How Does Microwave Defrost Work?

Last Updated on February 26, 2023 by Mosabbir

What Is Microwave Defrosting?

Defrosting food items can be time-taking, but fortunately, a microwave can help you get it done quickly.

A microwave can thaw frozen foods without cooking them. So, you can use this appliance to defrost chicken, meat, vegetables and ready to cook meals.

The microwave defrosts your eatables at low temperatures, which prevents their cooking from outside.

Thawing food items at room temperature is not safe because it can grow bacteria in them. So, you will feel sick after consuming something defrosted without using a microwave or any other safe method.

Microwave with defrost setting

Some of the convection, grill and solo microwaves are available with a defrost function.

When you use this feature, the appliance automatically starts working on low power, around 30 to 50 per cent of its full strength.

In such settings, electromagnetic radiations pass through the food items to defrost them instead of cooking their external layers.

Press the defrost button to use this feature.

However, weigh the eatables before putting them inside your microwave. The appliance needs to know the weight of any items it’s going to defrost.

Microwave Weight Defrost Meaning

Generally, basic microwaves have a defrost by weight button. This function involves pre-programmed settings typically for different types of eatables, including fish, poultry and fish.

Check the user’s manual to find the proper process to defrost because it can be confusing for new users.

For example, a whole chicken needs more defrosting time than its pieces. Both of the items belong to poultry. Still, the time varies.

Also read: Best Combination Microwave With Grill in UK

Microwaves without defrost button

If you cannot find a defrost button on the microwave, use the microwave mode to thaw the frozen foods. Set your microwave at its 30, 40 or 50 per cent power and start the defrosting process. Most of the meats take around 8 to 10 minutes to defrost.

The given time is only 0.5 kg (1 pound). So, if you want to thaw 0.5 kilograms of chicken, set the microwave at 8 minutes. Do not leave the meat or fish unattended. Stop the microwave after a minute or two to flip its cut pieces.

After Defrosting in Microwave

Do not leave the defrosted food items in the microwave. Instead, it will be best if you start cooking them. For instance, if you have defrosted chicken, it’s not good to leave it idle.

You can use the microwave, stovetop or oven for cooking it. You can put the chicken back in the freezer, but only after cooking it. Remove all the packing from any of the eating materials before putting them inside a microwave.

Other Methods of Defrosting

Refrigerator Thawing: Another safe method to defrost your food items is to put them inside a refrigerator. Plan early because large frozen materials like a turkey require 24 hours for every 2.25 kg (5 pounds).

You can refreeze the food items thawed in a refrigerator without cooking them. However, we don’t recommend it because you will find some loss in quality.

Cold Water Thawing: To defrost the food items faster, you can put their package in cold water for a few minutes.

Make sure that the food item is packed in seal proof plastic. If there is a leak, bacteria can infect the eatables.

Keep in mind that meat or chicken can absorb water as well. These are the reasons why the food items should be packed in leak-free plastic.

Cooking without defrosting

If there is not enough time or you are in a hurry, you can cook the eatables without thawing them.

However, the cooking time might increase up to 50 per cent than it takes to prepare defrosted chicken or meat. Don’t worry; it’s safe.


Is microwave defrosting bad?

Microwave defrosting is not bad because it kills most of the bacteria. Instead, it’s safer than other defrosting methods. But, putting defrosted food items back in the refrigerator or freezer is not recommended in any situation.

Does defrosting meat in the microwave ruin it?

No, the microwave will not ruin your meat if you follow the instruction given in its user’s manual.

Can you defrost chicken in the microwave in plastic?

Do not put the chicken in the microwave in plastic. Apart from plastic, it will be best if you don’t use aluminium foil, newspaper or grocery bags with the chicken.

Can you fry chicken from frozen?

Yes, you can fry frozen chicken. But, it’s not recommended because the frying time will increase by up to 50 per cent to cook the chicken properly.

Also read: Best Microwave Oven for Campervan


As you can see, your microwave is the best appliance to defrost. Plus, it’s safe. Check the instructions to follow the correct procedure. Once the machine is done with the process, start cooking the items.

Some of the fruits or vegetables may lose their colour or some vitamins if you defrost them. Frozen herbs can shed a lot of their flavour if you defrost them first and then add them to a dish. So, we suggest you should try and consume these food items without freezing them.