How to cook and freeze chicken mince
How to cook chicken mince
- Use a non-stick pan: Chicken mince is very lean, using a non-stick pan will ensure it doesn't stick and burn. Also add a little oil when cooking to reduce the risk of the mince turning out dry.
- Cook mince in small batches: This stops the mince from stewing or steaming. If this happens, your mince may look grey and be less flavourful.
- Keep it hot: Too much mince in the pan can cause it to lose heat. Get your pan nice and hot before adding the mince in batches. Add a little more oil with each batch if needed.
- Break it up: Depending on the recipe, as your mince cooks you can break up the pieces with your cooking utensil. This ensures even cooking.
How to tell when chicken mince is cooked
The best way to check chicken is cooked is by using a thermometer to check the temperature has reached 75°C. If you don't have a thermometer, ensure the mince has been simmering on the heat (it should be bubbling gently) for at least 15 minutes. Chicken mince will look opaque and have no pink colouration left when fully cooked. The texture will be more crumbly and tender to the bite. Break up any large pieces of mince to ensure it is cooked through. If you are cooking a recipe like chicken meatballs, use a thermometer to check the temperature, or cut open a meatball to check it is cooked through.
How to freeze chicken mince
Fresh chicken mince can be stored in the fridge for about two days, it's best check the use-by date. Freeze it using these steps if you don't plan on eating it within two days before then:
- Remove it from the store packaging and place it in a freezer bag or zip lock bag, squeezing out excess air.
- Flatten the mince into a thinner layer, this will help it to freeze and eventually defrost more quickly.
- Label and date the package.
- Keep mince in the freezer for up to two months.
How to defrost chicken mince
- In the fridge: Leave the chicken mince in its packaging, placing a plate or container underneath to catch any liquid. Allow plenty of time to completely defrost, depending on the quantity it may take a full day and night.
- With water: Only if your packaging is water-tight. Fully submerge your chicken mince in room temperature water, changing water every 30 minutes until defrosted. This is not as effective if your mince is frozen in packaging with large air pockets, such as supermarket trays.
- In the microwave: If you're short on time, this is the quickest way to defrost. Place chicken mince in a microwave safe bowl and use the defrost setting on your microwave.