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Can You Freeze Cooked Chicken?

Can You Freeze Cooked Chicken?

Oh no, you cooked too much chicken, and there’s no way you are going to eat it all in 2 days’ time.

However, you still don’t want to waste all of that chicken.

After all, an estimated 30% of food goes to waste in the US every year.

In a frantic state of panic, you start to wonder whether you can even freeze cooked chicken.

Can You Freeze Cooked Chicken?

Yes, you can freeze cooked chicken. Nevertheless, if you have a small amount of chicken that can be eaten in 1-2 days, it’s best to store the chicken in an airtight container in the fridge.

Whether you freeze your chicken or store it in the fridge, do not leave the chicken at room temperature for over 2 hours.

If the chicken sits at room temperature for more than 2 hours, it will become filled with so many bacteria that it is not safe to consume.

How to Freeze Whole Chicken

Since we are discussing whether or not you can freeze chicken, let’s talk about how to a whole freeze chicken.

First, let the chicken cool completely. Remember, you cannot let the chicken sit out for more than 2 hours.

You can divide the chicken into smaller pieces to help it cool faster. 

You can also place the chicken into an airtight container and store it in the fridge overnight before freezing the chicken.

Remove the chicken skin and throw it in the trash. Remove as much of the chicken skin from the carcass as you can.

You can discard the chicken bones and fat or reserve them to make homemade chicken broth.

Next, cut the cooked chicken into small pieces and arrange them on a parchment-lined parking sheet. Place the chicken into the freezer and freezer it for 1 hour.

 Flash freezing the chicken will keep the ice crystals small, preventing the chicken from losing moisture as it thaws. 

Break into the chicken smaller pieces and place them into a freezer-safe container.

You can also place the cooked chicken into a freezer bag but press the excess air out of the bag before sealing it.

Label the cooked chicken with today’s date and place it in the freezer.

How to Freeze Cooked Chicken Breasts

Freezing chicken breast is a little different. You can freeze the cooked chicken breast whole.

 You do not have to break the chicken breast into smaller pieces.

To freeze your chicken, let it cool completely. Wrap each chicken breast individually with a thin layer of parchment paper.

Next, wrap the chicken with a layer of plastic wrap. This prevents the chicken breast from being affected by freezer burn. 

Place the chicken breast into an airtight freezer-safe container and cover them.

You can also place the chicken breast into a freezer bag and press the excess air out of them. Label the chicken breastand place them into the freezer.

How Long Does Cooked Chicken Last in the Freezer?

As long as the cooked chicken is stored properly, it will last in the freezer indefinitely. However, it’s best to use the cooked chicken within 4 months.

After 4 months, its texture and flavor will start to decline.

In addition to this, if the chicken is freezer burned, I recommend tossing it into the trash. While freezer-burned-cooked chicken will not make you sick like undercooked chicken, it won’t be as delicious.

Is It Better to Freeze Cooked Raw or Cooked Chicken?

Raw chicken lasts longer in the freezer than cooked chicken. Raw chicken will last in the freezer for up to 9 months, while cooked chicken will only last for 4 months.

This is because cooking the chicken causes it to lose some of its moisture.

How To Defrost Frozen Cooked Chicken

I cannot talk about how to freeze chicken without talking about how to thaw chicken. There are a few ways you can defrost the cooked chicken.

You can defrost cooked chicken in the fridge, microwave, or in cold water.


Defrosting cooked chicken in the fridge is the best way to thaw chicken. Simply place the cooked chicken into the fridge and let it defrost overnight.

The next day your chicken will be ready to be reheated.

Cold Water

You can also thaw cooked chicken in cold water. Place the frozen cooked chicken into a ziplock bag and seal it.

The ziplock bag will prevent the water from touching the chicken.

Place the bag of cooked chicken into a large bowl and fill it with cold water. The bag of chicken may float to the top of the water, but you can place a plate on top of it to keep it submerged in the water.

If the chicken is not defrosted after 30 minutes, change the water every 30 minutes until it is thawed.


You can also thaw frozen cooked chicken in the microwave. However, you should proceed with caution when thawing cooked chicken in the microwave.

The microwave can easily overcook the chicken.

If you wrapped the chicken with plastic wrap, remove the plastic wrap and place it onto a microwave-safe plate.

Place the chicken in the microwave and hit the defrost setting on your microwave. Heat the cooked chicken in 1-minute intervals until it is defrosted.

Cook the Chicken Frozen

If you are cooking chicken noodle soup, chicken stew, or a filling for chicken pot pie, you can add the chicken to the meal frozen.

However, it will add more time to the cooking process.

Periodically stir the food to break up any clumps of chicken. In addition to this, cook the food on low heat. 

This will give the frozen cooked chicken to defrost.

Can You Refreeze Cooked Chicken?

Do not refreeze previously frozen cooked chicken.

Cooked chicken can become a breeding background for bacteria and cause you to develop food poisoning.

It’s best to freeze the cooked chicken in smaller portions. This will allow you to defrost the chicken one serving at a time.

Final Thoughts

Now that freezing cooked chicken is possible, you can safely freeze it in the freezer the next time you cook too much chicken.

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