Cooking Tips

Thaw Your Steak in 10 Minutes

We beat our own thawing record with an even faster way to defrost steak and other relatively thin cuts like chops and boneless chicken breasts.

Published Sept. 13, 2022.

For years, our go-to method for thawing steak has been to heat water to 140 degrees, then seal the frozen steak in a zipper-lock bag and submerge it in the hot water.

The process is quick enough that the meat doesn’t spend a long time in the temperature danger zone (40 to 140 degrees). And since the frozen meat immediately cools the water near it, the steak doesn’t get cooked during its hot bath.

But our new version of that method is even speedier: We first submerge the meat in water, then heat the water, and stir the pot often to even out the water’s temperature so the steak is always surrounded by warm water (though still not warm enough to cook it). Using a sous-vide immersion circulator makes it even quicker and more effortless.

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On the stovetop, a single 1-inch, 1-pound steak should be fully thawed after about 10 minutes. You can also skip stirring, but that will add a few minutes to the thaw time. Using a circulator, the meat should be thawed in just 8 minutes.

Note: This hot-thaw method will work with other relatively thin cuts like chops and boneless chicken breast. Do not try it on whole roasts or whole poultry since these would need to be in the bath so long that bacteria could start to proliferate.

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Stovetop Hot-Thaw Method 

  • Submerge frozen steak sealed in a zipper-lock bag in a pot filled with 4 quarts of water.
  • Bring the water to 140 degrees, stirring regularly.
  • Turn off the burner and continue to stir often until steak is fully thawed. (A fully thawed steak should bend easily when you lift it with tongs.) 
  • With a 1-inch, 1-pound steak, it will take about 5 minutes for the water to reach 140 degrees and another 5 minutes for the steak to thaw.

Sous Vide Hot-Thaw Method

  • Submerge frozen steak sealed in a zipper-lock bag in a pot filled with 4 quarts of water.
  • Place an immersion circulator in the pot, set it to 140°F, and turn it on. 
  • A 1-inch, 1-pound steak should thaw completely in about 8 minutes. (To check, lift it with tongs. A thawed steak will bend easily.)

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