How To Separate Frozen Chicken At Home Easily

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“Chicken Emergency” is a very familiar thing in our daily life. Because it’s a popular ingredient for many mouthwatering dishes, no matter whether you suddenly get some uninvited guests or get cravings for new chicken recipes, you’ll find the urgency to separate frozen chicken.

Nothing to worry about. Separating frozen chicken is not that tough a nut to crack anymore? There are a lot of easy and simple ways to do it.

Today I’ll show you all the possible ways of separating your frozen chicken, plus some great tips to prevent sticking chicken together while freezing. 

Let’s first get the methods.

How To Separate Frozen Chicken Using Microwave 

Once I got some unexpected guests just at dinner time. I was in such a hurry that I’ve no time to separate the chicken by using anything. So I chose to try the microwave. 

And I’m sharing the steps you should follow for using a microwave.

  • Put your microwave in defrost mode. 
  • If you don’t have a defrost program setting in your microwave, you can still use it. 
  • But it would be better if you had some extra cautiousness.
  • Keep your chicken in the microwave and set it for 10 seconds.
  • After 10 seconds, check if the ice in the chicken joints has melted or not to break the chicken pieces apart.
  • If the chicken pieces aren’t thawed, keep them in the microwave for another 10 seconds. 
  • And keep doing this until it is melted enough you want. 

Using a microwave is the quickest way to separate your frozen chicken, and another advantage is its totally hassle-free way. Just, you have to do it in the right way. 

Also Read: How To Brine Chicken Wings For Smoking & Grilling

Separate Frozen Chicken Using Cold Water

Are you looking for a method to separate the frozen chicken in a short time? Then the best option for thawing chicken is using cold water. 

Step-1: Remove the stacked chicken from its frozen packaging. Hold it under the tap of cold running water. If you are separating a large massive batch of chicken, use a blocked sink and let the tap run cold water over the chicken.

Step-2: Wait for 5-10 minutes until the ice between the chicken pieces won’t melt. Luckily, this ice will melt relatively faster than the chicken is thawed.  

Step-3: Take a butter knife and check whether you can penetrate the knife between the chicken pieces. 

Step-4: Turn the butter knife. Make sure you’re not getting injured by the knife. It is wise to put rubber gloves on your hand to hold the cold chicken firmly. If the chicken pieces become apart from each other, you don’t need to run more cold water. 

Step-5: After separating the chicken pieces, take the amount you need, and you can refreeze back the remaining slices. 

Using cold water to separate is the easiest and most effective method out of these four. After separating the chicken can be safely stored again. And this method needs only a few minutes. 

But, there is a little problem I’ve noticed. Separating vast batches of chicken may be difficult using running cold water. 

Another Great Method Is Thawing It In The Fridge

If you’re not in a hurry or have enough time to let the chicken thaw, then you can choose to thaw the chicken in the fridge. On top, you can refreeze it or cook it at a time as you wish. 

Let’s check out the processing to separate chicken thawing in the fridge.

  • First, check your refrigerator settings to see whether the temperatures are at 35F or 40F. 
  • Generally, 35F takes a more extended period to thaw the chicken than 40F. 
  • So you Should prepare for the required time depending on your fridge temperature. 
  • Turn off the fridge, and wait for 1 to 2 days, depending on the amount of your chicken.
  • Wait until the chicken thaws; after thawing, remove the chicken pieces you need. 
  • And let the remaining refreeze again. 

This method is known as the safest method to me but it needs more time than other methods. After doing your work properly, you can refreeze your chicken within two days. It’s a really awesome way. 

Related: How To Marinate Frozen Chicken Easily (4 Steps)

Separate Your Frozen Chicken By Using Hot Water 

In case you don’t have any microwave and are still in a hurry to isolate frozen chicken, any clue how to do it? 

So this method is for them. But here is one thing we know, using hot water enhances the chances of bacteria growth. So it’s not safe and not recommended. 

But the food scientist Harold McGee in the New York Times showed us a method that won approval by USDA. 

As it’ll take to separate the chicken only 3-5 minutes, so it will keep bacteria’s growth in a safe category. 

So let’s follow the approach. 

Step-1: Put the chicken in a zip-top or airtight bag to ensure the hot water doesn’t get inside the packaging.

Step-2: Take a kettle full of water and put it on a stove. You’ll need 140°F hot water to defrost the chicken. It will be better if you use a digital meat thermometer to check the exact temperature. 

Step-3: Once the temperature increases to 140°F, quickly pour the water into a large bowl. Next, submerge the packet of chicken into the bowl’s water to separate pieces. 

Step-4: Instantly, the temperature will fall to 125°F and let the water melt ice between the joints. After 3 minutes, check if the ice melted or not. 

If it melted, remove the chicken pieces from the bag. And use your hand or a butter knife to pry them apart.


  • A quick and handy method
  • Keep Safe and better quality than using the microwave.


  • Not officially approved by the FDA.
Also Read: Best Place To Buy Chicken Wings (5 Places You Can Go For)

Quicker Way For Separating Your Frozen Chicken

Forget thawing if you’ve not had that time to wait. Or, possibly you’re not in a condition to manage to thaw. So I tried some alternative ways. But first I want to assure you these tricks are risky as well. 

Keep the chicken inside a plastic bag. Throw or hit the bag on a hard surface. Ice can be broken down quickly, so when you hit it, the ice block between the joints of chicken pieces also breaks up.

Moreover, you can use a knife to separate the chicken. But for this method, you should partially thaw it. Otherwise, there is a risk of cutting yourself.

For proper equipment, you can look for a band saw or meat saw. Yes, it’s very risky. But I only recommend it to those who can handle it and if you need to separate a lot of chicken at a time.

Also Read: Best Ranch Dressing For Wings (8 Top Picks) 

Which Is The Best Way To Separate Frozen Chicken

The refrigerator and cold water methods are regarded to be the best way to separate frozen chicken because they’re the safest and perfect methods. These methods won’t cook or dry out your chicken’s juice like hot water and microwave on top-notch.

Mistakes You Should Avoid While Separating Frozen Chicken

While separating frozen chicken, we usually make some mistakes that can cause harm to the chicken. So have a glance at the mistakes you must avoid.

  • Avoid freezing the chicken with water on its surface because this frozen water causes freezer burn and decreases your chicken’s taste.
  • While using the microwave, make sure to check in every 10 seconds. And as soon as possible, remove the chicken from the microwave before it dries out. 
  • While using hot water, don’t let the hot water get inside the bag because it will cook the chicken and grow bacteria.

Can You Refreeze Thawed Chicken

Yes, you can refreeze thawed chicken. But in the following conditions. 

  • After fully defrosting the chicken, if you cook it, then it can be refreezing again.
  • If you thawed the chicken in the fridge, you could refreeze it again within two days.
  • If your chicken is partially defrosted, you can safely refreeze it.

In the above circumstances, the texture of the chicken can be changed. But there is nothing to fear. 

However, it decreases quality but still be safe. But you should avoid to refrozen the chicken if-

  1. Defrosted in microwave 
  2. Defrosted in hot or cold water

Exclusive Tips To Stop Chicken Sticking Together While Frozen

Now you may wonder how you could save yourself from this troubling issue. So we bring some exclusive tips to prevent the chicken from sticking together while freezing. 

  • Try to remove excess water from your chicken before freezing. 
  • Pre-freeze the chicken pieces individually, laying on a baking tray. Wait for a few hours until they are solid. Then you can store them together with the chicken pieces in a bag without the tension of sticking. 
  • Use individual zip-top bags or foil wrapping to store the chicken pieces separately in the freeze. 
  • Alternatively, you can use a Tupperware box to store chicken pieces individually.

No Time To Separate Frozen Chicken? Then Cook It Frozen

If you’re not want to separate your frozen chicken by thawing it, then you can cook it. But don’t think about it.

However, if you cook all the chicken at once, then this idea is excellent. But if you only need to separate a part of the joint chicken pieces, it won’t work for you. 

Let’s follow the process of cooking frozen chicken.

Step-1: Start your cooking process. But Keep in mind frozen chicken takes 50% more time than cooking fresh chicken. 

Where you need to make a dish with raw chicken in 30 minutes, the frozen chicken requires 45 minutes.

Step-2: Check the meat temperature when you think the chicken is already cooked. For that, take a thermometer and check at the thickest part of the chicken breast. 

When the internal temperature reaches 165°F, you can ensure that your chicken is safely cooked. 

Is it Safe to Separate the Chicken in Microwave?

Yes, it’s safe. But it would be best if you cook it immediately after thawing. The longer you will be late, the longer it enhances the chance of growing bacteria. 

Can I leave the chicken out to Separate all day long?

No. It’s harmful to leave the chicken out all day long. So make sure to avoid this process.

How Long Does it Take to Separate Chicken at Room Temperature?  

No matter how long it takes to separate chicken at room temperature, my recommendation is not to try it. 

Because at room temperature, the chicken temperature will be warm. This situation is ideal for the growth of bacteria. As a result, your food safety will be gone totally. 

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