How to Defrost Chicken Thigh in the Microwave (Easy Guide)

You’re probably used to defrosting chicken in the microwave. Have you ever wondered if microwave defrosting is actually as effective as it seems? Is it really the best way to defrost chicken thighs?

To test this, we did an experiment. We took two chicken thighs and froze them solid. Then we microwaved one and chilled the other for one night. The next day, we cooked both chicken thighs. The results were interesting. The microwaved chicken thigh was significantly cooked more evenly than the fridge-defrosted chicken thigh.

So, what does this mean? Well, it means that the microwave is the most appropriate way to defrost chicken thighs. If you want them to retain their moisture and flavor, you’re better off defrosting them in the microwave. 

We’ll walk you through the process step-by-step so that you can get the best results and we’ll also discuss some common questions and confusions people have about this method like:

  • Is it safe to microwave chicken thighs?
  • How long does it take?
  • How to tell if the Chicken thighs are thawed?
  • Is it safe to refreeze microwaved chicken thighs?
  • Which alternatives are there to microwaving chicken thighs?
  • Why defrosting matters before cooking.

Let’s take a look.

defrost chicken thighs in microwave

Is it Safe to Microwave Chicken Thighs?

Yes, microwaving chicken thighs is safe. Microwaves have become a key component of modern cooking. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it doesn’t require any special skills or knowledge. However, there are some safety concerns that you should be aware of.

Chicken can be a source of food poisoning, so it is important to make sure that it is cooked properly.

Why Defrosting Chicken Thigh is important before cooking?

The thawed chicken cooks more evenly and is less likely to dry out. Chicken breaks through its cell walls when it is frozen because the water within expands. This makes the meat less tender and juicier.

If you directly cook the chicken thighs without defrosting them, the outside of the meat will be cooked before the inside is thawed. This can result in dry, overcooked chicken.

How long does it take to thaw chicken thigh in a microwave?

Well, that depends on how many chicken thighs you’re defrosting. For small quantities, it won’t take long. Large amounts, however, may take up to an hour.

Let’s suppose you’re defrosting two chicken thighs. In that case, it will take about 5 minutes. But if you’re defrosting six chicken thighs, it will take around 15 minutes to defrost properly. Similarly bone-in chicken will take longer to defrost than boneless chicken.

Defrosting time of chicken thighs also depends on the wattage of your microwave. Most microwaves have a wattage of around 1000, but some models can be as high as 1800. More wattage means quicker defrosting.

A general guideline can help you make a better decision:

  • 1000 watts – 4 minutes per chicken thigh
  • 1250 watts – 3 minutes per chicken thigh
  • 1500 watts – 2.5 minutes per chicken thigh

How to tell if the Chicken is Thawed?

how long to defrost chicken thighs in microwave
You can use a variety of methods to tell if the chicken is thawed.

  • One of the simplest methods is to touch it and see if it’s soft.
  • It’s also possible to see if the center of the chicken is still frozen by cutting it open. If the center is still frozen, then the chicken is not fully thawed.
  • Food thermometers can be used as a third method. Chicken is fully thawed when it reaches a temperature of 40°F.
  • Lastly, you can determine if the chicken is thawed by its appearance. The fully thawed chicken will have a softer texture and its color will be paler.

Is it Safe to Refreeze Microwaved Chicken Thighs after microwaving it for once?

Technically, yes. However, it is not recommended. When chicken is frozen, ice crystals form and they act as a barrier between the meat and the air. When you thaw chicken in the microwave, these ice crystals start to melt and they become tiny pockets of water.

When you refreeze this water-logged chicken, the water turns into ice crystals and they damage the cellular structure of the meat. This results in a dry, rubbery, and unpalatable chicken.

Thus, it is best to cook the chicken thighs after microwaving them.

How to Defrost Chicken Thighs in the Microwave?

To defrost chicken thighs, the microwave is the fastest and easiest method. Just pop them in the microwave using the automatic defrost mode and they’ll be thawed in no time. However, if your microwave doesn’t have this feature then follow the steps below. 

Here’s how to do it:

Put the chicken thighs on a plate or in a bowl. Before that, make sure to remove any ice or frost that may be on them and the plate should be microwave safe. You may also use a glass or ceramic bowl.

Glass or ceramic bowls are best because they help to evenly distribute the heat and prevent the chicken from drying out.

Microwave for 2-3 minutes at 50% power. After the chicken has thawed, check it again. If not, continue cooking at 50% power in 1-minute intervals until thawed. Otherwise, continue to cook for another one or two minutes at 50% power.

In your microwave, set it to defrost if it has one. The defrost setting will automatically cycle between full power and 50% power, so there’s no need to keep checking on the chicken.

Cook the chicken thighs as soon as they are thawed or put them in the fridge. You can also use other alternatives to defrost your chicken thighs.

How to Defrost Chicken Thighs without a Microwave?

There are several ways to thaw chicken without a microwave.

In the Refrigerator

One way to ensure your chicken is safe and appetizing for dinner tonight, try leaving it in the refrigerator overnight. This will take 24 hours and you just have to place your unfrozen upright fowl on top of some covers and leave it there until enough time has passed so that you don’t risk waking up with an ice-cold meal.

In Cold Water

If you’re in a hurry, it’s quick and easy to thaw out frozen chicken thighs. Just place them into cold water every 30 minutes so that they stay chilled throughout the process of defrosting and expect it will take about 2 hours before your meal can be cooked.

In the Oven

One of the fastest ways to thaw chicken breasts is by placing them in an oven on a low heat setting for 30 minutes. You can also use this method if you want your meat thoroughly cooked and no longer chilled, but we recommend leaving it for less time so that there’s some flexibility when cooking other dishes at once.

Use Luke-Warm Water

The best way to get thawed chicken thighs is in a bag. Place them inside and then submerge them in the slightly warm water for 30 minutes.
They’ll be ready so quickly, but you need to cook them immediately afterward, or else they will spoil quicker than expected which isn’t good when planning ahead with meal prep strategies like this one.


Now that you’ve learned how to defrost chicken thighs, it’s time for a cooking lesson. There are many ways of using this meat and they all sound delicious. So, whether you’re looking for a quick weeknight meal or a delicious weekend dinner, the chicken thigh is a perfect choice.

This method is simple, easy, and doesn’t require any extra tools or ingredients, and now you can avoid the dreaded frozen chicken texture. If you try this method out, we’d love to hear how it goes for you.


can you defrost chicken thighs in the microwave

How can I defrost chicken quickly using a microwave?

To defrost frozen chicken thighs quickly, place them in the microwave and use the defrost setting. Make sure to turn the chicken over every few minutes for even thawing.

What is the best way to thaw frozen chicken thighs?

The best way to thaw frozen chicken thighs is by placing them in a sealed plastic bag and submerging them in cold water for 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can leave them overnight in your refrigerator or use your microwave’s defrost setting.

Can I cook partially-defrosted chicken breasts?

It is not recommended to cook partially-defrosted or unevenly-thawed raw meat like chicken breasts because it may lead to uneven cooking and potential foodborne illness. Always ensure that your meat has been fully thawed before cooking.

How do I know if my previously-frozen cooked chicken is still good?

If you have previously-frozen cooked chicken, check its texture and smell before consuming it. If there are any signs of freezer burn or an off odor, discard it immediately. It’s always better to err on the side of caution when dealing with potentially spoiled food.

How can I safely defrost chicken?

To safely defrost chicken, you should use either cold water or a microwave safe dish. If using cold water, place the refreeze defrosted chicken in a bowl and submerge it in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until fully thawed. Alternatively, you can use a microwave safe plate or dish to defrost the chicken on low power for short intervals until completely thawed.

What is the best way to cook chicken?

The best way to cook chicken depends on whether you are cooking whole chickens, thighs or breasts. Regardless of which cut of meat you choose, it’s important that once cooked immediately after being prepared and handled with food safety in mind. There are many delicious recipes available online that will guide you through how to prepare your chosen cut of meat.

Can I re-freeze previously frozen chicken?

It is not recommended to refreeze defrosted chicken as this can lead to bacterial growth and make the chicken unsafe for consumption.

What type of container should I use when microwaving raw chicken?

When microwaving raw chicken, it’s important to use a microwave proof bowl or plate that has been labeled as “microwave safe.” This will ensure that there are no harmful chemicals released into your food during cooking.

Is it safe to eat undercooked Chicken Thighs/Breasts?

No! Eating undercooked Chicken Thighs/Breasts can be dangerous because they may contain bacteria such as salmonella which could cause food poisoning if consumed. It’s essential always to cook Chicken Thighs/Breasts thoroughly before eating them so they’re both delicious and safe for consumption.

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