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How to Thaw Frozen Steak Safely

How to Thaw Frozen Steak Safely

Last Updated on 6th July 2023 by

Frozen steak is often cheaper than fresh steak and can store for much longer. If you find frozen steak at a good price, why bother to pay more for the fresh one? You can just keep the steak in the freezer for as long as you like until you’re ready to cook it up.

You usually have to plan ahead in order to cook up frozen steak, since it can take a long time to thaw out. How long does it take to that a frozen steak? How do you thaw it safely to ensure that it doesn’t attract bacteria? We’ll show you a couple of ways to defrost it and answer all the questions you might have about taking steak from being frozen to cooked up and ready to eat.

If you have ever passed over a good deal on frozen steak because you weren’t sure what to do with it, now is the time to add it to your freezer and make plans for your next at-home steak dinner.

The Conventional Way of Defrosting Steak

The way to get the best thawed steak is to use the tried and true method of refrigerator thawing. That naturally warms up the steak to a temperature where it is safe to eat and easy to use while never dipping below safe storage temperatures. In other words, it protects your steak from coming into contact with bacteria that could cause food poisoning.

When you know you’ll be using the steak the next day, just place it into the fridge and let it thaw out slowly there. How long to thaw frozen steak this way? It will take around 24 hours, so give yourself enough time from when you put it into the refrigerator to when you need to use it. If you don’t, it could still have an icy core when you go to prepare your steak.

How long it takes to thaw out will depend on how large and how thick the steak is, as larger pieces take longer to thaw out. You don’t have to do anything special to the steak to ensure it thaws out fully. Just give it enough time to reach the right temperature. Keep in mind that steak is tougher than other meats, which also means it is denser, so it can take longer to thaw than fish or shrimp.

Once the steak is fully thawed, you can cut it up more easily into small strips, if you like. Thawing the steak prepares it for cooking and makes it much easier to work with. Just be sure to use it within a few days of thawing.

How long does thawed steak stay good for? It will last in your fridge for 3-5 days, so be sure to use it within that window. You can tell that the steak has gone bad when it smells funny or starts to change color, so if it has been in the fridge for a few days, be sure to check it for telltale signs of spoiling before cooking it up.

8 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Defrosting Steak

How to Defrost Frozen Steak Fast

So, you need to use your steak the same day but you realise that it is still frozen solid. What do you do? Will you have to just save it for another day?

Fortunately not, as there is a way to take your steak from frozen to thawed fast. Here is how to thaw frozen steak quickly.

You will need to put the steak into a bowl of water large enough so that the steak can be submerged completely in water. Use cold water so that the steak doesn’t thaw too quickly. Also, make sure the steak is in a waterproof bag so that no water seeps in. You don’t want a soggy steak, as that can sap it of its flavour and texture. If you are thawing the steak properly, it should never come into contact with the cold water in the bowl.

How long does it take frozen steak to thaw in cold water? It can take anywhere from an hour to two hours, which may seem like a long time, but it is definitely faster than thawing the steak in the fridge for about 24 hours. How long it takes depends on the size of the steak and how thick it is.

Be sure to keep the water cold the entire time the steak is thawing. Check it every so often to see if the water has reached room temperature. If it has, change it out for cold water and continue the thawing process.

After the steak has thawed completely, you can cook it immediately or store it in the fridge for a couple of days.

The Problem with Improper Defrosting

Now that you know the right ways for how to thaw frozen steak, you may be wondering if there is a wrong way and what happens if you use those wrong methods. There definitely are some methods for defrosting steaks you should not use, and we’ll share with you what happens to your steak when you don’t follow the best thawing methods. Hopefully, that will make you less tempted to use what may seem like shortcuts to getting your steak thawed out.

You could thaw out your steak in the microwave using the defrost setting. This is more work for you, though, as you may need to check it every so often and will typically need to keep activating the microwave when it prompts for a check during the thawing process. How much work you have to do and how long it takes to thaw frozen steak in the microwave depends on the kind of microwave you use and the defrost setting you use.

You can also use the regular microwave cooking setting to thaw your steak out, but this can thaw it unevenly, and parts of the steak may start to cook while other parts are still frozen. This is a method that can work if you plan to cook up the steak right away, but it’s not very practical or safe for when you want to transfer a frozen steak to the fridge thawed.

Trying to cook the steak to thaw it will also result in an uneven steak. The outside may start to cook while the interior stays frozen, resulting in a steak that isn’t cooked evenly.

Watch out for the dangerous temperature zone, which is between 41°F to 135°F. That’s where bacteria feel safe and will attach onto the steak and start to grow. If steak stays at room temperature for long, even if it is sealed, the bacteria can begin to affect it. Taking steak from the freezer while still sealed will probably protect it from bacteria for a while, but there is still risk there. Never leave steak at room temperature uncovered for any length of time, though.

Keep it cold before you cook it and keep it hot after it is cooked until it is time to eat it. That way, you’ll protect yourself and others from bacteria and the resulting food poisoning. If you are concerned about the temperature of the steak and the risk of food poisoning and bacterial growth, you can use a thermometer to check the internal temperature.

How Long Does It Take to Thaw a Frozen Steak?

If you just want to know the length of time for thawing, then that can vary from 24 hours to just an hour or two. The thawing time depends on a number of factors.

How long does frozen steak take to thaw? That is based on the method you use and the size of the steak. Some methods are better than others, and it is safest to use a method that keeps the steak cold until you are ready to cook it.

If you want to speed up the thawing process, then be sure to separate multiple steaks. If you have two or more steaks stuck together and frozen solid, you can separate them by running cold water over the steaks. Only run the water long enough to be able to pull them apart and not so long as to thaw them out. As we mentioned earlier when talking about how to quickly thaw frozen steak, you need to try to keep the water off of the steaks. You can thaw under running water while still keeping the steak in a plastic bag.

How thick the steaks are affects the thawing time too. Just about any size of steak should thaw in the refrigerator in 24 hours. To speed up thawing time, be sure to place multiple pieces of steak away from each other in the fridge. Or, if you are using the cold water and bowl method, be sure to use multiple bowls or separate the streaks in the water.

Safe Storage for Steaks

We have told you how to thaw a frozen steak, and now we want to talk briefly about storage methods. It is recommended that you store thawed steaks in a bowl or other container so that their juices don’t affect other items in the fridge. If uncooked steak juices get into your produce to other foods that don’t require cooking, you can cause cross contamination and food poisoning.

Keep steaks at a safe temperature in the fridge and keep them away from the door and other areas that experience changes in temperature. The back of the fridge is the best place for refrigerated steaks.

You can refreeze thawed and cooked steak if you like. Just be sure to leave them in the fridge for about three days before refreezing them, and then you can keep them safely stored in the freezer for months. Refrozen steak may not taste as flavourful, however, due to how the thawing and refreezing process can cause it to lose some water.

Steak that has never been thawed or cooked can be kept in the freezer indefinitely. If the freezer container or bag is kept airtight, the steak will store very well and be just as flavourful and safe to eat as ever whenever you are ready to use it. Be aware of how power outages and freezer cleaning can affect the temperature and try to keep your steak at a stable temperature to prevent spoiling.


What are the risks of not properly thawing a frozen steak before cooking it?

Not properly thawing a frozen steak before cooking it can lead to uneven cooking. The outside of the steak could be overcooked while the inside remains undercooked or even still frozen. Additionally, rapidly thawing steak at unsafe temperatures (like on the counter at room temperature) can promote the growth of harmful bacteria, which can lead to foodborne illnesses.

How long does it generally take to thaw a frozen steak using the recommended method?

The safest way to thaw a frozen steak is in the refrigerator. Depending on the thickness of the steak, it can take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours to thaw completely. This method requires some foresight, but it’s the best way to ensure the steak thaws evenly and remains at a safe temperature during the thawing process.

Can I cook steak directly from frozen if I don’t have time to thaw it, and if so, how does this affect the cooking process?

Yes, it is possible to cook steak directly from frozen, although it might not yield the same results as cooking a properly thawed steak. The steak will need to be cooked for a longer period of time at a lower temperature in order to fully cook the inside without burning the outside. This method often leads to a steak that is more well-done in the center. If you prefer your steak medium-rare to medium, it’s better to take the time to properly thaw it before cooking.

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Pauline Loughlin
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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!