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How to Grill Frozen Chicken (Step by Step)

If you’ve been wondering How to Grill Frozen Chicken, we’ve got you covered! With just a few simple steps we take the all the guess work out with absolutely amazing, juicy results.

frozen chicken grilling on grill

Chicken is one of the most popular types of meat to cook, and for good reason! There are an endless amount of healthy chicken recipes for weight loss. It’s a super healthy protein with a neutral flavor making it an ideal choice for numerous main course recipes. Keeping frozen chicken on hand is always convenient for meal prep and for those times when you want a delicious meal but don’t time to run by the grocery store.

Chicken is especially delicious when it’s cooked on the grill. But if you’ve ever slipped up and forgot to thaw out your chicken, you can still grill it easily, keeping just a few things in mind. So, keep reading for your answer for – Can you grill frozen chicken? – with step by step instructions.

How to Cook Frozen Chicken on the Grill

It is very possible to cook tender, juicy and flavorful chicken from a frozen state with very little effort.

  • The first step to successfully grilling frozen chicken, whether it’s on a gas grill or a charcoal grill, is to begin with clean grates. The main reason foods stick to a grill grate is due to food particles left during previous grilling.
  • Before you heat the grill, grease the clean grates with a little olive oil or nonstick cooking spray.
  • Preheat the gas grill to about 425 degrees Fahrenheit. If using a charcoal grill, you’ll want the charcoal to have red hot embers before placing the chicken on grill.
charcoal grill ready for grilling chicken
  • Place chicken breasts, or other pieces over indirect heat. This allows the chicken to cook thoroughly on the inside without becoming to charred on the outside. The length of cooking time depends on the size of the chicken breast, or other types of pieces. For instance, the grill time for a bone in chicken breast will take longer than skinless boneless chicken breasts.
  • Once cooked, remove from the grill and cover the grilled chicken with aluminum foil for about 10 minutes. This resting time allows the juices to distribute throughout the chicken, keeping it nice and juicy.

Why Grilled Chicken is Healthy

Chicken is great source of protein as well as other vitamins and minerals like, niacin, selenium, and phosphorus. Depending on the way it’s prepared, the protein in chicken has several reported health benefits such as muscle growth and bone health, which is really important for people of all ages.

By grilling chicken, you’re avoiding unhealthy breading or coatings. And because it has such a neutral flavor, you can use just about any seasonings or Healthy Dipping Sauce you prefer with it.

How to Thaw Frozen Chicken

Thawing chicken requires just a little bit of planning. You’ll want to keep that in mind when meal planning. If you prefer to thaw your chicken prior to grilling, the United States Department of Agriculture recommends a few general guidelines and thawing methods to make sure you do so safely:

Refrigerator Method

One of the best ways and they safest way to thaw chicken, whether whole or in pieces, is plan enough time in advance to place it in the fridge the day before. The amount of time it takes to thaw will depend on how big the chicken parts are. For a whole chicken it could take up to two days to thaw, where smaller pieces like chicken legs or chicken wings should thaw overnight.

Be sure and place the chicken in a deep dish so that as it thaws any juices that leak out are caught and don’t spread to other items that are in the fridge.

Cold Water Method

The most important safety tip for thawing chicken in fresh cool water is the chicken must in in an airtight container or wrapping. This is to prevent any type of foodborne illness that could lead to food poisoning (like salmonella poisoning) or contamination to other surfaces in the kitchen.

The advantage to thawing in a water in a cold water bath is it that it thaws out the chicken quickly. For best results slip the package of chicken into a large sealable plastic bag just until thawed. It should still feel very cool and not thawed to room temperature. You’ll then need to cook the chicken immediately. Just as a reminder warm water should not be used to speed up the thawing.

Microwave Method

The best way to thaw chicken in the microwave is to wrap the frozen meat in a paper towel and place it on a microwave safe plate. Thaw using the defrost setting on your microwave which should be at about 30% of normal power.

Some people use a defrosting tray to thaw chicken pieces, but I don’t recommend it because most of them do not thaw chicken any quicker than setting it out on the kitchen counter.

How Long Do I Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts?

For an average unfrozen chicken breast, it takes about 15-20 minutes to grill, flipping halfway point. If the breast is frozen, you want to cook for 50 percent longer than you would with unfrozen. So you should figure on anywhere between 25-30 minutes.

If the outside of the chicken begins to char too much, you can move it further off direct heat or if cooking on a gas grill, slightly lower the temp.

How Long Do I Cook Frozen Chicken Thighs?

Grilling boneless, skinless frozen chicken thighs over medium heat takes a little longer cooking time. It will take approximately 20-30 minutes per side, for a total of 50-60 minutes.

What Temperature is Chicken Done?

It’s very important to cook chicken to a safe internal temperature regardless of the cooking method. The USDA recommends cooking all poultry until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F on a meat thermometer.

When checking the chicken for the correct temperature be sure and place the food thermometer probe into the thickest portion of the meat.

gas grill with chicken and veggies

How Do I Season Frozen Chicken When Grilling?

When cooking frozen chicken, you will not season the chicken before adding it to the grill. Once the chicken has been grilling for a couple of minutes, you can brush the chicken with a marinade of your choice. The reason for this is, you want the flavor of the marinade to penetrate the meat and it cannot do that until the chicken has thawed some.

Balsamic vinegar with rosemary and thyme is a super easy, flavorful and common marinade for grilled chicken. But you can use any of your favorites.

Once the chicken has finished cooking, you can add additional seasonings to the tops of the chicken and cover it tightly, long enough to let it rest as well as giving the flavors of the marinade to soak in.

How Long Does Grilled Chicken Last?

Store leftover chicken in a resealable bag or airtight container in the coldest part of your fridge. It is recommended that leftover grilled chicken should be eaten within 3 or 4 days.

What Can I Do with Leftover Grilled Chicken?

Now that you see how easy it is to grill chicken from frozen, meal prep will be a breeze. Make a big batch on the weekend and serve it throughout the week with different recipes. Some great choices are:

  • Shredded chicken is always great added to your favorite salad.
  • Add them to low carb tortillas to make healthy burritos or soft tacos.
  • Chop up leftover over grilled chicken and add to your favorite soup or stew.
  • Make homemade grilled chicken salad with leftovers.
  • Make a tasty lettuce wrap with grilled chicken and some of this Creamy Avocado Sauce.

What Goes with Grilled Chicken

Everything! Seriously, grilled chicken is extremely versatile. Try to pair your side dishes with the type of seasoning and marinade you use on the chicken.

If you use a spicy Tex-Mex type seasoning, you could serve Cilantro Lime Rice or Grilled Street Corn with it.

If you’re using Italian herbs, you could serve it with whole wheat pasta or these Butternut Squash Noodles or this amazing Caprese Salad. The possibilities are endless.

Can I Freeze Leftover Grilled Chicken?

To properly freeze grilled chicken, double wrap it in a double layer of plastic wrap and slip it into a freezer bag. If you have a freezer safe airtight container, you can use it as well. Be sure and label the outside of the package with the date it was cooked.

To reheat it, thaw the chicken overnight in the fridge, then you can either reheat it in the microwave or in the oven just until it has heated through. For best results, frozen leftovers are best reheated and eaten within a couple of mouths.

Healthy Chicken Recipes

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