The Frozen Chicken Trick (Last Minute Meals)

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It’s an age old story. It’s dinner time and you have frozen chicken. *sigh*

You may have had a meal plan. It may have involved thawed chicken instead of frozen chicken. It was going to be delicious. 

But you know what? You’ve got this. Just employ (drumroll, please!) … the frozen chicken trick!!

The Frozen Chicken Trick - Not so much of a trick, but still a good one to keep on hand when you forget to thaw the chicken for dinner!


Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 160. 

Done! You’re on a roll.

Step 2: Establish the chicken. 

You could thaw via microwave or warm water in a bowl, OR you could do what I do. Put small or medium sized frozen chicken breasts directly into oiled glass baking dish (rinse first). 

The packing may stick to your frozen chicken. Do not be alarmed. Just cover with foil, shrug like it’s no big thing, and continue on with the frozen chicken trick

The Frozen Chicken Trick - Not so much of a trick, but still a good one to keep on hand when you forget to thaw the chicken for dinner!Step 3: Preserve chicken modesty. 

Put frozen chicken in the oven for about 20 minutes to de-stick packaging and thaw chicken. Once packaging is removed, season or dress the chicken with sauce of your choice. (You may want to rinse them one more time.

I just remove them with tongs and rinse each one before returning them to the pan with a little room between them. Be careful with this not to burn yourself on the pan!)

Sauces to try:

  • Curry Honey Mustard (recipe below)
  • Bottle of BBQ sauce
  • Bottle (or about three cups) of salad dressing (ranch, italian, basalmic vinegarette, etc.)
Curry Honey Mustard Chicken (SO GOOD!):
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
Mix ingredients and pour over frozen chicken before baking. If you want to get really fancy, garnish with dry or fresh parsley. Serve with brown rice and spinach. 
I squirreled away a few pieces for another meal before dressing. 


Step 4: Cook chicken. 
Increase heat to 375 and for 20-25 minutes. Check for doneness and cook for up to 15 more minutes if needed. Use a meat thermometer to make sure inside of breasts has heated up to at least 170 degrees. Round up side dishes while you’re waiting. 
This is seriously good sauce for chicken! 
Step 5: Enjoy the chicken and feel awesome about yourself. 
You now know the frozen chicken trick. No need to disclose that you are off your meal plan. Do not be surprised if husband gives extra compliments and you make the frozen chicken trick a regular part of NEXT week’s meal plan. 😉 
Yes, it is safe to cook frozen chicken by baking at this temperature for this long according to the USDA. Re-freezing is not recommended, however. If you have leftovers, chop it up and throw it in a salad the next day!
3.5 from 4 reviews
Curry Honey Mustard Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Mix ingredients and pour over chicken before baking. If you want to get really fancy, garnish with dry or fresh parsley. Serve with brown rice and spinach.
  3. If chicken was thawed, cook 20 minutes. If frozen, add 15 minutes to the end or until internal temperature is 170 degrees.

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Since writing this post I have been introduced to the Instant Pot. Whoah, mama! No more frozen chicken problem! I now have two and use them weekly. Check it out! Click the images below for more helpful posts, too. 

LOVE this roundup of 25 Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Recipes! Perfect for the busy night and last-minute meals.


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This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. I am trying this right now. I have 3.75 pounds (5 breasts)& after 45 minutes they were still partially frozen. I separated them & spaced them out as best I could. Will check again after 30 minutes.

    1. Hm. Well, I know that different ovens have different results. My chicken breasts may have been smaller too. I’m sorry it didn’t work out just as I described! Obviously I would be careful to make sure they’re completely done, and separate them to make sure they are heated on all sides.

      Please let me know how it works out in the end! I’ll adjust the post for a range of times and anything else you think may have contributed to the delay. Hope your dinner is done in time!

  2. I would be hesitant to use this, not from food safety concerns but for casserole safety concerns. It’s been my experience that putting frozen food into a glass dish and heating it leads to a broken glass dish. 🙁

    1. Hmm… I have never heard of that! It’s certainly never happened to me. I guess it could happen if you put frozen food into a hot dish, or if there was already a hairline crack? Otherwise they would warm up together in the oven and shouldn’t crack.

      1. you put both in the oven right as you turn the oven on, do not preheat the oven beforehand.

        1. Just what I was going to say — almost 3 years after this comment was made. LOL! But that’s also what I do when I have made an extra casserole when I’m making one. I freeze the extra one, in a glass casserole dish then take it out when I want it, put it in the oven, turn the oven on and they heat up together. Never had a problem.

      2. Yeah. I’ve never had a problem starting from frozen in a glass dish.

  3. I take my frozen meat (chicken, grnd bf, steak, etc) place it on top of rice in a roaster with a lid, dump frozen veggies on top of meat, then add the water needed for amt of rice used. Top it all off with a generous dose of salsa (most of a jug) and some seasoning salt. I heat on top of the stove until the water starts to boil, then place in oven @ 375 for at least an hour. Voila- dinner in one dish. 🙂

  4. Frozen chicken should never be thawed in warm/hot water – that’s encouraging bacteria growth. If you need to defrost with water it’s actually cold water that will defrost it quickly and safely.

  5. I just did this with 3 breasts (2 lb) and it worked perfectly! I defrosted in the microwave for about 5 minutes, then did the 5-minute in the oven trick to peel the paper off the bottom of the chicken. I baked it for 55 minutes at 375, coated in BBQ sauce. It actually came out very good, and I might do it 5 minutes less next time. No problem with cracking my dish. The dish was room temperature, the chicken was frozen, and I put it into the preheated oven.

    1. Try chicken pieces( thighs are my fav) w a bottle of italian dressing and acouple cans (drained) of whole white potatoes in baking dish in oven at 350°. 45 min to an hour. Yum

  6. I throw mine on the barbecue to cook still frozen, usually on Sunday afternoon. Takes about 40 ish minutes with a flip half way through. I actually cook extra to use in the next couple of days. It makes life a lot easier during hectic week nights!

  7. Take 2 pots. Turn the first pot upside down in an empty sink. Then place your meat (still in the original packaging) on the empty, upside down pot. Then fill the second pot with hot water, and place on top of the meat. This usually thaws the meat within about 10 minutes. My coworker gave me this tip. I was skeptical, but it worked!

    1. Great tip! I’ll try that. 🙂

  8. I was very sceptical but worked 3rd shift and slept most of the day and found myself without a dinner option so I tried it. Was convinced I would probably have to get take out when it came out too dry to eat but was extremely surprised. Poured Balsamic vinaigrette over 3 mostly frozen breasts and hoped for the best. It was great!!! served it over rice and the family raved!!

    1. Oh I’m so glad Kim! It really helps in a pinch. 🙂

  9. How is this a trick? A lot of people cook chicken like this, we’ve done it for years. If I’m strapped for time I’ve cooked them between 400 and 425 and they’ve come out moist and tender.

  10. Great tip on removing the stuck on packaging! I have cooked meat frozen before but it’s that stuck on packaging that always trips me up, it never occurred to me to just start it stuck on and then remove once it’s come loose, makes so much sense now that I know fears of it melting or catching fire are wrong, well as long as the oven is set low enough, thanks! I seem to have a perpetual problem with defrosting frozen meat, either I forget so it’s not defrosted when I need it or I end up not using it (sometimes because it wasn’t thawed when I planned for it)) and by the time I’m ready to it’s gone bad. My timing with frozen meat is just bad.

  11. Thank you so much for this recipe! I’ve made it many times, and everyone loves it 🙂

  12. Pinning this to refer back to. This has happened to me so. many. times… So you are a goddess! Thank you so much!!

  13. Made this tonight and my husband really liked it. (The kids thought it was okay.) Served it with coconut rice and it paired well. It would be helpful if you could add the cooking temperature(s) to the printable recipe. Thanks!

    1. I’m glad they liked it! Thanks for letting me know. I’ll go do that. 🙂

  14. I’ve had to do this with a roast too. Just the meat, not the rest. I’ve either pulled it out too late or it didnt thaw in time. I just stuck it in a metal pan and started cooking it. it took longer but tasted better and way more juicy. I’ll have to remember this for chicken.

  15. I tried this recipe years ago and the previous link died, I’m so excited to have found it again! Thank you!

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