How Long Does Chicken Take to Defrost at Room Temp?

For those of you who have ever been in a hurry and had to cook a chicken quickly, you know that defrosting it can be a hassle. The good news is that there are a few ways to speed up the process. 

How long does chicken take to defrost at room temp?

The frozen chicken will take 1 to 2 hours to defrost at room temperature. You should keep the frozen chicken below 40F because the moisture from frozen particles and a warm environment creates ideal bacteria breeding grounds. With the right preparation, you can safely defrost chicken at room temperature.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends thawing chicken in the refrigerator, cold water, or microwave. However, some circumstances are where defrosting chicken at room temperature may be the best option.

In this article, we’ll look at how long chicken takes to defrost at room temperature and discuss the best methods for getting it done as quickly as possible.

How Long Does Chicken Take to Defrost at Room Temp

Defrosting Chicken at Room Temperature

The USDA recommends defrosting chicken in the refrigerator with cold water or microwave to ensure food safety. However, if you’re in a hurry, you can defrost the chicken at room temperature. 

Room-temperature defrosting is quicker than other methods, but it comes with some risks. The food safety risk with defrosting chicken at room temperature is that bacteria can grow on the meat as it warms. 

Keeping the raw chicken from other foods while defrosting is essential, so there’s no risk of cross-contamination. Keep raw chicken in a clean dish on the counter, away from other foods.

If you cook chicken defrosted at room temperature, cook it immediately. A food thermometer ensures the chicken’s internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) before eating.

Factors Affecting the Time Required for Defrosting Chicken

A few factors affect how long it will take for a chicken to defrost at room temperature. These include the chicken’s size and thickness, the room temperature, and the time the chicken has been thawed.

The average time for the chicken to defrost at room temperature is about two hours. However, this can vary depending on the factors mentioned above. 

Chicken Size: If the chicken is particularly thick or large, it may take a bit longer to defrost. Conversely, if the room is particularly warm or the chicken has only been thawed for a short period, it may defrost more quickly.

Bacteria Growth Risk: It is important to note that defrosting chicken at room temperature can be dangerous if not done correctly. There are chances of the rapid growth of bacteria if you leave chicken at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

Cooking: Chicken should only be thawed in this manner if you will cook it immediately after thawing. If you need to thaw chicken but will not be cooking it right away, it is best to do so in the refrigerator.

How to Defrost Chicken at Room Temperature (The Process)

When it comes to food safety, it is always better to err on the side of caution. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that chicken (and all poultry) be defrosted in the refrigerator, as this is the safest way to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

That being said, there are times when you may find yourself in a situation where you need to defrost chicken quickly, and thawing it at room temperature is your only option. If this is the case, there are a few things you need to keep in mind in order to do it safely.

1. Place The Chicken in a Dish

Make sure that the chicken is in a dish or other container that will catch any drips. Raw chicken juices can contain harmful bacteria, so you don’t want them to come into contact with anything else in your kitchen.

2. Defrosting

Only allow the chicken to thaw for the amount of time necessary. The USDA recommends that chicken be defrosted at one pound every twenty minutes. So, if you have two pounds of chicken that need to be defrosted, it will take approximately forty minutes. Any longer than that, and bacteria will start to grow.

3. Cook it Immediately

Finally, once the chicken is thawed, cook it immediately. Do not allow it to sit at room temperature any longer than necessary. Again, this is because of the risk of bacteria growth. Once the chicken has been cooked, it can be safely kept at room temperature for up to two hours before needing to be refrigerated or reheated.

Is It Ok to Defrost Chicken at Room Temperature?

Defrosting chicken at room temperature is common for those with limited freezer space. Defrosting chicken overnight in the fridge will produce a more tender, juicy chicken. 

However, The best way to defrost chicken is in the refrigerator, which will take several hours. If you need to defrost chicken more quickly, you can do so in cold water, but cook the chicken immediately after it has thawed.

How Long Does Chicken Take to Defrost at Room Temp?

The frozen chicken will defrost at room temperature in 2 to 4 hours. If you’re using a microwave, it will defrost in just under an hour.

Most chicken is frozen immediately upon purchase to avoid spoiling, but some retailers will take your request to keep your chicken frozen. It is best to place the frozen meat in a plastic bag or bowl, cover it with a damp towel, and let it defrost slowly.

How Can I Defrost Chicken Quickly and Safely at Room Temperature?

If you’re in a hurry and want to defrost chicken quickly, placing the frozen chicken in a cold water bath is the best way to go about it. This method will take around two hours, but it’s the safest way to defrost your chicken and keep it safe. 

When defrosting frozen meat, it’s essential to use cold running water. The best way to thaw frozen meat is to submerge it entirely in cold, clean water. After the meat has been submerged in cold, clean water for 30 minutes, pat it dry with paper towels.

It’s also the quickest way to defrost chicken if you only have a limited time. However, if you’re freezing large quantities of chicken, you’ll want to use the slower freezing method instead.

How Long Does Chicken Take to Defrost in Water?

The amount of time it takes chicken to defrost in water will depend on the size of the chicken. A small chicken will take about 2 hours to defrost, while a larger chicken will take about 4 hours.

Can You Cook Partially Frozen Chicken?

Partially frozen chicken can be cooked, but it will take longer to cook through and may be less tender and juicy than fully thawed chicken. 

It’s best to thaw chicken entirely before cooking, but if you’re in a pinch, partially frozen chicken can be cooked. Just cook until it’s cooked through and no longer pink in the middle.

How Long to Defrost Whole Chicken?

If you want to defrost a whole chicken overnight in the refrigerator, it will take around six hours. If you plan to do this during the day, it is best to cut up the bird into smaller pieces so that it will defrost more quickly.

How to Defrost a Whole Chicken Quickly?

If you’re in a hurry and need to defrost a whole chicken quickly, here’s how: 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cut the chicken into four equal parts and place them on a baking sheet.
  • Spread out the bird so that the skin is completely exposed.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is completely defrosted.

Can You Leave a Whole Frozen Chicken out Overnight to Thaw?

It is not recommended to leave a whole frozen chicken out overnight to thaw. There are safer and more effective ways to thaw chicken. 

Leaving chicken out at room temperature can cause bacteria to grow and multiply, leading to foodborne illness. It is best to thaw chicken in the refrigerator, in cold water, or the microwave.

Tips for Defrosting Chicken at Room Temperature

Because chicken is a lean protein, it is essential not to overcook it. The best way to ensure that your chicken is cooked properly is to use a meat thermometer. Here are some tips for defrosting chicken at room temperature:

  • Place the chicken in a covered container or plastic bag.
  • Place the chicken in a cold water bath, changing the water every 30 minutes.
  • Cook the chicken immediately after it has been defrosted.


You should not leave the chicken for more than two hours to thaw at room temperature as it increases the risk of bacteria growth. The safest way to thaw chicken is in the refrigerator, which will take about 24 hours for each pound of chicken.

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