Everyone loves nuggets because they are juicy, chicken-flavored bites. So, if you found a great discounted deal on a jumbo pack, you cannot miss the opportunity.
Freezing is a handy way of storing them for longer durations. But after thawing the nuggets, you might have many questions in mind. Will they be fit enough to freeze again? And will it cause health issues?
You can refreeze chicken nuggets. But, it is never a recommendation. Freezing after you defrost can make them mushier and unpleasant to eat. The meat is tender and prone to bacterial growth. Refreezing is not enough to prevent them from spoiling. Utilize the nuggets after thawing and not leave them in the open air for a prolonged time.
Without a doubt, chicken nuggets are a go-to snack when you feel hungry at odd hours. But, refreezing them has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s read about them in detail and if the results you desire are achievable.
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Is It A Good Idea To Refreeze Chicken Nuggets?
Chicken nuggets have become a food staple throughout the world as they are readily available and taste delicious. You might be one of the nuggets fans and purchase them in a large amount. When the time to thaw them comes finally, you may want to store the leftovers back in the freezer as no one would like to throw them away.
The next step you may think of is refreezing them, but it is not a good idea. As the meat is prone to lose its moisture, it ultimately results in a cold burn. The Freezer burn effect would include discoloration and a significant change in the taste.
Refreezing can also cause the nuggets to lose their texture due to the formation of ice crystals. So, if you want to enjoy them to the fullest, it is better to utilize them after thawing and discard the leftovers.
Besides, there is a high risk they may spoil inside the freezer if you do not defrost them properly in the beginning.
If you are considering safety, it is alright to refreeze chicken nuggets as long as it defrosts in a refrigerator running at 5 degrees C or below. If you are okay with the quality reduction, you can proceed with the refreezing.
Refreezing Pre-Cooked Chicken Nuggets
Usually, you find pre-cooked chicken nuggets in the market. They are convenient as you only have to heat them and eat them. So if you bought this quick meal for yourself and forgot them after thawing, you can opt for refreezing, but under specific conditions.
Firstly, the nuggets should be thawed in a refrigerator and by no other means. If you leave them to defrost on the countertop for more than an hour, they may no longer freeze again. There are chances the meat has bacteria, and placing them in the freezer might not be enough to stop them from spreading further.
Similarly, if you thaw the nuggets in a microwave, they rise to a high internal temperature. In such a situation, it is ideal to use them quickly. There is no benefit to storing them afterward. Refreezing works only when the meat has limited or no exposure to high temperatures.
Refreezing Uncooked Chicken Nuggets
So if you have uncooked frozen chicken nuggets, and you defrosted them for a small get-together, you can go for refreezing the remaining quantity. As long as they are thawed in a fridge, freezing them again is safe and will cause no health issues.
However, the overall tenderness of the meat might suffer after repeated thawing and freezing. Thus, you must refreeze the nuggets according to your schedule to avoid letting them stay in the freezer for an extended period. Else, their texture will become too undesirable, and ultimately you have to discard them.
How Can You Avoid Refreezing Chicken Nuggets?
Either homemade or store-bought, chicken nuggets can freeze well for the first time. But, once you thaw the tasty meat bites, it is a hassle to protect them from spoilage. So, to avoid unnecessary food waste, you can opt for the portion freezing method. It has many benefits and will make your kitchen experience much easier.
Instead of freezing all the nuggets together, divide them into meal-size batches. Afterward, wrap the individual pieces in parchment paper and transfer them to an airtight bag or container. Now, you can store them in the freezer. When you are finally ready to eat them, you can take out one batch of nuggets and let it thaw in the fridge.
It is also applicable to chicken nuggets you buy from the store. Take them out from the original packaging and seal the pieces individually before storing them.
So, through this method, you thaw only the required amount and minimize the chances of any leftovers. Also, it will preserve the nuggets and increase their shelf life as they are not undergoing continuous thawing and freezing cycles.
How Long Can Defrosted Chicken Nuggets Last?
When you thaw your cooked chicken in a refrigerator, it can remain there for an additional one to two days before you finally cook them. Chicken nuggets that defrost in the microwave or cold water are good only if you utilize them as soon as possible. In the latter cases, the meat has already reached a risky internal temperature, an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Thus, leaving them for too long can turn them unsafe for consumption.
Similarly, uncooked frozen chicken nuggets are okay in the fridge for two days. Ensure to check the use-by date on the box if you buy them from the market. If the date has already passed, you need to discard the meat as it can cause food-borne illnesses.
Thawing Frozen Nuggets: The Best Method
Though there are many quick ways to thaw the nuggets on the go, the safest of them all is refrigeration. When you place them inside the fridge, they are least likely to come in contact with the air and become contaminated. Besides, they thaw gradually, and many of the rich flavors and vital nutrition don’t escape from the meat.
Microwaving or water bath methods might be faster, but they are not as safe as refrigeration. Let’s suppose you thaw them by submerging the nuggets bag in the cold water. You must change the water every thirty minutes, or it can attract harmful microbes. Also, these techniques do not favor the refreezing process. And, you have no choice but to toss out the leftovers, resulting in a waste of food and money.
Refreezing food products with meat as the main ingredient is not a recommendation. The same rule applies to chicken nuggets, and they can undergo a significant taste loss after freezing again. However, they are safe and healthy, but you might not enjoy them like the fresh ones.
Besides, refreezing nuggets can only be successful if you thaw them in the refrigerator and not on the kitchen counter. It will help keep them shelf-stable for some time but at the expense of quality degradation. So, it is not a wise option to refreeze them.
Chicken nuggets that thaw in the fridge for more than two days are not safe anymore, and you should discard them immediately. Similarly, leaving them at room temperature for too long might spoil them quickly. To avoid wasting nuggets, you can freeze them in separate batches according to your usage.