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Can You Refreeze Thawed Chicken?

Question:  If frozen chicken has been thawed and you find you don’t need it, is it okay to refreeze it?

Answer:  It’s fine to refreeze the chicken as long as it was thawed in the refrigerator and kept there for no more than two days. If that is the case, you can put the chicken back into the freezer and it will still be safe to eat, as per the United States Department of Agriculture. 

  • Keep in mind that thawing and refreezing any food will take a toll on its quality. You may see some changes in texture and taste after the second thaw. 
  • If you thaw the chicken in the microwave or in cold water, you should cook it immediately before freezing as per the USDA. That is because with either method of thawing, the chicken could have temporarily warmed up to a temperature higher than 40ºF. At that point, harmful bacteria can begin to multiply and only further cooking will destroy it: simply refreezing the chicken won’t do the trick. 
  • Finally, if you thaw the chicken on the counter or in hot water, you shouldn’t eat it at all. The USDA cautions that it’s dangerous to eat any meat or poultry that’s been thawed under those two methods, as the outer layer of the food would have been allowed to sit between the bacteria-breeding temperatures of 40º F and 140º F for far too long to be safe.