Frozen Chicken Teriyaki

Well, not really, but kinda?

I love to stock our deep freeze with good meat and have it around to pull out whenever.  Sometimes I have the foresight to thaw it ahead of time, other times it’s small enough that I can thaw it in an hour in some cold water, and then there are the times that I am SOL.

Enter the pressure cooker.  I am new to this whole pressure cooking thing, but so far I have been won over by chickpeas and whole chicken – even frozen, whole chickens – and the delicious stock you end up with (and can then make more with the carcass – win!).

Last night I found myself in one of those positions again.  Well, I had pulled the chicken out the day before, but my gawd, it takes dayyyyys for a whole chicken to thaw in our fridge and I wanted/needed it now!  So, I pressure cooked it with a bit of water with the goal of thawing it (and partially cooking it), then I hacked it apart and cooked it in this lovely teriyaki sauce.  It got quite fall-off-the bone good, especially the darker meats; some of the breast was a bit dry, but with the sauce it didn’t really matter, in my opinion – worth it for a fairly low hassle dinner.  Although this dinner may still take about an hour, there is very little hands on time and it is nice to use a whole chicken as it is cheaper than buying parts.  If you cut the cooking time in half, just use about 3 pounds of frozen, skinless, boneless parts (thighs would be especially good), make the sauce, and jump in at Step 9.

Served with rice and fresh chopped green onions from the garden and dinner was served and gobbled (phew).  Kid-approved.

Frozen Chicken Teriyaki

Servings: 6 adults & 4 kids
Time: about an hour
Difficulty: moderate
Meaty, salty, satisfying chicken with a homemade teriyaki sauce.
Inspired by J. M. Hirsch’s recipe (2015)

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 whole, frozen chicken (~3-5 lbs)
  • 3/4 c tamari
  • 3/4 c water
  • 3 T seasoned rice vinegar
  • 4-6 T demerara sugar or honey or a mixture
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 1.5-2 T cornstarch mixed with equal parts water, “cornstarch slurry”
  • green onions, chopped
  • toasted nuts (eg., peanuts or cashews), optional
  1. Place a rack or two carrots in the bottom of your pressure cooker.
  2. Add 1.5 c water*.
  3. Place chicken on top of carrots.  Add the quartered onion.
  4. Cover with lid.  Bring up to pressure on high heat and turn down to low, cooking at pressure for 20 mins.  [You just need to pick a low temperature that is hot enough to maintain the pressure, i.e. keep the little bobble thing pushed up for a stove top pressure cooker, like mine.]
  5. Gently remove from heat and let the pressure release “naturally”, i.e. when the ‘little bobble thing’ pops down on its own, it’s safe for you to open the lid.
  6. While you are waiting for the pot to depressurize, mix together the teriyaki sauce, from tamari to sriracha, in a small bowl.  (You will add the cornstarch slurry at the end.)  And, put your rice on to cook, if you plan on having it.
  7. Remove the partially cooked chicken.  Pour off the rest of the goodies from the pan into a large bowl and set aside for now.
  8. Section the chicken at the joints.  Place the wings in the bowl with the juices and the remaining pieces in the pressure cooker.  This is how I sectioned it: breasts, cut into three large chunks each (6 total);  and legs, cut into thigh & drumstick (4 total).  Place the remaining carcass in the bowl.
  9. Pour the sauce over the meat in the pressure cooker.  Cover and bring to pressure on high/med-high.
  10. Turn down heat low enough to maintain pressure and cook for 20 mins.
  11. Do a quick release of the pressure (as per your pressure cooker’s instructions), then add the cornstarch slurry and let simmer for a minute or two while the sauce thickens up.
  12. Serve on rice, sprinkled with the green onions and optional toasted nuts.
  13. If you want, quickly set aside any leftovers, rinse out the pressure cooker, and put the contents from the set aside bowl (from step 7 & 8) back into the pressure cooker.  Add some celery if you like.  Fill to your max. fill line (2/3 full, most likely) and then put the lid on, bring up to pressure on high, turn heat down as low as possible to maintain pressure, and cook for up to 2 hours.  [Refer to Michelle Tam’s post over at Nom Nom Paleo for more details on pressure cooker stock.]

*Using such a little amount of water lends itself to steaming a frozen chicken such that the outside gets cooked but the inside is still raw.  This is okay for this recipe, but if you want to cook a whole frozen chicken thoroughly, you need to fill your pressure cooker to its max fill line (2/3 full).  Read Laura Pazzaglia’s super helpful post (January 2016) over at Hip Pressure Cooking for more info.


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