Is It Right To Defrost Meat In Hot Water? - Cookinny (2023)

Everybody has been there. You arrange a weekend barbecue or invite guests around for a large meal, but you fail to let the meat thaw overnight. What can you do with a large chunk of frozen beef and a hungry crowd left over? To quickly defrost meat, can it be thawed in hot water?

You may have heard that it’s not a good idea to use hot water to defrost frozen meat since it can cook the meat’s surface or encourage bacterial growth. However, studies supported by the USDA suggest that defrosting in hot water can be completed in 10 minutes without changing the meat’s quality or safety.

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Does Hot Water Work To Thaw Meat?

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Steaks can be defrosted in hot water, which is the second-fastest method and is mainly hands-off and relatively even in how much of the meat gets cooked while the remainder is still frozen.

This is definitely my preferred method! However, before using this approach, all wrapping must be removed, and the frozen steaks must not come into touch. Only two steaks can be defrosted at a time using this method in each sink (or large pot).

A long time ago, it was widely believed that defrosting meat in hot water was undesirable since higher temperatures make it easy for bacteria to develop. That is true, yet new research has shown that beef may be safely heated for a short time.

Even though an hour is safe, I like to keep it under 30 minutes. If you are susceptible or uncertain, please refrain from doing this operation. It’s risky to defrost meat in hot water, so please use caution.

Half-filling a large pot or sink with hot tap water to thaw in hot water. Put up to two steaks in the water while enclosed in a ziptop bag. The steak that has been frozen will be edible in 30 minutes. Use a heavy plate or pot to keep it immersed and surrounded by water.

Steaks must be cooked right away after using this approach to thaw them. Steaks should be promptly cooked at high heat to destroy any bacteria that may have formed on them. The steaks would then be able to continue to grow any bacteria if they were placed in the refrigerator. You shouldn’t act in that way.

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How Wrong Is Defrosting Meat On The Counter?

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Do you believe it’s okay to let frozen meat sit out to defrost at room temperature? Once you discover what occurs when meat warms up outside of your refrigerator, you might want to modify your practices.

A relatively simple approach to transforming frozen meat from extremely hard to perfectly malleable is to remove a package from your freezer and let it rest until room temperature. But is the ideal method for defrosting fresh meat laying out for hours at a time? It turns out that this technique may be more unhygienic than you realize.

As you know, raw meat must be handled carefully to avoid bacterial growth and food-borne illnesses. However, how you thaw frozen meat is just as important as cleaning your hands and carefully preparing your chicken, beef, and other meats.

Discover how to defrost your meat properly and determine whether you’re putting your health and food in danger. Even though it may seem like a quicker solution to let meat alone reach room temperature, it’s actually quite troublesome. You aren’t changing your frozen food; that much is true. However, as the meat hits room temperature, it becomes more sensitive and prone to bacteria.

According to the USDA, fully frozen raw meat is safe to consume for an extended period of time. Meat is frozen and kept at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and cannot grow or reproduce bacteria. The meat will, however, be exposed to temps above 40 degrees if you leave it out in the sink all day while it defrosts. Additionally, meat enters a bacterial risk zone at 41 degrees or higher.

The warmer environment of your kitchen can encourage bacteria to start growing in your raw meat before it is frozen. Bacteria will multiply more quickly in meat when it warms up. Furthermore, the thawing of the meat won’t be uniform. The center will remain frozen because the exterior thaws before the interior.

As the interior defrosts, the outside of your raw meat will spend most of its time in the danger zone, rapidly accumulating potentially harmful bacteria. Because of this, the USDA advises never leaving perishable items, such as raw meat, out at room temperature for longer than two hours. Therefore, leaving the meat to defrost at various stages throughout the day may result in a dinner contaminated with bacteria.

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Can You Safely Defrost Meat In Hot Or Cold Water?

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Leaving frozen meat out to defrost at room temperature is not a good idea. What happens if you quicken the process by immersing your meat in hot or cold water?

Even if you’re in a rush and completely forgot to thaw your meat hours ago, continuously submerging frozen meat in a stream of hot or cold water is not the best or safest idea.

It’s not a good idea to use hot water in particular. Undoubtedly, defrosting meat rapidly involves splashing scalding hot water over it. However, the meat will also begin to cook during the procedure. As previously discussed, frozen meat defrosts more quickly on the exterior than on the interior.

Furthermore, the meat will begin to cook in water. Although a little better, cold water is still not ideal.

According to the USDA, it is okay to submerge frozen meat in cold water, but it must be done carefully to prevent the growth of bacteria (you don’t want to leave the water running for hours). Here’s how to accomplish that without endangering yourself:

  • A leak-proof container or plastic bag must contain your frozen raw meat
  • Don’t submerge the meat in a stream of flowing water at all times; instead, dip it in cold tap water.
  • Every 30 minutes, replace the water.
  • Start cooking your meat as soon as it has completely defrosted.

This process should take one hour to thoroughly defrost a pound of frozen meat. It can take from 2 and 3 hours to thoroughly defrost 3 to 4 pounds of beef. Generally, you should plan on immersing each pound of meat for around 30 minutes in cold water.

You’re better off experimenting with a different technique if you need your meat to defrost immediately.

Is Using A Microwave To Thaw Meat Acceptable?

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Even while it has a built-in defrost mode and is quick, your microwave isn’t the best or safest option for defrosting frozen meat.

The USDA claims that utilizing the defrosting function of your microwave is entirely safe as long as you cook your raw meat right away once it has thawed. Because you’ve heated the meat and brought it into the “danger zone” for bacteria, you can’t leave it open while focusing on the rest of the meal.

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A further possible risk is associated with microwave thawing. When the meat is defrosted, some parts of it may get warmer than others and start to cook. When this occurs, bacteria can start growing, and if they do, your meat may soon become dangerous to consume.

This Method Of Defrosting Meat Is The Safest

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Your frozen meat may not be safe to defrost at room temperature, and using water can be risky. However, refrigerator thawing is a surefire technique to get your meat to the ideal temperature without worrying about ingesting harmful microorganisms.

The safest method for defrosting meat is generally thought to be refrigerator thawing. Even though it takes a whole day in most cases, it is the only way that is certain to work. It’s also entirely hands-off, like leaving meat on your kitchen counter.

Simply remove your raw meat from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator. Just be sure to make advance plans. The ideal approach is to leave frozen meat in your refrigerator because it provides the perfect temperature to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Most refrigerators have an internal temperature range of 35 to 40 degrees, which is ideal for preventing the growth or proliferation of bacteria. And you have to wait while your meat gradually reaches the proper temperature.

There is also an additional benefit. When thawing inside your refrigerator, you’ll have more leeway than when softening with cold water or your microwave, which means you’ll need to prepare your meat immediately.

It will remain safe and edible for one to two more days once raw meat reaches a temperature between 35 to 40° Fahrenheit. Red meat, like beef or lamb, can be defrosted and kept for an additional three to five days before being consumed.


Hot water cannot be used to defrost frozen meat. The meat will thaw out fast and securely in cold water, whether wrapped or not. Any frozen meat that becomes wet during defrosting can still be cooked because the water will evaporate. Just be sure to use cold water while defrosting meat in water; never warm or hot.

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Hiiii! My name is Ruth and I am an experienced chef with a passion for food and cooking. My love of baking began when I was nine, and I have since been refining my skills in the kitchen ever since.


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