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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.
By 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.

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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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.