Can You Refreeze Partially Thawed Chicken?

Can You Refreeze Partially Thawed Chicken

Freezing is the best way to preserve the quality of chicken. To maintain the best texture of the chicken, the temperature should be consistent.

The problem sometimes is a power outage. It definitely curtails the supply of electricity, therefore, causes issues in frozen goods. They can be partially thawed.

Can you refreeze partially thawed chicken?

The USDA says that refreezing partially thawed chicken is fine as long as it has some ice crystals in it. The only drawback is that the quality of the chicken may suffer a little bit.

But do not worry, the chicken is safe to cook and eat. As long as the power outage only lasted for several minutes, it won’t hurt the frozen goods much.

What can you do with partially thawed chicken?

If you partially thawed chicken during a power outage, do not panic. That chicken will not be wasted.

The best thing you can do is to cook the chicken. In this case, I would like to bake the partially thawed chicken longer than usual.

The USDA recommends 1.5 times longer than you normally cook chicken. This is to make sure the safety of the food.

You can roast the partially thawed chicken too. At 450 degrees Fahrenheit, it will take approximately 45 minutes before the chicken is totally cooked.

Cooking the partially thawed chicken is like cooking the completely thawed one. If you are a total beginner at this, you can follow the simple steps below.

1. Completely thaw the chicken

Since we are dealing with partially thawed chicken here, it means that it has to completely thaw before you can cook (although you can directly cook it that’s for another topic). If you are not sure how to thaw partially thawed chicken, read my tips below.

2. Season

Assuming that the chicken is already clean and thawed, you can just season it. Put whatever you want.

I like to add a little bit of oil, pepper, salt, garlic gloves, rosemary under the skin of the chicken.

3. Cook the chicken in the oven

Once all the seasonings I want are complete, I just place the chicken in a preheated oven.

Keep the chicken in the oven until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

4. Use meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature

You can use the meat thermometer to make sure that you get it right. However, in checking the temperature of the chicken, do not forget to take the chicken out of the oven.

Do not check the internal temperature of the chicken while in the oven. If you do this, you won’t be able to measure the real temperature because the thermometer is affected by the temperature of the oven.

Once the chicken is cooked, take it out from the oven and let it cool down for about 15 minutes before serving.

Cooking chicken in the oven is only one way. There are a million ways you can cook chicken. It’s a matter of personal preference.

Can you further thaw a partially thawed chicken?

You can definitely further thaw a partially thawed chicken before you cook it. In normal situations, you thaw frozen chicken completely before cooking.

During a power outage, you can either cook the partially thawed chicken or further thaw it. You will yield the same result.

If you want to thaw it further, here are the different thawing methods you can do:

  • Let the partially thawed chicken sit but do not leave it on the countertop for more than 2 hours. The bacteria can quickly grow rapidly at room temperature. So cook it before it becomes unsafe.
  • Thaw the chicken in the running tap water. This is one of the best ways to thaw frozen chicken, especially the partially thawed ones.
  • The other way you can do this is to microwave the chicken for about 30 seconds until the chicken is totally thawed. But this is only possible after the power outage.

It is totally up to you what thawing method you want to use. Choose one that best suits your situation.

Can you refreeze partially cooked chicken?

Refreezing a partially cooked chicken is not a good idea and it is not safe. If it is partially cooked, that means that the inside of the chicken is potentially raw and warm.

Putting it in the freezer will not cool down the whole chicken immediately giving the bacteria enough time to multiply.

The real problem is when you take that frozen partially cooked chicken and thaw it for further cooking.

Remember that the bacteria had already occupied the chicken. Thawing will allow bacteria to contaminate the whole chicken (if not already).

Instead of freezing partially cooked chicken, I recommend that you completely cook the chicken before freezing it.

This is the best option and the safest one.

Can you refreeze raw chicken after thawing?

The answer to this question pretty much depends on the way the chicken is thawed. If it is thawed in the refrigerator, you can definitely refreeze thawed raw chicken.

However, if the chicken is thawed at room temperature for more than 2 hours, you cannot and should not refreeze it.

The main reason for this is that room temperature is a good place for the bacteria to multiply pretty quickly. This results in potential contamination.

But what if you bought frozen chicken from a store, can you refreeze it?

Fortunately, according to the USDA, it is still safe to refreeze store bought frozen chicken as long as it is handled correctly.

As soon as you get home, do not forget to refreeze frozen goods first before you do other chores. Always remember that frozen goods should not be left at room temperature for too long.

Can you refreeze the chicken after cooking?

I think one of the most important takeaways of this post is that do not bring the thawed chicken back into the freezer.

The best thing you can do is to cook the thawed chicken first and refreeze it. This is the safest strategy you can do to avoid any issues related to frozen good mishandling.

Anytime you need it, you can just get that cooked chicken and reheat (check my tips on how to reheat foods).

In my case though, I like to place cooked foods in the fridge, not in the freezer. This is because it is easier to reheat foods from the fridge than from the freezer.

But if you want to keep the flavor of the cooked chicken for too long, then freezing it is definitely the best thing you can do.

Can you refreeze cooked chicken twice?

Technically, you can refreeze cooked chicken a couple of times. However, most food experts do not recommend it. Neither do I.

The main reason is simple – freezing and thawing several times will put cooked chicken at high potential risk of bacterial growth.

Leftovers are meant to save in the freezer or fridge once and not more than that. I know that this may sound exaggerated because, in reality, you can refreeze leftovers several times.

I tried it before and it was totally fine. But to ensure the safety of your family (especially kids), do not refreeze cooked chicken more than once.

Final Thoughts

Freezing may be the best way to preserve chicken. However, power outage can be the main challenge in this case.

Power interruption can affect the freshness and overall quality of the meat. When the electricity is cut, the chicken can be partially thawed.

But do not worry because you can refreeze partially thawed chicken as long as it has some ice crystals in it.

But if the chicken is thawed completely, it is not safe to refreeze it.

I hope this helps. Thanks for stopping by.


USDA: Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)