Can You Use Hot Water to Defrost Frozen Meat Faster?

The Cold Water Method (One Hour)

This is the best way to quickly and properly defrost meat without a microwave. Place your frozen cut of meat in a resealable plastic bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. Fill a large bowl with cold water and submerge the bag in the water. Change the water every 30 minutes to ensure that it stays cold and continues to thaw the meat. Smaller cuts of meat, poultry or seafood (about a pound) can thaw in an hour or less, larger quantities (3 to 4 pounds) may take 2–3 hours. Estimate about 30 minutes per pound for whole frozen turkeys. We don’t recommend refreezing that meat once it’s been thawed, unless you cook it first. Tip: use your thawed meat to make big batches of soups or stews!


Can you eat 2 year old frozen meat?

As long as it has been kept frozen meat and poultry will be safe to eat indefinitely. The quality of the meat may deteriorate with time. This depends on whether the meat was packed in a airtight container before freezing. The major risk is freezer burn which attacks the edges and surface of meat first.

What Happens if You Defrost Chicken in Hot Water?

Before you get all excited and toss that poultry in a basin filled with some hot water, You need to be aware that this method is HIGHLY NOT RECOMMENDED.

Thawing your chicken or any kind of frozen meat in hot water is dangerous for your health.

Although it does the job by speeding up your thawing process, it will negatively impact if consumed.

If you thaw poultry in hot water, the dormant bacteria found in the meat will slowly grow as temperature rises.

Thus, this will result in a spread of bacteria in the surface.

When the poultry is still frozen, it’s indefinitely safe.

However, as soon as they start to thaw and be submerged in water that’s hotter than 40°F, germs or bacteria that have been there before freezing can start to multiply.

How do you defrost meat in the microwave?

Place a microwave-safe ziplock bag with your frozen beef on a plate, leaving a small opening for the steam to escape. Use the defrost setting on your microwave to defrost for three to four minutes, turning the meat halfway through.

Can defrosted meat be refrozen?

Did you change your mind on what you’re having for dinner, and you want to refreeze the meat? You can only refreeze the meat if you used the regrigerator thawing method, and it’s important to note you may loose some of the meat’s quality.

All other methods, you should cook the beef before refreezing to ensure that harmful bacteria doesn’t occur. , depending on how you thawed the meat.

The Process:

Start off by taking out your frozen chicken from the fridge and pull it out from its packaging (or if it’s in a bowl).

Grab a clean and empty zip bag such as a Ziplock and transfer your frozen chicken into it.Ensure that the bag you’ve chosen is enough to cover the whole chicken since you’ll need to seal it after.

Once your chicken is in the bag, squeeze out any air that remains. Before submerging it in cold water, make sure that there is no trace of air inside.

After making sure, no more oxygen remains, seal it properly to ensure no water comes in. Set aside.

Take out a basin that’s big enough to cover the whole chicken and fill it in with cold icy water.

Then put in your sealed frozen chicken and wait for it to fully thaw.Change the cold water with a new one every 30 minutes to make sure that it always stays cold and continues to thaw the poultry.Smaller cuts of meat (about a pound) can defrost in an hour or sometimes less, while larger quantities (4 to 5 pounds) may take 3-4 hours or more.

Once your poultry has fully thawed, cook it right away, so it’s freshness and taste will not be altered. Don’t refreeze the meat once you’ve thawed it!

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.

Defrosting Meat in the Refrigerator

The second method is in the refrigerator, which, according to food safety expert Jenna Brown, is the safest due to the gradual way in which the defrosting takes place.

Brown told Newsweek: “The safest way to defrost is always overnight in the refrigerator. If defrosting in the microwave, the most important thing to note is the need to cook the food immediately. If using the cold water method, only use cold water (don’t be tempted to use hot or lukewarm water.)”

The fridge method requires more preparation than others, as the larger the meat, the longer the defrost will take. For example, if you are defrosting your bird for Thanksgiving, that could take days in the fridge.

A stock image of frozen meat. Defrosting frozen meat in the fridge is the most reliable way to thaw food safely, according to experts. FRED TANNEAU/Getty Images

Byrne said: “To thaw meat in the refrigerator, transfer sealed meat from the freezer to the fridge the day before you plan to cook it. Smaller items, like chicken breasts and steaks, may thaw in about 12 hours.

“Larger items, like whole chickens and turkeys, pork shoulders, and other big cuts of meat, will take about 24 hours for every 5 pounds.

“Foods thawed in the fridge can be refrigerated for between one (for chicken, fish, and ground meat products) and five (for big cuts of meat like a brisket or lamb roast) days.”

However, if you are in a pinch, the FSIS suggests an even faster way to defrost.

Better: Cold Water

To safely defrost your hamburger and maintain an even texture throughout, submerge it in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold. Place the meat in a leakproof package, or transfer it to an airtight freezer bag first. One pound of hamburger should take an hour or less to defrost using this method, while larger packages — 3 or 4 pounds — take several hours. Again, you must cook the meat immediately once it is thawed.

How long different proteins and cuts stay fresh in the fridge

Defrosting Chicken

Due to ButcherBox’s vacuum-seal packaging, our chicken can last between 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator. (If the vacuum seal is broken, stick to the standard 1-2 day recommendation for poultry.)

Defrosting Beef

When it comes to steaks or roasts, if the original packaging is sealed tight, it can remain in the refrigerator for almost two weeks. However, outside of its packaging or if the packaging is torn, beef is good for 3-5 days once defrosted in the refrigerator.

Ground beef is a little different. It stays fresh for 1-2 days in the fridge once it defrosts.

Defrosting Pork

The rules for pork also differ depending on the cut. Most larger pork cuts — roasts, pork butt — come in stronger, vacuum-sealed packages. Like steaks, they will remain good for up to two weeks defrosted in the refrigerator.

However, smaller cuts of pork that are in individual cut packaging will remain fresh for 3-5 days if it remains vacuum-sealed or 1-2 days if the packaging seal is broken or if you’ve removed it from its original packaging.

Once you defrost bacon, it will remain good for 7 days in the refrigerator.

Defrosting Fish

After salmon and other seafood has been defrosted, it too will be fresh for an additional one to two days if defrosted in the refrigerator. One thing to note for all seafood: Make sure you take seafood out of its packaging before you defrost it. It is not safe to defrost fish in its vacuum-sealed packaging where bacteria can form without oxygen.

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Methods to Avoid Thawing Entirely

We get it — you need to defrost ground beef fast because it’s Taco Tuesday, or maybe you’re craving a Classic Spaghetti Bolognese. While there are sources that claim you can thaw frozen meat in hot water or simply leave it out on the counter, the USDA says this isn’t safe, and any piece of thawed meat should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours.

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Samantha MacAvoy Samantha MacAvoy is the Editorial Assistant on the Good Housekeeping food team, where she writes about tasty recipes from the Test Kitchen, must-try food products and tools, and top-tested secrets for home cooking success.

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