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I buy chicken breasts already frozen from my local supermarket. I want to let them defrost naturally (IE leave the breasts out until thawed at room temperate) and then cook them in a fruit sauce. At this point, I want to refreeze it.

This will then allow me to defrost the now frozen cooked and flavored meat over night and use them cold in sandwiches the following day.

I can't find anything to advise if this is or isn't safe?

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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The issue here is not the refreezing after cooking, but rather the method of initial thawing.

Thawing methods should ensure that food does not enter and stay in the danger zone (40 F - 140 F, 40 C) for any longer than absolutely necessary, and certainly not for time measured in hours. Doing so risks the growth of pathogens and resultant foodborn illness.

Thawing foods by leaving them out at room temperature—especially, for example, while you go to work—is not a good idea for a couple of reasons. The food on the outside may be too warm before the center is thawed; and if not monitored, there is no way to know when it about to enter unsafe temperatures.

The recommended methods of thawing are:

  • In the refrigerator
  • As part of the cooking process
  • Under flowing cool water
  • In the microwave

One or more of these may be appropriate depending on the food item and how it will be prepared.

You should use one of these methods to thaw your chicken.


Assuming that food has been treated safely throughout its lifetime including during thawing, there is no safety reason why it cannot be refrozen. This may reduce quality and affect texture, but it is not a safety issue.l

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What a fantastic answer! This has helped me find other answers (with minimal research effort) as well which has given me a great understanding. Thank you for taking the time, this is truly excellent. Although I'm surprised microwave is on there as I would have thought that could cook the outside before the middle. –  Dave Rook Jul 2 '13 at 12:53
    
Thank you. All cooking methods cook from the outside in--microwaves only penetrate a centimeter or two at most. The issue is the rapidity. And it is not suitable for all foods, although I didn't go into those issues here. –  SAJ14SAJ Jul 2 '13 at 13:15
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