How To Separate Frozen Chicken? The Best Ways

When storing chicken for a longer period of time, frozen chicken is most convenient and simplest. Separating it from the freezer, however, is tricky! 

You may feel as if it’s one big block of ice when you remove chicken from your freezer. Without the proper technique, even separating one piece of chicken from this block may become extremely exhausting. 

What’s the best method for separating frozen chicken? If you do not have a microwave or a hot water bath, you can put the chicken in the refrigerator. The best way to remove frozen chicken is by using cold water, as it’s fast and safe. 

Read on for more information about separating frozen chicken!

Is It Possible To Separate Frozen Chicken Without Thawing It? 

Try breaking apart frozen chicken with a knife. The knife, however, can cause injury through cutting you. In addition, it takes a while. 

If the chicken pieces do not break easily, place the bag on a hard surface and slam it hard. You might get a satisfactory result using this method. 

The chicken should be thawed first, then separated with a butter knife. 

Bandsaws or meat saws are used by most people who must regularly separate frozen chicken without thawing it. 

Four Different Ways To Separate Frozen Chicken 

To separate frozen chicken, there are four main methods. Choose whatever method is most convenient for you. 

Method 1: Using A Microwave

A microwave is the fastest way to defrost and separate frozen chicken when you’re pressed for time. In a matter of minutes, you’d have your chicken separated without cutting anything!

Using A Microwave

To separate frozen chicken using a microwave, follow these steps: 

  1. Change The Microwave Settings: Switch to the defrost setting in the microwave. 
  1. Put In The Frozen Chicken: Next, microwave the frozen chicken. Microwave for about 10 seconds. 
  1. Check If The Chicken Is Thawed: Take the chicken out after ten seconds to check if it is thawed enough to cut into pieces. If so, remove it. Repeat the thawing process if necessary. 
  1. Take Out The Chicken: Using a butter knife or your hands, take out the chicken after it has thawed. 

Microwaves make it easy to easily separate frozen chicken. 

Pros Of Using This Method: 

Microwaves are effective at separating frozen chicken for a variety of reasons. 

  • Very quick process
  • Convenient 

Cons Of Using This Method: 

Con of using a microwave is: 

  • This method may cause an increase in the number of bacteria in the chicken. So, use it immediately after you thaw and separate it. 
  • Some parts may get slightly cooked. So, there is a risk of overcooking those parts of the chicken. 

Method 2: Using Cold Water

It is recommended to thaw and separate frozen chicken with cold water if you have some time to spare. I like this method better than the microwave because it is safer and it does the job!

Using Cold Water for Separate Frozen Chicken

If you want to separate frozen chicken, you can use cold water as follows: 

  1. Get The Chicken And Place It Under Cold Water: Start by placing the frozen chicken under cold water (a tap) for five to ten minutes. Put a damaged sink in a larger batch of chicken.
  1. Use A Butter Knife To Check: It’s important to check whether the ice between chicken pieces has melted after five to ten minutes. Make sure you penetrate the chicken with the butter knife. Separate the chicken if you can penetrate it. 
  1. Turn The Butter Knife: Once you have stabbed the chicken with your butter knife, simply turn it to separate the chicken pieces. 

In order to avoid any injury while handling frozen chicken, you should wear rubber gloves. 

Pros Of Using This Method: 

There are many benefits of separating frozen chicken using cold water, such as: 

  • The increase in temperature doesn’t cause the multiplication of bacteria, so it’s safe to use. 
  • Compared with other methods, it is quicker. 

Cons Of Using This Method: 

  • With a large batch of frozen chicken, thawing and separating them might be a bit challenging using this method. 

Method 3: Using Hot Water

In case your microwave isn’t working and you need to thaw and separate frozen chicken quickly, use this method. 

Experts do not recommend this method as there is a risk of bacterial growth and overcooking the chicken. 

Using Hot Water for Separate Frozen Chicken

If you want to use hot water safely, here is an alternative: 

  1. Pack The chicken: Place the chicken in a ziplock bag or airtight container before cooking. 
  1. Use A Kettle For Heating Water: Boil water for at least three minutes at 140°F. Measure the temperature using a thermometer. 
  1. Pour Water In A Bowl: Pour the hot water into a bowl once it reaches 140°F. After that, place each chicken piece in a separate bowl by placing the packet inside. 
  1. Remove The Chicken And Separate It: Make sure the water is at least 125°F. Once the ice has melted, remove the chicken. Take away the chicken packet if it has. 
  1. Separate Chicken Pieces: Hands or a butter knife can be used for separating chicken pieces. 

In this way, you can make use of hot water to separate frozen chicken. 

Pros Of Using This Method: 

  • Cold water is faster than warm water
  • In contrast to microwaves, keeps chicken’s taste 

Cons Of Using This Method: 

  • The rise in bacteria in chicken may be caused by this
  • FDA hasn’t approved this method

Method 4: Using A Refrigerator 

Separating frozen chicken is easiest if you have time to thaw it first. 

The method is easy to use and allows you to thaw and separate large quantities of chicken easily. Heating does not increase the risk of bacterial growth either. 

Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. Check Your Fridge’s Temperature: Begin by checking the fridge’s temperature to ensure it is between 35°F and 40°F. You will need to wait a little longer if the temperature is 35°F. 
  1. Keep The Chicken In Fridge: Thaw the frozen chicken in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the meal. Depending on the temperature of your fridge, it may take one to two days. 
  1. Check And Separate: Make sure the chicken has thawed before separating. You can separate it easily once it has been removed from the fridge.

We recommend putting the frozen chicken in the fridge a day or two before you’re planning to use/separate it. 

Pros Of Using This Method:

Some of the pros of using this method include: 

  • Safe and easy to refreeze the block of chicken again
  • No risk of bacterial multiplication

Cons Of Using This Method: 

Some of the cons of using this method include: 

  • Takes a lot of time
  • Slight loss of texture

Can You Cook Chicken Without Separating It?

When cooking frozen chicken, the whole block can be used instead of separating it. 

Nevertheless, the cooking time may be increased by up to 50%. For example, frozen chicken may take about 65-70 minutes to cook if live chicken takes 45 minutes. 

Take an accurate meat thermometer with you when you are cooking the frozen chicken block.

If the chicken is thick, make sure to check the thickest part. A chicken is cooked once its internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Things To Avoid While Separating Frozen Chicken 

You should avoid certain things while thawing and separating frozen chicken. If you do, the texture and taste of the chicken may suffer. If it does, you might not be able to eat it at all. 

These things include: 

  1. You should never let hot water enter the package when you’re separating chicken using hot water. If you do, the chicken could become contaminated. 
  2. When you microwave the chicken, make sure to check it every 10 seconds. Overheating the chicken can result in it becoming dry. 
  3. When there is water on the surface of the chicken, do not freeze it. Freezing makes the taste more bitter. 

How To Prevent Chicken From Sticking Together

It is possible to freeze the chicken in such a way that it doesn’t stick together and cause a problem of separating it. 

There are two tips for this: 

  1. Place chicken pieces in separate zip-lock bags or containers. 
  2. First, place each piece on a baking tray and freeze it for several hours. All pieces should be placed in a bigger container/bag once that is done. 

Can You Refreeze Thawed Chicken? 

The thawed chicken piece that you separated successfully may be refrozen after being separated. 

The answer to this question is based on the method you used to thaw. 

Using a refrigerator to thaw chicken, it is completely safe to refreeze it within two days. Using a microwave or water to thaw chicken should avoid refreezing it. 

The chicken can still be refrozen if ice crystals are present. 

Final Thoughts

When you’re in a hurry, you’ll surely find separating frozen chicken difficult. It is possible to perform it at your convenience and at your own pace, if you follow the right method. 

Thawing and separating the chicken can be done in a microwave or even with hot water. This method is not without danger, however. 

Consider cold water if you have the time. If you will be cooking the chicken for more than two to three days, refrigerate it and thaw it!

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