To freeze chicken without freezer bags use glass or Pyrex containers, plastic containers or even freeze it the supermarket packaging. When freezing chicken without freezer bags, you will need to keep it airtight to avoid freezer burn. Label it with the date you have frozen the chicken and remember to thaw it safely.
Can I freeze chicken in its package?
According to the USDA, it is safe to freeze meat or poultry in its original packaging but depending on what it is wrapped in it may be permeable to air. It is suggested that for longer term storage you should wrap the package again.
If your chicken comes vacuum packed this is great, this has already had the air removed and will keep well. If the packaging looks torn, it is best to place it in another container, that is airtight. I very often place my chicken that is in a plastic container already straight in the freezer. This avoids wasting another bag or container.
How to prepare chicken breast for freezing
Chicken breast is great for so many family meals. You can keep it healthy by grilling them, you can barbecue, stir fry or add it to a curry. Here are some steps to follow to prepare your uncooked chicken breast for freezing.
Remember that chicken breast can carry salmonella so you need to handle it in your kitchen with care. Make sure you wash your hands well before and after touching raw chicken, always clean down benches after preparing raw chicken as well as knives, chopping boards or anything else that has touched raw chicken.
Don’t wash the chicken itself, if you do you could risk splashing water from the chicken into your kitchen that could contaminate other areas.
If you have bought your chicken breasts in bulk, you will need to separate these out to meal size portions to make it easier during the week.
Step 1: Make sure you have your container or bag ready. Vacuum sealed bags are great for this because they remove the air completely, but if you have the right size container you can safely pack chicken breasts in them with little to no air space. You could also pre-dice the chicken if you want to have it ready to use for a stir fry or casserole.
Step 2: Place the chicken in the glass or plastic container or vacuum bag, fill almost to the top. This will minimize the air space and reduce the chance of freezer burn.
How to freeze chicken breasts so they don’t stick together
The easiest way to freeze chicken breasts so they don’t stick together is to place a small amount of freezer paper between them. Freezer paper is freezer safe (as the name suggests) and will keep your chicken breasts from sticking.
How do you stop chicken from getting freezer burn?
The best way to avoid your chicken from getting freezer burn is to choose a tight sealing container with minimal room for air. If you are using a glass or plastic container, make sure you fill the chicken right up to (almost) the top to minimize the air contact. Freezer burn is cause by air contact and can affect the taste and look of the food. Make sure the lid is on tightly and the container and the lid aren’t cracked or damaged.
If you have a vacuum sealer, this will also help to avoid freezer burn as you remove all of the air before placing in the freezer.
How long will chicken last in the freezer?
The USDA recommends freezing chicken breast for up to 9 months for the best quality and flavor. Make sure your freezer is set to 0 degrees Fahrenheit or -18 degrees Celsius.
|Chicken Type||Time in Freezer|
|Whole chicken – Uncooked||12 Months|
|Chicken pieces – Uncooked||9 Months|
|Cooked chicken||4 Months|
|Chicken sausages – Uncooked||1-2 Months|
|Chicken sausages – Cooked||1-2 Months|
|Ground chicken||3-4 Months|
|Chicken nuggets or patties||1-3 Months|
How to freeze cooked chicken
You can freeze cooked chicken and you would follow the same steps as with raw chicken. The only difference is to make sure that you allow it time to cool before placing it in the freezer. The best way to do this safely is to place it in the fridge in the packaging you will freeze it in, before you place it in the freezer.
How to thaw chicken safely
The best way to thaw chicken is to take it out the freezer 1 day before you want to cook with it. Remove it and place it in the fridge in the packaging you froze it in. You may want to place a small plate under the container to catch any condensation. This will bring the temperature of your chicken to fridge temperature, which will keep it safely and it will be ready for you to cook with.
You can also thaw your chicken in the microwave on the de-frost setting. Most microwaves will let you choose the weight of the chicken you are de-frosting and pre-set the defrost time. I still recommend keeping an eye on it as I find that this time is more of a guide. You may need to defrost for slightly more or less time than pre-set on your microwave.
How to freeze chicken without plastic
The best way to freeze chicken without plastic is to use a glass container with a rubber lid. I use Pyrex but there are loads of brands that are great for this. Using glass means that the container won’t absorb any liquids, color or smells and will clean easily. Just remember for glass container, not to shock them with extreme temperature changes.
If you have put hot, cooked chicken into the container, cool it first. This can be done in the fridge, and then transferred to the freezer. Never place frozen glass containers straight into the oven or cook setting of the microwave.
Can you freeze cooked breaded chicken (or chicken nuggets)
You absolutely can! I do this all the time. If you have made breaded chicken yourself or you have bought it from a supermarket or butcher, this is great for freezing. I buy fresh chicken nuggets from my supermarket and place them straight in the freezer in their packaging.
If you have made yours at home, choose a glass, plastic container or vacuum sealed bag to remove the air and place them in the freezer. I always defrost mine in the fridge the day before so they cook quicker. This is great as I find that my hungry kids need feeding as quickly as possible.
Check out my previous article here on freezing in Pyrex: