Last-minute kitchen hacks: How to thaw frozen meat

Image of Frozen Meat
Sunny Shen/Senior Staff

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Freezing meat is a great way to make it last longer. The only problem here is that meat can’t be frozen when you cook it. That means you have to thaw it, which often requires more planning than the average college student can muster. Nonetheless, there are many ways to thaw meat depending on how much time you have: Even frenzied last-minute meals can be salvaged if you know the right tricks. Here are some of the best ways to thaw meat depending on how much time you have.

If you have lots of time

Put it in the fridge

It can be good to slowly defrost a piece of meat. The best option is to put it in the fridge the morning or even the evening before you’re going to cook it. The meat does thaw, just slower than if you put it out on the counter. Also, you don’t have to worry as much about the meat spoiling.

Hot water bath

If you don’t have 12-ish hours to wait for the meat to thaw, you can always put it in a bucket or tub filled with hot water. This method isn’t as quick as you’d think, though, as the meat will rapidly cool the water, leaving the frozen meat in a cool water bath. After a few hours in that kind of bath, it should be mostly thawed. If you want to speed up this process, then run hot water continuously over the frozen meat package. That can be wasteful though, so try to reuse the water for something else, such as rinsing the dishes after your meal. 

If you have very little time

Cuddle it

A classic way to treat a black eye is to put a frozen steak on it. Eventually, though, you have to change it out as the steak thaws and is no longer cold. This is the exact thing you’re going for. Now, you don’t need a black eye, but you do need to press the frozen meat against your body. Try to find the warmest spot (such as under your shirt and jacket) and hold it there. Once it’s thawed, you’ll be able to feel it.

Microwave it

A very quick way to get the meat thawed enough is to stick it in the microwave. How long it should heat depends on the size, but you probably shouldn’t go over a minute (unless the meat is being really stubborn). The point of this isn’t to thaw it all the way through. Instead, it should thaw just enough that you can cut it. Then, cooking will do the rest.

Don’t be afraid to freeze meat so it lasts longer. You should now have the methods you’ll need to thaw it out so it’s ready to be cooked up in whatever amazing meal you plan to make — no matter how much or how little time you have.

Contact Zachariah Nash at [email protected] .