We love chicken – it’s the lean, mean protein machine that tastes good with almost anything (except maybe ice cream). Not only is it packed full of protein, chicken also contains lots of other nutrients like phosphorus and vitamin B6 that help our bodies (especially those still growing) stay strong. The nutritional benefits of chicken are endless!
Frozen chicken is the hero that’s rescued many a meal, saving families in a flap with no plans for dinner. Whether it’s fresh chicken you’ve chosen to freeze, or chicken with a little extra like our Birds Eye Chicken Inspirations, the benefits of freezing food include helping to lock in nutrients and reduce food waste by being the on-demand, easy to portion option.
All our chicken products, from crispy dippers to succulent seasoned chicken chargrills, live in the freezer and go straight into the oven from there; perfect if you need to rustle up a quick and easy chicken dinner.
Like any meat or dairy, it’s important to be really careful with how chicken is prepared and cooked, and raw chicken especially must be thoroughly cooked through. Read on for our comprehensive guide on how to cook chicken from frozen – Birds Eye, and beyond! Photo by blogger Lecoindemel.
How long can you freeze chicken for?
If you’ve bought fresh chicken and want to freeze it, make sure you do so before the use-by date on the pack and use a sealed container. It’s best to use it up within 3-6 months (according to the NHS), or depending on the pack instructions. We have a guide on how long food can be frozen for if you’re not 100% sure.
Birds Eye chicken products have a use-by date on the front of the pack – as long as they’re tucked away safely in your freezer, they’ll be at their best until then.
How to cook Chicken the Birds Eye way
1. Pre-heat the oven to the temperature printed on the pack instructions – usually around 200°C (180°C for a fan oven, or Gas Mark 6)
2. Pop the chicken on a baking tray in the middle of the oven
3. Cook until piping hot; some products might need turning over part-way through
4. Read the pack instructions to check how long you’ve got to build an appetite – most of our tasty chicken takes around 20-25 minutes
You’ll know our breaded and battered chicken is ready to eat when the outside becomes mouth-wateringly crisp and golden. Try serving with colourful Steam Fresh vegetables for a healthy balanced meal.
Cooking frozen chicken breasts and thighs
Don’t be left in the cold when it comes to cooking chicken from frozen – there are a couple of options, even if you don’t have time to de-frost. However, larger pieces of frozen chicken, like a whole chicken or chicken on the bone, aren’t suitable for these methods as they won’t cook through properly – they should be thawed first.
Cooking frozen chicken in the oven
Baking chicken breasts or thigh fillets from frozen in the oven is a super easy way to get delicious, succulent chicken:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C
2. Put the chicken pieces on a baking tray in the middle of the oven, for about 45 minutes
3. Turn the pieces over halfway through, and keep an eye on them. Make sure they’re piping hot and that there are no pink bits before serving
Poaching frozen chicken
Poaching is cooking something by heating it slowly in hot, but not boiling, liquid (usually water or stock for chicken). As a chicken cooking method, this one is great if you want to serve up some shredded chicken as part of an Asian-inspired dish.
1. Get a large pan and fill it with enough water or stock to completely cover your pieces of chicken
2. Put the pieces of chicken in the liquid, and use a medium heat to bring the liquid to just-below boiling
3. Keep the liquid just below boiling for about 40-45 minutes
4. Check that the chicken is steaming hot and without pink bits before you serve it
You shouldn’t put frozen chicken straight into boiling water, and you can’t fry frozen chicken.
How to safely cook chicken: the dos and don’ts
When cooking chicken straight from frozen, there are definitely a few no-no’s and things to keep a beady eye out for – after all, nobody wants a chicken dish ruffling their feathers the wrong way.
1. If you’re freezing raw or cooked chicken, separate the pieces so you can take out only what you want to cook
2. If you’re stuck on how to defrost chicken, the main thing is to make sure it’s thoroughly defrosted before cooking (at room temperature or in the microwave using the defrost setting), unless you’re using specially-prepared products. Our Birds Eye chicken pieces go from the freezer directly into a hot oven, making them perfect for a no-stress quick chicken dinner.
3. The NHS recommends that you don’t wash raw chicken, as splashes and drips can spread harmful bacteria.
4. Don’t re-freeze raw chicken once it has been de-frosted; it must be kept in the fridge and used within 24 hours. It is safe to cook the meat and then re-freeze it, but don’t de-frost and re-freeze a piece of cooked meat more than once.
5. When you’re de-frosting or storing raw chicken, make sure it’s covered and in a bowl or plastic food container so that the juices don’t end up in places they shouldn’t be.
Always make sure chicken is piping hot before you serve it up: no pink juices, pink middles or cold shoulders.
If you’re on the lookout for more defrosting advice, be sure to check out our full guidelines on how to defrost food safely.
We’ve been crowing about the joys of chicken for thousands of years – it’s eaten in almost every culture, each one with its own classic dishes. The possibilities really are endless!
Check out our chicken recipes for meals that’ll get everyone involved in preparation. We’ve got everything from lighter options like our simple chicken salads or heartier options like our chicken pasta bake.
Winner winner, chicken dinner.