Do you love steak but hate how it always seems to turn out tough and chewy when you’ve defrosted it? If so, you’re not alone. Many people have a hard time thawing steak without ruining it in the process. Let’s teach you how to defrost steak properly, so it comes out delicious every time.
Table of Contents
- The best method for defrosting steak – overnight in the refrigerator
- How to defrost steak if you’re short on time – the cold water method
- Bad ways to defrost steak
- Can you cook a steak from frozen?
- Must-read related posts
The best method for defrosting steak – overnight in the refrigerator
Take your frozen steak out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours before you plan to cook it. This prolonged time in the fridge gives the steak time to slowly and evenly defrost in a safer environment than room temperature.
Keep the steak in its vacuum-sealed packaging during this process. If your steak has already been removed from that packaging, place it in a sealable freezer bag. Place them on a plate or within a container to prevent any potential fridge messes.
Remove the steak from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking. This allows the steak to come to room temperature, which helps it cook more evenly. Again, leave the steak in its packaging.
Remove the steak from its packaging and pat the steak dry with a paper towel. This helps to prevent the steak from steaming when you cook it by removing excess liquid.
Season the steak with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like. Maximize your flavor by seasoning at the optimal times!
Cook the steak according to your preferred cooking method. Most steaks thawed with this method are ready for cooking within 24 hours in the fridge. Some thicker cuts (like 2 inches thick or more) may take up to 36 hours, so plan accordingly. This is certainly the slowest method, but it produces optimal results for flavor.
If time is not on your side, you can try the cold water method for thawing frozen steak below.
How to defrost steak if you’re short on time – the cold water method
If you’re in a pinch and don’t have 24 hours to wait, you can use this cold water quick-thaw method. Though know, it’s hours to thaw, not minutes. But this method allows the steak to defrost evenly without putting it in a situation that could attract bacteria, unexpectedly cook, or cause it to lose moisture.
Place the steak in a large bowl of cold water. Keep the steaks still in their vacuum-sealed packaging. If the packaging has been removed, place the steaks in a sealable freezer bag.
Make sure to change the water every 30 minutes so that it stays cold.
Once your steak has defrosted, cook it immediately for best results. Expect steaks thawed using cold water to be ready for cooking within 1 to 2 hours. Larger steaks may take up to 3 to 4 hours. No, it’s not a fast way to defrost meat either, but it beats 24 hours and helps preserve the flavors of your steak.
Bad ways to defrost steak
These thawing meat methods are tempting, given how easy and quick they are. But each has significant drawbacks regarding your steak’s flavor and overall food safety. Thinking ahead when thawing steaks is much better to get the most out of your meal.
Never thaw frozen steak by leaving it at room temperature for more than 2 hours. This can cause harmful bacteria growth on the steak, making it unsafe to eat. It should be discarded if you’ve left a raw steak out for more than 2 hours to prevent potential food poisoning.
Never defrost meat in hot water. This can cook the outside of the steak while the inside is still frozen. You’ll end up with a piece of meat that is overcooked and dry on the outside and raw in the middle. Warm water will also do this. Use cold water to defrost only.
Never microwave steak to defrost it. This method is genuinely tempting! Of course, that defrost setting button is right there as an easy button. But fight the urge. This can cause the steaks to cook unevenly and be tough as it removes moisture from the meat.
When you microwave a steak, the heat from the microwaves causes the water molecules in the meat to vibrate. This causes friction, which generates heat. The heat then cooks the meat from the inside out.
Can you cook a steak from frozen?
Yes, you can! If you have no time for thawing frozen steaks, cooking frozen steaks is a much better alternative than the bad ways listed above. Some people even think cooking frozen steaks leads to more delicious steak than if you thawed it.
But, it will take about 50% longer in cook time. That means if your steak would typically take four minutes to cook on each side, cooking it from a frozen state will add two more to each side (for roughly 6 minutes per side.)
It’s not a perfect science, so it’s best to check the meat’s temperature along the way.
A simple guide: How to cook frozen steaks
- Put the skillet or griddle on the stove over medium heat.
- Place the frozen steaks on the skillet or griddle.
- Cook for two minutes, then flip and cook for two more minutes.
- After this time set totaling 4 minutes, check the internal temperature of your steaks with a meat thermometer. If it’s not at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit in the center, keep cooking it in two-minute increments until it reaches the right temperature.
Must-read related posts
- Steak Resting Time – How Long After Cooking? Is there a proper amount of time for the best flavor?
- When To Season Steaks For Optimal Flavor: Yes, there are right times! Learn all about it.
- Cooking Low And Slow – What You Need To Know: What does low and slow mean? And why should you consider this cooking method?