Plain chicken can be tasty if you use the right condiments, but marinated chicken is a whole other level of flavor. But, can you freeze marinated chicken so you can use it later?
Marinating chicken gives it a lot more flavor as it absorbs the spices you’re putting on it, while the meat becomes more tender.
Can You Freeze Marinated Chicken?
When you’re marinating chicken, you know that it’s best to allow it a few hours to absorb the spices. However, when you want to make a bunch of it in advance, you may want to send it to the freezer after an hour or two. One of our readers sent us a message about this very issue:
I’m hosting a big dinner party in a few weeks, and I’m trying to get as much advance prep done as I can. I work long hours and don’t want to spend hours preparing food the day of the party.
I’ve already made and frozen a few casseroles, but I’m debating about what to do with the chicken. I’m making marinated chicken and would like to prepare it ahead of time and then freeze the chicken, then bake it the day of the party.
I’m afraid that freezing the chicken will dry it out too much. Can you freeze marinated chicken?
If you’re starting with fresh, chilled marinated chicken breasts that have not been previously frozen, the answer is yes.
Freezing meat dries it out somewhat, but freezing marinated meat will help seal in moisture and flavor. It’s a great way to prepare meals in advance by doing all the hard work ahead of time and then simply placing the chicken in the oven when ready to eat.
How to Freeze Marinated Chicken?
To freeze marinated chicken, start with the freshest chicken you can find.
- Ensure that it has been kept refrigerated, and preferably has not been previously frozen.
- Add the marinade to the chicken according to your favorite recipe, and allow the meat to marinate for the required amount of time.
Keep in mind that marinades that contain milk or dairy will have a tendency to separate when frozen, so it may be best to freeze marinades that don’t contain dairy products.
- To freeze, place a freezer bag in a large bowl and fold the edges over the side. Using tongs, place chicken into the freezer bag.
- Pour in the marinade. Then, pull the freezer bag off the sides of the bowl.
- Squeeze out the excess air, then seal and label the bag.
- Lay the bag on its side and smooth out the chicken so that it freezes in its original shape.
- Frozen marinated chicken should be used within four months of freezing for best results.
How to Keep Marinated Chicken for Longer?
If you want to make sure that your marinated chicken will keep in the freezer for longer and that the flavor remains intact, you’ll want to use a vacuum sealer. These appliances take out all the air in the bag and then give it a perfect seal.
Our recommendation is to go for the FoodSaver V4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer Machine, but we do have a full list of great vacuum sealers you can get. The FoodSaver works with freezer bags and containers of various sizes so you can put away individual servings or bigger dishes.
How to Thaw Marinated Chicken?
When you want to use your marinated chicken, you need to thaw it out.
- To thaw frozen marinated chicken, remove the chicken from the freezer and allow to thaw in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
- Once the chicken is thawed, pour it out of the freezer bag and into a casserole dish and cook according to the recipe.
- If the chicken is not thawed completely, allow for some additional cooking time.
- It is not recommended to refreeze marinated chicken that has been previously frozen.
How to Marinate Chicken?
Marinating chicken isn’t necessarily an exact science, but there are quite a few options out there. We’re going to ignore the marinara recipes that feature any kind of dairy as those don’t do so well in the freezer.
Here’s a marinara recipe we love:
- olive oil
- lemon juice
- soy sauce
- vinegar (preferably balsamic)
- dry herbs
- chilly sauce
You’re going to want to stir them all together, to poke the chicken breasts with a fork, and to place in a large Ziploc bag.
How Long to Marinate Chicken?
When it comes to marinating chicken, you want to make sure that the meat is thoroughly infused with all the flavors so you’ll want to allow the meat to marinate for at least 30 minutes. If you have the time, however, prepare the marinara and mix in the chicken with 5-6 hours to spare.
How to Cook Marinated Chicken?
Now that your chicken is thoroughly marinated, you can go ahead and cook it. You can do this on the grill, in the oven, or in a pan on the stove. It’s really all up to you.
If you want the meat to be a bit juicier, you may want to bake the chicken with aluminum foil covering the baking tray.
You can also place the marinated chicken on the open fire grill, the electric grill, or a grill pan. Also, if you’d rather cut up the meat in pieces and mix in some veggies, you can also enjoy a great meal by cooking it all in a pan.