I've previously browned chicken in the pan before freezing it for use at a later date but recently a thought has occurred to me to prepare it 'white', freeze and then brown it when using it defrosted later. Is this a better approach and can it be done with other meats just as well?

To clarify, nothing is especially wrong with the chicken I prepare just now using the above method but if anyone else has experience with similar, have you noticed a better flavor from browning after thawing rather than before?

  • 4
    Why are you browning it first? What purpose is it supposed to serve? I've never heard of anyone doing this in the past.
    – Catija
    Mar 11, 2016 at 11:27
  • It is often beneficial to sear frozen meat (steaks for example), prior to sous vide cooking. This limits the potential for overcooking in a low-temp scenario. One could sear and freeze...nothing wrong from a health perspective, ...but, as Catija mentions, what's the point?
    – moscafj
    Mar 11, 2016 at 11:39
  • in re-reading...when you say "prepare it white" do you mean completely cook the chicken, freeze, later thaw, then brown?
    – moscafj
    Mar 11, 2016 at 13:40
  • @moscafj yes, that's what I mean Mar 11, 2016 at 13:50
  • 3
    We can provide a more useful answer if you explain what you mean by "better". What is disappointing you with your current approach, or what are your concerns? What are you trying to achieve by changing your method? Why have you been doing this in the first place, and what is your end goal?
    – logophobe
    Mar 11, 2016 at 15:42

1 Answer 1


This all depends on your cooking and storing procedures. Here is a scenario where it would work, with a chicken breast as an example: Bring home your fresh, unfrozen chicken breast, give it a one minute or less sear in a very hot pan, package in vacuum bag with or without herbs or seasonings (but no salt), cook sous vide, chill, freeze. When ready to use, remove from freezer and reheat in water bath, remove from bag, sear for crust formation, final seasoning...hey presto! Dinner.

Here are the issues I see:

  1. You brown for flavor and texture. Texture is lost if you don't brown right before serving.
  2. Freezer burn is always a risk, but can be mitigated by the removal of air from packaging, thus vacuum packaging.
  3. All freezers go through freeze thaw cycles, texture degradation is also likely, whether this happens more readily with cooked vs raw food, I do not know.
  4. The flavor will likely not be aided through this process, so I assume you are suggesting it for convenience.

You'll have to decide for yourself, but it could be worth it (weighing the quality pros and cons) to cook a lot of proteins when you have time and re-therm later when you want to eat. It depends on your own workflow.


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