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Cooking Frozen Chicken Breast – The Ultimate Guide

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Learn how to cook frozen chicken breast. There are several simple methods to do it: bake, pan-fry, boil, grill, air fry, or pressure cook frozen chicken breast pieces.

golden chicken breast cooked from frozen and lifted with a spoon.

Cooking frozen chicken breast has saved dinner many, many times. No matter how good I am at planning meals, I often forget things like thawing chicken or soaking beans in time. So, it can be pretty frustrating when you want to start cooking and realize that the main ingredient is not ready to go.

But luckily, cooking chicken breast frozen is easy, reliable, quick, and delicious.

Is it safe to cook chicken from frozen?

Yes, according to USDA, you can do that as long as you follow a few simple rules:

  • Allow more time for cooking, about 1 ½ time as long. So, if the recipe requires you to cook the fresh breast pieces for 20 minutes, you will need about 30 minutes when starting with frozen pieces.
  • It’s preferable to cook breast pieces that have been frozen individually and not those frozen in a lump.
  • Always check if the meat is cooked through, even after the indicated cooking time is up. The safe internal temperature for chicken is 165°F/ 74°C; measure that with a meat thermometer.

What do you need?

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast pieces that have been frozen individually.
  • Spices: depending on the method you are using and on your taste.
  • Oil: Some of the described methods require a couple of tablespoons of oil. I usually have canola or olive oil.

How to season frozen chicken pieces?

  • When boiling the chicken or cooking it in the Instant Pot, you will add the seasoning to the pot.
  • Rubbing frozen meat with seasoning won’t work that well, but you can still season the chicken. Sprinkle the pieces with spices generously on the underside. Flip them and place them on the tray or into the kitchen gadget you plan to use. Season the upper side as well.
  • Or mix the spices with a few tablespoons of oil and brush the breasts with this mixture.
  • You can also baste the meat with sauce or marinade. However, you should only do that during the last 15 minutes of the cooking time so that the sauce won’t burn.

Check out Baked Chicken Drumsticks for more seasoning ideas.

What method to use for cooking frozen chicken breasts?

You can use several methods, all tested, all easy, and all delicious. Frozen chicken breasts can be boiled, pan-fried, baked, or grilled. They can be cooked in the air fryer or instant pot. Let’s go through all these methods right now!

Boiled

Expert Tips

  • Use the stock to add to soups or make a small sauce or gravy. You can freeze for about three months.
sliced boiled chicken breast on a wooden board with cucumbers.

How to Boil Frozen Chicken
Learn how to boil chicken from frozen, perfect for shredding, slicing, for making salads or sandwiches. A fast and easy recipe.
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Pan-fried

Step-by-step instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet (I use a cast-iron skillet most of the time, but a regular pan is fine).
  • Cook the frozen pieces for 10-15 minutes.
  • Season the upper side with salt, pepper, and chicken seasoning, flip the pieces, and season the other side as well.
  • Cook for another 10-15 minutes or until cooked through. Check the internal temperature.
  • Rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
two pieces of golden chicken breast and another one sliced in a cast iron skillet.

Baked

Expert Tips

  • The cooking time depends on the size of the pieces (and often on your oven). Here is a small chart to help you.
  • Small pieces (4-6 oz/ 110-170 g): 30-40 minutes
  • Medium (about 8 oz/ 225 g): 35-45 minutes
  • Larger than that: 45-55 minutes.
close up one piece of golden baked chicken breast and parsley leaves.

How to Bake Frozen Chicken Breast
Learn how to bake frozen chicken breast in the oven: it’s quick, easy, and delicious. The perfect dinner solution if you forgot to thaw the chicken.
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Grilled

Expert Tips

  • You have to start grilling the pieces on indirect heat to give them a chance to thaw on the inside before the outside is already charred.
  • Try to keep the thinner ends of the meat away from the flames, so they don’t dry out too much.
  • You can baste the chicken pieces with sauce during the last 5 minutes of the grilling time.

Step-by-step instructions

  • Preheat the grill to 350°F/ 180°C.
  • Grill the frozen chicken breast pieces on indirect heat for 10-15 minutes (depending on their size), flipping them halfway. The pieces should be thawed by now (or almost there).
  • Sprinkle the breasts with spices on both sides.
  • Move them to direct heat and grill them for another 10-15 minutes, flipping halfway or until cooked through. Check the internal temperature.
  • Rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
close up grilled meat on a plate.

Air fryer

Expert Tips

  • The cooking time depends on the thickness of the pieces. Here is a small chart to help you:
  • Thin (1.2 cm/ ½ inch thick): about 10 minutes
  • Medium (2.5 cm/ 1 inch thick): about 15 minutes
  • Thicker (4 cm / 1 ½ inches): about 20-22 minutes
  • Very thick (5 cm/ 2 inches): about 28–30 minutes
two pieces of air fryer chicken breast on a plate, one of them thickly sliced.

Frozen Chicken Breast in the Air Fryer
Tender frozen chicken breast in the air fryer, quick and healthy dinner for any day of the week. This is my most-cooked air fryer recipe, always delicious and so versatile. Change the seasoning according to taste.
Check out this recipe

Instant pot

Expert Tips

  • The cooking time depends on the thickness of the pieces. Here is a small chart to help you:
  • Small (6-8 oz/ 170-225 g): 10-12 minutes at high pressure + 10 minutes natural release.
  • Medium (9-10 oz/ 250-300 g): 13-14 minutes at high pressure + 10 minutes natural release.
  • Large (12 oz/ 350 g or a bit more) 15-16 minutes at high pressure + 10 minutes natural release.

Step-by-step

  • Place 1 cup/ 250 ml chicken stock and the frozen chicken breast in the inner pot. Sprinkle with seasoning.
  • Close the pot and turn the valve to “sealing.”
  • Cook on high pressure for as long as indicated above (depending on the size of the pieces).
  • Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes.
  • Turn the steam release valve to the “venting” position to release the remaining steam.
  • Remove the lid and the chicken and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
one chicken breast with herbs, and red onion around it.

Recipe FAQ

Can I cook frozen chicken breasts in the slow cooker?

No. The meat needs too long to reach cooking temperature, increasing the risk of food poisoning.

Can I refreeze the leftovers?

It’s not ideal, but you can refreeze the fully cooked meat for up to 3 months. Place the leftovers in airtight containers.
NEVER refreeze thawed yet uncooked food again.

How to store?

Refrigerate for 3-4 days in an airtight container. Reheat or serve cold.

How to serve?

  • Make sandwiches, chicken salad, enchiladas, burritos, tacos, and so on.

More ways of cooking frozen food

Do you like this recipe?

Please leave a good rating in the recipe card below. Stay in touch through social media: Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. Don’t forget to tag me #whereismyspoon when you try a recipe!
frozen chicken breast pieces close up.

How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breast (6 Methods)

Learn how to cook frozen chicken breast. There are several simple methods to do it: bake, pan-fry boil, grill, air fry, or pressure cook frozen chicken breast pieces.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Chicken Breast
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 165kcal
Author: Adina

Equipment

  • Large pot OR
  • Large skillet OR
  • Baking dish OR
  • Grill OR
  • Air Fryer OR
  • Instant pot

Ingredients 

  • 4 chicken breasts frozen, Note 1

Boiling:

  • 2 cups water 500 ml
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • 1 small onion optional
  • 2 celery stalks optional
  • 1 carrot large optional
  • 2 bay leaves optional
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs of choice optional

Pan-frying:

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons chicken seasoning
  • fine sea salt and black pepper to taste

Baking:

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons chicken seasoning
  • fine sea salt and black pepper to taste

Grilling:

  • cooking spray
  • seasoning
  • fine sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • sauce of choice for basting

Air Fryer:

  • cooking spray
  • 1-2 teaspoons chicken seasoning
  • fine sea salt and black pepper

Instant Pot:

  • 1 cup chicken stock or water and a bouillon cube, 250 ml

Instructions

Boil frozen chicken breast

Pan-fry frozen chicken breast

  • Cook: Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the frozen chicken for 10-15 minutes.
  • Season the upper side with salt, pepper, and chicken seasoning, flip the pieces, and season the other side as well.
  • Cook for another 10-15 minutes or until cooked through. Check the internal temperature.
  • Rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Bake frozen chicken breast

Grill frozen chicken breast

  • Preheat the grill to 350°F/ 180°C.
  • Grill the chicken pieces on indirect heat for 10-15 minutes (depending on their size), flipping them halfway through. The pieces should be almost fully thawed by now.
  • Spray the breasts with cooking oil and sprinkle them with spices on both sides.
  • Move them to direct heat and cook them for 10-15 minutes (flipping halfway through) or until cooked through (Note 3). Check the internal temperature.
  • Rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Air fry frozen chicken breast

Instant pot frozen chicken breast

  • Place the chicken and 1 cup of liquid in the inner pot. Sprinkle with seasoning.
  • Close the pot and turn the valve to “sealing.”
  • Cook on high pressure:
    Small (6-8 oz/ 170-225 g): 10-12 minutes
    Medium (9-10 oz/ 250-300 g): 13-14 minutes
    Large (12 oz/ 350 g or a bit more) 15-16 minutes
  • Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes.
  • Turn the steam release valve to the “venting” position to release the remaining steam.
  • Remove the lid and the chicken. Rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

  1. They might differ in size, so make sure you check the charts regarding the cooking times.
  2. Always check that the chicken is cooked through before serving; the safe internal temperature is 165°F/74°C. It’s best to use a meat thermometer; otherwise, make a small cut into the thickest part of a chicken breast, the juices should run clear, and the meat should be white; no pink or red are allowed.
  3. You can baste the chicken pieces with sauce during the last 5 minutes of the grilling time.

Nutrition

Serving: 1chicken breast | Calories: 165kcal
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @adinabeck or tag #WhereIsMySpoon!

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