How to Defrost Steak – Best Way to Thaw a Steak at Home

There is nothing more annoying than to remember that you have forgotten to put down from the freezer the steak that you are planning to cook for dinner. Now you end up with a hard as rock steak and no time to completely thaw it.

Defrosting a steak isn’t a quick process, especially if you don’t know how to do it properly. There are a few methods you can follow to learn how to thaw a frozen steak as quickly and as safely as possible, and one of them includes defrosting a steak in less than 5 minutes. Yes, you read it right. There is actually a method to thaw the steak in less than 5 minutes.

We have put together a full guide with all the recommended methods and some tips and tricks to have in mind when you plan to thaw a steak.

5 Ways to Defrost Steak and Thaw It Completely

As I mentioned before, there are several ways for you to follow to defrost and thaw your steak. In this article, we will cover 5 different ways:

  • Leaving in the Refrigerator
  • Defrost Overnight
  • Using Cold Water
  • Using the 5 Minutes Two Metal Pots Method
  • Using Microwave

Now, let’s jump into each one of the upper mentioned methods and explain in depth all the advantages and disadvantages of them.

Defrost Overnight

Defrost Steak Overnight

Frozen Steak

This is probably one of the most common and most used methods out there. You just simply take the steak out of the freezer, put it on a plate and leave it at the room temperature overnight.

By the next day, you should be ready to cook it.

However, have in mind that you shouldn’t leave the steak at the room temperature for longer than 3-4 hours. Once the steak is thawed, you can’t refreeze it, and you need to cook it immediately.

Leaving in the Refrigerator

This is almost the same method as the defrosting overnight, but you don’t leave the meat at the room temperature but put it inside the refrigerator.

Just like the previous method, you have to plan and put the steak out of the freezer at least the night before.

This is also the best and the safest way to defrost a frozen steak.

It doesn’t matter if your steak is either in plastic packaging or removed from it and covered with plastic wrap – Just remove it from the freezer, put it in a plate and leave it in the refrigerator to slowly defrost at a consistent temperature that’s below the USDA’s recommended safety point of 40°F.

The plate is recommended to use because it ensures that any moisture produced during the thawing process will stay on the plate and will not end up all over the fridge.

Thaw Defrost Steak using Refrigerator

Thawed Steak using Refrigerator

The next day, the meat should be completely thawed, and you can choose either to cook it directly or leave it in the refrigerator for a couple of days if there are a change of plans.

Usually, the ground meat, poultry, and seafood will be safe in the fridge for up to 2 days after defrosting while beef, pork or lamb meat are safe in the fridge for up to 5 days after thawing. You should also check the use-by date on the packaging to have a better idea if it is still safe to consume the meat or not. You don’t want your steak to go bad as it may cause illness and food poising.

Refrigerator Thawing Chart Times

Down below you can find how long it takes to defrost steak using refrigerator:

Meat Type

Refrigerator Thawing Time (36-40°F)

Large Roast

4-7 Hours per Pound

Small Roast

3-5 Hours per Pound

Whole Turkey

24 Hours per 4-5 Pounds


24 Hours per 1-2 Pounds

1-inch Steak

12-24 Hours

Using Cold Water

Using the cold water method, you will be able to quickly thaw your steak in less than a half-hour.

For this method to work best, you need to put your meat in a resealable or vacuum sealed bag.

After that, you need to fill a large bowl with cold water and put the vacuum sealed steak in. Make sure the packaging is not punctured and leave the meat inside of it for a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the size.

For a medium steak, it will usually take anywhere from 15-30 minutes to thaw. If you need to thaw thick and larger cuts, it may take 1-3 hours, and you have to actually change the water every hour to ensure it stays cold.

This method works because the vacuum-sealing process takes all the air out of the meat, making it possible for the warmer temperature outside the packaging to distribute better and defrost the meat.

There are a few tips to have in mind to maximize the results of this method:

  • Make sure you don’t thaw several steaks together in one bowl. This will increase the time needed. Place one steak in one bowl and if you need to thaw several steak cuts, use several bowls.
  • Never thaw at the room temperature for a long time. If you leave the meat at the room temperature for a long time, the bacteria will grow, and it may be unhealthy for you and your family.

Using the Microwave

Using Microwave

The microwave should be the last option to consider for thawing your steak.

It is a kind-of emergency option, and I would consider it only if you are completely out of options.

To defrost the steak in microwave, first remove any plastic wrapping from the meat and place it on a clean plate. Put the plate inside the microwave and use the defrost settings capabilities.

While most modern microwave models have smart and advanced defrost settings, still it can lead to partially cooked food or rubbery texture. To make sure nothing of these happens to your steak, you can keep a close eye on your meat while it is in the microwave and stop and check the progress every 30-45 seconds.

Have in mind that after the meat is defrosted using the microwave method, it should be cooked immediately before being refrigerated or refrozen.

How to Defrost Steak Fast Using the Two Metal Pots Method (In 5 Minutes)

This is one of the most efficient and quickest ways to thaw a steak at home when you are in a hurry. Actually, when using this method, you can defrost your steak for less than 5 minutes. (We are taking a medium steak as reference. Larger and thicker cuts may take longer)

This method became famous after CTI, a Taiwanese cable TV streamed it for the viewers.

All you need for this method are two metal pots, water, and the frozen steak.

Two Metal Pots Steak Thawing Method

Frozen Steak between Two Metal Surfaces Method

1) First, start by turning one pot upside down and placing the frozen steak on top.

2) Next, fill the other pot with water, enough to carry a little bit of weight and then place it on top of the steak, making it a sandwich form with two metal pots and steak in between.

3) Set the timer to 5-10 minutes, depending on the steak thickness and wait.

Why This Method Works so Good?

There are two main reasons why this method works so good: First, the metal is a very good conductor of heat which can defrost the steak quite quickly. Second, the metal pot filled with water applies pressure to the meat to increase the surface area in the metal, making it easier to thaw.

The combination of the metal pots as conductors of heat and the pressure of the water weight applied to the surface of the meat, creating the sandwich effect of steak between two metal surfaces allow the steak to thaw rapidly.

Why Should You Use This Method?

I think that this is the only method which thaws your steak this fast, without any side effects.

Both microwave or using hot water will make the thawing process faster, but they will either cook the meat on the outside while thawing.

The old running cold water over frozen steak method may work, it still is not very time efficient, and you waste a lot of water.

What is the Best Way to Thaw a Steak?

As I mentioned, there are several methods to thaw a steak. It doesn’t matter what method you use, it is always recommended to keep the steak within safe temperatures as it thaws, so you prevent bacteria from growing.

The best way to defrost steak or other cuts of meat is by putting them in a vacuum sealed packaging and leaving them on a plate in the refrigerator overnight or around 24 hours for it to thaw completely.

This is the best method because it allows the steak to thaw at a safe temperature while preventing bacteria growth.

If you are in a hurry, then you can try defrosting the steak quickly using additional methods, such as using cold water or the viral two metal pots method.

Is Defrosting Steak in Water or Microwave Safe?

Just like everyone, you want to thaw your frozen steak as soon as possible. But how safe is it to use quicker methods such as using warm/cold water or microwave?

The defrost setting found on the microwave should be considered an option only if you need the steak right now and there is no time left at all. It is not recommended as it can strip the meat from juices, making it tougher and sometimes, can partially cook it on the outside. When using this option, always make sure to check the meat often, so it doesn’t get dry or get cooked.

When using the warm water method, it can help you thaw the steak quickly, but you should cook it immediately after it is thawed to prevent any bacteria from growing. USDA recommends using cold water instead of warm, as it is safer and healthy even though it will take a bit longer.

How Long It Will Take for Steak to Thaw?

The time needed to thaw the meat completely depends on the method used and the steak thickness.

Using a refrigerator can take up to 24 hours to completely thaw a steak. With the cold water method, it may take between 1-2 hours for thin 1-pound steaks while for 3-pound steaks, expect to take 3-4 hours.

When using the fridge, expect larger cuts to take 24-30 hours while smaller cuts take about 18-24 hours.

About Kendrick

Kendrick is an outdoor cooking enthusiast, living in Kansas. He loves to share his passion about outdoor cooking with everyone on various Social Media platforms (Read More)

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