A Simple Guide on How to Thaw Meat

For proper storage, meat is often frozen. While cooking such meat can be easy, there is need to thaw it first. There are different ways you can thaw meat, but you just have to get it right.

If your meat is improperly thawed, there are chances that you and your family members can be exposed to food poisoning as harmful bacteria can easily grow on your meat.

There are three major ways you can thaw meat safely, and we will provide a complete guide on how to go about them.

From the quickest ‘defrost’ function of the microwave, to the gentler method of using cold water, and the really slow method of thawing in the refrigerator, we’ll go through these processes.

Thawing in the Refrigerator


This is the slowest of the three major methods of thawing meat. It is also the best method, arguably. It ensures that the meat is evenly defrosted in a very safe condition.

If you have the time (24 hours, ideally), use this method. Follow the steps below to get it right:

  • Place the frozen pieces of meat in a large solid plate that can contain it comfortably and prevent the liquid from dripping so as not to mess up your refrigerator. If the meat is too big, use a large pan.
  • Place the plate/pan into the refrigerator and allow the meat to thaw for about 24 hours. If the meat is too big, it may take more than 24 hours; after the first 24 hours, check periodically to see when it has thawed properly by poking or turning it over.
  • The meat is ready to cook.

Using Cold Water for Thawing


This is a relatively faster method of thawing when compared to the refrigeration method. 2 kg of meat can be thawed in an hour, but for larger chunks, you can have them ready to cook in about 3 hours.

Once you defrost meat with this method, you will have to cook it immediately to avoid spoilage. Follow the steps bellow to get it right:

  • Place the chunks of frozen meat in large resealable bags that can fit into the bowl or pan you intend to use. Press the bag to remove air and seal it properly.
  • Fill a large and solid bowl with cold tap water to a level that will allow the meat to be submerged fully. If the meat is too big, you can also use a large pan that will contain it.
  • Place the bag with the frozen meat into the bowl of water until it is completely submerged. Allow it to sit that way until the meat is completely thawed.
  • To facilitate the process, you can empty the bowl and refill with fresh water after every 30 minutes.
  • Keep checking the meat to see when it has thawed completely by poking and turning it.
  • Once the meat is thawed, cook immediately to avoid spoilage.

Thawing in the Microwave


This is the fastest method of defrosting meat. You can resort to this method when you need to cook your frozen meat almost immediately, as the microwave can thaw the meat in a matter of minutes.

It works better with smaller pieces of evenly cut meat. Most microwaves come with a ‘defrost’ setting, but if yours doesn’t have this feature, just adjust the power to 50%.

It is essential to monitor the meat closely to avoid cooking some part during the process and compromising the quality of the meat. Follow the steps below to get it right:

  • If the meat is wrapped, unwrap it and place in a microwave safe plate (these plates are ceramic and glass plates that do not have any form of metal embellishment).
  • Place the meat into the microwave and set the appliance to the ‘defrost’ level if it has the feature. Some modern microwaves will ask you to enter the weight of the meat. Once you do this, it will determine the time it will take the meat to thaw completely.
  • Check the meat periodically to see if the process is going on well. Microwave thawing is a quick method and if you don’t check it properly, some may start cooking. Pause the microwave between minutes to check on the meat. If the meat is warm, let it cool for about a minute before continuing with thawing.
  • Once the meat is completely thawed, cook immediately to avoid spoilage.

The methods considered above are the major ways to thaw a meat, follow the steps as recommended to achieve the best result.