quick answer how do you cook frozen chicken thighs on the stovetop

Quick Answer: How to Cook Frozen Chicken Thighs on the Stovetop

When it comes to quick, easy meal prep, few ingredients are as versatile as frozen chicken thighs. These small cuts of poultry can be cooked in a variety of ways, but one of the simplest and fastest is on the stovetop. Whether you’re whipping up a last-minute dinner or just trying to get ahead on meal prep for the week, cooking frozen chicken thighs on the stovetop is a great way to ensure you always have succulent, tender chicken ready for whatever recipe you have in mind.

In this article, we’ll take you through everything you need to know to cook frozen chicken thighs on the stovetop. From preparation and seasoning to cooking times and temperatures, we’ll give you all the tips and tricks you need to make sure your chicken comes out perfectly every time.

Preparing Your Frozen Chicken Thighs

Before you start cooking your frozen chicken thighs, there are a few key steps you should take to ensure that they come out as flavorful and tender as possible.

The first thing you should do is thaw your chicken overnight in the refrigerator. However, if you’re pressed for time or forgot to thaw your chicken ahead of time, don’t worry- cooking frozen chicken thighs is still possible.

Begin by taking your frozen chicken thighs out of their packaging and patting them dry with paper towels. This will help remove any excess moisture that may prevent browning during the cooking process.

Next, prepare a seasoning mix of your choice. You can use anything from simple salt and pepper to more complex spice blends depending on your preferences. Coat each piece of chicken thoroughly in this seasoning mix so that it’s evenly distributed across both sides.

Heating a Skillet or Pan

To cook frozen chicken thighs on the stovetop, you’ll need a skillet or pan large enough to accommodate all of your chicken thighs. Cast iron skillets are great for this because they conduct heat evenly and retain that heat well, but any skillet or pan that’s large enough will work.

Begin by heating your skillet or pan over medium-high heat, then add a drizzle of cooking oil once it’s hot. You want just enough oil to coat the bottom of the skillet but not so much that your chicken will be swimming in it.

Starting Your Cooking Process

Once your skillet or pan is hot and you’ve added the cooking oil, it’s time to start cooking your frozen chicken thighs.

Place each chicken thigh in the skillet or pan and sear it for 6-7 minutes on one side until it becomes golden brown. Once the first side is done, flip the chicken thigh over and repeat the process on the other side.

You should continue searing each side of the chicken until both sides have developed an even brown crust. The total cooking time will vary depending on the size, thickness, and starting temperature of your frozen chicken thighs. As a general rule, aim for eight to ten minutes of searing time per inch of thickness.

Achieving Safe Consumption Temperatures

When cooking any poultry product, it’s important to ensure that you reach safe consumption temperatures to avoid foodborne illness. Poultry must be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) to be considered safe for consumption.

To check whether your chicken thighs have reached this temperature, insert a meat thermometer into one of the thicker parts of the chicken. If it reads 165°F (74°C) or higher, you’re good to go.

Final Touches and Garnishes

Once your chicken thighs are fully cooked and safe to eat, it’s time to add any additional seasonings, herbs, or garnishes you’d like.

You can try adding a squeeze of lemon juice, some fresh herbs like parsley or basil, or even some hot sauce for a bit of extra kick. Be creative! The sky’s the limit when it comes to flavoring your chicken thighs.

A Note About Leftovers

Cooking a large batch of frozen chicken thighs on the stovetop can leave you with leftovers that need to be stored properly for safe consumption later on. To store cooked chicken safely, place it in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to four days or freeze for longer storage.

When reheating leftover chicken thighs, make sure to cook them to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) before eating. This can be done by microwaving on high heat for a few minutes or heating them in a skillet until they’re hot all the way through.

Additional Tips and Tricks

If you’re cooking a large batch of frozen chicken thighs, make sure you’re using a skillet or pan that’s big enough to accommodate all of them without crowding. This will ensure that each piece is able to brown evenly, resulting in more flavorful and succulent chicken overall.

You can save time during the cooking process by using a larger pan and searing your chicken in batches rather than cooking them all at once. Just be sure not to overcook them in the process!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best way to thaw out frozen chicken?
The best way to thaw frozen chicken is overnight in the refrigerator. If you’re pressed for time, you can also use the defrost function on your microwave or run cool water over the chicken until it’s thawed.

How long does it take to cook frozen chicken thighs on the stove?
The total cooking time for frozen chicken thighs on the stovetop will depend on a variety of factors, including the thickness of the meat and the starting temperature of your stove. As a general rule, aim for between 8-10 minutes of searing time per inch of thickness.

Can I cook other types of meat from frozen?
While cooking poultry and other meats from frozen is possible, it’s generally not recommended due to food safety concerns. It’s always best to thaw your meat thoroughly before starting the cooking process whenever possible.


With these simple steps, cooking frozen chicken thighs on the stovetop can be an easy and delicious way to get a hot meal on the table in no time. By focusing on preparation, heating your skillet or pan correctly, and cooking your chicken thoroughly, you’ll be able to create perfectly tender and flavorful chicken every time. Whether you’re looking to feed a family or just stock up your freezer with easy meals, frozen chicken thighs are a versatile and practical ingredient that no home chef should be without!

FAQ 1. Can I cook frozen chicken thighs on the stovetop?

Absolutely! You can cook frozen chicken thighs on the stovetop without defrosting them first. It may take a little longer than cooking thawed chicken, but it’s still a great option if you’re short on time.

FAQ 2. How long do I cook frozen chicken thighs on the stovetop?

Depending on the size and thickness of your chicken thighs, you should cook them for at least 25-30 minutes on low to medium heat. You can also use a meat thermometer to make sure they are fully cooked.

FAQ 3. What temperature should the stovetop be set to when cooking frozen chicken thighs?

Keep the stovetop at a medium-low heat setting when cooking frozen chicken thighs. If the heat is too high, there is a risk of burning the outside while the inside stays raw.

FAQ 4. Can I add seasonings or sauces to my frozen chicken thighs while they are cooking?

Yes, you can definitely add seasonings and sauces to your frozen chicken thighs while they are cooking. Just make sure to keep an eye on the heat so that your seasonings and sauces don’t burn. And remember, always use a meat thermometer to ensure your chicken is fully cooked before serving.

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