Can I Refreeze Marinated Chicken Breasts?

People used to only cook outside in the summertime, but now they cook outside year-round. Barbequing or smoking marinated chicken is a much-loved dish in America. However, after an exhausting day, we may sometimes choose to buy take-out on the way home instead of cooking. In this case, can you refreeze the marinated chicken breasts you took out that morning to defrost?

If you defrosted chicken in the fridge, below 41°F or 5°C for less than 48 hours, you can refreeze it. But keep in mind that the quality will be not good. Do not refreeze marinated chicken that has reached room temperature.

can I refreeze marinated chicken breasts

Don’t freeze defrosted marinated chicken. It will be bad when it comes back out of the freezer.

Defrosting and refreezing meat, especially chicken, can have bad effects. So, we will give you the do’s and don’ts of refreezing your marinated chicken!

Guidelines For Refreezing Marinated Chicken Breasts

Marinated chicken breasts are an extremely popular dish as it is high in protein and easy to cook on a BBQ or in a smoker. Using a marinade tenderizes the meat and adds more flavor to the chicken. 

However, the marinade does not fully penetrate the meat and often only serves as a coating.

A marinade containing sugar or salt as an ingredient will add tenderness to your chicken. In contrast, an acidic marinade containing vinegar, yogurt, lemon, or Soy sauce, will change the texture of meat if it is left in the marinade for more than six hours.

If you need to refreeze your defrosted marinated chicken breast, use an airtight bag or a shallow container. 

Vacuum sealing your meat is best because the air around the meat can cause frostbite, which affects its taste, color, and texture.

You can prevent your meat from being affected by freezing the chicken as quickly as possible. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that raw chicken that has been defrosted in a refrigerator can only be kept for two days before refreezing. 

Do not keep cooked marinated chicken in the fridge for longer than four days. When refreezing your marinated chicken breasts, ensure that your freezer is set to 0°F or -17,77°C. Keeping it frozen at these suggested temperatures will help retain quality and freshness and prevent spoilage. 

Raw frozen chicken can be kept in the freezer for nine months and cooked frozen chicken for two to three months.

Safe Ways To Defrost Marinated Chicken Breast

You can refreeze marinated chicken breast; however, it depends on what defrosting method you used to begin with. Several defrosting methods are safe to use when defrosting marinated chicken breast.

  • Refrigeration: This is the safest method of defrosting chicken breasts. Make sure the internal temperature of your refrigerator is set below 41° F or 5°C. This method makes it safe to refreeze your marinated chicken breast while still raw.
  • Coldwater: Place your marinated chicken breasts in a waterproof bag and submerge them in cold water. Drain and change the water every thirty minutes until the chicken breasts are completely defrosted. The chicken breasts cannot be refrozen when you use this method unless cooked thoroughly.
  • Microwave: In a microwave-safe dish, thaw your marinated chicken breast according to the specifications given in your microwave instruction manual. When you use the microwave method for defrosting your chicken, you cannot refreeze the chicken breasts unless cooked thoroughly.

What Happens When You Defrost And Then Refreeze Chicken?

Defrosting marinated chicken breasts on a countertop is not recommended. Temperatures below 41°F or 5°C create the perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria. If the bacteria in chicken, known as Salmonella, has spread and the chicken is cooked and ingested, you could become ill. Salmonella causes food poisoning, leading to severe illness, hospitalization, or death.

Symptoms of food poisoning include:

  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

All foods contain a percentage of water as well as bacteria. Therefore, when the chicken is frozen, it stops the growth and spreading of bacteria. 

As soon as the chicken thaws, the bacteria start to spread. However, the spread of Salmonella is significantly slower when defrosting the chicken in the refrigerator.  

The only time it is safe for chicken breasts to be put back into the freezer is when it has been thawed in the fridge. Although bacteria still spreads during this process. It will be less likely if you follow the temperature and timeframe guidelines. 

You can then put the marinated chicken breast back into the freezer to refreeze.

How To Tell If Your Chicken Has Gone Bad

If you have correctly defrosted your marinated chicken breast and have some leftovers, you would need to refreeze it in the freezer as soon as possible to avoid spoilage. Here are some signs that may help you check if your chicken has gone bad.

  • The first noticeable sign will be the smell of the chicken. Bear in mind that the marinade also smells. It should be easy to distinguish between the smell of the marinade and rotten meat. Chicken that has gone bad has a specific acidic smell that resembles ammonia.
  • You will also be able to tell if your chicken has gone bad based on its texture and color. The marinade might make it hard to tell if the chicken is bad. Use your finger and rub the marinade off. If there are grey-green spots or shades, discard the bad chicken.
  • While rubbing the marinated chicken breast with your hand, you might notice a slimy texture. The slime is a clear indication of rotten meat. Do not rinse the slime from the meat because this will only aggravate the bacteria and cause it to spread. Please dispose of the meat appropriately as it is not safe for consumption.

It is essential to mention that chicken contaminated with sufficient Salmonella to cause symptoms may not be detectable by rotting or off-smell to the meat. 

If you suspect or doubt the safety of the meat, it would be best to discard it.

If you are unsure how long the marinated chicken has been defrosted, instead, don’t take the chance.

Final Word

If you believe you may have to refreeze your chicken, it is essential to defrost it in your refrigerator and not on a countertop at room temperature as this may cause the growth and spread of bacteria.  

You can freeze chicken breasts that have been defrosted in the refrigerator. Just put it back in the freezer within two days after defrosting.

If the refrozen chicken is raw, it may last another nine months, and if cooked, it may last for another two to three months.

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