How to Defrost Meat

Flip through our guide for defrosting meat, then watch our how-to video.

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How To: Meat Defrosting 101

Follow these easy steps for success every time you defrost meat.

Defrost Overnight

The best way to thaw meat safely is to plan ahead. Defrost it overnight on a plate in the refrigerator. By the next day, you're ready to cook.

Safety Tip

Never keep meat at room temperature for more than two hours. Once you've thawed frozen meat, you can't refreeze it unless it's in a stock, soup or liquid.

Cooking Frozen Meat the Same Day

If you have frozen meat you want to cook today, there is a faster way to thaw: the "Cold Water" method. Keep the chopped or ground meat wrapped tight. Note: Proper packaging prevents bacteria from forming and water from seeping in.

Place the wrapped meat in a large bowl and fill with cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes as the meat continues to thaw. A 1-pound package of meat can thaw in an hour or less. Packages of 3 to 4 pounds can take more than two hours.

Ready to Cook

Remember, don't refreeze thawed meats. If you follow these tips, dinner will be ready in no time.