Can You Freeze A Whole Chicken?

Last updated on July 25th, 2022 at 12:40 am

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When you were at the grocery store you picked up a whole chicken to cook for dinner. After some thought you decoded you wanted to save it for another time. Maybe for when company came over or when you wanted to cook a feast for your family. 

To save the whole chicken, can you freeze it?

You can freeze a whole chicken. The chicken will last in the freezer indefinitely until you want to use it as long as it stays air tight (to keep the freezer burn away). 

However, it is best to use it within a year of putting it in the freezer. 

There was a sale on whole chicken at your local grocery store you just couldn’t pass up. You went ahead and purchased a couple knowing you could use them at one time or another. 

The good news is you can freeze the chicken until you are ready to fix it for a delicious recipe. If you don’t think you are going to cook the chicken in the next couple days, just place it in the freezer to keep it until you want to cook it. 

It is recommended to keep the whole raw chicken in the freezer for up to one year if you want the best taste and texture.  Parts of the chicken will typically last about nine months and giblets or ground chicken will last up to three or four months if you want the best quality. 

If you have already cooked the chicken, you can freeze it for up to four months. Chicken casseroles or gravy-covered chicken can be frozen for six months and chicken nuggets or patties are good in the freezer for one to three months.

How Do You Freeze A Whole Raw Chicken? 

When you know it will be a few weeks or maybe even months before you use the whole chicken you bought and want to store it in the freezer, there are some simple steps you want to take to do it the right way. 

You should freeze a whole raw chicken in its original packaging or by placing it in an airtight container. You can also wrap it in freezer bags as well. 

By placing the whole raw chicken in an airtight container or freezer bags you will keep it safe until you want to cook it. You can also use freezer wrap or plastic wrap to put around the chicken so the cold air won’t dry it out. 

Write on the bag the current date so you know when the chicken was placed in the freezer.

When it’s time to cook the chicken, place it in the fridge overnight or use your microwave’s defrost setting. Before cooking, make sure there are no lumps or spots that are still cold in the middle. 

When you freeze whole chicken you can have it on hand for wherever you are in need of some chicken for a recipe.

How Long Can You Freeze A Whole Chicken? 

Raw chicken can be stored in the refrigerator if you want to use it within a couple days, but what if you want to use it weeks or even months from now?

You can freeze a whole chicken for up to one year for the best taste and texture. The chicken will last longer than that in the freezer however it may begin to lose some of its taste after that time. 

The best by date doesn’t matter when you are freezing the chicken because it can last in the freezer indefinitely. If you want the quality of the chicken to still be good when you thaw it after months of being in the freezer, use it within one year for freezing it. 

Some parts of the chicken won’t last as long having a lifespan in the freezer for about six months. These include the giblets and ground chicken lasting for about three or four months.

Cooked chicken can last for four months in the freezer and chicken in casseroles or covered in gravy can last for six months. Chicken nuggets or chicken patties will last for typically one to three months in the freezer. 

Most likely you will use the frozen chicken within a few months. But if not, it’s important to know that it will have the best taste and texture before the one year mark. 

After it has been frozen for a while it will lose some of its flavor and quality.

How Do You Unfreeze (Defrost) Chicken? 

You have frozen the whole chicken for months now and are finally ready to make that one special recipe with it. But before you begin cooking you have to thaw it. 

How do you unfreeze/defrost the chicken?

You can defrost a chicken by either putting it in the microwave on the defrost setting or by leaving it in the refrigerator overnight. The fridge method is better but you can use the microwave if you are in a hurry. 

When thawing chicken the first thing you want to try is to put it in the refrigerator overnight. This is the safest way to thaw the meat since it keeps it at a safe and cool temperature while it defrosts. 

You can also microwave the chicken to thaw it. For this you will want to place the chicken in a microwave safe container and put the microwave on the defrost setting. 

Cook this chicken right away and be sure to clean the microwave thoroughly afterwards.

Another quick method to thaw chicken other than using the microwave is to place it in a bowl of cold water. Make sure the water isn’t warm or hot but is cold. Add ice cubes to the bowl if the water needs to be colder. 

You can keep the water cold by changing it out every half hour. Submerge the chicken in the cold water until it has defrosted and then cook it right away. 

You should never thaw chicken on the counter or at room temperature. By doing this you will expose the chicken to dangerous temperatures making the meat no longer safe to eat.

Final Thoughts

You can freeze a whole chicken to be used in later months. By properly freezing it you will have chicken on hand whenever you need to cook with it. 

When it comes time to eat the meat, follow the steps mentioned on how to do it correctly. The frozen chicken will last you for up to a year (for the best taste) so you can buy the chicken you find on sale and store it for future use.

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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