Forget to take the frozen chicken out of the freezer? Don’t worry! We have three ways to cook frozen chicken and save dinner!
Chicken is a staple of so many delicious dinner recipes. Whether you are enjoying a creamy pasta or a fresh salad, some chicken on top adds some yummy protein to your meal.
How to Cook Frozen Chicken
We’ve all been there – you meant to take the chicken out of the freezer hours ago but now it is time for dinner and it is solid as a rock. Well, don’t grab the takeout menus yet! We have three delicious ways to cook frozen chicken and you’ll have dinner ready in no time. Our Instant Pot method is the featured recipe below, but the oven and the air fryer work great as well!
The oven method is the most traditional way of cooking frozen chicken. If you don’t have an air fryer or instant pot, don’t worry! You can still get delicious, moist, and flavorful chicken. This method does take a little longer than the others, but it works!
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Place frozen chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Try to use chicken breasts that are about 1-inch or a little less. Thicker chicken will need longer to cook and may need to be cooked at a lower temperature.
- Rub a little butter or olive oil on each chicken piece. DO NOT skip this step! It helps bind the seasoning to the chicken and makes it taste so much better.
- Season your chicken as desired.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Air Fryer Method
The air fryer method is quicker than the oven and the chicken comes out so well. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may not be able to fit as many chicken breasts in the basket as you would in the oven. I was able to fit three chicken breasts in my air fryer. When I cook frozen chicken in the air fryer I like to add a breadcrumb topping, but you can leave the breadcrumbs off if you’d like.
- Preheat the air fryer to 360.
- In a small bowl mix 1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese, and salt & pepper to taste. You can add other seasonings if desired.
- Place each chicken piece in the air fryer. Try to use chicken breasts that are about 1-inch or a little less. Thicker chicken will need longer to cook and may need to be cooked at a lower temperature.
- Rub each chicken breast with butter or olive oil. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mix over the chicken and press down so it sticks to the chicken.
- Spray a little cooking spray on the tops of each piece.
- Bake at 360 for 10 minutes. Then, flip each piece and cook for 5 more minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.
Instant Pot Method
The instant pot method is my favorite way to cook frozen chicken. The chicken comes out so moist and it is perfect for slicing or shredding. You will need a trivet for this method. Most instant pots come with a trivet, but I lost mine so I bought a silicon trivet at Target. If you don’t use the trivet and you put the chicken directly into the broth or water, it will essentially boil the chicken instead of steaming it and the texture will be more rubbery. See the recipe card below for our instant pot method!
Can I Cook Frozen Chicken in a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot?
The short answer is no, and I will explain why. The USDA recommends that chicken, raw or cooked, does not sit in the “danger zone” for more than 2 hours. The “danger zone” is between 40 degrees and 140 degrees. It needs to be either stored in the fridge at lower than 40 or be kept warm at 140 or above. Since most crock pot recipes are longer than two hours, the frozen chicken will be in the “danger zone” for too long. Thawed chicken heats up fast enough to clear the 140 threshold before the 2 hour mark, but the frozen chicken does not.
Recipes You Can Make with Frozen Chicken
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts frozen, about 1 inch thick
- 1 cup chicken broth or water
- seasonings to taste I used Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute
- Pour chicken broth into the instant pot. Place the trivet insert over the broth. Add the chicken on top of the trivet. Season as desired.
- Place the lid on the instant pot. Set the valve to sealing and cook the chicken on Manual on the high pressure setting for 12 minutes. When the timer goes off, let the pressure naturally release for about 20 minutes, or until the pin drops.
- Take the lid off and shred or slice chicken to serve.
- Instant Pot and trivet insert