How Long To Defrost Frozen Chicken Drumsticks

Do you have a stock of chicken drumsticks in your freezer? Are you planning to use them for dinner but don't know how long they'll take to defrost? We asked the meat experts about the amount of time needed to completely thaw your frozen chicken legs and here's the answer.

It takes 24 hours to defrost chicken drumsticks in the fridge. If you want to shorten your waiting period, you can put them in cold water and they will thaw in 2 to 3 hours. The fastest way to thaw your meat is by using the microwave where it will take you 2 minutes to thaw 1 pound of chicken.

Hang on because we'll tell you more about the importance of knowing the thawing time for your frozen drumsticks. We'll also share with you the safe ways on how to defrost your chicken and how to cook them from their frozen state so that you can enjoy tender and juicy chicken legs for dinner.


frozen Chicken drumsticks stacked in a container on wooden cutting board. How Long To Defrost Frozen Chicken Drumsticks

How long do you thaw frozen chicken drumsticks?

You need to plan ahead if you plan to use your stock of frozen drumsticks for cooking your best chicken recipes. Knowing how long it takes your meat to thaw is part of your cooking preparation process. The amount of time needed to defrost your chicken legs would depend on the thawing method that you'll use and the weight of your meat.

The conventional way of thawing this poultry part is by putting it in the fridge where it'll take 24 hours to defrost completely. Yes, it's a long time but you can be certain that your meat is thawing safely. There's also no rush to cook this immediately as your meat will stay safe in the fridge for a couple of days after it has thawed.

If your family members can't wait that long for you to serve your most requested roast chicken drumsticks, there are faster ways to thaw your meat. The cold water method will require some effort on your end to change the water every 30 minutes but it'll only take you 2 to 3 hours to defrost your meat. Then there's the microwave which is the fastest way to thaw your chicken. Meat experts say it takes 2 minutes to defrost 1 pound of chicken drumsticks so it's up to you to adjust your cooking preparation time depending on the weight of your poultry.

How to defrost frozen chicken drumsticks

There are different ways to thaw your frozen chicken drumsticks. Do take the necessary safety precautions to prevent bacterial growth and possible foodborne diseases. For this matter, follow only the safe thawing methods. These are transferring your chicken legs into the fridge or using cold water or the microwave.

Using the fridge

  1. Make sure your chicken is inside a vacuum-sealed bag.
  2. Place the chicken in a bowl so that any drippings will be contained.
  3. Put the bowl at the bottom of the fridge. This will also help minimize the risk of getting drippings onto other items inside the refrigerator.
  4. Wait for it to thaw completely. This usually takes 24 hours.

Using cold water

  1. Put your chicken in a sealed or zip-top bag.
  2. Put cold water in a bowl.
  3. Submerge the drumsticks in cold water.
  4. Change water every 30 minutes so that the meat will continue thawing. It might take you 2 to 3 hours to fully defrost your meat.

How do you defrost chicken drumsticks in the microwave?

In case you're concerned regarding the safety of thawing your chicken drumsticks in the microwave, you can be assured that it's okay to do so. The microwave will help defrost meats faster. However, let us remind you as early as now that you need to cook your chicken right away after thawing it in the microwave. This is to prevent the possible growth of bacteria which could compromise the safety of your food.

Here are the steps to defrosting your chicken drumsticks in the microwave:

  1. Remove your chicken legs from all its packaging.
  2. Put them on a microwave-safe plate.
  3. You can cut a slit on the meatiest portion of your drumsticks to help defrost it faster and more evenly.
  4. Put your microwave on defrost settings. If it doesn't have one, just use 20 to 30% of its power to thaw your meat.
  5. Place the plate in the middle of the microwave then defrost.
  6. Check on your chicken legs every 30 seconds to make sure that they're thawing evenly. For your reference, it takes around 2 minutes to defrost 1 pound of chicken meat so adjust your thawing time according to the weight of your meat.
  7. Proceed to cook them right away.

frozen chicken drumsticks on top of crushed ice

Can you cook drumsticks from frozen?

One thing to love about having drumsticks in the freezer is that they're so easy to cook. You can even cook frozen chicken legs straight from the freezer into your oven, stove, or grill. This means you can skip the thawing process altogether! That's so convenient, right? You can stock up on these meats and use them for any of your most requested chicken dishes anytime you want to.

However, take note that frozen drumsticks would take a longer time to cook. Increase your cooking time by at least 50%. So if it usually takes you an hour to boil your chicken, expect the cooking time to be at one hour and a half if you're cooking from frozen state. The key is for you to reach a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit for food safety concerns.

How long do you cook frozen drumsticks?

As mentioned earlier, you can cook your drumsticks straight from the freezer. But they would take a longer time to cook compared to your usual cooking time of unfrozen chicken. Expert cooks say it takes them an hour and 15 minutes to bake frozen chicken legs. The length of time would depend on the cooking method used and the size of your drumsticks. Again, the important thing to consider here is the amount of time it'll take you to reach the internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit for your drumsticks.

Can you put frozen chicken drumsticks in the oven?

Baked chicken drumsticks are easy to prepare. Don't worry if your chicken legs are still frozen because you can put them in the oven to cook your favorite recipe. Of course, they would just take a longer time to cook but if you're determined to serve baked chicken drumsticks for dinner, we're not going to stop you.

They would take approximately 85 minutes to bake and it's recommended to turn the legs halfway through to achieve crispy skin and juicy chicken. Just pair them with a nice side dish to complement its flavor and you'll have the perfect dinner.

How do you grill frozen drumsticks?

Grilling your frozen drumsticks gives it an irresistible smoky flavor. They're also the perfect chicken part to cook over the extreme heat of the charcoal because this dark meat contains more fat which helps in making it tender and juicy. Here's a trouble-free way of grilling those chicken legs:

  1. Remove your frozen chicken from its packaging.
  2. Pre-heat your grill to medium heat or about 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Don't set it on high because you want your chicken legs to cook slowly. Otherwise, you'll have drumsticks that are black on the outside but still pink inside.
  3. Place your chicken legs on the grill then close the lid. Don't open the lid unless necessary to prevent heat from escaping.
  4. Flip the drumsticks every 10 minutes. You want them to be cooked evenly and all sides to have grill marks on them.
  5. If there are flare-ups, move your chicken to the other side as you lower the heat.
  6. Cooking time may take 12 minutes or more. It's best to use a meat thermometer to be sure that your chicken drumsticks are safe to eat. Their internal temperature should be between 165 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Place your grilled meat on a clean plate and serve with your favorite side dish.

Final Thoughts

The length of time needed to completely thaw your frozen drumsticks will depend on the method that you'll use. If you're not in a hurry, you can put them in the fridge for 24 hours. You can also defrost your chicken using cold water and the microwave if you only have a few hours or minutes left before cooking time. Or you can also cook your chicken legs straight from the freezer so that you can serve a delicious meal right in time for dinner.

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