How to defrost chicken thighs in the microwave

Defrosting chicken thighs properly is essential to ensure food safety and maintain the quality of the meat.

While there are several methods for thawing chicken, one of the quickest ways is to use a microwave.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to defrost chicken thighs in the microwave, ensuring they’re ready for your next delicious meal.

Preparing chicken thighs for microwaving

Before you begin microwaving chicken thighs, it’s crucial to prepare them correctly. Proper packaging is essential to prevent any contamination or leakage. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Choose a Microwave-Safe Container: Select a microwave-safe dish like the M MCIRCO Glass Meal Prep Container or a container that is large enough to hold the chicken thighs comfortably. Make sure it has a lid to help retain moisture.
  2. Place the Chicken Thighs: Lay the chicken thighs flat in the container. For bone-in thighs, arrange them in a single layer to ensure even defrosting. For boneless thighs, you can stack them, but avoid overcrowding.

Choosing the right microwave settings

The key to safely defrosting chicken thighs in the microwave is using the right settings. High heat can partially cook the meat or create uneven thawing. Follow these steps for optimal results:

  1. Low heat settings: Always use low heat settings on your microwave. High heat can start cooking the outer layers of the chicken while leaving the inside frozen.
  2. Use the ‘defrost’ or ‘low power’ function: If your microwave has a ‘defrost’ or ‘low power’ function, use it. This setting provides a gentle and consistent level of heat for defrosting.
  3. Set the microwave: Set the microwave timer based on the weight of the chicken thighs. Refer to your microwave’s user manual for specific instructions. Generally, it takes 2-5 minutes per pound of chicken.

Defrosting Chicken Thighs Safely

As you defrost chicken thighs in the microwave, it’s crucial to follow a few safety precautions:

  1. Frequent Checks: Pause the microwave at regular intervals to check the progress. Avoid overcooking, which can result in partially cooked meat.
  2. Turn and Rearrange: If you notice some areas thawing faster than others, turn and rearrange the chicken thighs. This ensures even defrosting.
  3. Handling Partially Defrosted Pieces: If some parts of the chicken remain frozen after microwaving, carefully separate them from the thawed portions. Continue defrosting the remaining areas with shorter intervals.

Tips for safe microwave defrosting

For the best results, consider these tips when defrosting chicken thighs in the microwave:

  1. Maintaining Quality: While microwave defrosting is convenient, it can cause the chicken to lose some moisture. To retain quality, consider marinating the chicken before cooking.
  2. Cook Immediately: Once the chicken is thawed, cook it immediately. Avoid leaving it at room temperature for an extended period, as this can promote bacterial growth.
  3. Safe Storage: If you don’t plan to cook the chicken immediately after defrosting, store it in the refrigerator. Ensure it remains at a safe temperature to prevent spoilage.

Common mistakes  to avoid when defrosting chicken thighs in the microwave

When defrosting chicken thighs in the microwave, it’s important to be aware of common mistakes that can compromise food safety and quality. Here are some errors to avoid:

  • Leaving chicken out too long: Don’t leave chicken out at room temperature for extended periods before microwaving. Bacteria can multiply rapidly in the danger zone between 40°F (4°C) and 140°F (60°C).
  • Microwaving on high: High heat can lead to uneven defrosting and even partial cooking. Always use low heat settings for safe and effective thawing.
  • Using the wrong container: Ensure the container you use is microwave-safe. Avoid using metal or containers with metallic accents, as they can cause sparking in the microwave.
  • Neglecting the lid: Using a lid or microwave-safe cover like the Tovolo Vented Collapsible Medium Microwave Cover is crucial to trap moisture and prevent splattering. This helps maintain the chicken’s juiciness.
  • Microwaving for too long: Overcooking chicken can result in dry, tough meat. Frequent checks and gentle heat are key to preventing this.
  • Ignoring weight considerations: Thawing times in the microwave depend on the chicken’s weight. Be sure to weigh your chicken thighs using the Amazon Basics Digital Kitchen Scale
    and adjust the defrosting time accordingly.
  • Not rotating or rearranging: To ensure even thawing, periodically rotate and rearrange the chicken thighs in the container. Pay attention to any areas that may be defrosting faster than others.
  • Delaying cooking: Once the chicken is thawed, cook it immediately. Delaying cooking can allow bacteria to multiply. If you can’t cook it right away, store it in the refrigerator at or below 40°F (4°C).


Safely defrosting chicken thighs in the microwave is a convenient and time-saving method.

By following the steps mentioned above, you can ensure that your chicken is thawed properly and ready for your favorite recipes.

Always prioritize food safety to enjoy delicious and healthy meals.


Is it safe to defrost chicken thighs in the microwave?

Yes, it is safe as long as you follow proper guidelines, including low heat settings and regular checks.

How long does it take to defrost chicken thighs in the microwave?

The time varies based on weight, but it’s typically 2-5 minutes per pound.

Can I use the microwave to defrost chicken thighs with bones?

Yes, you can, but it might take a bit longer. Use a lower heat setting for bone-in thighs.

Should I cook the chicken immediately after microwaving it?

Yes, it’s crucial to cook the chicken right after defrosting it to avoid bacterial growth.

What should I do if some parts of the chicken remain frozen after microwaving?

Remove the thawed parts and continue defrosting the frozen sections with shorter intervals, ensuring even thawing.