Can You Marinate Frozen Chicken?

Chicken is the most common source of protein that most of the world’s population opt for; this is relatively due to its cheapness and extreme versatility. Chicken can be fried, baked, grilled, or marinated, and it adds a robust flavor to dishes.

Chicken is usually sold frozen, keeping it in good condition and freezes so well. The taste and consistency of chicken remain unchanged over time, and it tastes pretty much the same when defrosted as it did when it was fresh. But can you marinate frozen chicken?

No! While it is physically possible to add marinade to frozen chicken, it is not advisable. Frozen chicken may not be able to absorb all the flavors of the marinade, and you might find it difficult to massage the cold chicken.

In this article, we will look at why you cannot marinate frozen chicken and how to defrost frozen cooking before cooking.

What Happens When You Marinate Frozen Chicken?

The water content of the chicken, which is frozen when placed in the freezer, is drawn out water upon thawing.

The water extracted from the frozen chicken dilutes the marinade and makes it too watery; this results in your chicken retaining zero flavors and taste.

Patience, they say, is a virtue; allow your chicken to thaw entirely before marinating. This prevents wasting a good batch of chicken marinade and ensures the meat absorbs maximum flavor goodness from your marinade.

How To Defrost Frozen Chicken Fast

Can You Marinate Frozen Chicken

1. Using Hot Water

One way to defrost chicken fast is by using hot water. Pour some hot water into a bowl and place it in your chicken, ensuring it is submerged in the water.

Keep an eye on the meat and change out the water if it gets too cold and the chicken isn’t completely defrosted. Depending on the size of the meat, it should take no less than 30 minutes to thaw frozen chicken using hot water.

2. Thaw Overnight In the Fridge

If you got some time in your hands, you can skip the rush and transfer the frozen chicken from the freezer to the refrigerator. This should be done the night before you need to use the meat.

Slowly defrosting frozen chicken, especially overnight helps prevent drastic changes in temperature, which could affect the meat’s texture and, most of all, its stored safety from contaminants.

3. Cut the Chicken into Smaller Chunks

Another way to defrost chicken fast is by cutting them up into small sizes. This should be done with care, especially if the chicken still has its bones. When chopped into smaller chunks, the meat thaws faster.

Store the chicken pieces in a zip-lock bag and place them in the fridge or hot water to thaw to keep them safe from contaminants and other bacteria.

If using hot water, change it regularly, so the chicken thaws faster. You can go ahead and prepare your chicken as desired once the meat is tender and soft.

4. Use the Microwave

This should be used as a last resort and unsuitable for a whole chicken. Change your microwave settings to “defrost.” Place the meat in the microwave in batches so that they can all defrost evenly.

Allow each batch of chicken to defrost for about 2 minutes, keep a close watch on the meat and once it becomes tender, take it out and repeat the process.

Please note that when you defrost frozen chicken with a microwave, the edges may be slightly cooked because of the heat from the microwave. But you can still enjoy your protein as you would using any other defrosting method.

How Long Do You Marinate Chicken?

The recommended length of time to marinate chicken is within 12-24 hours, and it would have to be stored in the fridge. This gives the chicken the perfect tender texture due to the acidic elements in the marinade.

If you are in a rush, you can marinate the chicken for about 20 – 30 minutes; this is enough for the chicken to absorb enough juiciness and tasty flavor.

Can You Marinate Frozen Chicken Overnight?

Marinating frozen chicken overnight is somewhat counterproductive, and you may not achieve your desired result. 

When you marinate frozen poultry overnight, it thaws, and the melting icy water reduces the effectiveness of the marinade. It becomes diluted, which means the chicken soaks up less flavor.

Allow the chicken to thaw overnight before marinating it to achieve the tastiest flavor.

Frozen Chicken Marinade Recipe

An easy frozen chicken marinade recipe you can use is as follows; it was created by and uses fresh mango. This marinade is a combination of tart, sweet, salty, and spicy; it adds both flavor and nutrition to any dish.

You will need:

  • 1 fresh mango
  • 1 tablespoon of organic canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons of ginger root
  • 2 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ¾ teaspoon of fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes


  • Prep the ingredients; peel off the mango skin, remove the pit and slice the pulp into small pieces. Also, peel the ginger root and garlic cloves and mince finely.
  • Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend them into a fine puree. 
  • Apply the mixture onto the chicken, ensure to cover every inch of the chicken skin with the marinade, and allow it to sit for a minimum of two hours in the fridge.

This recipe compliments chicken meat perfectly because it contains 60 grams of carbs, 15 grams of fat, and 2 grams of protein.

Preparing chicken, which is an excellent source of protein but lacks carbs, with a marinade with high carb content, helps create the perfect balance.

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