Americans consumed more than 17.5 billion pounds of chicken in the first half of 2009, according to a report from the Economic Research Service of the USDA. On a per capita basis, Americans eat more than 90 pounds of chicken per person. Chicken is sold fresh and frozen and is one of the most versatile center-of-the-plate menu items available. Properly packaged, previously cooked chicken can be stored frozen for one year. Follow a few steps to ensure you reheat frozen chicken the right way.
Things You'll Need
- Meat thermometer
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place the oven rack in the middle position.
Place the previously cooked, frozen chicken dish on the oven rack. Plan on it taking twice the normal cooking time to reheat a fully frozen chicken dish. If the dish cannot be heated through to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit in two hours, reduce the size of the chicken dish before initially placing it in the oven.
Insert a meat thermometer into the chicken after 30 minutes to gauge how long it will take to reach at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You might need to rotate the chicken dish on the oven rack to cook it evenly.
Remove the ready-to-heat frozen chicken dish from its packaging or freezer container. Leave it partially covered, or make vent holes in the cover, then place it in the microwave.
Set and start the microwave oven according to the manufacturer's recommendation. Remove foil or metal containers prior to starting the microwave.
Observe the cooking process and stir the contents of the chicken dish to ensure even heating.
Tips & Warnings
- After you have cooked chicken, prepare it for freezing by rapidly cooling it in a bath of cold water or placing it in the refrigerator.
- Meat that is more than 3 inches thick might not cool evenly and might need to be sliced prior to freezing.
- Wrap the chicken tightly in heavy freezer paper for freezing.
- Don't thaw raw chicken at room temperature or under warm water. Instead, thaw it safely in the refrigerator so it never warms above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Raw, uncooked frozen chicken should not be cooked in any type of oven directly from its frozen state. It should first be carefully thawed.
- United States Department of Agriculture: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook
- United States Department of Agriculture: Poultry Production in the United States
- National Center for Home Food Preservation: Thawing and Preparing Foods for Serving
- Food Reference.com: U.S. Per Capita Chicken Consumption
- Family Education: Tips For Freezing and Thawing Foods
- Photo Credit roast image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com