Dump Chicken

dump chickenMost of us have probably heard of “Dump Cake”…you know, where you “dump” a couple of ingredients (usually a cake mix and a can of fruit) into a 9×13 pan and bake? Well, I’m not sure which one came first…but *I* just learned about “Dump Chicken” and I am becoming a big fan!

The idea is so simple! Take raw OR frozen chicken breasts, toss them into a one gallon freezer bag, then toss in the sauce and freeze flat. (According to the USDA it is safe to RE-freeze chicken IF it was thawed properly in the refrigerator, however, there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through defrosting.)

When you’re ready, thaw the chicken and cook! You can bake it, roast it, cook it in your crockpot, grill it, even microwave it (but I wouldn’t recommend it.) You can also substitute beef or pork for the chicken, but I haven’t tried it…yet.

dump chicken

When I saw the idea for “Dump Chicken” at When The Dinner Bell Rings I happened to have ten fresh chicken breasts in the refrigerator that were just waiting for me to do something with them. Problem was the website has so many good recipes, I couldn’t decide! So I decided to make up five of my favorites from the list with just two chicken breasts each. That way I figured I could use them on nights when only a couple of us were home for dinner…or, even better, I could make them up for ME for lunch! I just love fixing something delicious on those days I am at home for lunch and have some time. These would also be great for single people or empty-nesters!

So that was my premise and I didn’t know how it would all turn out in the end…but to my pleasant surprise…it worked! And it was just as delicious and simple as I thought it would be.

Here are the recipes I chose to try out:

Lemon Garlic, Garlic Dijon, Teriyaki, Spicy Sweet Glaze, and Lemon Marinade. (I had a hard time narrowing it down to 5! There are a LOT more delicious-sounding recipes…check them out!)

(According to the USDA it is safe to RE-freeze chicken IF it was thawed properly in the refrigerator, however, there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through defrosting.)


dump chicken


The great thing about these recipes was I already had everything I needed for all five in my pantry! No trip to the grocery store necessary…which is a major plus in my book!

Here are the recipes (with my modified amounts for two chicken breasts in red) adapted from When The Dinner Bell Rings:

Lemon & Garlic Chicken
2 Cloves Chopped Garlic (1/2 tsp minced)
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil (1 1/2 Tablespoons)
2 Tablespoons Chopped Parsley (1 Tablespoon)
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice (1 Tablespoon)
1/8 Teaspoons Pepper (dash)
4-6 chicken breasts (I used 2)


dump chicken

dump chicken

dump chickenGarlic Dijon Chicken
2 Cloves Minced Garlic (1/2 teaspoon minced)
4 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard (1 1/2 Tablespoons)
2 Tablespoons Lime (or Lemon) Juice (1 Tablespoon)
4-6 chicken breasts (I used 2)

Lemon Marinade Chicken
2/3 cup Lemon Juice (3 Tablespoons)
1/4 cup Cider Vinegar (1 Tablespoon)
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil (1 Tablespoon)
2 Tablespoons Minced Onion (1 Tablespoon)
4-6 chicken breasts (I used 2)

Spicy Sweet Glaze
2 Teaspoons Minced Garlic (1/2 tsp minced)
2/3 cup Apricot Preserves (1/3 cup)
1/3 cup Soy Sauce (1 1/2 Tablespoons)
1/3 cup Ketchup (1 1/2 Tablespoons)
1 Teaspoon Tabasco (dash)
4-6 chicken breasts (I used 2)

Teriyaki Chicken
1 Clove Garlic, Crushed (1/2 tsp minced)
1/3 cup Soy Sauce (1 1/2 Tablespoons)
2 Tablespoons Rice Wine (Or Sherry) (2 teaspoons)
1.5 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar (2 teaspoons)
1.5 Tablespoons Brown Sugar (2 teaspoons)
1.5 Tablespoons Minced Ginger (2 teaspoons)
4-6 chicken breasts (I used 2)

To Freeze: Place all ingredients into a 1-gallon freezer bag. (I used a quart-sized bag for 2 chicken breasts). Seal bag. Freeze flat.

To Serve: Thaw chicken. Pour chicken and marinade into a baking dish, turn chicken to coat. Bake at 350 F for 35 minutes. (Since there were only two chicken breasts, I decided to grill mine in my cast iron grill pan.)

I actually enjoyed putting together my 5 “mini dump freezer meals”. My daughter Britta happened to be over while I was doing it and we had a nice chat while I measured and assembled. The only “food prep” I actually did was chopped a little fresh ginger and squeezed a few lemons. :-)

Here are my cute little meals all ready for the freezer……


dump chicken

And here they are all ready for freezer storage.

dump chicken

I could hardly wait to try one of them…so the next day I thawed out the Lemon Garlic Chicken and made it up for lunch.

dump chicken

dump chicken

Suffice it to say, it was divine. One of the best-tasting marinaded chicken breasts I’ve had.  Can’t wait to try the rest!!


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  1. Lauralee says

    Wowee! This come at an absolutely perfect time for me. I am retired and single and just hate having great quantities of leftovers to sort out. I am also going to use them when my grand-girls come over for a day with Grandma. Can’t wait to gather all the ingredients and get them into the freezer. Many thanks Jillee, your ideas hit the spot.

  2. Helen says

    Can you clarify which or both to use? Raw – never frozen or frozen chicken?
    The idea is so simple! Take raw (never frozen) OR frozen chicken breasts, toss them into a one gallon freezer bag, then toss in the sauce and freeze flat. When you’re ready, thaw the chicken.

    Thank You

      • Helen says

        Thank you for replying Rachel – yes I understand the marinade won’t seep into the chicken when frozen. There’s not much between them either raw or frozen lol – probably raw. Thanks again.

        • Heidi says

          Helen, as I understood it you could use the raw or frozen by making the marinade, quickly placing the frozen chicken in with the bit of marinade and returning both to the freezer. When you take them out to defrost the marinade can flavor the chicken as it’s defrosting. You may want to give the bag or container a little shake to make sure it is evenly distributed after it begins to thaw. That’s how I understood it at any rate. Hope this helps.

    • says

      Let me see if I can make this more clear. You can use raw chicken or you can use frozen chicken (that you bought that way.)
      You CAN use chicken that has been RE-frozen *IF* it was thawed in the refrigerator (otherwise it’s not safe.) However, that being said, the quality will suffer.
      Does that make it ANY clearer? :-)

  3. Landon says

    Can’t wait to try these & the ones I found for freezer slow cooker meals at – http://blogs.babble.com/family-kitchen/2012/07/16/diy-frozen-meal-packs-for-your-slow-cooker/

    Putting these bags together as I bring the meat home from the grocery store & then being able to pull a meal out of the freezer ready to go really appeals to this busy mom! Thanks Jillee! I love your idea of putting together the smaller bags. Now that the kids are older there are some nights that I don’t need to cook for the whole family. =)

    • Landon says

      I made 3 of the above bags last night, 2 from another source & 2 of my own family favorites. So simple & I can’t get over how much space this saves when compared to the space that the packs of meat took up that I used!! Thanks for such a great idea, Jillee. Keep ‘um comin’!! =)

      • Landon says

        By the way, Jillee, last night as I was making the teriyaki chicken I realized I was out of teriyaki. Could have sworn I had some in the pantry. My first thought was ‘bet I can make my own’. Why am I not surprised that Googling ‘homemade teriyaki sauce’ brought up a list that has your teriyaki recipe first on the list? I’ve really got to change my thinking. From now on it’s going to be ask Mrs. Jillee instead of ask Mr. Google! You would not believe how many times this has happened to me lately. I should have known that if I had a question you’d probably already found the answer!! LOL

  4. says

    Don’t give up on microwaving!! For two chicken breasts, the Round Covered Baker from Pampered Chef would be ideal!! Four to six chicken breasts? Try the Deep Covered Baker. Comes out moist, not dry or rubbery and FAST! I never thought it possible until I saw (and TASTED) for myself.

  5. Michele says

    I was wondering, too, Helen.
    I followed her link to When the Dinner Bell Rings website, and this is what they had posted. “Dump chicken is one of the easiest forms of Freezer cooking! The idea is VERY simple, do NOT over think it. You take raw (never frozen) OR Frozen chicken pieces, toss them into a One Gallon Freezer Bag, then toss in the sauce and freeze flat. The key is never RE-FREEZE Raw chicken. ”

    It sounds like to me you use the frozen chicken while it is still frozen by not thawing it, placing in with the ingredients and popping right back in the freezer. The unfrozen chicken would absorb the marinade much better because it would be in it as it froze and after during thawing.

    • Jen K. says

      It is completely safe to refreeze chicken that isn’t cooked. You have to be completely sure it never reaches 41*F for more than 2 hrs. The only real safe way to do this is in the refrigerator which shouldn’t be over that temp. It is not safe to use this method with pork or fish that has been frozen. I know it probably goes against much of what a lot of people are taught, but I have my serve safe certification and I am certain it is ok to do.

  6. Kary says

    I can’t wait to try these recipes my sister and her friends also use this idea to marinade their meats before they go camping. Then they just put the frozen meat in the cooler and off they go for the weekend the meat is then ready for cooking over the campfire.

  7. Shirley says

    If you use raw chicken, could you just marinate in the refrigerator overnight and then cook it the next day? I see where you froze it then thawed it for the next day, seems like an extra step that could be removed.

  8. mdoe37 says

    Perfect timing!! There are only two of us, but I took advantage of a Zaycon Foods delivery…..one 40# box of chicken breasts!!! While they are already frozen, I can certainly thaw them and let them soak overnight. This will give us a nice variety.

  9. Judy Ann says

    YES YES YES! Make ahead meals. Quick and Easy – doesn’t get any better than that. I also made my bag of Homemade Pie Filling(peach) to make ahead per Jillee… Áw$ºmè!
    I buy boneless skinless chicken breasts when on sale, and use the Food Saver vacuum sealer to stock up the freezer. Now my job will be even quicker to have a ready made meal – all I need now is a salad and a baked potato!! HAHA
    Jillee—You are to be praised for all your wonderful tips…I can’t wait to get the e-mails for all the new stuff!
    I am retired now and a widow as well – It is so hard to cook for 1 person when used to cook for a family! You are making it so much easier!!!

  10. CTY says

    This is a great idea. I also like the idea of freezing 2 at a time. It is a great way to do a variety for the family with different palates or a BBQ fare. I was even thinking about New Year’s Eve (or anytime)–I can use my collection of mini Dutch ovens, make up small bags- then just cut the chicken (or other meats) into bite size pieces-bake-place toothpicks in a few and leave more toothpicks nearby for fabulous (diet friendly) appetizers for my NY’s Eve appetizer buffet table. Going to the mentioned link to check it all out.
    PS I made your baked taco shells & casseroles-they turned out great, but with only DH & myself there were leftovers. As an FYI the left overs did not get soggy & the shells held their form. They crisped up when baked again for reheating.

  11. Mrs B. says

    I have been doing this for over 30 years. When I buy my meat in bulk I portion it out and put in the marinades and freeze. If you use a vacuum sealer it will actually start to draw the marinade into the meat before freezing.
    Please make sure you date your package , so you use it before it’s expiry date.

  12. CTY says

    Pardon my after thought–I do this so much I don’t really give it much thought anymore. I try to avoid using plastic whenever possible (it saves a few cents too!) Instead of using bags- I use a canning jars whenever possible (just make sure they are freezing jars). And the marinade can be mixed with an immersion blender right in the jar, add chicken, cap, label, shake some & freeze. I think bite size pieces would be great if serving over rice or fettucini (I’d make extra marinade)
    OK- so you can see I am like a dog with a bone on this one. Can’t decide which one is for dinner tonight.
    Also bake up some, put it in the kitchen-aid (scrape all the cooked marinade in too) with the paddle attachment and turn on low to shred the chicken fast for say a variation on the taco bake casserole, or pitas, over salads.
    My mind is racing- I think I’ll rest now.

    • CTY says

      Last thing– I promise. Would make great chicken wing variations for after the big game. Think how much work it would look like it was. It could really give people something to talk about and the hostess/host can just accept the complements graciously & can remain a Goddess/God to DH/DW. ;)

  13. Comet says

    Thanks! We hit a “Truckload meat sale” at our IGA and have bags of frozen chicken to try this on! And we can have anywheres from 1 to 9 people for dinner on any given night! Great idea for fresh chix the next sale time–and for thawed this go round!

    One trick I have gotten into the habit of doing to thaw–

    Take chicken in the Zip bag and place in LARGE pot of WATER. Hot or cold. Make sure the top (opening) edge of the bag is UP. The pot I use just fits gallon size Zip bags a tad snugly so the bag stays upright but you could use a binder clip or something to keep bags upright if you wanted to. Let thaw in pot for an hour or so.


    Also works for flat-frozen ground beef and pork slices. I am sure it would work for other bulkier cuts if you used a big enough pot or the sink–or your handy picnic cooler!

    • Becky says

      As a chef, I feel it my duty to speak up here. The thawing method that you are promoting is absolutely NOT food safe. You are creating a Bacteria Bubble Bath for your chicken breasts! :-( NOT delicious….

      There are only 4 safe methods for thawing meat. The ideal way, of course, is to place the meat in a glass or metal container with high sides in the lowest part of the refrigerator until it is thawed. This, of course, takes several days.

      The second way is a modification of your method. First of all, the water HAS to be cold, absolutely NOT HOT. Secondly, it has to be constantly moving/refreshing itself so the bacteria does not have an oppurtunity to grow on the meat. The faucet will need to be running, not just dripping, the entire time you are thawing. This method still takes hours, and it definitely not energy efficient. It will, however, work if you realize around 12-1 p.m. the day of that you forgot to thaw your protein for tonight’s dinner.

      The third way is to thaw in the microwave. This method is ONLY to be used if you will be cooking the protein IMMEDIATELY, not re-chilling it in the refrigerator.

      The fourth and last way is to cook your protein from a frozen state. This is not the most ideal method, since it will increase cooking time significantly, and may result in areas of overcooked protein as you are waiting for the entire thing to cook. With these do-ahead marinades, however, it would be perfectly fine to throw these suckers in a crockpot and let ‘er rip. I would probably double the marinade to make sure you have enough liquid, OR simply add a bit of water or chicken broth to the crock before you turn it on.

      I just want everyone to not only make delicious meals, but SAFE and HEALTHY meals for themselves and their friends/families.


      • Renee says

        This from the USDA:

        Chicken may be thawed in cold water in its airtight packaging or in a leak-proof bag. Submerge the bird or cut-up parts in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes to be sure it stays cold. A whole (3- to 4-pound) broiler-fryer or package of parts should thaw in 2 to 3 hours. A 1-pound package of boneless breasts will thaw in an hour or less. Cook immediately after thawing.

        Do not cook frozen chicken in a slow cooker or in the microwave; thaw it before cooking. However, chicken can be cooked from the frozen state in the oven or on the stove. The cooking time may be about 50 percent longer.

        Thanks for the marinade recipes, Jillee! Although I’d used this marinading method for years, I stopped when I started watching my sodium count (I’d been using bottled marinades… WAY too much sodium!). Going to try a couple of these today!

  14. Lynda says

    I didn’t know this had a name- but I have been doing it for years! It was great for fast in the door meals after work with baby in tow. So easy! Now I just need to check on that dump cake… I think I have been doing that too! ;)

  15. says

    I’ve been doing this for years!! I never knew it had a name. LOL! I like to buy the bulk, family pack of steaks and marinate in baggies for a couple of hours in the fridge, then throw in the freezer for later. I write on the baggie, with a sharpie, what the marinade is so I know what side dishes will go best with it. I use some kind of alcohol in my marinades to help break down the meat so it’s nice and tender when I cook it.

  16. Patti says

    Thanks, Jillee, love this. A friend I just sent this to gave this tip: If your sauce recipe has herbs or spices, mix that up BEFORE adding the chicken. This way it will coat the chicken more evenly :)

  17. Ruth Chidley says

    Thank you Jillie for all your wonderful money saving, energy efficient, and quick methods of making our lives easier. I really appreciate all the time you put into research and development for everything you share with us. I do have one idea to ask you to consider for those of us that have the ZipList Recipe App. If you link into for your recipes, I(we) can just touch the widget sign and it automatically transfer your recipes into my(our) ZipList Recipe file. One other of the blogs I follow has this already setup and is so nice on “recipe’s day”, I know I can save her recipes so easily. In a way it is like pinning your ideas, etc. to Pinterest but it makes retrieving a recipe so much easier. In the ZipList Recipe App. they also ask you if you want to put the recipe ingredients list on a grocery shopping list. They then go through the ingredients making a list of those items you most likely have on hand and those you would need to buy. Then I(we) can go through both lists (one right above the other) checking the ones we need to buy. Makes it nice on grocery shopping day! Oh, one more thing…the ZipList Recipe App is free!!! I almost forgot to thank you for the recipe ideas today : )
    My husband and I are empty-nesters now and do eat a lot of chicken breasts. These recipe ideas are going to be so helpful…cannot wait to put them together for future meals!

  18. Nadia says

    Je trouve votre idée très intéressante. D’habitude quand j’ai de la viande fraîche proche de sa date de péremption, je la congèle purement et simplement. Je vais essayer les marinades à votre façon.
    Je voudrais tester une marinade avec de la sauce soja. Je cuisine beaucoup de blancs de poulet et d’escalopes de dinde avec sauce soja et semoule très fine (une sorte de la panure light). I’m found of your blog but my english is very poor, that’s why I wrote in french.
    En ce qui concerne le recongélation de la viande, c’est quelque chose que je proscris tout à fait. C’est acceptable éventuellement si la viande a été cuisinée avant d’être recongelée.

  19. tammy says

    I started doing things like this about a month ago, except for onions and green peppers and I have been doing that for years.
    Green Pepper and Onions. (mixed or separated) – wash and trim. put in food processor using the slice side of the blade. spread onions and green peppers (mixed) onto a large cookie sheet pan. Put in freezer for about 30 minutes. once they are slightly frosted, put into freezer bag making sure they are broken up. When needed to cook with they are already ready to go. I was buying this combo in the stores for around$2 a small bag. I have saved a lot of money doing it this way.

    Meat Loaf – make up your meat loaf the way you like it. Shape and put into a freezer bag. When ready to use just remove from bag and pop it onto the pan you want to use and add toppings. You can also shape the loaf once in the freezer bag, just put the mixture in, zip almost closed and shape your loaf, press out air and put in freezer.

    Hamburger meat of spagehetti or other dish – brown hb meat to almost done and then add water and let it simmer. Pour into a strainer and let drain, rinse meat to remove excess fat, spread out on cookie sheet and place in freezer for about 30 minutes, the put into freezer bags making sure it is broken up so you can just use what you want out of the bag.

    This takes some time if you prepare everything, but it is so worth it during the week when you don’t have to do so much prep work.

  20. Kristina says

    I was wandering about the salt. Actually, it only came to my mind after I put 5 pieces to the freezer so it’s too late anyway but still, do you not add salt? Or is it just me being old-fashioned that I can’t imagine any meat without salt?

  21. Sue says

    Everyone else probably knows this, but when you put things in the freezer, it’s always best to make sure that the bag does NOT sit on the wire shelving, so that a part of the bag is trapped as it freezes! I will have to defrost the freezer or figure out how to take the shelf out, to release some chicken scraps, that I’d saved for soup stock. ;-) Also with the stack of unfrozen packages , spread them out so that they do not freeze to each other, and so that they freeze faster. Can put cardboard between them, or under them to keep them flat. Looking forward to making dump chicken packets today!!

  22. suzanne says

    Finally got around to doing this. A great idea. I’m really bad about pulling the chicken breasts out of the freezer and cooking in a pan. Try to limit sodium so I gave up on a lot of marinades, etc. and so dull and boring comes to mind! Now I can choose from all different kinds right out of the freezer. We just got a motorhome and I can see lots of easy meals on the grill.

  23. Jenna says

    Here’s the simplest marinade for chicken (I grill it) ever. Lite Zesty Italian Dressing. Overnight or for a few days or in the freezer! Tastes amazing! If you’re grilling, the lite is important – it won’t char much at all if you use lite, not regular.

  24. says

    Hi there this is kind of of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors
    or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding experience so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  25. charissa says

    not really related, but I have the same cast iron pan and I have a hard time cleaning it. do you use oil to cook the chicken? any tips on cleaning? thanks! love your website!


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