Grilling Frozen Chicken Thighs To Perfection- The Absolute Best Method!

Were you planning on grilling some chicken but forgot to thaw it? We’re only humans; with all due honesty, anyone can forget. Regardless, with our proposed absolute best method for grilling frozen chicken thighs to perfection, you can not thaw the chicken and still attain an ideally cooked, delectable chicken. 

Though there is no harm in grilling frozen chicken, per the general rule, you will have to cook the chicken at a 20% reduced temperature than the standard, and the grilling will take 50% longer. 

This ensures that the chicken is cooked evenly and properly from the inside and the outside. It does not remain uncooked internally or burnt from the outside through exposure to high temperatures. So, let’s explore the best method for grilling frozen chicken thighs to perfection under a time constraint! 

Grilling Frozen Chicken Thighs To Perfection

Agreeably, it is true and an established fact that marinating or dry brining the chicken makes it taste even better. Still, you can get decent results grilling frozen chicken thighs, but at all costs, you must look out for the most considerable risk- uneven cooking. 

Undercooked chicken is appetizing, but more importantly, it increases the risk of food poisoning. Even if a small proportion of the chicken is inadequately cooked, it can be downright dangerous as the raw meat may contain food-borne bacteria or salmonella that may upset your digestive system. 

With such amplified digestive risks, it is not surprising that people are apprehensive to fire the grill to grill their frozen chicken. Rest assured, our proposed method is promising and will result in you grilling frozen chicken thighs to perfection!

Absolute Best Method 

For frozen chicken, thawing it on the grill is the last resort that you can seek in such an urgency. If you can be precise about abiding with our method for grilling frozen chicken thighs to perfection, you can place the chicken on the grill.


Nevertheless, you would have to be cautious and, in the beginning, at least, cook the chicken on an indirect and low heat to make sure the heat completely penetrates the internals of the chicken thigh and it starts thawing. 

Once you are certain that the chicken thighs have thawed, you can immediately progress to grilling for the remaining time on direct heat.

Step 1: Pre-Heating The Grill

Placing frozen chicken on a cold, unheated grill will only work to your own detriment. Therefore, it is necessary that before the frozen chicken is placed on the grill, the temperature is lowered by 20%.

Supposedly, if you typically grill raw chicken at 350 Fahrenheit, then in the case of frozen chicken, for 10 minutes, pre-heat the grill at 280 Fahrenheit. 

Step 2: Drying Chicken 

With the frozen chicken thawing on the grill, you will eventually start to notice an excess amount of moisture on the chicken’s surface, and it is only natural because now the chicken is melting.

This unnecessary moisture can result in flare-ups, so to avoid such a situation, we recommend that you pat dry the chicken. You can do so with any method that is well-suited to you, such as a paper towel. 

Step 3: Marinating Chicken

Next, with your favorite seasonings and sauces, and with a little oil, season the meat in the flavor you desire. Marinating chicken is an essential step in many recipes, as it infuses the meat with flavors and tenderizes it. To start, select your seasonings and sauces based on the cuisine or recipe you are following. Common seasonings include salt, pepper, garlic powder, and herbs like rosemary.

Mix your chosen seasonings and sauces with a bit of oil, which helps to evenly coat the chicken and allows the flavors to penetrate deeply. Olive oil is a popular choice due to its flavor and health benefits, but other oils like canola or vegetable oil can also be used.

then your marinade is ready, after that you can place the chicken in a bowl or resealable plastic bag for further process.

Step 4: Grill On Direct Heat

At this point, the frozen chicken has been, to a significant extent, thawed and marinated. Placing it over direct heat now will be preferable because there are no more chances for uneven cooking.

direct heat for frozen chicken

However, be patient because, despite the thawing and marinating, the grilling time for a frozen chicken thigh will still be increased by 50% than regular chicken.

Step 5: Monitoring Temperature

It is very easy to control the grill’s temperature, but you should look for the chicken’s internal temperature and continuously monitor it through a thermometer. 

Halfway through grilling, flip the chicken over to its other side, and as soon as the internal temperature for the previously frozen chicken reaches 165 Fahrenheit, remove it from the grill.

Before serving the tender and wholly grilled chicken, let it rest and cool down for 5-10 minutes. This resting period of the chicken thigh will allow its internal juices to redistribute thoroughly so the meat is moistened rightfully. 

Prevent Frozen Chicken From Sticking On The Grill

Many busy grill owners are tempted to simply plop their frozen chicken over direct heat, expecting it to be grilled greatly. Unfortunately, although this might be the case for meat or beef, placing frozen chicken on a hot grill will only result in a disastrous situation.

Prevention Frozen Chicken

Chicken thighs out of the freezer must never make their way to a hot grill as it will cause the chicken to stick to the grill, creating a sticky and messy outcome that is very difficult to clean. 

The solution for preventing frozen chicken thighs from sticking on the grill is simply to thaw them. With a frozen chick, the thawing options are narrowed, but still, plenty can be employed. 

Microwave Thawing 

Of course, natural thawing is the best method for thawing a frozen chicken, but when that is not a readily available option, you must look for a substitute, and that is- microwave thawing. 

Thawing frozen chicken in the microwave yields results similar to natural thawing, but while the chicken is continuously microwaved to be thawed, a close eye should be kept on it. 


Try not to leave the chicken thigh in the microwave for too long; instead of cooking on the grill, it will start to cook in the microwave. For an ideal thawing, let the chicken be microwaved for a minute or two and have your microwave set in a defrosting setting. 

Refrigerator Thawing 

Another way to thaw the chicken is by relocating the frozen chicken from the freezer to the fridge. The fridge’s cool temperature prevents bacteria from residing inside the chicken, ensuring that the chicken is safe and healthy for consumption. 

Typically, refrigerator chicken defrosting takes about 24 hours, but for frozen chicken thigh it will take less time, so before leaving for work, relocate the chicken to the fridge, and by the time you arrive home, your chicken will be ready to be grilled. 

Cold Water Thawing

Cold water thawing is a very effective technique that has proven to work whenever it is utilized. For this, you must place your well-wrapped frozen chicken thigh in a large container, advisably a stainless steel bowl with cold water inside it. The cold water added to the bowl should be enough to sink the entire piece of frozen chicken thigh. 

After two or three hours, the chicken will be thawed, especially for boneless chicken or frozen chicken thighs; the time taken up for defrosting will be further minimized. 

Room Temperature Thawing

An alternative method to thaw frozen chicken thighs is to defrost the chicken on the kitchen counter or the sink. When you leave the frozen chicken in a room temperature setting, it will gradually defrost itself without you investing any effort. 

Before thawing at room temperature, as a precautionary measure, wrap the chicken tightly and never leave it in the kitchen or another setting for more than 6 hours, as then the chicken can rot and be spoiled for eating.  

Defrosting Tray

Defroster trays are essentially pans composed of ridged aluminum, which have been designed to warm up the chicken to a safe temperature without the intervention of heat. With these trays, you do not have to worry about the chicken cooking or not being thawed completely before it is grilled.

Defrosting Tray

Currently, there are versions of the defroster trays in the market that have been fitted with additional drip trays to collect chicken juices as it defrost so that no mess is created for you to clean. To buy a defrosting tray, you can check out Amazon, which has multiple and varying options.


Now that you have the absolute best method for grilling chicken thighs to perfection, you never again have to worry about your grilled chicken remaining uncooked. With other recommended methods for thawing, we have also ensured to assist our readers in every possible capacity.When grilling frozen chicken thighs to achieve that perfect blend of juiciness and flavor, a delightful twist can be added with the inclusion of pickles.

All we have to say to you is Good luck with grilling chicken thighs to perfection!

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you put frozen chicken on the grill?

Directly placing the frozen chicken on the grill will cause it to stick, and even if the chicken thaws due to the heat, the final result will be an uneven and undercooked chicken.

Can I grill chicken thighs from frozen?

Yes, you can, but it must then be cooked at a lower heat and for a longer interval than your regular defrosted chicken.

What is the best way to cook frozen chicken?

The best way to cook frozen chicken is to cook it slowly, patiently, and not over direct heat.

Is it safe to cook chicken thighs from frozen?

Yes, cooking chicken thighs from frozen is safe, but make sure to defrost them.