How to Safely and Quickly Thaw Frozen Food

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thawing frozen food

These days freezers across the country are seeing more and more action. Most people have discovered that freezing food is a great way to save money and time – two things that most of us seem to be wanting for. The freezer can be so convenient that it’s common to find a second freezer packed full of food in the garage. The only problem with frozen food, however, is that it needs to be thawed. You can’t just pull it out of the freezer and eat it immediately. That means that if you don’t think ahead and begin thawing food well before you want to eat, you may be kicking yourself when dinner time comes around. Here are some tips on how you can safely and quickly thaw frozen food.

Thawing Frozen Food In Cold Water

The best way to defrost frozen food quickly is by placing it in a bowl of cold water. Do not use warm or hot water. Use a bowl that’s large enough to cover the entire package in water. Then, change the water every 30 minutes until the food is fully defrosted. If it’s not possible to fit the entire package in water, another good option is to place the frozen food in a bowl and put it in the sink under cold, running water. This is a safe and quick way to defrost frozen food, and it will take only a few hours to thaw a very large piece of meat.

Thawing Frozen Food In the Microwave

The microwave is the quickest way to defrost frozen food, and it’s the best method for you to use when you’re really in a pinch. However,microwave the microwave can be problematic for large pieces of meat in particular, because it doesn’t always thaw food evenly. If you defrost food in the microwave, you should be ready to cook or eat it immediately or very soon after for the best taste. Also, thawing food in the microwave isn’t recommended for food like bread or dairy.

Thawing Frozen Food In the Refrigerator

Defrosting food in the refrigerator is actually the safest way to do it, but it isn’t the quickest. Thawing food in the refrigerator is the best way to prevent the growth and spread of bacteria and germs, and it can also help best preserve the taste or form of the food. To defrost safely in the fridge, prepare at least 24 hours in advance so that the food will be fully thawed by the time you’re ready to eat it. Small pieces may take less, and larger pieces can take two days or more. The best thing to do is every night before bed, take out of the freezer what you plan to eat two nights from then. Smaller food may be able to defrost fully during the day and be ready for dinner the next night, but a two-day window will ensure that you don’t get home to a still-frozen meal. If that’s the case, however, you can always put it in a bowl of cold water to speed up the process.

This guest post was written by Jennifer Hawkins . She is a professional chef and restaurant owner who loves to blog about everything from great ways to get the nutrition you need to preparation of quick, healthy meals.


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  1. Karen Glatt says:

    Great tips on how to thaw out frozen food. I have found myself forgetting to thaw out food for a meal. I like the cold water method the best! Also when I thaw out my food, I like to thaw it out in the refrigerator. I know that it is not healthy to defrost your frozen food on the counter.

  2. Susan Cooper says:

    I never remember to put something in the refrigerator to unthaw before dinner or later use… LOL. My favorite method of unthawing has always been in cold water. It seems a softer way to unfreeze something then with the microwave. 🙂

  3. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    I have been thawing food out in water, but didn’t know I needed changed the water. Thank you for these wonderful tips!

  4. I use my defrosting tray to thaw my foods and it is the best thing I have ever bought you can’t get them anymore well not here in Australia……..

  5. Taryn Pasco says:

    These are great tips! I am about to have our second baby mid February so I will be freezing meals frequently so my family can still eat great and mommy won’t have to stress about getting dinner done with a toddler & newborn! Lol. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Congrats on your new addition!! I hope it all goes smoothly for you!!! I’ve been there. It won’t be too bad I promise 🙂

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