Preparing Chicken Breasts from the Freezer

You'll never be hungry again; here's how to prepare frozen chicken in the oven, the Instant Pot, and by boiling frozen chicken breasts.

Getting Started: Table of Contents
overhead image of white baking dish with four baked chicken breasts

You can be sure that I've been there before.

Time for dinner, and you have nothing planned.

No one in the house has eaten in a while. You've got to eat. I can't find any chicken fingers in the freezer.

Honestly, my family and I aren't huge fans of frozen ready-made meals.

Believe me, I understand where you're coming from. In contrast to now, when I was a high school teacher and not a work-at-home mom, our freezer situation looked quite different.

However, since I now am a full-time home chef and work independently, I no longer have quick access to such resources.

Thus, I set out to compile a set of instructions for preparing chicken breasts from a frozen state.

You know how much I adore using my Instant Pot to defrost chicken breasts, but what are some other options? Have I got a chance to bake it? Boil it Saute it

The overwhelming response is yes.

And now I shall discuss the many methods available and the ones we like best.

In what ways can frozen chicken be prepared most successfully?

The best methods (and the only safe methods) are those that cook the chicken quickly.

The slow cooker is out (I'm sorry, but it's true) because it would allow the chicken to sit at an unsafe internal temperature for too long.

Try not to weep

close up image of frozen chicken breasts in baking dish

If you forgot to thaw some chicken breasts from the freezer, you still have plenty of options.

Keep in mind that these techniques only apply if chicken breasts are frozen separately, rather than all together. The best way to break apart frozen chicken is to drop it on a hard surface.

Using the Instant Pot to prepare frozen chicken:

Because of how simple and quick it is, I almost always resort to this approach.

frozen chicken breasts in instant pot

I won't go into detail here about how I cook frozen chicken breasts or thighs in the Instant Pot; I've already written two separate posts about that.

From start to finish, it takes about 30 minutes, and the results are juicy and delicious.

When chicken is frozen, can it be boiled?

So, to put it briefly, yes (yay). )

The chicken's final purpose will determine whether or not you'll want to.

Poached chicken (chicken cooked in liquid) is juicy and tender, making it ideal for use as a topping or filling in a wide variety of dishes.

shredded chicken on cutting board

Don't ever try to speed up the boiling process for chicken, frozen or otherwise. It's preferable to poach or simmer it slowly. The chicken will turn out rubbery if you boil it for too long at a high temperature.

These baked chicken breasts are perfect for a solo meal because they are easy to prepare and have a delicious golden crust.

However, if you're in a pinch, you can bake frozen chicken breasts according to my instructions below.

Chicken from the freezer can be boiled by following these steps:

  1. To a large pot, add your frozen chicken breasts.
  2. Toss in enough cold water to cover the chicken in the pot.
  3. Add salt to taste, and any other seasonings you like, to the water.
  4. Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat; once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 12–13 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 165 degrees F is reached.
  5. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes on a cutting board before slicing or shredding.
  • two frozen chicken breasts in stainless steel pan Cook chicken breasts from frozen in a pan.
  • overhead image of water covering chicken breasts in pan Submerge beneath ice water
  • chicken breasts poaching in stainless steel pan Keep covered and simmering on low until meat is tender.
  • poached chicken breasts being shredded on cutting board Try shredding with a pair of forks.

The best way to use frozen chicken breasts is to make a pot of soup, according to these helpful hints. By doing so, the chicken breasts can be cooked until tender without losing any of their flavor in the process; instead, the broth will take on a richer chicken flavor. In a bind, I'll use frozen chicken breasts to make a pot of this Chicken Rice Soup or Chicken Noodle Soup.

Each of these shredded chicken recipes would be fantastic with this boiled chicken as the main ingredient.

To cook chicken breasts from frozen:

The topic of the month on The Recipe Rebel is the ideal Baked Chicken Breast, so I thought I'd divulge my secret for baking chicken breasts straight from the freezer.

close up image of baked chicken breast in baking dish

This is how I like to prepare chicken when I want it to retain its flavor and texture when served on its own (I prefer the Instant Pot method and the boiled method when the chicken will be shredded).

For the best results when baking frozen chicken breasts, I recommend starting them at thawing temperature, then placing them in the oven for 20 minutes before adding any seasoning or sauce. To ensure the sauce doesn't burn during the lengthy cooking process, I recommend not cooking the chicken from a solid block of ice.

To cook chicken breasts from frozen:

Check out the recipe card for the full, detailed instructions.

  • Turn the oven temperature up to 400 degrees F.
  • Chicken breasts should be cooked in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet or in a large baking dish (they shouldn't touch) and then covered with foil to prevent overcooking.
  • Season with salt and pepper, seasoning salt, taco seasoning, or any all-purpose spice blend you have on hand after 20 minutes in the oven. Sauces and cheeses, such as teriyaki, honey garlic, and barbecue sauces, can be added at this point if desired.
  • Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the breast, so return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for another 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Take it out of the oven, cover it, and let it sit for 10 minutes before cutting it up and serving.
  • overhead image of four frozen chicken breasts in white baking dish Coat a pan with cooking spray and add frozen chicken breasts.
  • baking dish covered in tin foil In the second half of the cooking time, cover the dish with foil or a lid.
  • half cooked chicken breasts in baking dish with seasoning Find and put in season
  • overhead image of white baking dish with four baked chicken breasts Cook thoroughly in the oven.
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