Should You Marinate Frozen Chicken?

Many people wonder if it is okay to marinate frozen chicken.

Perhaps you have kept it in the freezer and forgot all about it. Now, you want to cook it in your recipe and think if marinating frozen chicken is a good idea or not.

But before you go ahead and start marinating, let’s consider certain pointers to make sure you can achieve the best flavor you want. Here is everything you need to know about how to marinate frozen chicken and how long can you leave marinated chicken in the fridge… Among other topics we will cover!

Marinate Frozen Chicken – Good Or Bad Idea?

The quickest answer to that question is yes – marinating frozen chicken is possible.

But then again, it is not always the best idea.

It is better to marinate fresh chicken, since it can absorb the sauce well. Thus, the meat becomes tastier because of the enhanced flavor to it.

marinating frozen chicken

Yet, for those who ask, “Can I marinate frozen chicken”, the answer is yes – it is only a matter of figuring out if you should even do it or not.

Marinating chicken straight from the freezer does not end up well. This is why you should defrost it first, then the chicken will be able to thoroughly absorb the flavor. When you defrost the meat, the water will only wash away the flavor and impact the taste.

Marinating Chicken

When you marinate frozen chicken, the skin cannot absorb the sauce. While some may penetrate the meat, it will not be as good as when you have marinated it while fresh.

So, should you marinate chicken overnight? Well, it is more of a theory that the longer the marinade stays on your chicken, the better it tastes. But there is no sufficient proof to that.

But as for the topic of marinating frozen chicken, there is nothing wrong with it in terms of safety. It is just not the most practical idea if you intend to make the marinade stick more.

In case you forgot to defrost the chicken, and now you want to cook it, then you can go ahead and marinate it. It is much better than leaving the chicken out for several hours to thaw out and risking it going bad along the process.

can i marinate frozen chicken

The quality of flavor when you marinate it while frozen will not be very good. But it is still a decent choice rather than not marinating at all.

Once you have finished marinating, however, be sure to discard the excess. Otherwise, you are putting yourself and those who would eat this food at risk of food poisoning. So, it is better to be safe than sorry. 

Marinating Frozen Chicken Overnight

Supposing you have considered marinating frozen chicken. Can you do it overnight?

Well, you can, and it is even a good idea when you intend to prepare your meat better coming from a frozen state.

When you leave the meat overnight with the marinade, it should be able to absorb the sauces better as the meat defrosts. So, the chicken will have the flavor you want.

At the same time, though, defrosting will cause the marinade to run down the meat. This is why you will have to use a much stronger marinade to get best results when marinating the meat frozen.

You may either defrost the meat first overnight then apply your sauces and marinade the next day. This way, you can expect the finest flavor that you can possibly get from your marinade.

Tips For Marinating Frozen Chicken

While not always the best idea to marinate frozen chicken, there are some tips you can apply to make it taste a bit better than how it is.

First, consider leaving the chicken in the fridge instead of the freezer area to let it defrost overnight. Then, brush on some marinade. By doing so, you can get the flavor you desire, as well as that juicy quality.

Another thing you can try is to make extra marinade. Then massage this marinade some more onto your meat as it defrosts. Adding more acidic ingredients to the marinade is also a good idea as this helps to bind the sauce better to the meat.

And lastly, prepare the marinade ahead of time and put it on your chicken before freezing. Although it is not a last-minute thing you can do, you can ensure the best flavor as it allows the sauce to get soaked up well. 

The final tip that we would suggest is preparing your marinade and applying it to the chicken before you freeze it.

Thawing Chicken Before You Marinate it

In a perfect world, you would definitely want to thaw or defrost the meat first before you brush on some marinade. But this is not always the reality since you may have overlooked your recipe and forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer.

But there are always quicker ways to defrost chicken such as in the microwave. It is the quickest solution to thawing frozen chicken, which is also less messy.

how to marinate frozen chicken

If this is the option you prefer, you need to apply your marinade right away after defrosting. But you should use the chicken completely since putting it back in the fridge is not ideal.

Another thing you can do is by defrosting in hot water. It takes time but should not be over an hour to do this. Yet, be sure the chicken’s bag or container has no holes since the meat will be unsafe to eat if water gets into it while submerged in hot water.

Then, you can apply the marinade once you have your chicken thawed. Problem solved!

Can You Marinate Cooked Chicken?

Absolutely yes!

You can most definitely marinate cooked chicken without any problem at all. However, you should put more liquids in your marinade mix such as red wine, honey, soy sauce, and the like. These ingredients will help to keep your cooked chicken juicier and prevent it from drying out when you re-cook it.

Final Words

Marinating frozen chicken has become an option some people do when they have no time to thaw it. While there is nothing wrong with this, it will not help enhance the flavor of the meat since the water produced by defrosting the meat will cause the sauce to flow out of the chicken instead of being absorbed well.

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