Is It OK to Grill Frozen Chicken?

While checking ingredients for your dinner, you might have wondered if it is okay to grill frozen chicken straight from the freezer. Because chicken is a quick and easy ingredient, many people add it to their daily menu. Grilled chicken is a delicious meal that is loved by both the young and the old. However, if you are in a hurry and there is no time to thaw the chicken, is it okay to grill it in its frozen state? We will find out in this article.

Is it OK to grill frozen chicken? It is OK to grill frozen chicken but make sure that you do it properly. If you have other options, it is recommended not to grill frozen chicken because the outcome can be unpleasant. If you grill frozen chicken, there is a possibility that it will be half-cooked which can cause bacterial infections when ingested. Moreover, it takes long hours to grill frozen chicken as compared to those that are thawed.

Why is it bad to cook frozen chicken? How to thaw frozen chicken? Can you grill partially frozen chicken? We will discuss these questions and more. If you are preparing your dinner and found out that the chicken is not yet thawed, you might go ahead and grill it in its frozen state. However, take note that the outcome is not the same as those of thawed chicken. Below, we have shared reasons why it is a bad idea to grill frozen chicken. We have also shared tips on how to thaw them.

Is it OK to grill frozen chicken
Image by Alexei Chizhov from Pixabay

Can You Cook Frozen Chicken?

According to the USDA, you can safely cook your frozen chicken but make sure that you follow general guidelines. Do not cook frozen chicken in a slow cooker because it cooks things slowly. This means that there is a chance that the chicken will spend a long time in a temperature range where bacteria can grow. You can cook frozen chicken in an oven or on a stovetop because the cooking process is quicker.

Why Is It Bad to Cook Frozen Chicken?

Grilling frozen chicken has its drawbacks that can place your health at risk. Moreover, if you are in hurry, grilling frozen chicken will not make cooking faster because frozen chicken takes a long time to cook. Let us learn more about these drawbacks below.

It Does Not Save Time

When you grill frozen chicken, you will not be saving time at all because it will take more time than grilling thawed chicken. Before the meat has to start cooking, the ice has to melt first. The melting process begins with the edges which means that the middle part of the chicken is still frozen. Because of this, you need to be extra careful so that the chicken is evenly grilled. Waiting for the ice to melt while the chicken is grilling requires more time and there is also the chance that it will result in an unevenly cooked chicken.

Health Risks

Another reason why cooking frozen chicken should be avoided is because of health risks. Eating undercooked chicken can lead to salmonella poisoning and other food-borne illnesses. According to the CDC, around 135 million cases of salmonella poisoning happens every year in the US. Furthermore, grilling frozen chicken can attract the growth of bacteria. Take note that while the slow heat that comes from the grill is best for cooking food evenly, it is not ideal for frozen chicken. The reason for this is that slow heat encourages the growth of bacteria that can thrive under such conditions.

How to Thaw Frozen Chicken

Proper methods on how to thaw frozen chicken include refrigerator thawing, counter thawing, cold water thawing, using the defrosting tray and the microwave. For the best results chicken should be thawed a day or two before grilling. Bear in mind that chicken that is thawed earlier is safer to eat as compared to those that are thawed a few minutes before grilling. Thawing methods usually differ according to the size of the chicken. Below are some thawing methods that you can follow.

Counter Thawing

You can starts counter-thawing your chicken during lunchtime so that it will be ready for dinner. To do this, place the wrapped frozen chicken pieces on a paper towel on the kitchen counter. It usually takes four to six hours to thaw chicken with this method.

Refrigerator Thawing

Another method that you can do which is also considered to be the best way to thaw chicken is by refrigerator thawing. This method takes about 24 hours.

Cool Water Thawing

This method takes about two to three hours. To do this, place the chicken in a plastic bag. Choose a plastic bag that is leak-proof to stop the water from damaging the meat tissue and also to prevent bacteria from infecting the food. Fill a large bowl with cold water and submerge the bagged chicken into it. Change the water every 30 minutes.

Defrosting Tray

You can also use a defrosting tray to thaw the chicken. It is a type of tray with ridges. Place the frozen chicken on the tray and the aluminum will draw the cold out of the chicken. A defrosting tray does not require electricity or batteries. Look for a defrosting tray with a drippings container that will collect liquids that drip off the food as it thaws.


If your microwave has a defrost setting, you can use it to thaw chicken. When using this method, you should be careful because the heat from the microwave can start to cook the thinner parts of the chicken which can leave some of the chicken being rubbery and dry. Place the chicken in a microwave for 2 to 4 minutes on defrost. Make sure to stop halfway through so that you can move the chicken around and avoid cold spots.

Can You Cook Chicken Breast Without Thawing?

You can cook frozen chicken directly without thawing, but it is not recommended and you need to follow procedures to make sure that the chicken is safe to eat. You can directly cook frozen chicken when you bake it. Other cooking methods like roasting, smoking, or grilling are not appropriate for frozen chicken.

Can you Grill Partially Frozen Chicken?

You can grill partially frozen chicken without thawing. On the other hand, you need to be aware of the risks that you need to take. Take note that chicken that is safe to eat should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to take the necessary cooking procedure when grilling partially frozen chicken. You can also read this article that talks about how to grill frozen meat. We have shared tips and ideas for cooking frozen meat without thawing it first.

✅ Video – Grilling Frozen Chicken Wings

BBQRando shared the video below on how to grill frozen chicken wings. The whole process took about 60 to 90 minutes. Check out the video for the grilling process.

How to Grill Frozen Chicken Thighs

Are you planning to serve grilled chicken thighs? It is a delicious and healthy meal that is a favorite of many. Check out the steps below to learn how to grill frozen chicken thighs.

Step 1: Preheat the Grill

To start with, preheat the grill for 5 to 10 minutes before adding the chicken thighs. This allows the ingredients to sear properly and also keeps them from sticking to the grates. Take note that the skin on the chicken thighs is prone to sticking.

Step 2: Slow Start

Keep the heat low when adding the chicken to the grill. It is also ideal that you prepare a two-zone fire so that you can place the ingredients on the cooler half of the grill. Bear in mind that cooking the meat over indirect heat will simulate the thawing process and allow the chicken to reach a safe internal temperature by the time it is cooked. Place frozen chicken thighs on the grill with the skin side facing down. Once the chicken thawed on the grill, move it to direct heat to finish cooking.

Step 3: Wait for it to Cook

If properly done, the process of thawing the chicken over the indirect heat zone of the grill will increase the total cooking time to about 50 percent. If it usually takes you 30 minutes to grill chicken thighs, it will take you about 40 minutes when you start grilling with frozen chicken.

Step 4: Close the Lid

Make sure to keep the lid of the grill close. Grill the frozen thighs skin-side down for about five minutes before flipping them over and closing the lid. You should wait for another five minutes before checking the progress and moving them to the direct-heat area of the grill.

Do You Have to Thaw Chicken Before Grilling?

For best results, it is recommended that you thaw the chicken a day or two before grilling it. Take note that chicken that is thawed earlier is safer to eat as compared to those that are only thawed a few minutes before grilling. We have also shared this article that discusses if a smokeless grill is really smokeless. Check out the article for more information about the topic.

How Do You Defrost Chicken in a Hurry?

If you are in a hurry, make sure that you cut the frozen chicken into smaller pieces so that it thaws easily. Seal the chicken in a Ziploc bag. Pour hot tap water into a bowl and submerged the frozen chicken into the water. Stir the water every once in a while to avoid pockets of cold water from forming. This defrosting method usually takes 30 minutes or less provided that the chicken is cut into small and thin pieces. We have also shared this article that discusses how long should you grill frozen chicken. You can check out the article for more tips and information about the topic.


In this article, we have discussed if it is OK to grill frozen chicken. We have found out that grilling frozen chicken is OK as long as it is properly done. You have to be extra careful when grilling or cooking frozen chicken because there is a chance where it will not be thoroughly cooked and can cause poisoning and other food-related illness. We hope that this article has answered your questions about grilling frozen chicken. Thank you for reading!

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