Can You Brine Frozen Chicken?

Written By David Varnes

David Varnes is an Appliance Repair Professional with over 15 years of experience.

It can be hard to make the food taste as good as in restaurants. But chefs with lots of experience know some secrets. The same is true for chicken processing. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the flavor of brined chicken is like that of a restaurant.

Can You Brine Frozen Chicken?

Yes, you can brine a frozen chicken. The process is the same as if the chicken wasn’t frozen, but it will take longer. First, make the brine solution. Then, add the frozen chicken to the solution so it’s completely submerged.

You can either leave it for a few hours or overnight. Cover the container if you’re leaving it overnight.

What is Brining and Why Should I Do It?

Brining is the process of soaking meat in saltwater to add flavor, keep it moist, and make it more tender. The salt in the water makes the meat’s proteins unravel and become softer. When you brine chicken, you need to be careful to avoid food poisoning.

You should always thaw and brine chicken in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. Room temperature can allow bacteria to grow and make the food unsafe to eat.

Why Brine Chicken?

Brining your meat helps it keep its moisture. When you cook meat, it generally loses moisture, and if you aren’t cautious, the meat can get dry. You are soaking the meat when brining it in order to allow for when it cooks and releases the juices, resulting in extra juice absorbed.

Brining softens the cell walls of the meat and dissolves some of the fibers, giving you a more succulent and juicy piece of meat. The solution absorbed by the meat keeps it moist, as well as any additional spices or herbs that you add.

Brining the meat has a variety of advantages, including improved flavor and it is very simple to do. The simplicity of creating the brine and applying it to chicken makes it an ideal choice for busy weeknights when you need a quick yet nutritious dinner.

Related: Can You Freeze Fried Chicken?

How Can You Brine?

It’s easy to grill frozen chicken that you’ve brined in salted water. You can do it in just 15 minutes or up to several hours, depending on the size of the chicken.

First, make a brine solution and submerge the chicken in it. You can add any spices or herbs you like to the solution, to boost flavor. Some recipes even call for sugar to be added to the solution for a better taste after processing.

Keep the chicken in the brine solution for 15 to 20 minutes, to allow it to thaw and infuse. If you’re using a whole chicken, you can leave it overnight in the refrigerator.

If you’re just using chicken breasts, they should only be in the solution for 6 hours. Chicken wings can be left in the solution for up to 2 days.

Before you grill the chicken, take it out of the solution and rinse it with cold water. Drain the water off the chicken. This will help remove any excess salt from the skin.

Tips for Brining

There are some tips you should follow if you want to brine your chicken. Make sure the ratio of water to salt is 4 to 1. You can add ginger for flavor, but make sure not to soak the chicken for too long or it will become salty.

If the chicken is still frozen when you start to soak it, you can put it in the refrigerator to thaw. Check on it every hour to make sure it doesn’t soak for too long.

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, if it’s still frozen, put it back in the fridge to thaw completely.

What Kind of Meat Can You Brine?

Because the goal of brining is to keep the meat juicy and appetizing, lean cuts of meat are the best candidates. Because they contain less fat to help preserve flavor, the brine does this for them.

Chicken breast and thighs, turkey (even whole turkeys), and other varieties of pork are excellent for brining. Shrimp can also be brined, as long as it’s not overcooked.

What Happens If You Brine Chicken Too Long?

Chicken that has been too long in the brine will be oversalted. Too much salt solution will penetrate the flesh if you leave it in there for too long, resulting in an overly salty chicken. That’s not good!

You’re searching for that sweet spot where your chicken is just tender enough but not so long that salt drowns out all other flavors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is It Important To Defrost Chicken Properly?

There are many good reasons to thaw chicken before cooking it. First, if you don’t want to go out or don’t like frozen food, you can cook the chicken at home. It’s also easier to cook chicken when it’s not frozen. Chicken that isn’t appropriately defrosted can have bacteria on it, and that might make you sick.

When you cook frozen chicken, the outside might be cooked, but the inside might still be raw. That’s because it takes longer to cook frozen chicken.

Also, chicken isn’t listed as a food that can be eaten without cooking it first. So it’s really important to make sure that you defrost your chicken before cooking it.

Three main types of bacteria can be found on chicken:

  • Campylobacter
  • Salmonella
  • Clostridium perfringens

Campylobacter is a bacteria that is commonly found in meat, especially frozen chicken. If you eat chicken that has this bacteria on it, you might get a high fever, diarrhea, and strong stomach cramps. These symptoms could last for a week or even longer if you have a weak immune system.

Salmonella is another type of bacteria that is just as dangerous as Campylobacter. If you eat chicken that hasn’t been appropriately defrosted, there is a high risk of getting this bacteria, which can cause severe diarrhea.

Clostridium perfringens is a type of fungus that can make diarrhea last longer. So it’s important to defrost your chicken correctly to avoid these types of bacteria.

What Meats Are Best For Brining?

Brining will enhance the flavor of any lean cut of beef, especially chicken breasts, pork chops, and pork tenderloin. Because these meats don’t have a lot of intermuscular fat (or marbling) to keep them from drying out while cooking, they benefit from brining.


Brining is the process of soaking meat in a saltwater solution. This helps to retain the flavor and moisture of the meat, making it more juicy and appetizing. You can brine chicken, turkey, pork, beef, and even shrimp.

It’s important to defrost chicken properly before cooking it, as bacteria might be present on frozen chicken.

When brining the chicken, make sure not to leave it in the saltwater solution for too long, as this will result in oversalted meat. With these tips in mind, you can brine meat like a pro!