A lesson I learned many years ago was that defrosting ground beef wasn’t as easy as I thought, and there’s a right and wrong way to go about it.
But defrosting is an important step because you can’t really cook meat that’s hard as a rock, otherwise, you risk spoiling your ground beef. That said, here’s the lowdown on how to defrost ground beef fast, and safely.
Table of Contents
- 1 4 Ways to Defrost Ground Beef Fast
- 2 What is the Best Way to Defrost Ground Beef in 5 Minutes?
- 3 What is the Best Way to Defrost Ground Beef in 2 Hours?
- 4 What is the Best Way to Defrost Ground Beef in 1 Day?
- 5 Is it Okay to Thaw Ground Beef in Hot Water?
- 6 How Long Does It Take to Defrost Ground Beef in Hot Water?
- 7 Is it Safe to Defrost Ground Beef in the Microwave?
- 8 How Long Does Frozen Ground Beef Last?
- 9 Can You Refreeze Ground Beef After Defrosting?
4 Ways to Defrost Ground Beef Fast
There are several ways to defrost ground beef fast, but the best way is by planning ahead.
1. Microwave – Fastest
If you plan to cook beef fast, you can use your good ol’ microwave to defrost the meat safely. You can defrost the ground beef in less than 5 minutes with a microwave.
At most times, I remember to take thaw meat that I’m going to be cooking the next day in my refrigerator the night before, but there are several instances where I easily forget to do so.
If you’re going to thaw meat in the microwave, you should do with caution, as the beef can start to become warm, and even start to cook during the defrosting process.
This allows it to enter a danger zone, where bacteria can multiply rapidly, which is why beef defrosted in the microwave should be cooked immediately.
2. Defrost overnight – refrigerator
According to the USDA, the easiest, safest, and highly recommended way of defrosting ground beef is in your refrigerator overnight. This keeps the meat cold while it defrosts and prevents the growth of bacteria.
If you know ahead of time that you will be cooking ground beef the next day, thawing it overnight or roughly 12 hours to 14 hours is your best bet.
To be more specific, it takes approximately 24 hours to fully defrost a single pound of ground beef in your refrigerator.
Pro tip: You can accelerate this process by packaging your beef in smaller batches when you bring it home from the store.
3. Cold and hot water thawing
Freezing meat is the easy part, well, who doesn’t own a freezer! But the thawing process is not so much, as it often requires a day or so of preplanning.
While thawing ground beef overnight is a rather lengthy process, you can defrost meat under water—40-degrees or below, safer, and much faster.
If you want to speed things up even more, you can thaw beef under hot water in at little as 10 minutes.
To thaw beef in water, simply fill a large pot with water that’s at a 125-degree temperature, immerse the plastic-wrapped beef in it, and weigh it down with a slotted spoon or similar object until the meat is defrosted.
With regards to time, it takes roughly 30 minutes to an hour to thaw meat under cold water, and about 15 minutes or less when defrosted under hot water.
4. Defrosting Trays
I’m probably not the only one who forgets to defrost meat in the refrigerator the night before cooking, and because of defrosting trays exist.
A defrosting tray is basically a flat tray that’s made from metal such as aluminum that serves as a good heat conductor.
The defrosting tray is designed to infuse the frozen beef with room temperature air, and release the colder temperature meat from the meat onto the tray, so the meat will defrost as it gets warmer.
Defrosting trays will melt ice fast, just as quick as placing ice cubes under a tap of running water.
But don’t work in the same quick way when it comes to defrosting beef, because the outer layers of meat don’t melt away as quickly.
However, defrosting trays will speed up the warming of the beef on the surface, so they’re worth a shot.
The YUNDOOG defrosting tray is a good option in its segment and can be used for a variety of different food items.
It is crafted from high-quality aluminum that’s easy to clean after each use. Further, it comes with silicone corners, a sponge for easy cleaning, and a hanging rope to store it when not in use.
What is the Best Way to Defrost Ground Beef in 5 Minutes?
The best way to defrost ground beef in 5 minutes is in the microwave. Start by removing all the packaging, then place the meat on a microwavable plate or tray, and microwave for approximately two to three minutes at 50 percent power.
You should rotate and flip the beef every 45 seconds or so until it is fully thawed in the microwave.
Certain parts of the beef will begin to cook during the microwave thawing process, which is why you need to cook the meat immediately, rather than having it laying around your countertop.
What is the Best Way to Defrost Ground Beef in 2 Hours?
The best way to defrost ground beef in 2 hours is by submerging it in a bowl of water.
The ground beef should defrost in 15 minutes, but denser chunks may take longer at around an hour per pound.
Again, once thawed, cook the ground beef immediately.
What is the Best Way to Defrost Ground Beef in 1 Day?
The best way undoubtedly and recommended by the USDA to defrost ground beef is in your refrigerator.
Take note that harder parts such as bones or whole roasts may take 2 days to defrost in the refrigerator. But once defrosted can be left in your refrigerator for three to five days.
If during this time, you decide not to use the beef, you can simply refreeze it without cooking it first.
Is it Okay to Thaw Ground Beef in Hot Water?
You can thaw meat in hot water, but just like thawing in the microwave, water that’s too hot will cause parts of the ground beef to heat up, to a temperature that’s right to attract harmful bacteria.
Adding to this, thawing in hot water may also affect the texture of the ground beef, resulting in tough or chewy parts that have been partially cooked.
How Long Does It Take to Defrost Ground Beef in Hot Water?
This depends on how hot the water is, and the size of the packages. But it’s best to refrain to thaw meat in hot water, and use cold water instead.
Place the meat if it isn’t already into a resealable plastic bag, and submerge in a large bowl of cold water.
Make sure you change the water every 30 minutes so that the cold water can continue to thaw the meat.
Most cuts of beef including ground beef should thaw in cold water in 2 to 3 hours and is faster in hot water, but again you risk bacteria contamination.
Is it Safe to Defrost Ground Beef in the Microwave?
Yes, it’s safe to defrost ground beef in the microwave, but as I mentioned earlier, some exterior parts of the meat can begin to cook, so you will have to cook immediately. If you don’t plan on cooking the meat, you can refreeze the meat after defrosting in your microwave.
How Long Does Frozen Ground Beef Last?
Frozen ground beef is safe indefinitely, but it’s best to use it within four months. You should freeze ground beef as soon as you buy from the store or after grinding the meat at home to preserve its freshness or slow the growth of bacteria.
Also note that ground beef that’s frozen is still good, but does tend to lose its quality over time. It’s a good idea to label your packages with the date they were placed in the freezer to keep tabs on storage times.
Can You Refreeze Ground Beef After Defrosting?
If you thaw the meat out in your refrigerator, you can refreeze it after defrosting. But there will be a slight loss in quality, due to the moisture loss after thawing.