how to defrost meat fast without microwave

It is always best to have your freezer stocked with meat and other things.

Since this writer understands the pain, this article will be focusing specifically on how to defrost meat fast without microwave.

But sometimes we forget to thaw it before cooking.

In the process of trying to find the fastest way to defrost meat some people, myself included, make use of a microwave.

Since it is the fastest way known to the vast majority, it is what is commonly used despite our better judgment.

There are several ways to defrost meat depending on so many factors. It could be defrosted in a fridge, cold water, or hot water depending on some factors.

Factors To Consider When Defrosting Meat

factors to consider defrosting meat

As I said earlier, there are so many factors to consider when defrosting meat.

These factors are what would determine the method to use for defrosting and the time is taken to complete it. 

This is why some people can still make use of a microwave and still get excellent results.

Here are the most common factors to look out for when defrosting.

The Type Of Meat

The type of meat you are defrosting is one of the important factors to consider when choosing a method of defrosting. 

Soft and boneless frozen portions of meat can be defrosted using a hot bath but that same hot bath is unsuitable for whole meat like the whole turkey. 

type of frozen meat

This is because the larger the meat, the longer the soak, and soaking for too long can make the bacteria in the meat grow and multiply especially if the temperature is above 40°.

The Size Of The Meat

The size of the meat is also a very important factor to consider when defrosting. Smaller chops of meat defrost faster than larger chunks. 

This is why cutting the meat into smaller pieces is sometimes advised to hasten the thawing process.

The size of the meat not only affects the time of defrosting but also the method. It is best to use cold water instead of hot to defrost frozen meat. 

Big meat is best thawed in the refrigerator or a cold water bath.

The Thickness Of The Meat

The concept of the thickness of the meat is quite similar to what was discussed earlier in the previous paragraph. 

meat thickness

Beef steak would take more time to defrost than chicken breast even though they are both the same size.

This is because steak is thicker than chicken breast.

Tip: It is best to use different methods for both to get the results you truly desire.

How To Defrost Meat Fast Without Microwave

Now that we have discussed the factors to consider when defrosting meat and we are quite familiar with how they affect the method chosen.

Also, we know the time taken to defrost meat, so we can move on to the next part of the article. 

Here is how to defrost steak quickly without a microwave.

Tip: When you use a Microwave, the outcome is always less favorable because not only do we end up with slightly cooked meat, the inside of the meat would remain frozen.
defrost without microwave

Method #1: In The Refrigerator

Using a refrigerator happens to be the best method to defrost frozen meat. This is because the refrigerator maintains the raw meat’s temperature at or below 40 degrees F. 

This is crucial because meat exposed to temperatures higher than this can begin to develop dangerous bacteria.

How do you defrost meat in a refrigerator?

Meat can be defrosted in the refrigerator by simply removing it from the freezer and placing it in the refrigerator overnight or for about 8 hours.

The meat can simply be stored in the same package it came in or the container you used to freeze it.  

use same packaging

But the container has to be sealed and airtight if not, transfer it to one that is.

This is to avoid drying out the meat or exposing it to airborne microorganisms like bacteria.

The time taken for meat to defrost in the fridge depends on the kind of meat and the amount you are defrosting so one can never truly tell.

So far so good you can tell that there are many advantages to thawing frozen meat in the refrigerator and there is one I have yet to mention. 

You can refreeze the meat after thawing it in the freezer and you can also leave it in the fridge for some days without making use of it.

Note: All these benefits are lost on the other methods we are about to discuss.

Method #2: In Cold Water

Defrosting meat in cold water is also a very safe method used in thawing meat.

defrost in cold water

Here are the steps.

Step #1: Put the meat in a Ziploc

This is the first and most important step in thawing meat. The frozen meat has to be in a Ziploc or any bag that can be closed well. 

If the meat comes in direct contact with water, bacteria may begin to grow on it since it is raw 

Step #2: Put in a bowl

After making sure it is sealed, place it in a large bowl and place it under a faucet.

Switch the faucet on and allow water to fill the bowl in such a way that the meat is totally submerged in cold water.

Step #3: Change the water

The key to a successful thawing process is constantly changing the water.

After some time, the water gets cold due to heat transfer and the water would be too cold to make an impact on the temperature of the meat. 

change water regularly

This is why you have to change the water after every thirty minutes until there is no significant change in the temperature of the water, i.e the water doesn’t get colder.

Tip: To further confirm if the meat is thawed, you should be able to bend the meat in any direction.

Method #3: In Hot Water

I am not really a fan of this method but sometimes it comes in handy.

A hot water bath can only be used to defrost relatively thin cuts of meat; anything else will be a bad idea. 

This is because exposing raw meat to hot water, covered or not, would result in it being in a danger zone.

using hot water

This is when the meat temperature is above 40° and bacteria begin to grow on the meat making it unsafe to consume. 

Asides from that, the meat might become cooked on the outside and remain frozen on the inside. This is why the meat has to be a very thin cut.

Tip: For the same reasons listed above, it is unsafe to thaw meat on the counter.

Step #1: Boil water to 140°

The best way to be able to use hot water is if it is specifically at 140°, that way there is less chance of the bacteria growing.

Step #2: Put the meat in a Ziploc

Just like you would when thawing with cold water, you have to place the frozen meat in a Ziploc bag and close it properly 

meat in ziploc

Step #3: Place in the water and stir

Turn off the heat in the water. After making sure it is properly sealed, place the meat in the boiling water and stir constantly until the meat thaws.

Only thawing in a refrigerator can allow you to be able to refreeze meat.

If you use the other methods, then you have to the meat immediately because it would be unsafe to leave it lying around.

Tip: You won't be able to refreeze it because of the exposure it has received.


The knowledge of how to thaw meat probably goes a long way in our lives. It not only affects our cooking but also our health in different ways.

We have gotten to the end of this article and I’m sure you’ve picked a thing or two about defrosting.

I hope now that we know how to defrost meat fast without microwave, we can learn to defrost frozen meat quickly and in a hygienic manner.

I hope this article has been helpful. Thank you very much for your time and patience. Stay safe!