Can You Grill Frozen Chicken? Is It Safe?

It’s springtime and eating grilled chicken is a favorite for the season. However, with the busy schedule of the day and the need to prepare a quick homemade dinner, you wonder, if you can grill frozen chicken straight from the freezer?

If done correctly, Yes you can grill frozen chicken, but it would require more time and effort. You have to ensure it’s cooked under reduced/medium heat for at least 45 minutes and monitored properly, to avoid undercooked grilled chicken or food poisoning. 

However, it is recommended to thaw the frozen chicken before cooking. But if you are in a hurry, to get in on a grill, ensure it is cooked on reduced heat, and also check that the meat’s internal temperature is 165°F, with a good digital meat thermometer. 

This article will discuss safe thorough steps, on grilling frozen chicken perfectly, without risks or food poisoning.

NEW: Shoulder Roast vs Chuck Roast: Which Is Better?

Should I Grill Frozen Chicken?

We all love a well-cooked healthy meal to replenish ourselves, but there are certain important prep-up steps to take before you can start cooking your dish. Allowing your frozen protein or food to thaw beforehand is one of them. 

Many experts advise, that one should never spot-on grill frozen food or chicken because the outsides may end up overcooked and dry, while the insides remain raw. The excess moisture released from the rapid thawing process, when grilling the meat, will impact the texture of your chicken, leaving it slightly rubbery.

Can You Over Marinate Chicken?
Image: Envato Elements

Additionally, there is the issue of the chicken not getting enough required internal heat to kill all the bacteria, which could lead to food poisoning. Food poisoning especially salmonella is a serious food disease affecting lives, both in the US and in several parts of the world.

Hence, we need to ensure the chicken is heated to the required temperature of 165°F (74°C), you can use a good digital meat thermometer to be sure. 

Therefore, the best solution is to thaw the chicken out first before grilling, this helps your meat cook easier, avoid excess moisture or food poisoning, and for complete doneness of the meat. Lastly, there are several methods you can take to quickly and effectively defrost your chicken

Methods To Safely Defrost Your Chicken

Here are some ways to defrost your chicken easily before grilling.

1. Defrosting With Refrigerator

Placing your meat in the fridge to defrost is the best-recommended method to thaw your frozen chicken. This requires a little planning ahead, but it helps for a perfectly grilled and juicy chicken. Do not leave it for more than 24 hours as the meat could be exposed to bacteria. 

2. Using A Water Bath

Start by tightly sealing your chicken in a zip-top bag or any secure wrapper, and place it in cool water for about 1-2 hours. You can use a large bowl, but ensure it’s filled with cool and not warm or hot water. You can change the water every half hour, to keep a stable temperature. 

Can You Marinate Chicken For 2 Days?
Image: Envato Elements

3. Place It On The Counter

Another method is to tightly wrap your chicken, then place it on a plate with paper towels underneath and leave it on the counter for 4-6 hours. Remember to clean your counter with anti-bacterial spray afterward. 

4. Microwave Method

To defrost your frozen chicken faster, you can use the microwave, but it needs to be properly monitored to avoid uneven heating. Set the microwave to “defrost” for 1-2 minutes, check the chicken, and repeat the process until satisfied. 

5. Use A Defrosting Tray

Metal defrosting trays are naturally designed to drain the cold from the meat without needing electricity or batteries. Use a tray with an attached container to collect the liquids as the chicken thaws, it should be thawed within 30 minutes. Also, it makes for a good investment to buy one, if you don’t own one. 

Tips On Grilling Frozen Chicken Properly

As already mentioned above, it is possible to grill frozen chicken although we recommend that you allow it to thaw or defrost beforehand. However, if you need to speed up the cooking process, and want to spot-on grill your frozen chicken, there are a few additional tips to keep in mind when doing so. 

The first step is to pat the chicken dry with paper towels because the moisture from the chicken resulting in flare-ups during grilling is harmful. Also, preheat your grill for about 10 minutes before adding your frozen chicken.

Secondly, plan on increasing your cooking time by at least 50%, and reducing the heat by 20%.

This is because it takes a longer time to cook a frozen chicken. It simply means that if your chicken takes 15-20 to cook through, instead allow the frozen chicken to cook for about 30-45 minutes.

How Long Can You Marinate Chicken Before It Goes Bad?
Image: Envato Elements

Thirdly, you should start grilling your chicken over indirect heat to give the frozen chicken a chance to defrost, and allow your chicken to heat evenly. This is to prevent, the outsides from burning, while the insides remain raw or still frozen.

Remember to take note that your meat should heat to the recommended temperature of 165°F (74°C) without drying out or overcooking the thinner parts. It helps to spread out pieces of the chicken, so they heat up evenly, and you can also direct thinner parts of your chicken further away from flames.

Is it safe to grill frozen chicken? 

Yes, it is safe, you can simply grill your frozen chicken by allowing it to cook over reduced heat longer. Although we recommend allowing the frozen chicken to defrost beforehand.

What is the best method to grill frozen chicken?

That is to combine both cooking the meat for longer and over medium grill heat. Also, use a good meat thermometer to check the meat is safely done to 165 degrees. 

Can you grill frozen chicken breasts?

Yes, you can, ensure to spread out the chicken breast and grill them over reduced heat for 45 minutes, because direct heat may lead to uneven cooking. 

Why is it bad to grill frozen chicken? 

It is advised not to grill frozen chicken straight from the freezer, because there’s a chance, the chicken won’t grill to perfection. There’s also higher exposure to bacteria and food poisoning.


Although you can grill frozen chicken, it is not exactly recommended you grill it spot-on without defrosting first.

Cooking or grilling chicken from frozen, is not ideal and the texture of your chicken may not come out perfect. 

We advise you to thaw your chicken first with the simple methods explained above, prepare your grill and then properly grill your chicken. However, if you are in a hurry, simply follow the grilling tips we’ve mentioned above for a healthy, safe, and edible outcome. 

More Chicken Guides On TheHomeTome: