Chicken is one of the most popular sources of protein. It can be cooked in a variety of ways and is also incredibly delicious!
Whether you roast, grill, or fry your chicken, you will be pleased to find out that you can, in fact, freeze cooked chicken.
You may wonder why you should freeze cooked chicken. The larger chicken packs usually work out a lot more inexpensive in the long run so it can be a great idea to buy those and prep the chicken for when you need it.
If you were to cook up a week's worth of fresh chicken, it would only last for one to two days in the refrigerator.
If you’re smart about it, you can actually keep some of your chicken in the fridge for those days and freeze the remaining cooked chicken to keep it fresh and tasty.
Chicken is a fantastic choice if you want to start preparing healthy meals ahead of time as it is so versatile. It goes so well in different dishes that you really can get a bang for your buck when you buy chicken fresh.
How to freeze cooked chicken
Before placing your cooked chicken inside your freezer, there are a few points to consider. Firstly, you will need to prepare the chicken as you would do normally.
If you’re feeling extra healthy, grill that chicken with some of your favorite spices for that extra flavor. Once your chicken has cooked, you will need to keep it aside and let it cool to room temperature.
Please note that it is so important to ensure that your cooked chicken has completely cooled down before moving onto the next step. This is because if you don’t let your chicken cool down before freezing, you could risk exposing the meat to airborne diseases.
As you probably are aware when you cook fresh chicken you need to make sure that the chicken is thoroughly cooked to avoid salmonella.
When it comes to cooked chicken, it is also extremely important to treat it right to avoid any further airborne diseases. As soon as the chicken is cool, place into airtight containers and put straight into the freezer.
If you have cooked a full chicken, we advise that you carve the meat off the bone before placing it into an airtight container. Leaving the chicken on the bone would only take up unnecessary space in your freezer and it is so much easier to portion your chicken when it is off the bone.
Chicken can last up to three months in the freezer so we recommend labeling your freezer portions with the date you have placed them into the freezer. That way you know exactly when the use-by date is so you can defrost your chicken safely without losing any of the great taste.
How to defrost cooked chicken
When it comes to defrosting your cooked chicken, you must ensure that it is fully thawed before reheating. To do this, the night before you plan on eating your cooked chicken, grab your portion out of the freezer and place it into the fridge for approximately 6 hours.
This should be enough time for your chicken to defrost and not lose any of the succulent texture. It is extremely important that you leave a decent amount of time for the chicken to fully thaw before you reheat the meat.
Just like when we have to wait for the chicken to fully cool before freezing, it is equally as important to ensure that the chicken is fully defrosted. Six to eight hours defrosting in the fridge is the perfect amount of time to let the chicken thaw.
This is why we advise defrosting your chicken before bed as when you wake up in the morning, your chicken will be safe to eat the next day.
Also, if you plan to eat your chicken in the evening, just take it out of the freezer and place it into the refrigerator first thing in the morning so that it has fully thawed by the time you plan on eating it. It really is that simple!
Factors to consider before freezing cooked chicken
If you are freezing chicken breasts, you can freeze them whole instead of cutting them up into smaller portions. This makes it so much easier to freeze as all you need to do is cook your chicken breasts as desired, allow them to cool to room temperature, and then place into your freezer.
Freezing whole chicken breasts is also a lot easier as the chicken is already portioned perfectly instead of trying to equally portion diced or sliced chicken instead!
When it comes to reheating a cooked chicken, ensure that it is fully defrosted and placed into an oven safe dish. Arrange the chicken in a single layer and heat your oven up to 425 - 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once your oven has reached the correct temperature, you can place your chicken into the oven to be reheated. Cook your chicken until it reaches a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can check this by using a meat thermometer to check that the chicken is thoroughly heated. If all okay, feel free to serve up your chicken with your desired sides. It will be super tasty, trust us!
To wrap things up, it is of course safe to freeze cooked chicken. It is actually a great way to ensure that you stick to healthy eating throughout the week too!
When you start preparing chicken for the week, keep two portions aside for the first two days in the fridge and the rest can be cooked and frozen in the freezer. This saves you a lot of time on the weekdays as long as you remember to defrost correctly!
Remember to allow your chicken to fully cool before even thinking about placing it into the freezer! This will keep you safe from any airborne diseases.
When you are ready to eat the chicken, remove from the freezer and place it into the fridge for six to eight hours to fully thaw before reheating. That way you can safely enjoy this delicious and juicy lean meat!