4 Methods You Can Use To Thaw Steak

What is Steak?

Steak is meat taken from the muscle fibers of an animal and sliced into thick pieces.

A cut is made from the hindquarters of a cow or between ribs just below the waist.

Steak on board

Steak could be composed of a bone depending on where the cut has been made or no bone whatsoever.

You can also obtain steak from different grazing animals such as camel, goat or, sheep.

How to Thaw Steak

Thawing refers to the process whereby frozen food is warmed for it to be eaten or for it to be prepared to serve.

Thawing steak requires that it be done correctly and safely so that the steak maintains its good quality afterward.

Some aspects of steak that people look for are that it tastes good, is fresh, juicy and, tender.

Therefore, it is good to thaw steak properly so that it does not beat the purpose of refrigeration which is to maintain these qualities in the steak until it is ready for use.

There are different ways one can thaw their steak once it is taken out of the freezer. There are a couple of approaches you can use to select.

Thawing using refrigeration

This method is the most highly recommended for thawing steak.

The process will be taking place at a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which is safe.

The low temperature eliminates the risk of bacteria rapidly developing, which may cause food poisoning.

  • Place the frozen steak on a flat pan while still in its airtight packaging. It allows for the pan to catch the juices as the steak continues to thaw.
  • Ensure that you change the pan when you notice that the dripping has started to accumulate.
  • Leave the steak for an adequate amount of time to thaw. Smaller quantities of steak may take even a day to thaw completely, whereas large amounts take two days or longer.
  • Thawed steak is safe in the refrigerator for at least 3-5 days after that. If you do not wish to use it, it can then be frozen again without cooking.
  • You can tell if the steak has gone wrong if you notice a clear or yellowish slimy film that you can feel or see. The steak might also have a slippery or sticky feel to it.

Advantages of using refrigeration.

  • Refrigeration does no allow room for bacteria to grow, hence reducing the chances of food poisoning.

Disadvantages of using refrigeration.

  • It takes a long time and therefore requires one to plan.

Thawing using cold water

For this method, we use clean and drinkable water. Depending on preference, one can either use running water or water placed in a bowl to carry out the thawing process for the steak.

  • Once you have taken out your steak from the freezer, leave it as it is in its packaging.
  • Make sure that the packaging is vacuum-sealed or place in an airtight bag to be sure.
  • When using running cold water, place the steak under the running water, ensuring that the velocity is sufficient to agitate loose particles.
  • As for using a bowl, fill it up with water and completely submerge the frozen steak while still in its airtight packaging. Change the water every 30 minutes to smoothly continue the thawing process.
  • Small packages can take one hour to completely thaw, while many steaks can take 2-3 hours.
  • If you intend to refreeze, you must cook the steak first since it has been exposed to a warm temperature.

Advantages of using cold water

  • It is fast and safe.
  • It is easy to carry out.

Disadvantages of using cold water

  • There is a risk of exposure to bacteria as the temperatures are not steadily low.

Thawing in the Microwave

If you decide to thaw steak in the microwave, you must cook it immediately because some parts of the steak may begin to cook due to exposure to heat.

Partially cooked food means that not all bacteria have been destroyed and should therefore be adequately cooked.

  • Remove your frozen steak from the freezer and place it in a microwave-safe container.
  • Weigh the steak since weight is a determinant of how long it might take to thaw the steak.
  • Set the microwave to defrost or set it to cook at 20-30 percent of the total power. Doing so ensures that the steak is only thawing and does not get cooked.
  • It is recommended that you defrost by weight if the microwave has such settings. For steak, it could take 8-10 minutes per pound.
  • Do not leave the thawing steak unattended. Ensure to check on the steak every few minutes, flipping, to turn, and separating parts to ensure even thawing.
  • Remove steak from the microwave and immediately cook. Then you can refreeze after.

Advantages of using a microwave

  • It takes a short time.

Disadvantages of using a microwave

  • There is the risk of the growth of dangerous bacteria.

Thawing in hot water

This method would be similar to the one using cold water, except here we use hot water.

Hot water thaws frozen steak even faster since the melting process is quicker now. Even so, it is not the most recommendable of methods.

  • Place the frozen steak in an airtight bag.
  • Place the steak under running hot water to thaw or in a bowl of hot water.
  • Keep on turning the steak so that it evenly thaws.
  • Wait a few minutes for the steak to thaw and cook immediately.

Advantages of using hot water

  • It takes a short time to achieve.

Disadvantages of using hot water

  • Hot water begins to cook the steak, forcing you to cook immediately partially.
  • The high temperature allows harmful microbes to start growing on the steak.

Thawing on the counter

Thawing steak over the counter is natural as it is allowed to do so at room temperature.

It is not entirely safe as the steak is exposed to a temperature under which bacteria can start breeding.

  • After removing the steak from the freezer, leave it vacuum-sealed and place it in a pan or a platter.
  • Leave the steak to thaw under room temperature naturally.
  • Depending on the amount of steak, it takes 1 hour to at least several hours for the steak to completely thaw.


  • There is a risk of contamination.

Tips on Thawing Steak

Is there a correct temperature for thawing steak?

Thawing steak requires that it be done at an appropriate temperature. Doing so helps maintain the freshness and tastiness of the steak.

While the steak is thawing, it is recommended not to be subjected to temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

It helps avoid possible spoilage of the steak at temperatures above that. Therefore this only applies when the refrigeration method is used.

However, all the other methods, including cold water, microwaving, using hot water thawing on the counter, expose the steak to temperatures higher than the limit set.

Even so, while the level of risk of spoilage differs from method to method, they all require that the steak be cooked immediately to avoid spoilage.

After that, one can go ahead and refrigerate or even freeze their steak for later use.

How can one speed up the thawing?

Salt is one element that can be added to water and be used to thaw.

Salt helps lower the melting point of ice and therefore makes the steak thaw even faster.

FAQs for Thawing

What is the best method to use?

The most recommended way of thawing steak would be through the refrigeration method.

It has to be the safest and best way since the steak remains under a cool temperature at all times.

Refrigeration, as we know, keeps the steak safe from contamination by bacteria that breed in warmer conditions.

Besides that, the steak can safely remain refrigerated for a few days before use and does not require to be prepared immediately.

What is the fastest way to thaw steak?

The quickest way to get your steak thawed in a short amount of time is by using water. Coldwater or hot water, you may ask.

As much as hot water speeds up the thawing process, using cold water is far much safer.

Simply because the temperature is slightly higher than in refrigeration, and it does not get as high as it is in the hot water method.

Hence, the chances of bacteria built up when using cold water are lower, making it a much safer and the fastest possible method of thawing steak.

What is the difference between thawing and defrosting?

A lot of people tend to find the terms thawing and defrosting confusing. In reality, though, they each have their meanings.

To defrost means to change something from its frozen state to liquid, whereas thawing means freeing from stiffness and numbness, which occur as a result of cold.

Whereas you can thaw various foods such as chicken, fish, or steak, you defrost the refrigerator or, say, a windshield of a vehicle.


Thawing steak is relatively easy. Once you follow the above steps using your choice of the method depending on what is convenient for you, you can easily do so since it does not require a lot of work.

Then you can prepare your steak in your preferred style and enjoy having delicious and juicy steak.

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