Chicken which is a staple food in many cuisines is prepared regularly in various ways in many households. People bake, fry, grill, stir fry, barbecue chicken, make curries, salads with chicken and pound them into cutlets. It is a type of food that is prepared in numerous ways.
Having extra chicken frozen is a habit practised in many homes. Both raw and cooked chicken is frozen and preserved in order to use later. Having frozen chicken ready at hand will make your life easier because when your visitors surprise you with their sudden arrivals, you can quickly prepare a tasty dish of chicken without panicking.
Even though many people freeze chicken, a question that almost all of them ask is “how long can you freeze chicken?” This duration in which you can keep chicken good in the freezer depends on the type of chicken you store inside the freezer; raw or cooked. This article will help you understand how long can you freeze chicken.
How Long Can You Freeze Raw Chicken?
If frozen correctly according to the given guidelines, whole raw chicken can be kept in the freezer for about a year. Raw chicken parts and ground chicken can be frozen for 9 months and 3-4 months respectively.
Here is how you should freeze raw chicken if you need to ensure its indefinite survival in the freezer. The secret for its long-term survival is not allowing air creep in the container or bag in which chicken is stored. For this purpose, you need to remove chicken from its original plastic-wrapped container because it can cause freezer burn. Freezer burns occur when chicken is exposed to air for a prolonged period.
As a result, chicken becomes dehydrated and oxidized. In order to prevent that, you should either wrap the chicken with aluminium-foil or transfer it to freezer-safe Ziploc bags. Then, you need to squeeze out air as much as possible Since this step should be done carefully, you can seal the edges of the bags by vacuum-sealing them.
If you don’t have a machine to do this, you can just push out the air as much as possible manually. Some way or the other, you need to stop air from entering in the bag and contaminating the chicken. Finally, you need to label the bags or containers.
Raw whole chicken frozen in this manner can be consumed within a year whereas raw chicken parts are good to use within nine months.
How Long Can You Freeze Cooked Chicken?
Cooked chicken can be kept fresh in the refrigerator only for two to three days. But, it can be stayed in the freezer for around four months if it is frozen properly. When freezing, it is ideal to portion out cooked chicken and store in separate Ziploc bags in order to ensure your convenience when consuming it for different meals.
Just like when storing raw chicken, you need to squeeze out air from the freezer bags as much as possible before freezing. Make sure to label the bags with the date. Cooked chicken frozen in this manner can be kept good and tasty up to four months.
How to Thaw Frozen Chicken?
Knowing how to thaw frozen chicken is as essential as knowing how to freeze it and how long you can freeze it. Here are some different methods you can follow when defrosting chicken. It’s not wise to let the chicken rest at room temperature outside or place it in a container of hot water because it can speed up the process of contamination increasing the bacteria growth. You also can cook the frozen chicken as it is without allowing it to thaw. But this will extend the cooking time.
The most natural and the safest method to thaw chicken is to let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. When placing it in the refrigerator, make sure that you set the temperature at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Chicken should be carefully wrapped and stored in a container or on a tray. This is to ensure the juices of chicken will not leak and spoil other food in the fridge.
Duration Different If Whole Chicken
A whole chicken will take a full day to thaw whereas chicken parts won’t take that much time. If you couldn’t use thawed whole chicken, you might place it again in the freezer. But expect some changes in the flavour and texture.
Chicken also can be defrosted by submerging it in cold water. As the first step, you should transfer the chicken into a water-resistant bag. This prevent it from attracting any bacteria from the outside environment and to protect it from water. Then fill a container with cold water and let the chicken sit in it for around 2 to 3 hours.
Make sure that you change the water every 30 minutes to ensure that there is a cool environment around the chicken. Chicken should be cooked soon after it was defrosted.
If you are in a hurry and need a quick method to defrost chicken, you can thaw it in the microwave oven. First, you should place the chicken in a microwave-friendly container. The chicken will take around eight minutes to defrost in a microwave oven. What is important is that chicken thawed in the microwave oven should be immediately cooked.
Depending on how it’s prepared or cut, the duration in which you can freeze chicken may vary. A whole raw chicken can be frozen up to 1 year whereas chicken parts can be frozen for 9 months. Ground chicken is safe to stay in the freezer for around 3 to 4 months. If you store cooked chicken in the freezer, it will stay good up to 4 months.
But, you need to freeze the chicken properly to extend its period of survival inside the freezer. Raw chicken and cooked chicken are frozen differently. This article will help you understand how long you can freeze raw chicken. I’ve also shared how cooked chicken such as baked chicken breast, can be frozen and stored for months. I’ve also touched on how to freeze the chicken to make sure that it stays good and fresh and how to thaw chicken healthily.