How Long Does It Take to Thaw a Cornish Hen?

Have you found a delicious Cornish hen recipe but you have a frozen solid hen? Maybe you’re wondering how to quickly thaw out the hen so you can start cooking it. There are a few options for thawing out raw meat, so you can choose the best option for you.

In total, you have three options for safely defrosting your raw Cornish hen. You can use the refrigerator, the microwave, or the cold water method. Depending on which method you choose, it could take anywhere from 15 minutes to 8 hours to thaw Cornish hen.

The refrigerator method is undoubtedly the best one to choose if you have the time. However, if you’re in more of a rush you can use the cold water method. Only use the microwave option if you’re in a desperate pinch, as it isn’t the most ideal choice.

Thawing a Cornish Hen in the Refrigerator

Undoubtedly, the best way to defrost meat, in general, is in the refrigerator. You just have to remember to place your Cornish hen into the fridge the night before. By the next day, you’ll be able to cook your hen in whatever recipe you’ve chosen.

  1. Remove the frozen Cornish hen from the freezer.
  2. Place it into the refrigerator, in its original sealed packaging.
  3. Depending on the size, wait 8-12 hours for it to fully thaw.
  4. Remove from the fridge once it’s completely thawed and cook as desired.
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This is the easiest method for thawing your frozen Cornish hen. You simply have to move it from one place to another and have a bit of patience. There is very little active work on your part, making this a solid option.

Thawing meat in this manner is the safest way to do so, as it never reaches an unsafe temperature. The only downside is the amount of time it can take, which can be up to 12 hours.

Thawing a Cornish Hen with Cold Water

If you’re a bit shorter on time, you can use the cool water method. This requires more active work on your part but you could have your hen defrosted in significantly less time. You will need 30 minutes to an hour for this method.

  1. Remove your Cornish hen from the freezer.
  2. Place the frozen hen into a tightly sealed ziplock bag.
  3. Fill up a large bowl with cold water and submerge the frozen Cornish hen.
  4. Change the water every 15-20 minutes.
  5. Remove the thawed Cornish hen, dry off the bag, and cook or refrigerate immediately.

You want to ensure you’re changing the water frequently, so it never gets warm or room temperature. This could cause the hen to become dangerous to eat, as bacteria would have had a chance to infiltrate.

Once you have your Cornish hen thawed, you can either begin cooking it right away or you can store it. It will last in the fridge for 1-2 days. However, if you have that much time to wait, you may as well defrost it using the first method.

Thawing a Cornish Hen in the Microwave

This is not the ideal way to defrost a Cornish hen or any meat. However, if you don’t have enough time to defrost your frozen hen using the water method, this is another option. Microwaving a frozen Cornish hen can lead to uneven thawing and you may even begin to cook the outer layer.

  1. Remove your Cornish hen from the freezer and remove any plastic wrapping.
  2. Place the frozen hen on a microwave-safe plate.
  3. If your microwave has a defrost setting, use it. If not, use the low power setting.
  4. Microwave for 8-10 minutes per pound.
  5. Check the hen frequently (every 2-3 minutes) to ensure the hen isn’t beginning to cook.
  6. Remove the hen from the microwave and begin to cook it immediately.
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For this method, you don’t want to refrigerate the Cornish hen once it’s been defrosted. You’ll want to begin cooking your recipe immediately. You may find that the outer layer of the hen has cooked just a bit and this may affect the texture.

Can You Cook Cornish Hens from Frozen?

It’s not generally recommended to cook a frozen bird without defrosting it first. If you placed a frozen Cornish hen directly into the oven, the outer section will cook before the middle is thawed. This creates an unsatisfactory texture and can lead to the meat being tough.

It’s best to choose a method for thawing the Cornish hen before you begin cooking. Luckily, there should be one of the three choices that appeal to you. They all fit into different time frames, depending on what you have available.

It’s best to plan a bit and give yourself time to defrost your frozen hen in the fridge overnight. This will be the easiest choice for you and will result in the best texture and quality of the meat.

How Long Do Frozen Cornish Hens Last?

If you have some frozen Cornish hens stored in your freezer, you may be wondering how long they can last. They can be stored in the freezer anywhere from 6-9 months. After this point, they will likely still be fine but you’ll want to examine them as a safety measure.

Buying Cornish hens and meat in general in bulk is usually the more cost-effective choice. Luckily, you’ll have many months to use them and you can defrost them with ease.

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In Conclusion

You can roast your Cornish hen in the oven or you can even smoke it if you own a smoker. There are many ways to enjoy this delicious meat and you have a wide variety of recipes to choose from. It’s smart to keep a couple of frozen Cornish hens in your freezer for a weeknight dinner.

You can thaw out your frozen Cornish hens using the overnight refrigerator method, which is the best choice. However, you can use cold water or even the microwave method if you are short on time. Sometimes, you need dinner on the table ASAP and you need a quick defrosting method.