Can You Use Hot Water to Defrost Frozen Meat Faster?

Is it safe to defrost meat in the microwave?

The USDA says that thawing in the microwave is safe, but because it can quickly bring meat into the “danger zone” where bacteria multiply most rapidly, meat defrosted that way should be cooked immediately as soon as it’s thawed.

Are vacuum seal bags safe for sous vide?

Sous vide manufacturer ChefSteps recommends using food-grade vacuum sealing bags because they’re BPA-free and made of polyethylene (we like the ones made by FoodSaver). … Double-bagging with two Ziploc bags will avoid this, or using FoodSaver bags.


Method #1: Microwave Thawing

One of the most effective ways to defrost your chicken quickly is by placing it up on the microwave.

Many people who are in a rush to cook a yummy honey garlic chicken pasta have sworn that this method is a total lifesaver.

Many microwaves have built-in features that enable you to defrost your chicken by merely pushing a button particularly.

Check out your instruction manual to know if your appliance has this featured setting and note the special instructions with the quantity of poultry and the kind of cut.

Important Notice:

Don’t try this method in a slow cooker.

Since the appliance cooks things slowly, there’s a high chance that the poultry will stay too long in the danger zone—the temp range where germs and bacteria are most possible to grow.

But doing this so in an oven or on a stove top will enable the poultry not to spend much time in that range since they tend to cook quicker.

What is the best cut of meat to sous vide?

The best steak to cook sous vide is one with great marbling (streaks of white fat within lean section of steak) and proper thickness (1 1/2 inches or more). You can find beautiful pieces of meat with great marbling and thickness in cuts such as Ribeye, Strip, Porterhouse/T-bone and Filet Mignon.

How do you safely thaw meat?

There are three safe ways to defrost beef: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave. There are three safe ways to defrost beef: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave. Never defrost on the counter or in other locations.

Method 3: Cooking Frozen Meat

The last method is technically the fastest way to thaw meat because cooking frozen meat will rapidly thaw it.

Cooking frozen meat is perfectly fine and can actually produce better results in some situations.

For example, steak typically tastes better and achieves a better result when you cook it from a frozen state instead of thawing it out first. You’ll likely achieve a better sear, the steak will retain more moisture, and it tends to taste better. I was skeptical until I tested it and saw how much of a difference it made.

The rule of thumb is that when cooking frozen meat, it will take 50% longer to cook through.

So to use this method, all you need to do is make sure that you allow more time for the meat to cook throughout and hit the required temperature in the center.

If you want to cook from frozen, here is a quick overview of the minimum temperature you should aim for:

  • Beef, Pork, Lamb: 145°F
  • Ground Beef: 160°F
  • Chicken: 165°F
  • Ham: 165°F

If you cook from frozen and properly reach the correct temperature in the center of the meat, you will have minimized the chances of any bacteria growing and surviving.

Defrosting meat quickly using hot water: step-by-step instructions

It’s super simple, really.

  • STEP ONE: Run kitchen tap water until it’s as hot as it can get.
  • STEP TWO: Plug the drain and fill your sink about half full with hot water.
  • STEP THREE: Submerge your frozen meat in the hot water to defrost.

The length of defrost time will vary based on a few factors:

1. How thick the cut of meat is. As a general rule of thumb, meat that’s an inch thick takes about 10 minutes to defrost this way. If it’s half an inch thick, it takes half that time. If it’s a couple inches thick, it takes twice that time.

2. How the meat is packaged. If it’s got insulating layers of plastic or paper wrap around it, it will take slightly longer to defrost. If it’s at all possible, I generally remove the packaging and place the frozen meat directly in the hot water bath.

3. The volume & movement of the water. The more hot water you have, and whether or not you occasionally stir your defrosting meat can also impact length of defrost time. That’s because the frozen meat can form a “cool spot” in the water. So if you stir the water and meat every couple minutes, you’ll help displace the cool spot and keep your meat defrosting more quickly.

Defrost In Cold Water

Defrosting steak in cold water is the second slowest method, and it also results in evenly defrosted meat. This method is mostly hands-off. It works best if the meat no longer has its original packaging and has been transferred to a ziptop bag.

To defrost steaks in cold water, they need to be in a securely sealed ziptop bag, whether the meat is still in the original packaging or not. This is so that no water gets to the steaks. So start by putting the meat (or the meat and its packaging if the packaging is frozen to it) in a ziptop bag, if it isn’t already.

Fill your kitchen sink or a large pot with cold water and add the meat in its bag. If the original packaging was frozen to the meat, you can open the ziptop bag periodically to see if you’re able to remove the frozen packaging. Once you do, the temperature of the water can get closer to the meat and it will defrost more quickly.

This defrosting method takes about an hour for a package of steak, so it requires a little bit of thinking ahead. It is hands-off if you don’t have to worry about the packaging.

The Microwave Method (10 Minutes)

Learn how to defrost meat in the microwave and you can have prepped protein in under 10 minutes — really. This method works best for smaller cuts of meat that will be cooked all the way through after thawing, like chicken breast for a stir-fryor ground beef for tacos. Read up on your microwave’s instruction manual to learn the best way to defrost a specific cut of meat according to the microwave’s settings. If your microwave doesn’t have a “defrost” setting, set it at a lower power level and run in short bursts until the meat is thawed. Be careful though, cooking at too high a heat or for too long can actually cook the meat instead of defrosting. No matter what, as soon as you’re done thawing, cook the meat right away.

Defrosting Meat in Water

The final method is by defrosting in cold water. The FSIS suggests using a leakproof bag and placing it in cold water, which should be changed every 30 minutes until an item is defrosted.

However, it is important not to including an tissue-like items in the bag or let the bag leak, as that can cause cross-contamination of bacteria into other foods and on surfaces.

Read more FDA Warns Against Using Certain Hand Sanitizers Over Potential Cancer Link How to Clean a Wooden Cutting Board and What To Chop on Them How to Tell If Eggs Are Bad and The Water Fresh Test Explained

Byrne says, like food which is defrosted in a microwave, this should be cooked straight away.

She said: “Generally, meat will take about 30 minutes per pound to thaw in cold water. And, be sure to thaw in a sealed package, so that raw meat doesn’t contaminate your water and sink.

“Food thawed in the sink must be cooked immediately.”

However, one thing is important to note about this countertop method: cold water must be used.

The FSIS says leaving something out on the countertop is not a safe way to defrost food, so if you choose to leave it out, it must be immersed in cold water using this method.

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Is it ok to leave meat out to defrost?

No! It is not safe to thaw meat on the counter. Do not thaw meat at room temperature. 

According to the  USDA, “perishable foods should never be thawed on the counter, or in hot water and must not be left at room temperature for more than two hours.

Even though the center of the package may still be frozen as it thaws on the counter, the outer layer of the food could be in the “Danger Zone, between 40 and 140 °F — temperatures where bacteria multiply rapidly.”

Are there really only two ways to defrost meat?

Any time I share a Facebook post about kicking your microwave to the curb, I inevitably get a comment like this one:

“I really want to do this. But how do you defrost meat quickly without a microwave?”

Many of my readers seem to think that defrosting is something that can only be done one of two ways:

1. Meat is moved from the freezer to the refrigerator, where it slowly defrosts over the next 24 hours.


2. Meat is defrosted in the microwave.

I don’t use either method

That’s because option #1 requires planning ahead, and I’m really terrible at that.

And option #2 usually defrosts unevenly (plus I hate microwaves).

So, what’s the big trick?

The Cold Water Method

The running cold water method offers a speedier so

The running cold water method offers a speedier solution than the refrigerator if you need dinner in a pinch. Here’s how to defrost your meat in cold water.

Seal. First, ensure your frozen meat is in a leakproof plastic bag. You should swap the original packaging for a sealable ziplock bag just to be safe. Don’t stuff larger cuts of meat into small packages, instead use the appropriate size bag.

Submerge. Next, submerge your sealed bag in a bowl of a cold tap water. Run the tap on a cold drizzle over the bowl to keep the water flowing. Defrosting could take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours depending on size.

Cook. After defrosting, meat should be cooked be immediately.

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