How to Thaw a Cornish Hen

Cornish hens are popular sources of protein that are almost always available in local supermarkets, but really begin to make their appearance on the shelves around the holiday months. As a great alternative to a larger turkey, cornish hens can be found at great prices during the winter season. 

When you spot a good deal on cornish hens, grab a few to freeze and thaw them in the fridge at a later time. You can also thaw a cornish hen in a water bath if it is sealed properly. 

It is relatively easy to thaw a cornish hen with proper planning, but this is not a task you should try to do quickly. It can take time to slowly thaw a cornish hen in the refrigerator to preserve its freshness. 

Steps for Thawing a Cornish Hen

There are really only two methods of thawing a cornish hen that should be considered as safe and effective. You can use your refrigerator to your advantage for this task or you can use your sink and cold water to thaw your cornish hen. Either method works well. The difference is the time it takes to complete each method. 

Defrosting in a Refrigerator

When you have plenty of time to plan out thawing a cornish hen, the best method to use is defrosting in the refrigerator, which is also used for defrosting turkeys and chicken thighs. By keeping the cornish hen at a cool temperature for a long period of time, you minimize the risk of bacteria growth. Follow these steps to defrost a cornish hen in the fridge:

  1. Remove the cornish hen from the freezer.
  2. Place it in a dish in the fridge. 
  3. Let it thaw for 24 hours. 
  4. Check for thawing and leave it longer, if necessary. 
  5. Pull the bird out after completely thawing and cook. 
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Quick-Thaw in a Water Bath

Another safe method of thawing a cornish hen consists of using cold water in a bowl or in a sink. Often known as a quick-thaw method, this process isn’t that quick at all. However, it does take less time than thawing a cornish hen in the fridge. 

  1. Submerge a frozen cornish hen in a bowl of cold water. 
  2. Change out water every 30 minutes to prevent it from getting too warm. 
  3. Check packing for any rips or tears that may allow water in. 
  4. Soak the cornish hen for 1 ½ to 2 hours total.
  5. Once completely thawed, cook immediately thereafter. 

Tips for Thawing a Cornish Hen

Thawing a cornish hen is not a difficult task, and it can be a great way to safely reheat a protein for your family’s dinner. The main thing you have to keep in mind is that you don’t want your cornish hen to get too hot too fast. In fact, thawing your cornish hen low and slow is the key. 

If you use warm water in a bath or set your cornish hen out on the counter you run the risk of the outside becoming too hot while the inside is still frozen. This creates the perfect environment for harmful bacteria to grow