Can You Grill Frozen Chicken Without Thawing It? – You’ll Be Surprised!

Is chicken on the menu this evening?

Did you suddenly remember that it’s still sitting in the freezer? Damn!

The age-old problem of needing to grill chicken and its frozen solid!

No need to worry at all.

You came here to find out if you could grill your chicken from frozen right?

The answer is yes! However, as we outline below it will taste better if you defrost it first!

So below you see several ways to get your chicken thawed in time for dinner!

Whether it be frozen chicken thighs or breast or any part of the chicken including the wings

can u grill frozen chicken
Our grilled chicken, we defrosted this one first.

Can You Grill Frozen Chicken?

You certainly can. The CDC has outlined that can you grill frozen chicken.

However, it will taste better (we think) if you defrost it first.

We will detail several methods for you so that you can get your chicken on the table for a delicious meal even if starts frozen.

It’s a safety issue when it comes to chicken. There are higher with this particular meat is not handled correctly when out of the freezer.

wings that frozen grilled chicken

5 Methods for Defrosting Your Chicken

There are come methods for defrosting the chicken.

Note: It doesn’t matter if you are defrosting skinless chicken breasts, boneless chicken breasts, chicken wings, or frozen chicken thighs just make sure that when handling raw chicken you are cautious!

frozen grilled chicken

 Defrosting Tray

Using a defrosting tray is a very popular choice.

It usually, take around 30 minutes to defrost your chicken pieces on this metal tray. It has groves that help speed up the defrosting process.  

Place the frozen chicken on the plate and it will be thawed and cover.

Around 60 mins later you are ready to go.


Your frozen chicken can be defrosted in the microwave by putting it in on a defrost setting.

If your microwave does not have a defrost setting, 30 seconds on a low setting often will work for you.

If it’s still a little frozen in the middle, another 30 seconds should do the job.

Some people find that the microwave way of defrosting causes the chicken to be a little ‘rubbery’ and others find it a fast, effective way to defrost their chicken.


If you have the time, take your frozen meat out of the freezer and put it on a plate, and put it in the refrigerator section, where it slowly defrosts overnight but stays cool and is fresh the next day.

Water Bath

Some people see this as the emergency method for defrosting chicken.

It usually involves placing the frozen meat in a sealed plastic bag in a single layer and then placing it into a container of cool water.

Please do not be tempted to use warm water as this is not good for the health of the chicken or yourself.

The risk of salmonella increases with temperature. Many like this method but the downside is the chicken may get wet and also thaw unevenly


Frozen chicken breasts or any other cut can be placed on the counter on a plate and covered with a cloth or similar covering and be left overnight or around 4-6 hours to thaw with indirect heat.

This is a great method if you have the time.

If it’s a hot day it is not ideal as dangerous bacteria may start to grow on the uncooked chicken, with the risk of food poisoning. In a cool home, there is no problem as long as the chicken is in date.

Our Hot Tips on Preparing Frozen Chicken on the Grill

  • When cooking chicken it doesn’t matter about cooking time! You must ensure that the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F.
  • If your grilling it from frozen you might find that some parts of the chicken get overcooked before the thicker parts are cooked. There we always recommend defrosting your chocken first.
  • Always use an instant-read thermometer when cooking chicken. Or you can check it by cutting into it and checking the color. You don’t want people eating uncooked chicken.
  • The best thing to do is either plan ahead, buy fresh chicken or use one of the defrosting methods above.
  • If you want to take your grilled chicken to the level, you try smoking it instead. We love smoked chicken at our house! Smoking uses indirect heat, which is great for chicken as it can dry out when grilling. Plus it is super healthy, no need to add any oil, just a little bit of our top-secret chicken rub.
frozen bbq chicken wings

So to wrap it up, it’s possible to grill your chicken from frozen according to the CDC.

But and it’s a big but! We think it will taste way better if you defrost it first.

We recommend going one step further and defrosting it and throwing it the smoker!

Another big but!

Just make sure whatever cooking method you choose, you use a meat thermometer to check is it safe to eat!

Smoke On!


Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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