How Long Can Frozen Chicken Sit Out? (Best Tips)

How Long Can Frozen Chicken Sit Out
Foods Questions

In many cases, the frozen chicken should be thawed first before you can cook it. The problem is that there is only a limited time can frozen chicken be sitting out.

The reason for this is that when frozen chicken or other foods are thawed or left at room temperature for more than 2 hours, bacteria will start to grow.

So, how long can frozen chicken sit out?

If you are thawing chicken at room temperature, do not leave it for too long on the counter. Always remember that bacterial contaminants can pose risks. As a rule of thumb, thawing for more than 2 hours is already risky.

As thawing begins, the meat becomes less solid making it perfect for bacteria to grow fast especially at room temperature.

When the room temperature exceeds 25 degrees Celsius, the bacteria can quickly multiply within 30-45 minutes. This happens even when the inside of the meat is still frozen.

How Long Can Frozen Chicken Sit Out?

The main purpose of thawing a frozen chicken is to soften it down from a solid-state. Thawing allows the ice to subside making the meat ready to cook.

However, thawing for too long can have a negative consequence to the quality of the meat.

All meats, including chickens, are vulnerable to bacterial growth. The bacteria that are already in the meat can quickly multiply when the meat is at room temperature.

Most experts agree that frozen chicken should not sit out for more than two hours. The main reason for this is that within a few minutes, the bacteria can spread throughout the meat making it unsafe.

What I usually observe however is that a frozen chicken is still okay after two hours sitting at room temperature. As long as you cook it thoroughly, it is still safe to eat.

But I am not saying that you should do that too. There is a reason why food experts set limitations as to how long the thawing process should be for frozen meat.

The reason is no one wants to put someone at risk by consuming unsafe foods. By setting the what I call “2-hour” rule, everyone should be safe.

How to Thaw Frozen Chicken Correctly?

You see, the most common way to thaw frozen meat is by letting it sit at room temperature. But as mentioned, this may compromise the safety of the meat.

There are times that you tend to forget that you have left a frozen chicken or meat on the counter. This happens when you are in multitasking mode.

Unfortunately, and obviously, this will pose serious threat to the quality of the meat.

If you are multitasking every time you cook for a meal, then I suggest that you thaw the frozen chicken or meat using another thawing method.

The best that I recommend is by thawing the frozen chicken using the running tap water. This is what I normally do when thawing frozen goods.

This way you do not worry about bacterial contamination. Thawing this way won’t produce off smell too quickly unlike when the meat is thawed on the counter.

Can You Leave Out Frozen Chicken Overnight to Thaw?

If you have read the first few paragraphs of this post, then the answer to this questions is obvious.

You cannot leave out a frozen chicken overnight to thaw it. In fact, you cannot leave it for more than 2 hours. Overnight is more than enough for the bacteria to spoil the whole meat.

My recommendation is that never get frozen meat from the freezer or fridge unless you cook it right away after. Just get the piece of meat that you need for your recipe and thaw it.

But again, do not leave the meat at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Always consider the safety of your family.

What Happens When You Eat Rotten Poultry?

Another reason why food experts set the 2-hour rule is that you cannot normally see and determine when the meat is safe or unsafe.

You can leave the frozen meat at room temperature for more than 2 hours and see no signs of spoilage on it. However, it does not mean that the meat is still safe.

Rotten meat can cause health issues such as stomach pain, fever, vomiting, etc. Salmonella and E. Coli are some of the most common causes of these issues.

For the betterment of your family, never serve unsafe foods. I recommend that you always follow the rules for preparing foods.

How to Avoid Buying Rotten Chicken?

Sometimes when you’re in a rush buying frozen goods, it is sometimes inevitable that you bought rotten frozen goods.

Unfortunately, it is both waste of money and risky. You might end up discarding the frozen meat instead of cooking it.

Thus, when buying poultry and other frozen supplies, you need to make sure that you pick up the ones that have the best quality.

You can do this by checking the packaging of the meat. Make sure that the packing is still intact and does not have leaks on it.

Next, do not forget to check the expiry date. This is sometimes neglected. It is very important to make sure that you buy the right product.

The third thing you can do is to make sure that the meat has no bad smell and mold. Off odor is an indication that the meat is already bad.

Lastly, only buy frozen chicken from reliable distributors. There are frozen good suppliers out there that have good reputation in terms of retailing high-quality frozen goods.

If you accidentally bought a rotten meat, do not hesitate to discard it. Always put the safety of your family on top priority.

Final Words

Frozen goods should not sit out for too long. Frozen goods should not be left at room temperature because it can easily get populated by bacteria.

The bacteria in the meat can produce toxins that will in turn cause diarrhea, vomiting, and other related issues.

So, how long can frozen chicken sit out? As a rule of thumb, frozen chicken and other meats should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

When thawing frozen chicken, I recommend that you do not leave it on the counter. Instead, thaw it in the running tap water.

You can follow the tips shared in this post to safe thaw chicken. I hope this helps.

To learn more about how to handle frozen goods, do not forget to visit this page.

Related Questions

How long will frozen chicken stay fresh at room temperature?

First of all, frozen chicken is not fresh. It lost its freshness the moment it was placed in the freezer. Thawing it should not exceed 2 hours to keep the chicken safe. Thawing longer than 2 hours may not be safe for the meat as the bacteria may have populated the meat pretty quickly.

Can I leave frozen chicken out overnight?

You cannot leave frozen meat out overnight. It is simply not safe for the meat. The recommended time for thawing frozen meat is not more than 2 hours. Overnight is simply more than enough for the bacteria to contaminate the meat.