Can You Freeze Marinated Chicken?
To quickly answer your question and other possible questions in mind. It’s a yes. You can freeze marinated chicken and get it later for cooking. Likewise, you can freeze the marinade but you wouldn’t do that.
Chicken is infamous for having a short keeping life of only 2 days inside the fridge. Make sure to get it fresh to avoid underlying problems.
However, you can alleviate the difficulty by tossing the chicken inside the freezer or dipping it in marinade. Or you can do both.
Freezing works by transforming water molecules into its solid phase. Thus, making them unavailable for microbial use.
Marinating on the other hand is not designed for meat preservation. Instead, it helps to develop flavors. But you can tweak some marinade ingredients to extend chicken keeping life.
Salt, sugar, and vinegar as examples are flavoring ingredients that also act as preservatives.
Want to know more? Explore the nitty gritty of marinated chicken.
How Long Can You Store Chicken in the Fridge?
You can store fresh chicken in the fridge for 1 to 2 days only, while freezing temperature may extend it up to a year.
Here goes the argument. What I said is true only if you really get a fresh chicken.
Chicken for sale are slaughtered late at night or early in the morning. If you’ve got the habit of buying late in the afternoon, then what you’d get has already spent almost a day in ambient temperature. That’s scary.
Be mindful of chicken freshness. Avoid chicken with foul odor and skin discolorations.
If you’re getting frozen chicken, then keep it frozen before use.
How Long Can You Keep a Chicken Frozen?
You already know that freezing is phase transition of liquid into solid. In case of water, it’s converted to ice. Then, the water is unavailable for microbial growth and thereby increasing the shelf life significantly.
You must quickly freeze and not just freeze. While the water is turning into solid phase, it may come together and expand to form larger ice crystals. That ice crystals may break cellular structures, reducing the water holding capacity, and eventually ending up to less juicy meat.
Quick freezing chicken needs -48ºC and below.
With quick freezing you may be able to keep the chicken frozen for year. But why only one year?
I need to tackle another issue, the freezer burn. If you hadn’t wrapped your chicken properly and power fluctuations occurred, oxidation and cell damage may happen.
Ice crystals on meat surface are evidence of freezer burns. The eating quality is reduced but it’s perfectly safe to eat.
If you’re only concerned about safety you can keep a chicken frozen for over a year. Otherwise, cook it before the 1 year period.
I need to parse out the marinade ingredients, so you have basic idea of the key components and how they work.
It has four key ingredients, fat, sugar, acid and seasoning.
1. First in our list is fat. You’re adding more fat even though the meat might have considerable amount. Healthier fat options exist, so don’t worry!
Fat has two basic tasks. To prevent moisture loss while cooking and serve as flavor carrier.
Choose from the following fat options.
- olive oil
- coconut milk
- canola oil
- sesame oil
- coconut oil
2. Acid. It balance out the fat and add flavor of its own. You may use any acid such as:
- lime juice
- rice vinegar
- orange juice
- lemon juice
- white vinegar
3. Sugar. For the sweet kick or more specifically, maillard reaction resulting brown color and caramelly flavor.
- brown sugar
- maple syrup
- white sugar
4. Spices. the last and perhaps the most versatile. Be creative, add more and mix and match as you see fit.
The commons are salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic.
To make the marinade. Get enough acid to cover up all chicken pieces, then mix the rest of ingredients.
How Long Can You Keep Marinated Chicken in the Fridge?
For chicken, the ideal marinade time is from 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. For a short time of 30 minutes, letting it sit in ambient temperature is fine.
For longer period, put it inside the fridge. Refrain from extending further because the acid may toughen the meat and the chicken may start to spoil.
Fine, I’ll spill the beans. Keeping marinated chicken in the fridge for one whole day is still fine while 2 days is a gamble. If you insist, adding more sugar and salt to the marinade will increase your chances. The two also act as preservative.
How Long Can You Keep Marinated Chicken in the Freezer?
If you can freeze fresh chicken, the more you can freeze marinated chicken.
On the side of food safety, some marinade components may help extend chicken shelf life. Salt and sugar grab moisture making them unavailable for microbial reproduction.
On the side of taste quality, you can still freeze but cook it before the end of second month. Why? Marinade contains acid which toughens the chicken meat if kept for prolonged periods. But if the taste quality doesn’t bother you, you can keep marinated chicken in the freezer for over a year.
I have answered all your questions and explained the ideas behind.
Soak the chicken in marinade and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Put inside the fridge if longer marinate time is desired. Four hours max but a leeway of 24 hours should be fine while two days period is a gamble.
After 4 hours of marinate time, you can freeze marinated chicken and keep it frozen for a year and over. It’s perfectly safe to eat if done properly.
Conversely, when it comes to taste quality, don’t let it stay frozen longer than 2 months. Acid in marinade causes toughening of meat.
I’m going for a safe number, because you have no control over some factors such as power fluctuations and freezer overloading, which are detrimental to chicken quality.
To avoid such hassles, just keep a handful of marinade ingredients in your pantry, and make marinade as necessary. Always get fresh chicken and marinate as needed.