Is thawed chicken safe?

I never thought I'd ask this, as I'm of the school of thought that when in doubt, throw it out. But this seems on the cusp to me. I had a rock-hard chicken breast from the freezer. It did not thaw overnight in the fridge. I know you're not supposed to do this, but I decided to give it a head start on the counter and then put it back in the fridge. By the time I got to it the chicken was thawed but cold. Is it safe to cook or should I pitch it? I lean toward the latter.

  • Posted by: ATL
  • September 29, 2013


ChefOno September 29, 2013

Bearing in mind the cross-contamination issue (you have to assume all chicken is contaminated), a minute or two under running water (or a few seconds in the microwave) would have freed the meat from the paper.

ATL September 29, 2013
As usual, the Food 52-ers come through. I'll pitch it. I know the cold water method and have used it. This time I couldn't extricate the chicken from the wrapping paper on it. Oh we'll, better safe than sorry!
ChefOno September 29, 2013

Jeannette's suggestion for next time won't sound weird if you know the transfer of thermal energy in water is many times more efficient than through air. (Compare sticking your hand in boiling water at 212F vs. a 350F oven.)

Place the bowl in the sink and dribble a tiny amount of water into it to speed up the process even further.

ChefOno September 29, 2013

This is, as you probably already know, a time + temperature problem. Can you accurately define "cold" as used above? (Did you take a reading with your digital thermometer after thawing?) < 40F = no problem. More than 2 hrs. > 40F multiplies the danger from bacteria, including and especially from cross-contamination.

That said, cooking *should* eliminate the danger in any case. Be certain to bring it up to temp per your thermometer if you decide to proceed.


Voted the Best Reply!

Jeannette B. September 29, 2013
I would pitch it. A great alternative to thawing a chicken breast (or frozen fish) is to put it in a ziploc bag with a little air as possible and soak it for about 20 minutes in COLD water. Sounds weird but it works.
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