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Thawing Time for Chicken in the Reefer

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Q. If you take boneless, skinless chicken out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator, can you use it the next day?

A. Is it safe the next day? Surely it is. Is it completely thawed the next day? Almost certainly. A good rule of thumb for thawing chicken is to allow five hours per pound in the refrigerator. So if you have a 5-pound chicken, it will take a full day to thaw. A 7-pound bird will take a day and a half. A package of chicken pieces usually has more surface area exposed, though, so will thaw more quickly.

How cold your refrigerator is and where you put the chicken to thaw also has some bearing on thawing time. If you keep your refrigerator especially cold or put the chicken at the bottom, where it tends to be colder, chicken — and anything else — will thaw more slowly.

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