Can you marinate frozen chicken?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Can you marinate frozen chicken?” We will also discuss whether we should marinate frozen chicken, how we can marinate frozen chicken, and what exactly we can expect from marinated frozen chicken.

Can you marinate frozen chicken?

Yes, you can marinate frozen chicken. You just need to make sure to thaw the chicken completely before marinating it so that all the flavors and seasoning from the marinade are completely absorbed by the chicken. It’s best to thaw the frozen chicken in the fridge itself.  Never thaw frozen chicken at room temperature because it can become contaminated with dangerous microorganisms.

However, if you’re in a hurry, frozen chicken can still be marinated without thawing. In such cases, it’s better to defrost the chicken by turning it into small pieces and microwaving it for 2 minutes. You can also use cold water to defrost the chicken if you have slightly more time on your hands.

Should you marinate frozen chicken?

While you can marinate frozen chicken, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should marinate frozen chicken. It’s not because marinating frozen chicken is unhealthy or anything of that sort but because the process itself can be very time-consuming and ineffective. 

Time-consuming because you’d have to thaw the ice by different methods which require a lot of your time and effort. Also, even if you do marinate the frozen chicken, chances are that it may not turn out as good as non-frozen chicken. So, it is recommended that only marinate the frozen chicken if you definitely have to. 

For example, if you’re pressed for time and only need to apply a marinade to the chicken, you can do it frozen. There are methods for thawing frozen chicken faster so that you can marinate it more effectively. 

You’ll want to let the meat defrost before cooking it. This helps the chicken to cook more evenly while remaining soft and juicy. It also increases the marinade’s chances of success.

If you use this method, make careful to discard any excess marinade to avoid bacterial contamination.

You should use an acidic ingredient and some kind of oil to give the chicken the best chance of being flavorful and soft when cooked if you’re going to marinate the frozen chicken. Another method you may apply here is to marinate your chicken before freezing it.

How can we marinate frozen chicken?

Follow the given procedure to marinate frozen chicken:

  • Make your preferred marinade using different flavorful herbs and seasonings. It’s best to prepare more than enough marinade so that you can add it to the chicken as it thaws.
  • Add the marinade to the chicken in a sealed bag or an airtight container.
  • Place the frozen chicken in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
  • When the chicken is partially thawed, turn it over and add more marinade so that all the spices are evenly spread to the chicken. You can drain the old marinade and refill it with the new marinade for better flavors and aroma.
  • When the chicken has thawed completely, remove it from the marinade, pat it dry, and cook as preferred.
  • Chicken from the grocery that has previously been marinated can be frozen, thawed, and cooked.
  • Try to marinate the chicken when it’s fresh, then freeze it until ready to use. The marinade will be absorbed by the chicken as it freezes, adding extra flavor.

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What can you expect from marinated frozen chicken?

The whole point of marinating a chicken is to absorb into your chicken and infuse it with a rich, juicy flavor. However, if your chicken is frozen, the spices will not penetrate the meat. Marinating it twice while it thaws and marinates at the same time may sound like a great idea but practically it does not work out exactly as well.

When you do this, the ice and water that the chicken held when it was frozen will combine with your marinade and dilute it. This will significantly limit the taste that you rely on from your marinade. So you have to be prepared that your chicken will not turn out as juicy and flavorful as you’ve expected when you marinate frozen chicken.


In this brief guide, we have answered the query, “Can you marinate frozen chicken?” We have also discussed whether we should marinate frozen chicken, how we can marinate frozen chicken, and what exactly we can expect from marinated frozen chicken.