Weeknight dinners just got easier. There’s no need to thaw chicken breasts when you’re strapped for time. Here’s How to Cook Chicken Breasts from Frozen. Yes, directly from the freezer!
Strangely enough, one of the most popular blog posts on this website is the one with instructions for how to cook fish from frozen . That post was revolutionary for me. I had never thought of cooking fish from frozen until I was approached by a company that wanted me to experiment with it. It was such a successful and convenient technique that now I always have frozen fish fillets in the freezer ready to go straight into the oven for a quick dinner.
Those quick dinners got me thinking, could I do the same thing with chicken breast? Is it safe? I checked with the USDA and sure enough you can cook chicken breasts straight from the freezer. You just need to add about 50 percent more cooking time.
Well, there’s one other thing you need to do. When you bring the chicken breasts home from the grocery store, you need to pack them properly. The reason is that when it comes time to cook them you can’t have a big heap of frozen breasts in the pan. They will not cook evenly at all.
WHEN YOU WANT TO COOK THOSE CHICKEN BREASTS STRAIGHT FROM THE FREEZER, HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:
Preheat the oven to no lower than 350ºF. If I’m doing breading, as I’ve done with the recipe below, I use a higher temperature to help brown the crumbs.
Put the frozen chicken breasts on a pan in a single layer. It’s best to use a broiling pan or a rack over a foil-lined pan. This way, any liquid from the chicken breast doesn’t leak out to steam them. But I’m usually lazy and just use my regular sheet pan. Mine’s this really good heavy-duty one and it works great and is ideal if you’re doing a high temperature like I often do.
Doctor them up! Season them with salt and pepper and anything else you like.
If you want to use a sauce (like BBQ sauce), it’s best to wait until the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time.
If you want to do a breading, see the recipe below. But basically, I brush them with mustard and then sprinkle on some bread crumbs that have been mixed with a bit of oil to help the browning process. I use mustard because it’s easier to brush on and have the bread crumbs stick then it would be to dredge frozen chicken breasts in flour and then egg wash. This is a very simple solution.
Bake the chicken breasts for 50 percent longer than they would normally take. Un frozen chicken breasts usually take 20-30 minutes at 350ºF. So for frozen, you’re looking at 30-45 minutes. It depends on the size of the chicken breast though, really.