Can I Thaw Chicken At Room Temperature?

All raw meat, fish, and poultry are contaminated with bacteria.  The bacteria does not multiply in the frozen state and may even decrease somewhat in population due to the freezing temperature destroying the bacteria. 

However, during the thawing process – existing bacteria that is present before freezing can start to multiply at the rate of  the temperature increase. Bacteria starts to multiply at 23 degrees farenheit.

Scientific study on thawing poultry


In a scientific study –  chickens were inoculated with ‘Salmonella hadar’.  This was to monitor the effects of various thawing methods.  The test concluded that that there was a slight decrease in the population of Salmonella hadar-inoculated frozen chicken thawed in a refridgerator – compared with those which had been defrosted at room temperature.


Although there is only slight differences in the growth of bacteria. It is safer to defrost all fresh fish, poultry and meat in a refridgerator.


Refridgerator Method

  1. Ensure that the frozen meat for thawing cannot cross-intaminate other food in the fridge
  2. Cover the frozen food loosely and place on the bottom of fridge (if possible) to avoid leakage onto other food

Microwave Method

  1. Ensure that you follow the manufactures label correctly and avoid partially cooking the thawing food

Cold Water Method

  1. Ensure that the sink or container you are using is clean
  2. If the food for thawing is bubble-wrapped by the manufacture leave it on
  3. Immerse the frozen food in cold water
  4. Ensure that the water is kept at a cold temperature – i.e empty and top-up as necessary
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