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Can You Deep Fry Frozen Chicken: Is it Safe?

Can you deep fry frozen chicken? This is a question that a lot of us out there may have. This question may arise due to our busy lifestyles where we can forget to defrost our chicken or we simply don’t have the time.

It could also be a last-minute decision or request for your famous chicken wings from a family member or guest and the only chicken that’s available is frozen. Is it realistic to fry frozen chicken?

Though it’s possible, it is generally dangerous to deep fry a chicken. There are many associated risks that come with it. They range from the possibility of serious bodily harm to an actual fire hazard.

Many kitchens have been fire damaged and in worse case scenarios, burned down. There are, however, ways to deep fry frozen chicken and we will get into these a little later in this article.

What Happens When You Deep Fry Frozen Food?

To get an understanding of what happens when we deep fry frozen food, we need to get a general understanding of exactly what happens when hot, boiling oil meets frozen water molecules in the chicken.

If you remember chemistry in school, you will know that matter exists in different states and when you mix two extreme states of matter, there can be violent reactions.

Simply go on YouTube and search for what happens when you fry a frozen chicken/turkey. You will see many examples of how dangerous it can get when two extreme states of matter are introduced to each other.

The worst-case scenario is an actual explosion. In fact, firefighters have used this experiment to show the dangers of extremely hot oil mixing with frozen food or frozen liquids.

Some Safety Precautions

Oil has a higher boiling point than water and vegetable oil has a higher smoking point than other oils. The smoking point is the temperature at which the oil begins to give off smoke.

When you introduce frozen food into oil that is at the smoking point, there is a higher risk of fire. It is therefore important that you make sure that the temperature is controlled.

The temperature is supposed to range between 350 degrees Fahrenheit and 375 degrees Fahrenheit. This is hot enough to deep fry properly and under the smoking point so that you don’t run the risk of a fire.

Bear in that if you are using extra virgin olive oil you are treading a thin line as the smoking point is between 350 to 410 degrees.

Regular olive oil though has a smoking point of 390 to 468 degrees Fahrenheit. Sunflower oil, canola oil or grapeseed oil have much lower smoking points and are not ideal for deep frying and you need to stay away from these.

The idea is to deep fry your chicken within this safe zone to avoid any dangerous mishaps. If you keep within the recommended temperature range and use the recommended vegetable oil, there is no reason why you can’t deep fry frozen chicken.

How to Deep Fry Frozen Chicken

Now that we’ve looked at how deep frying works and understand the mechanics behind it all, let’s look at how you can safely deep fry frozen chicken.

The Restaurant Method Restaurants

frying frozen chicken

deep fry frozen food all the time and they use a special technique to make sure that its safe and that the chicken cooks right through.

The first step is to take your frozen chicken then deep fry in vegetable that is 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a large amount of chicken, the oil may bubble over.

In this case, dip the tray with the chicken into the oil for a few seconds and when the oil begins to bubble over, lift it out briefly until the oil settles then put the trey back in.

You may need to do this a couple of times until the oil stops bubbling over. Fry for 10 minutes then remove the tray and allow the chicken to cool down then fry for a further 5 minutes.

This way, the chicken can thaw in the middle and you’ll get a crisp outer crust.

Deep Frying Small portions

When you are deep frying small portions, just make sure to fill your pot or deep fryer halfway and keep the temperature at 350 degrees and you shouldn’t get any problems.

Deep Frying a Whole Frozen Chicken

Sometimes you want to deep fry a whole frozen chicken. This is a bit different to frying smaller portions because there are greater chances of the chicken not cooking all the way through.

In this case, you might need to steam the chicken first for about 20 to 25 minutes. If you have a cooking thermometer, the chicken needs to be at 175 degrees at the thickest part in this case, the breast.


Can you deep fry frozen chicken? The answer to that is yes, as long as you use vegetable oil at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and you stick to the safe cooking guidelines outlined in this post. Happy cooking!

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