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I bought marinated chicken breasts from the butcher and didn't realize I bought twice as many as I really wanted! Is it ok to freeze half of them?

The marinade is a garlic butter, so not acidic like a teriyaki. If the type of marinade affects the answer please let me know.

The breasts are still wrapped in plastic and then butcher paper, unopened since getting them home from the butcher, and have been kept in the fridge the entire time.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

You can absolutely freeze marinated meat - defrost in the refrigerator, and it will continue to marinate as it defrosts. I find that it usually takes about a day to defrost chicken breasts in the fridge.

The meat is more of a concern than the type of marinade when it comes to freezing. Most marinades should be fine to freeze. However, if you're starting off with meat that was frozen, you may not want to refreeze it. There are a couple reasons for this:

1) If the meat was frozen and NOT kept refrigerated (i.e., defrosted on the countertop or in the microwave), there's a chance that bacteria could start to grow in the meat, and freezing it again won't kill the bacteria. This isn't a problem if your meat is refrigerated and kept in an airtight container. The USDA has a quick guide on freezing, defrosting and refreezing here.

2) Texture may be affected if you refreeze meat. Most meat dries out a little in the process of freezing and defrosting, so doing this multiple times will probably affect the texture. When the ice crystals form in the meat, they burst cells, which then lose juice when the meat is defrosted. The result is often mushier, less juicy meat.

As a less scientific reason, the Food Network has recipes where they say you can freeze marinated chicken. Sometimes, if it's good enough for the Food Network, it's good enough for me... :)

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Yes, I have frozen marinated chicken breasts many times, and they always thaw and cook well. I would suggest letting them thaw in the fridge when it comes time to eat them (as opposed to thawing them in the microwave).

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Wegman's sells vacuum-sealed marinated chicken breasts and they freeze just fine. The fact that they are vacuum-sealed helps ensure that they don't lose flavor during the freezing and defrosting process.

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