Skip to content

Freeze-Dried Chicken for Your Emergency Pantry & Everyday Meals

Some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases without any increase in price to you.


Feeling the time crunch? Worried about emergencies? Freeze-dried chicken is your secret weapon! This long-lasting protein is a lifesaver for both preparedness and everyday meals. Learn how it cuts down on prep time, expands your pantry, and delivers delicious results. Plus, get three easy freeze dried chicken recipes your family will love.

chicken strips on a salad

Freeze-dried chicken isn’t such a strange animal when you know how to cook and use it. Of all the freeze-dried meats on the market, chicken is the one I use the most. I always have a can of it in my food storage pantry. It’s such a part of my everyday cooking that I was a bit surprised to hear someone say recently that they weren’t entirely sure how to cook with it. Well, let me tell you. It’s one of the quickest ways I know of to get a delicious, summery chicken salad on a plate or include it in chicken enchiladas.

Some people might think that freeze-dried chicken is one of those fluffy “luxury foods” for emergency preparedness – too outer-spacey and high tech for every day use by actual people. Not so! I like to keep a can on hand at all times. After you get used to cooking with freeze-dried chicken, you’ll start to think of fresh or frozen chicken breasts as a waste of time and motions (at least when it comes to making a quick dinner). Here’s what you need to know about this handy, food-storage-friendly food.

3 Easy Freeze-Dried Chicken Recipes

Here are 3 of my tried-and-tested recipes using this handy food.

Layered Chicken Enchiladas

This is one of my family’s most favorite meals. It’s not terribly authentic because it is more of a tortilla lasagna than anything, but it’s still tasty and doesn’t take a lot of time to make. Read this for all the ways to use freeze-dried food in your favorite Mexican food recipes.


  • 1 1/2 cup freeze dried chicken, rehydrated
  • 1/4 cup dehydrated onions
  • 1 1/2 cup freeze dried cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 cans enchilada sauce, divided
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • green chiles – optional (My kids just pick them out, so I tend to omit them.)
  • tortillas (whole wheat is best – usually 10 store bought, or anywhere from 6-9 homemade ones using the tortilla recipe found here.)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine chicken, onions, 1 1/2 cup enchilada sauce, chiles, 1 cup cheese.
  2. In a 13 x 9 inch pan, put down a tortilla layer, breaking them in pieces in order to cover the whole bottom.
  3. Spread a thin layer of the chicken and cheese filling, then cover with another layer of tortillas. Alternate layers until you run out of filling, ending with tortillas.
  4. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the pan, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 25 min or until bubbly.

Chicken Salad

Chicken salad is many things to many people, which is the primary basis of its appeal. All chicken salad has chicken and mayonnaise as the primary ingredients. It can be easily customized, according to preference and availability of ingredients, by adding:

  • chopped apples
  • chopped celery
  • parsley
  • basil
  • tarragon
  • dill
  • pecans or walnuts
  • minced hard-boiled egg
  • pineapple
  • grapes
  • mustard
  • chili powder or paprika
  • red onion or scallions
  • shredded carrots
  • olives

Here is where experimentation is truly king. If you don’t already have a favorite way to make chicken salad, I encourage you to add or subtract ingredients until you find one. If mayonnaise isn’t really your thing, you can also use sour cream or even plain yogurt instead.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Making soup with freeze-dried chicken is even easier, because you don’t even have to rehydrate the chicken ahead of time! Just make your soup as you normally would. Add 1/2 cup or so of chicken chunks into the pot once other ingredients are cooked through. Since the chicken doesn’t have to actually cook, just rehydrate and heat up, it’s okay to add the chicken toward the end of the cooking time. This is usually about when I add noodles as well.

Pro Tips For Using Freeze-Dried Chicken

  • Batch Rehydrate: Rehydrate a larger amount of freeze-dried chicken at once. Store it in the fridge for up to 3 days, ready to toss into meals throughout the week.
  • Flavor Boost: While rehydrating, add a splash of broth or your favorite seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, or herbs for extra flavor.
  • Leftover Love: Freeze-dried chicken shines in leftover transformations! Use leftover shredded chicken in quesadillas, omelets, or fried rice the next day.
  • Camping Companion: The lightweight and long shelf life of freeze-dried chicken makes it ideal for camping trips. Pre-portion it into individual bags for easy meal prep on the go.
  • Storage Smarts: While freeze-dried chicken has a long shelf life, store it in a cool, dry place for optimal quality. Once opened, transfer it to an airtight container to prevent moisture absorption.

What’s the difference between freeze-dried and canned chicken?

I used to cook with a lot of canned chicken for the same reasons I now use the freeze-dried version. While both are good choices for building your food storage, I find freeze-dried chicken has several advantages:

  • Taste: Freeze-dried chicken retains a fresher flavor compared to canned chicken. Canned has a residual taste that you don’t usually find when eating fresh chicken. If you’re worried that freeze-dried chicken will have a weird taste that can only be described as “ugh,” don’t. Each time I make a freeze-dried chicken meal for my family, I’m pleasantly surprised by how normal it tasted.
  • Shelf life: It typically lasts longer in storage (up to 25 years with proper storage).
  • Nutrition: The freeze-drying process better preserves nutrients.
  • Preparation: Freeze-dried food companies offer this in a number of different forms, including seasoned chicken strips, chopped chicken, and diced chicken.


How do you rehydrate freeze-dried chicken?

Specific instructions may vary, depending on the brand you’re using, but typically rehydration involves letting one part freeze dried chicken chunks stand in 2 parts water for 5-15 minutes. After the requisite time, I use my handy kitchen strainer to pour off any excess water.

Why is freeze-dried chicken good to store for emergencies?

It’s long shelf life ensures you have a protein source on hand. Since no refrigeration needed it works well for times when you’re without power. All you need is a way to heat water when you don’t have electricity.

How long can you store freeze dried chicken?

Unopened freeze-dried chicken has a shelf life of years at room temperature.

Does freeze-dried chicken need to be refrigerated after opening?

No, however once rehydrated, you should store it in the refrigerator like any cooked chicken.

Get your Freeze-Dried Food Primer now!

Click here for everything you need to know to get started using freeze-dried food.

  • What it is and how to use it
  • Which brands are the best quality
  • How to decide what to buy
  • How to save money buying freeze-dried food

Click here to get your FREE freeze-dried food primer!

Final Thoughts

Stock your pantry, save time in the kitchen, and feel prepared for anything with freeze-dried chicken! It’s a versatile ingredient that fits seamlessly into your everyday routine while offering a reliable protein source for emergencies. If you don’t already have freeze-dried chicken as part of your food storage, I encourage you to change your ways. You won’t be sorry! Learning how to use freeze-dried chicken is simple; it’s a super versatile and tasty product that I recommend.

What freeze-dried foods do you like to use? Please share with me in the comments!

Source link