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Freezing Poultry

Category Poultry
Freezing poultry, cooked or raw, allows you to save it for future meal. This is a guide about freezing poultry.


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February 11, 2016

When I shop, I look for sales on family size packages of chicken, legs, thighs, quarters, and breasts. I love to make my own marinades, and this can be done before freezing your chicken.

One of my marinade recipes is:

  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup water
Mix these ingredients well until the sugar is completely dissolved. Package your chicken for your meal in freezer ZipLoc bags. Add 1/4-1/2 cup of marinade to each bag. This freezes nicely, and when defrosted, it taste just like you marinated it that day.

Try using Italian, Greek or Balsamic dressing as your marinade. These are delicious, too.

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October 25, 20040 found this helpful

When I buy "on-sale" chicken breasts to freeze, I add marinade, which could be Italian dressing, leftover wine and seasonings or beer or salsa, to the bag. They will be frozen in. That way they marinate before they freeze and while they are thawing and are ready to cook as soon as I thaw them. I mark the bags with the type of marinade so I don't thaw teriyaki when I want to cook Italian food!


By Linda

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July 22, 20060 found this helpful

Selecting High-Quality Poultry and Game Birds

Select only high quality, fresh poultry to freeze. The tender young bird is best for roasting, frying and broiling. Choose the more flavorful older birds for braising or stewing. freezing guide

Freezing Whole Birds

Clean and dress bird if necessary. Remove giblets and liver and package and freeze them separately. Tie the end of the legs together and try to press the wings close to the body. Wrap in freezer paper or heavy duty plastic for freezing. If purchasing fresh poultry from a self-serve meat department, clean and wash bird and repackage it for freezing.


Package cut up pieces of poultry in convenient combinations or portions sizes for freezing. Lay pieces on a baking sheet and tray-freeze until firm. Remove and package in plastic wrap or plastic bags so individual portions can be used easily. Pieces packaged together should be packed as closely as possible to eliminate air pockets.

Game Birds

Game birds such as quail, dove, duck, and pheasant should be cleaned and dressed as soon as possible after shooting. Chill and store properly until freezing. Remove excess fat on wild ducks and geese since it becomes rancid very quickly.

Cooked Poultry

Remove bones to save space and package leftover poultry in rigid containers or plastic freezer bags. Seal, label and freeze.


Due to a the danger of encouraging the bacteria that cause foodborne illness during thawing, poultry and game birds should not be stuffed before being frozen. Commercially stuffed frozen poultry is prepared under special safety conditions that cannot be duplicated at home.

Suitable Packaging:

Package poultry in freezer-grade plastic wrap, freezer paper, butcher wrap, or place in freezer-grade plastic bags. Store bought poultry needs additional wrapping before freezing because the clear wrap does not provide adequate vapor-resistant protection. Seal, label and freeze immediately after packaging.

Maximum Storage Times

Poultry TypeRefrigeratorFreezer at 0ºF
Chicken & Turkey (whole)1 to 2 days1 year
Chicken & Turkey (pieces)1 to 2 days9 months
Ground Turkey1 to 2 days3 to 4 months
Giblets1 to 2 days3 to 4 months
Duck & Goose
(and other game birds)
1 to 2 days6 months


Poultry should be thawed completely before cooking. Thaw in the refrigerator or defrost in the microwave according to manufacturer's recommendations. If poultry is in watertight packaging, it can also be thawed safely in a bath of cold water.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
October 7, 2008

Thank you so much all of you for your quick responses and your imaginative recipes. The only thing is, I don't have a crockpot and really can't afford one right now. That may sound silly because I know they don't cost a fortune, but right now we don't have much money coming in at all. Any other baking, stove top ideas? So much appreciated!


Thank you, you are great!


PREVIOUS POST: Does anyone have a recipe to cook frozen chicken? Sometimes I forget to take the chicken out of the freezer and then it's time for dinner and no dinner! I know I can microwave it first, but I'd like a recipe on how to cook chicken while it's still frozen.


By mel (Guest Post)
October 2, 20080 found this helpful

I use frozen chicken all the time with my crockpot. It takes about eight hours on low and four to five on high. I throw in the chicken with a bag of frozen vegtables, a can of mushroom soup, etc.. Any crockpot recipe really. Frozen chicken tenders work very well, the meat is so tender it shreds.

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October 2, 20080 found this helpful

As long as you do something casserole-ish, which allows the chicken to cook slowly, you should be okay. You could also slowly cook the frozen breast with a little chicken bouillon, water and spices.


Then when it's done, chop it up and add it to a salad or mac & cheese. Sorry I don't have a recipe, but you might check the websites of chicken companies (Tyson, Foster Farms, eg.). They surely have some great chicken recipes.

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By (Guest Post)
October 3, 20080 found this helpful

I'm not sure what type of chicken you're trying to end up with.

Most of the time, when I buy chicken, it is bulk boneless/skinless chicken breasts. When I'm dividing up the package, I put two breasts (There are only two of us here) in a freezer bag with a squirt of marinade in the bag. I like Ken's Lite Caesar dressing, it's two strong for salad and great for cooking. But I put it in the bag and toss it in the freezer, that way the chicken is seasoned for me. If I remember to defrost beforehand, the marinade will soak into the chicken. If not, the cooking will take care of it.

When I go to cook it, I too forget to take it out and defrost first. So most of the time, I just open the bag, dump the block of frozen chicken in a covered baking dish and bake it. The marinade that is left frozen on the breasts will melt during cooking and help to steam the chicken. It comes out super moist. You want to remember to separate the chicken breasts about half way through the cooking, or as soon as it is "defrosted" enough to do so. Other than that there is nothing to do.

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By Charity Horn (Guest Post)
October 3, 20080 found this helpful

Hi there. I have a favorite blog I use and she uses frozen chicken frequently. There are tons of yummy recipes. :)


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By DeAnna (Guest Post)
October 3, 20080 found this helpful

I have a recipe for chicken and noodles that is so easy! I can't keep enough of this in my house and have given the recipe to tons of friends.

Take 3 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts and boil them on the stove. Take chicken out after 30-40 minutes and set aside. Add 4-6 packages of Ramen noodles, break up noodles first ( or 1-2 pkgs egg noodles if you prefer) to water you boiled chicken in. Add the flavor pkts from the Ramen noodles. While noodles are cooking, shred the chicken breasts with a fork, then combine back in with the noodles. Add in one can of cream of chicken soup and cook for 5 more minutes. That's it! You can make this meal as creamy or soupy as you'd like by adding in more water or cooking longer to thicken up. Its delicious and is ready in about one hour. Enjoy!!

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October 3, 20080 found this helpful

I too use my frozen chicken in the crockpot with a bottle of Bullseye BBQ sauce and then I fill then BBQ bottle 1/2 way with water and pour that in too... cook 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.... either way towards the end of the cook time I pull each piece out one at a time and pull apart with a fork so that the chicken shreds its kinda like pulled pork but healthier and easier!!! I have used the meat to make bbq chicken fajitas with sauted peppers and onions or put the meat in a wrap with mozerella or just put some of the meat on roll or over egg noodles... It's great and my picky husband loves it! Make sure you use crockpot liner so there is very little clean up!

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October 3, 20080 found this helpful

Depending on what kind of chicken you are using, it is sometimes easier to cut partially frozen chicken. I use boneless/skinless chicken breasts to make a Chicken & Rice dish. I usually take the chicken out of the freezer about 30 minutes before I'm ready to start cooking. After 30 minutes of thawing, I cube the chicken (while still partially frozen) and place the cubes in a hot skillet with 2 Tablespoons of melting butter.

Season the chicken with Lawry's Seasoning Salt, Adobo, Garlic Powder and Onion Powder. Cook until the chicken is done and slightly browned.

Add the rice from one box of Rice-A-Roni and cook until rice is browned. Add 2 1/2 cups of hot water SLOWLY to the chicken and rice. Cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes; then add the seasoning packet and serve.

God Bless,
Sheila in Cocoa, FL

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By KJ (Guest Post)
October 3, 20080 found this helpful

I've cooked frozen chicken before, but I buy chicken pieces, not whole. I put the package in a pan of cold water for a bit - just to semi-loosen the pieces from each other.

I put the semi-frozen parts in a Pam-sprayed roasting pan. I sprinkle the chicken with garlic salt, pepper, and parsley flakes on it. I also drop several pats of butter on the chicken before putting it into the oven.

Bake covered at 375 degrees for 35 - 45 minutes. I check for doneness 1/2 way through the baking time, as some smaller pieces bake faster.

When it's finished, I remove the skin and discard. I serve the baked chicken with buttered noodles and side dishes.

Tip: I also bake a big batch of chicken at a time. Then, I freeze the leftover parts in meal sized zip lock bags. You can thaw-reheat the chicken, and serve whole OR shred it and use it in soups, stews, casseroles, sandwiches or quesadillas.

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October 3, 20080 found this helpful

THICK CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE BROTH!! easy peasy. put yr chicken and any cut up veg that you have with a stock cube and either pressure cook it for about 20 to 25mins or bring to a boil in a pot and allow to simmer for about an hour and a half. its easier in a pot because u dont have to watch it. go and do something else in the meantime and in an hour or so, u have dinner! even better, 10 TO 15minutes before it is ready, add some rice or pasta to the pot ;bring back to the boil and then allow to simmer again for 10minutes or so(depends if you are using rice or pasta) AND you have a good, substantial meal with no effort at all.

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By angelnana1952 (Guest Post)
October 3, 20080 found this helpful

If it is easy to break apart do a chicken casserole. Use 1 cup of rice not minute rice, and 2 cans of your favorite cream soup. I like cream of mushroom and herb chicken put rice in the bottom of casserole dish. In a bowl mix your soup with 2 cans or water and pour over rice then lay your chicken on top of mixture cover and bake till done.

I usually bake mine on 350 for about an hour check about half way through because you might need to stir it up a little and depending on what kind of chicken you use it might not take the whole hour.

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October 3, 20080 found this helpful

I have a recipe that everyone enjoys, and it can be cooked even if the chicken is still frozen.
Butter, or spray butter-flavored Pam,onto a baking pan, set the oven to 425. Spray the top of each chicken breast with the butter-flavored Pam.Place each piece on the prepared pan.Then sprinkle Parmesan Cheese on each piece. Use about 1 to 2 Tablespoons of the cheese for each piece.Then dot each piece with a little butter ,( I use Smart Balance)
Then bake for about 40 minutes, or until chicken is done and the cheese is lightly browned.
Check the meat that is against the bone to see if its done. Depending upon the thickness of the chicken, and how frozen it is, it might need to continue cooking for a while.

This started out as a diabetic recipe. But we found that everybody enjoys it.

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By Denis (Guest Post)
October 3, 20080 found this helpful

I never take anything out of the freezer before cooking it. My girlfriend works as a dietary manager and I quickly learned that all I have to do is put the chicken or what ever other meat I want to use (even hamburger) in a frying pan with about an inch and a half of water. My meat is always ready in about 30 minutes or so. Just remember to flip it or if you are using hamburger, shave off the meat as you go. No problem!

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By Jackie (Guest Post)
October 3, 20080 found this helpful

When I need chicken thawed I poach it on the stove in water or chicken broth. I throw the chicken in boiling water/broth. Hope this has helped!

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October 3, 20080 found this helpful

Cooking frozen chicken is risking food poisoning. It's not worth the risk.

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October 4, 20080 found this helpful

Many crock pot recipes actually call for frozen chicken. I am pretty sure the "fix it and forget it" recipe books for slow cookers specifically say to use the chicken while it is frozen. My favorite frozen chicken recipe is super easy. Just toss some frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the crock pot. Pour 1 c teriayki sauce over the chicken and then pour a can of pineapple chunks over the top, juice and all. Cook 4-5 hours on high but check frequently as cooking times may vary. This is great alone or over rice.

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By (Guest Post)
October 7, 20080 found this helpful

All I do is take it out of the freezer, put the stove on med-high heat and heat the chicken with a little bit of olive oil and any seasoning. My other tip is to cook all of your meat on Saturday and refreeze it, then pull it out as you need it during the week. Then you can just microwave.

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October 13, 20080 found this helpful

All of these recipes sound delicious and I am planning to use them soon! Thanks, all of you, for being so sweet!

Smoochie :)

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October 13, 20080 found this helpful

I have a Pot/Frying pan called *Turbo Cooker, the directions specificaly say you can cook frozen meat in it. I do it ALOT every
thing cooks faster in it,, meat poultry everything.. I use it the most of all my utensils for fast meals!!!

http://www.thri  8&act=Search

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

February 7, 20110 found this helpful

I have a lot of leftover chicken salad. Can I safely freeze it?

Tina from Ashland, OR


Freezing Chicken Salad

I have heard never to freeze anything with mayo in it. I don't know what happens when you do. Something might separate while thawing. I don't think I would do it.

Deb (01/07/2008)

By Debbie

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January 3, 20080 found this helpful

Can you safely freeze and re-use chicken salad?

Lyla from Kentucky


Freezing Chicken Salad

Yes, if it hasn't already been frozen and thawed. Refreezing can cause botulism. (09/27/2007)

By joan pecsek

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