We love chicken – it’s the lean, mean protein machine that tastes good with almost anything (except maybe ice cream). Not only is it packed full of protein, chicken also contains lots of other nutrients like phosphorus and vitamin B6 that help our bodies (especially those still growing) stay strong.
Frozen chicken is the hero that’s rescued many a meal, saving families in a flap with no plans for dinner. Whether it’s fresh chicken you’ve chosen to freeze, or chicken with a little extra like our Birds Eye Inspirations, freezing helps to lock in nutrients and saves waste by being the on-demand option.
All our chicken products, from crispy dippers to succulent seasoned chargrills, live in the freezer and go straight into the oven from there; perfect if you’re in a bit of a rush, or suddenly have a few more faces for dinner than you originally thought.
Like any meat or dairy, it’s important to be really careful with how chicken is prepared and cooked, as raw chicken carries more germs than food which doesn’t need cooking. Read on for our comprehensive guide on cooking frozen chicken – Birds Eye, and beyond! Photo by blogger Lecoindemel.
How to cook Birds Eye Chicken products
• Pop the chicken on a baking tray in the middle of the oven
• Cook until piping hot; some products might need turning over part-way through
• Read the pack instructions to check how long you’ve got to build an appetite – most of our tasty chicken takes around 20-25 minutes
You’ll know our breaded and battered chicken is ready to eat when the outside becomes mouth-wateringly crisp and golden. Try serving with colourful Steam Fresh vegetables for a balanced meal.
Cooking frozen chicken breasts
Don’t be left in the cold when it comes to cooking chicken from frozen – there are a couple of options, even if you don’t have time to de-frost. However, larger pieces of frozen chicken, like a whole chicken or chicken on the bone, aren’t suitable for these methods as they won’t cook through properly – they should be thawed first.
In the oven
Frozen chicken breasts or thigh fillets can be grilled gently in the oven:
• Pre-heat the oven to 160°C
• Put the chicken pieces on a baking tray in the middle of the oven, for about 45 minutes
• Turn the pieces over halfway through, and keep an eye on them. Make sure they’re piping hot and that there are no pink bits before serving
Poaching is cooking something by heating it slowly in hot, but not boiling, liquid (usually water or stock for chicken).
• Get a large pan and fill it with enough water or stock to completely cover your pieces of chicken
• Put the pieces of chicken in the liquid, and use a medium heat to bring the liquid to just-below boiling
• Keep the liquid just below boiling for about 40-45 minutes
• Check that the chicken is steaming hot and without pink bits before you serve it
You shouldn’t put frozen chicken straight into boiling water, and you can’t fry frozen chicken.
Dos and don’ts
When cooking chicken straight from frozen, there are definitely a few no nos and things to keep a beady eye out for – after all, nobody wants a chicken dish ruffling their feathers the wrong way.
• If you’re freezing raw or cooked chicken, separate the pieces so you can take out only what you want to cook
• It’s best to thoroughly de-frost chicken before cooking it (at room temperature or in the microwave using the defrost setting), unless you’re using specially-prepared products. Our Birds Eye chicken pieces go from the freezer directly into a hot oven, making them perfect for a no-stress dinner
• The HSE also recommends that you don’t wash raw chicken, as splashes and drips can spread harmful bacteria
• Don’t re-freeze raw chicken once it has been de-frosted; it must be kept in the fridge and used within 24 hours. It is safe to cook the meat and then re-freeze it, but don’t de-frost and re-freeze a piece of cooked meat more than once
• When you’re de-frosting or storing raw chicken, make sure it’s covered and in a bowl or plastic food container so that the juices don’t end up in places they shouldn’t be
Always make sure chicken is piping hot before you serve it up: no pink juices, pink middles or cold shoulders. For an indulgent treat, why not dish up with some delicious homemade chips?
How long does frozen chicken last?
If you’ve bought fresh chicken and want to freeze it, make sure you do before the use-by date on the pack and use a sealed container. It’s best to use it up within 3-6 months (according to the NHS), or depending on the pack instructions.
Birds Eye chicken products have a use-by date on the front of the pack – as long as they’re tucked away safely in your freezer, they’ll be at their best until then.
Stuck for inspiration?
We’ve been crowing about the joys of chicken for thousands of years – it’s eaten in almost every culture, each one with its own classic dishes. The possibilities really are endless!
For lighter options try some of our simple chicken salads (we love the zingy Brazilian chargrill salad with mango and lime), or put our chicken pasta bake to the test for a twist on a classic. Check out our chicken recipes for meals that’ll get everyone involved in preparation.
Winner winner, chicken dinner.