• The safest way to thaw chicken is in the refrigerator. If the chicken is still in the styrofoam tray allow 12-15 hours/lb (26-33 hours/kg). Otherwise plan on about 5 hours/lb (10 hours/kg).
  • Chicken defrosted in the microwave should be cooked immediately. When defrosting ground chicken in the microwave, remove the outside portions as they thaw. This keeps the outside from starting to cook before the inside thaws.


  • DO NOT rinse chicken before cooking it. Rinsing does not make chicken safer to eat – only cooking can do that. Rinsing does send tiny droplets of chicken juice all over your sink and surrounding surfaces. Now you have to take the time to properly clean and sanitize the sink and counter to avoid contaminating other foods. This is a lot of extra work for no real benefit.chicken_germspsa
  • Thoroughly wash hands before, during and after handling chicken. Use warm water and soap and wash for at least 20 seconds (long enough to sing the “Happy Birthday” song).
  • Wash utensils, cutting boards and work surfaces in the dishwasher, or by hand with hot water and soap, after working with raw chicken.
  • Sanitize counters, cutting boards and utensils with a mild bleach solution after washing. In a labelled spray, bottle mix 1 tsp (5 ml) bleach with 3 cups (750 ml) of water. Spray items and let them air dry.


  • Keep raw chicken separate from other foods on the counter and in the fridge.
  • Have a dedicated cutting board for meat & poultry. Use a different cutting board for fruits & vegetables and breads.
  • Always put cooked chicken on a clean plate.
  • If you want to use a marinade for basting or as a sauce, set aside some of the marinade before you pour the rest over the chicken. Use the saved marinade for basting or dipping.
  • Throw out marinade that’s been in contact with raw chicken.
  • Throw out dry rub that’s been in contact with raw chicken.