Can You Refreeze Chicken? – Process, Risks, Myths
Can you refreeze chicken? It’s one of the most common questions that people ask. This article will help bust a few myths and clear some doubts.
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Humans are omnivorous, and hence, we survive on both meat and plants. All around the world, different cuisines use different types of meat. For example, Canadian cuisine uses many seafood types, where English cuisine primarily uses white fish. These variations have been introduced because of the culture and availability of the meat source. However, one particular meat type which is world-famous and is used in every country is the chicken. It is not only available in different varieties but also can be cooked in different ways. Everyone knows how to cook this meat and in what ways. But, do you know the answer to ‘can you refreeze chicken’ or not.
Since most of you don’t know the proper way of refreezing the chicken after every use, here, we will be describing everything about ‘can you thaw and refreeze chicken’ before and after cooking. So, without wasting any time, let’s take a look!
Also read – Kadaknath Chicken Benefits
Table of Contents
What Is Thawing and Refreezing Of Chicken?
The first thing you need to know is about the process of thawing and refreezing. Thawing is the process in which you warm up a raw ingredient or a cooked food item at room temperature. Many people do this process wrong because the raw item loses its texture, or the cooked food loses its flavor profile. Since freezing might cause ice deposition on the ingredient, you need to take it out of the freezer at least a couple of hours before cooking.
The refreezing process involves putting the food into the freezer after thawing and using a part of it for cooking. If we talk about the cooked foods, refreezing is done when you partially eat the food and want to freeze them again for the next use. We have explained here both these processes for you to understand can you refreeze chicken properly or not.
What Are The Perfect Ways To Defrost A Chicken?
For understanding ‘can you refreeze chicken’ several times or not, you need to understand the correct ways to thaw the chicken. If the defrosting is not done appropriately, refreezing the item will get tricky and might spoil the whole food even before you had the opportunity to reuse it again.
So, to prevent such disasters, here is a brief explanation of the process of thawing the chicken.
- Using the fridge to thaw the chicken
In a refrigerator, the freezer is the colder part, usually used to form ice, ice cream, or freeze any food rock solid. If you want to defrost the chicken most safely, you need to transfer the frozen chicken to the fridge. The temperature difference between the freezer and the refrigerator will help you to defrost the chicken properly. You need to keep the item in the refrigerator for at least twenty-four hours before use.
- Defrosting the chicken in the microwave
If you want to refreeze thawed chicken safely without compromising the nutritional content, you need to use the microwave for the process. Take out the frozen chicken from the freezer and immediately put it into the microwave. Put the defrost setting and then leave the chicken for a couple of minutes. Thawing the meat in the microwave doesn’t mean to melt the ice only. You need to take it out of the appliance and then check whether the chicken has become softer or not. If it hasn’t softened, make sure to reinsert it for another few minutes for defrosting it completely.
- Using cold water to thaw the chicken:
Many people ask can you refreeze chicken after defrosting simply. To answer the question, to refreeze the meat, you need first to thaw it properly, and that can be done easily using cold water. After taking out the chicken from the freezer, put it into a bowl of cold water, and then leave it for at least three to four hours. The cold water will allow the chicken to lose the frosting and become softer for cooking.
Re-freezing The Chicken
Now, to answer your question of ‘can you refreeze chicken’ or not, yes, chicken can be refrozen only if you follow certain steps. Refreezing the chicken again after thawing will need techniques that you need to know properly. Ensure that you are not leaving the chicken out in the open for too long once the defrosting process is complete. This will allow the growth of bacteria, which might cause the food to become spoilt.
Can You Refreeze Chicken After Thawing? Is It Ok To Thaw And Refreeze Chicken? After you defrost the entire meat, you might not use it completely to prepare a dish. For example, let’s say you have peeled off the skin and put the chicken into the freezer for further use. When you want to cook it for a particular recipe, you only use the chicken breasts, leaving the legs and the wings for future cooking. Now, since you have already thawed the meat, you need to refreeze the chicken immediately.
But, not every chicken can be refrozen. Many people want to know can you refreeze defrosted chicken after every single use or not. To answer your query, we would say that the more you repeat the defrosting and refreezing process, the more you are putting the meat at risk. If you are using the fridge to defrost the chicken, you won’t be able to refreeze it once again because that will cause the fibers to loosen up, leading to the loss of texture and nutrients to some extent.
However, if you are using the microwave to defrost the chicken, you can refreeze it easily. But, make sure that you are not returning the meat to its normal temperature since you won’t be able to refreeze it. You might be wondering ‘can I refreeze chicken after thawing’.
When you keep the chicken inside the freezer, the moisture content present between the fibers is solidified into ice crystals. Once you take the chicken out for thawing, these ice crystals start melting due to the temperature difference. For learning ‘is it OK to refreeze chicken, you need to understand that if these ice crystals melt away completely at the time of thawing, the chicken will lose the tightness of the fiber binding if you refreeze it once again.
This is why thawed chicken can be refrozen only when it contains ice crystals at a temperature of forty degrees Fahrenheit at the maximum. So, if you are using the cold water or the fridge, make sure the chicken’s temperature doesn’t exceed forty degrees. If that’s the case, you won’t be able to refreeze the meat properly. So, you might have got answers to can chicken be refrozen after thawed.
What Are The Risks Involved In Refreezing Chicken?
Now know can thawed chicken be re-frozen. Even if you have learned about the question ‘can you refreeze chicken,’ you need to know the risks of refreezing the meat several times. This will allow you to understand not to make any errors and destroy the meat’s quality and nutritional content.
1. Food poisoning
One of the major risks of refreezing chicken inappropriately is food poisoning. It has been observed that people usually smell the meat when they feel the item has become spoilt. If it doesn’t give out any odors, they cook it believing that the chicken is yet to rot. However, in reality, the rotting of food will only smell when it is at its last stage. This is why you need to be aware of the meat’s quality and texture before cooking the refrozen food item.
2. Growth of bacteria
When you refreeze the chicken and keep it out in the open, you provide the perfect ambiance for bacteria’s growth. As a result, the meat becomes unfit for eating, and you have to throw away the entire ingredient.
3. Loss of moisture
We have already seen that it’s a yes for your question ‘can you refreeze chicken.’ But, if you are repeating this process several times, the meat’s moisture content will decrease in amount. As a result, the fibers will dry up, and also, the chicken might be lacking some nutrients. This is why you need to maintain the hawed chicken’s temperature around forty degrees Fahrenheit to preserve the meat’s natural moisture content.
4. Loosening of the fiber binds in the chicken
Due to multiple defrosting and refreezing of the meat, there are high chances that it loses its fiber content. The fibers come out lose once you cook such meat. Also, they become rubbery and chewy, which destroys the soft texture of the ingredient.
Can You Refreeze Chicken After Cooking It?
You have already got the answer to can you refreeze chicken in its raw form or not. However, sometimes, you might have to freeze the entire cooked chicken or marinated chicken. For example, let’s say you have marinated about twenty chicken breasts for a party, and at the last moment, some of your guests cancel and a few remain unused. So you can put them in a freezer or fridge for future use. The same can happen with a cooked chicken dish. So, let’s talk about can you refreeze chicken breast.
This is why we will explain how you can refreeze the cooked chicken dish without compromising the flavor profile.
- Let the cooked chicken dish cool down completely at room temperature. Do not disturb the food once you have left it for cooling down.
- After checking the temperature, cover the dish with a plate if you are refreezing a cooked item. You need to use a plastic wrap to cover the bowl or the tray for marinated or seasoned chicken.
- Put the entire content in the freezer and make sure you are not allowing any direct contact between the chicken and the freezer’s air.
So, this had the answer to your question can you refreeze cooked chicken.
For How Long Can You Refreeze Chicken?
For knowing the time for which you can refreeze the chicken, you need to decide whether you are using raw meat or a cooked dish.
If you are using raw meat, you can refreeze the food item for two to three times in a span of four to five days. But, make sure you are following every step of refreezing and thawing of the raw meat if you want to avoid the spoilage.
Now, can you refreeze cooked chicken? If yes, for how long. However, if you use the cooked chicken, you can use it for at least a week while refreezing it on alternate days. But, while putting the bowl again in the freezer, make sure you are wrapping the entire dishware with a plastic wrap.
We would suggest that you refreeze it only once for the marinated chicken or the seasoned one. If you are repeating the process several times, the seasoning or the spices used when marinating the meat will lose their flavors.
What Are The Myths About Frozen Chicken?
There are a lot of speculations about frozen meat and the entire refreshing process. As we have cleared reverting about can you refreeze chicken, we are not leaving you hanging by a thread with the myths you believe in. So, let’s find out what people are thinking wrong about frozen chicken.
- Defrosted chicken cannot be refrozen: Well, it’s quite wrong since you already know that once you defrost the meat and keep it within a temperature of forty degrees Fahrenheit, you will be able to refreeze it easily.
- Warm chicken food shouldn’t be kept in the freezer: If you refer to a cooked dish, you need to ensure that the food’s temperature is almost at par with the room temperature. This doesn’t mean that you cannot refreeze the dish if it’s slightly warm or lukewarm.
- Salt is required to referee chicken: This is completely a wrong concept. Yes, salt is needed to freeze meat but not chicken. All you need to do is wash the chicken with water, put it in a tray, and then put it inside the freezer.
Chicken is one of the most versatile meats that you can have. Several dishes can be cooked with it from various cuisines all around the world. With this knowledge of ‘can you refreeze chicken,’ you can cook the meat as per your convenience and savor the taste for as long as you want.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here we have answered a few interesting FAQs.
1. Can you refreeze the previously frozen cooked chicken?
We advise you not to refreeze the raw fish or meat that has been defrosted. However, you can cook the frozen fish and meat after defrosting and refreeze them.
2. Does the process of freezing chicken kill its bacteria?
As in the case of meat, fish and chicken carry bacteria. Freezing does not kill the bacteria, though the freezing process makes them cold. You can kill the bacteria by appropriately cooking the food.
3. How long can you keep the frozen chicken at room temperature?
You can keep the frozen chicken at room temperature only for two hours.
4. What if the meat gets freezer burn?
Freezer burn is common when it comes to the frozen meats. This is because the freezer’s dry air leads to dehydration and oxidation. But, if the meat is exposed to severe cold and is freezer burn, you can still eat it.