How Long Should You Grill Frozen Chicken?

One of the common questions people ask when grilling frozen chicken is how long to let it sit on the grill. Cooking a frozen chicken takes longer because it needs to thaw first on the grill before it starts to cook. You grill the chicken as you normally would, but you need to add more time so that it is thoroughly cooked. How long should you cook it then? We discuss the answer below.

How long should you grill frozen chicken? How long to grill frozen chicken depends on the size of the chicken. When it comes to cooking chicken straight from the freezer, make sure to cook for 50 percent longer than you would with unfrozen chicken. For instance, thawed or fresh chicken breasts usually take twenty to thirty minutes to cook. For frozen chicken, the cooking time takes longer than that.

The USDA states that it is safe to cook frozen chicken without defrosting it first. However, make sure that you adhere to the general guidelines for cooking frozen foods. By increasing the cooking time, you can skip the defrosting process and turn your frozen chicken into a deliciously cooked and safe-to-eat meal. When cooking frozen chicken, make sure that the individual pieces are spread out so that they can thoroughly and evenly cook at the same time.

How long should you grill frozen chicken
Image by tookapic from Pixabay

Is it Safe to Grill Frozen Chicken?

When done properly, you can cook your frozen chicken directly without defrosting. However, there are some conditions that you need to take note of. Cooking frozen chicken takes longer than cooking unfrozen ones. See to it that the chicken is thoroughly cooked before getting it out of the grill. While it is not recommended to directly cook frozen chicken, it is sometimes unavoidable especially if you forgot to defrost the chicken and it is already time for lunch. In such situations, make sure that you follow the general rules in cooking frozen foods to avoid food-borne illnesses.

Tips on How to Safely Grill Frozen Chicken

When grilling frozen chicken, increase the total cooking time. For instance, if it usually takes 15 to 20 minutes for the unfrozen chicken to cook, you should allow a longer grilling time for frozen chicken. Because the chicken is cooked from frozen, the texture might be a bit off, but you will have dinner on the table. Start by grilling the frozen chicken pieces over indirect heat so that the meat will have a chance to thaw. Make sure to do this, otherwise, the insides of the chicken may still be frozen when the outsides are already cooked.

Try to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees without drying out the thinner spots of the chicken. Spreading the chicken evenly also helps to cook them better. Moreover, when cooking boneless chicken, you need to direct the thinner ends of the chicken as far from the flames as possible. You can also check out this article that we have written that discusses if it is safe to grill frozen chicken. We have shared helpful tips and information on how to properly cook grilled chicken.

Grilling Frozen Chicken Thighs

When grilling frozen chicken thighs, you can use a pellet grill or a smoker so that you will have greater control over the temperature. Bear in mind that temperature is important when grilling frozen chicken thighs. While the method takes a while, it will not take as long as thawing the chicken on the counter or the fridge. Heat the pellet grill and the chicken thighs will be ready in about 90 minutes or more depending on the size.

Step 1 – Preheat Smoker

Start by preheating the pellet smoker to 275 degrees. Next, prepare the chicken thighs according to your preferred recipe. Once the grill is heated, add the frozen chicken thighs and set the timer for 30 minutes.

Step 2 – Add Dressing

Check the chicken thighs after 30 minutes. They should be thoroughly thawed and warm to the touch. Remove them from the grill and dip them in the dressing or sauce or your favorite seasoning for added flavor.

Step 3 – Continue Grilling

After adding dressing, set the timer for another 30 minutes and allow the chicken thighs to cook at the same low temperature. After 30 minutes, raise the temperature to the highest setting and cook the chicken for another 15 minutes.

Step 4 – Ready to Serve

Once the chicken is thoroughly cooked, remove them from the smoker. You can dip them in sauce and return them to the grill for another 10 minutes to make them extra crispy. Serve the chicken thighs as is or with your favorite sauces.

✅ Video – Grilling Frozen Chicken Wings – BBQ Rando Style

BBQRando shared the video below on YouTube. It shows how to grill frozen chicken wings. The cooking time takes around 60 to 90 minutes. Check out the video below of the recipe and steps on how to grill frozen chicken if you forgot to defrost it.

What Happens if You Grill Frozen Chicken on Low Temperature?

Grilling frozen chicken at a low temperature will result in overdone meat on the outside and underdone meat in the thicker parts of the chicken. Be extra careful when cooking frozen chicken because while it might look done but when you cut into it, you will find the inside still cold and the meat is still pink. On the other hand, if you keep grilling until the inside part is done; the outside will be dry and rubbery. Moreover, grilling chicken over indirect heat can help but the grill time will be much longer and you still risk having dried out meat in the thinner parts of your chicken.

Can Frozen Chicken Go Bad?

Chicken that is continuously frozen can be kept frozen indefinitely and beyond the “best by” date. On the other hand, take note that the quality, texture, and taste of the chicken will degrade for any storage periods over 9 months. See to it that you keep the frozen chicken in its original air-tight packaging or leak-proof bags. You can label each pack with the date when you first stored it in the freezer. By doing this, you can easily decide what you need to grill first.

Do You Have to Thaw Chicken Before Grilling?

For the best results, it is recommended that you should thaw the chicken a day or two before grilling. This is because when the poultry is thawed earlier, it is safer to eat as compared to those that are thawed a few minutes before grilling. The thawing methods vary according to the size of the chicken. Some methods work best for smaller pieces of chicken while others are best for a whole piece of chicken. Furthermore, the choice of thawing can also affect the final taste of the chicken. We have also shared this article that discusses how to defrost chicken quickly. Check out the article for the different methods that you can use to quickly thaw frozen chicken.

Can You Grill Frozen Chicken Nuggets?

You can grill frozen chicken nuggets, but the cooking time takes longer as compared to cooking unfrozen ones. Frozen chicken nuggets that are properly stored will maintain their best quality for about 6 months in the freezer.

How Long Does it Take to Cook Frozen Chicken?

Cooking frozen chicken takes at least 1.5 times longer than cooking fresh chicken. However, this will have to depend on the size of the chicken as well as the temperature that they are cooked with.

Can You Grill Partially Frozen Chicken?

You can grill partially frozen chicken as planned, but it takes much longer to cook and you need to increase cooking time. Make sure that you follow the guidelines when it comes to cooking frozen meat to avoid any food-borne illnesses. Uncooked meat can be exposed to bacteria that can make you sick and even cause food poisoning when ingested. We have also shared this article titled, is it safe to cook frozen meat without thawing? We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.

Is it Okay to Marinate Frozen Chicken?

It is okay to marinate frozen chicken, but take note that it really doesn’t work well. For best results, it is better to thaw the chicken and then marinate them. On the other hand, if you want to marinate frozen chicken, the meat will not be nearly as tender or juicy as compared to the traditional marinade for fresh chicken would provide. Thawing the chicken first will give you better results.


You have reached the end of this article that discusses how long to grill frozen chicken. When grilling frozen chicken, your goal is to have them grilled to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit without drying out the thinner parts of the meat. Bear in mind that cooking frozen chicken will probably lead to it being overcooked on the outside and undercooked in the thicker parts of meat. On the other hand, with careful preparation, it is possible to have a delicious and safe-to-eat chicken dinner. Thank you for reading!

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