.

Here is an easy, golden-crumb chicken recipe. You’ll need heavy-duty foil, a small bowl, measuring cups and spoons, and a baking tray.

homemade frozen chicken

Frozen Chicken Recipe

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Learn how to safely cook frozen chicken without thawing.


  • ¼ cup of dry crumbs
  • ½ cup of Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 5 frozen chicken breasts


1. Preheat the oven to 425F and put the rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with foil.

2. Combine the crumbs, garlic powder, and Parmesan in a small. Make sure all the ingredients are incorporated.

3. Coat the frozen chicken with olive oil, then add the crumb mixture. Add a good amount of the mixture for a crispy, golden-brown chicken. Press the coating down on the chicken to make sure it sticks.

4. Cook, the chicken, uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes. While this is a long time, you are cooking your chicken from frozen, which means the cooking time is almost doubled. However, start checking the chicken in around 25 minutes.

5. Check the chicken by using the probe thermometer by poking the side of the chicken. The internal temperature should be 165F. Check all the chicken pieces before removing them from the oven.

6. Allow it to cool before serving.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 241Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 225mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 33g


Save it to your Pinterest board for easy access and future inspiration!

You can pair this beautiful crumbed chicken with some veggies or slice it up for a sandwich. Although it was cooked without being thawed, the chicken still retains those delicious juices.

FAQs About Frozen Chicken

Can you cook a whole chicken from frozen?

It is possible, but you have to make sure that the chicken is cooked all the way through. The whole chicken should be roasted in a big pan at 350F and then at 450F for the last 15 minutes to get that golden brown skin. You must cook the chicken uncovered to ensure the hot air is circulated.

The frozen chicken will take 50% longer to cook. For example, if you have a chicken that is four pounds, it would usually take 1 ½ hours to cook; however, when frozen, it would take up to 2 ½ hours to cook all the way through.

Can you boil frozen chicken breast?

Yes, you can safely boil frozen chicken breast.

You would need a pot of water or vegetable/chicken broth, which must cover the frozen chicken breast completely. Since the breast is thinner, it would take about 20 minutes. Always check for doneness using a thermometer.

Is it safe to boil frozen chicken?

Yes. However, you must ensure that the internal temperature of the chicken is 165F in the thickest part and the chicken is no longer pink on the inside. Always cook frozen chicken for the recommended timeframe.

Can you defrost chicken in boiling water?

No. It is unsafe to thaw chicken in boiling water, as the boiling water will start ‘cooking’ the outside of the chicken before the inside is fully thawed. Additionally, the chicken’s surface would be a danger zone, as bacteria would immediately start growing.

While it may seem counterproductive, you should always thaw chicken using cold water, as this does not produce a favorable environment for bacteria to grow. The cold water should not be allowed to warm up to room temperature and should be changed at least once in the process of thawing chicken.

What happens if you put boiling water on frozen chicken?

The boiling water would start ‘cooking’ your chicken and trigger the growth of bacteria, which can be unsafe for you to eat. Cooking the chicken will not kill the bacteria and can possibly make you sick.

Final Thought

It is possible to cook a quick chicken dinner, even if you forgot to thaw the chicken!

However, it would help if you always remembered to follow the guidelines for boiling frozen chicken, such as ensuring the internal temperature is 165F and compensating for a 50% longer cooking time. These will make sure your chicken is safe to eat and delicious.

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I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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