Q. I’m trying to get my meal planning and pre organized for the month, and part of that is making food ahead of time so throwing together nutritious meals quickly is a breeze. I have already cooked and frozen some soups and casseroles. I really like lean meats like turkey and chicken, but don’t want to be cooking them every day. I would like to make some in advance and then freeze them for later. I enjoy cooked chicken breast in wraps, salads, soups, and sandwiches, and would like to be able to put them together the night before for lunch the next day. Can you freeze cooked chicken breast?
A. Yes, you can freeze cooked chicken breast. They can be frozen whole or sliced and ready to toss in a soup or salad. The biggest concern when freezing cooked chicken breast is freezer burn and dryness, so they must be frozen with care. To begin, cook chicken all the way through until there is no pink in the middle. Undercooked chicken can be dangerous and raw chicken poses the risk of salmonella, so make sure to cook chicken thoroughly and clean all surfaces carefully.
How to freeze cooked chicken breast?
Once chicken is cooked, allow it to cool completely. To freeze whole chicken breasts, wrap each chicken breast in a double layer of plastic wrap, and then place them in freezer bags. Squeeze out the excess air, then seal the bag. Label and date the bag, and use within 6 months.
To freeze chicken breasts in strips for wraps or salads, slice the cooked chicken breasts into the desired sizes. Place the bite sized strips in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the strips are hard, then put them into freezer bags. Pre-freezing them a bit stops them from clumping together in the freezer bag. Remove excess air, then seal the bag. Label and date and use within 6 months.
To use frozen cooked chicken breasts, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight before use. They can also be added directly to soups or other hot dishes, as they only need to be heated through. Frozen cooked chicken breasts can also be thawed in the microwave for a few seconds on the defrost setting.
Consume thawed cooked chicken breasts within 3 days for best results. Never refreeze previously frozen cooked chicken breasts.