How to Thaw Steak: One of Your Most Pressing Questions, Answered

Reading Time: 3 minutes Back to 3 minutes version
thawed ribeye steak

Photo by Your Best Digs licensed under CC BY 2.0

You just remembered that your steak you wanted to cook for dinner is still in the freezer, as hard as a rock. Unfortunately, thawing frozen steak isn’t always a quick process, but we’re going to teach you how to thaw frozen steak as quickly – and safely – as possible so that you can enjoy that beefy flavor soon.

Remember that, when you buy steaks from the Chicago Steak Company, your steaks are shipped in vacuum-sealed packaging, so no air gets in. That means that you can keep them frozen without ruining their quality. But, how can you defrost steak that you purchase without harming its texture or flavor?

What’s the Best Way to Thaw Steak?

Most meats require similar thawing methods to thaw safely. It’s important to keep your steak, too, within safe temperatures as it thaws so that you prevent fast-growing bacteria from taking over your steak, which can make you ill.

The best way to defrost meat, including steaks, is by leaving them in their vacuum-sealed packaging, placing them flat on a plate to catch drippings and then putting them in the refrigerator. You should give at least 24 hours for your steaks to thaw completely, but some thicker cuts may require more time.

The idea behind defrosting steaks in the fridge is that the method allows your steaks to thaw at a safe temperature, preventing bacteria growth. Just because your mom left steaks on the kitchen counter to thaw for a couple of hours doesn’t mean that’s the best way to thaw a steak (and definitely not the safest!).

Is Defrosting Steak in Water or a Microwave Ever a Good Idea?

Of course, you might need your steaks a little faster and want to know how to thaw frozen steak quicker than the refrigeration method.

Your microwave probably has a defrost setting. This setting is good if you’re really in a pinch (as in – you need dinner now!), but it’s not one we’d recommend otherwise. Defrosting frozen steak in the microwave can strip the steak of its juices, leaving it tougher than you’d want it to be. However, if you do decide to use this method, be sure to check your meat frequently and only allow it to be in the microwave long enough to thaw, rather than cook. Then, you should immediately cook your steak using your preferred cooking method.

Some people also choose to thaw meats in water to help them along. Although some research has suggested that using very warm water to thaw steak quickly and immediately cooking it after can prevent the steak from reaching a temperature that spreads harmful bacteria, the USDA still recommends using cold water instead. Yes, it’ll take longer, but it also can keep you safe and healthy.

To defrost steaks faster than you can in the fridge, submerge them in cold water in a leak-proof bag, keeping them in their vacuum-sealed packaging. You’ll also need to change the water every 20-30 minutes to make sure it stays cold. Monitor them as you thaw to make sure that your steaks stay in the water and that the water is cold.

How Long Will My Steak Take to Thaw?

The cold-water method can take a few hours, while you should plan on thawing your steak in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. However, the thickness of your steaks makes a big difference. Thin, 1-pound steaks may take between 1-2 hours using the cold-water method, whereas a 3-pound steak will likely take closer to 3 or 4 hours to thaw. In the fridge, expect larger steaks to vary between 24 and 30 hours, while smaller steaks may take about 18 to 24 hours.

Final Thoughts: How to Thaw Frozen Steak the Right Way

Now you know how to defrost steak so that you can maintain its flavor and texture and your health. You can learn more about our vacuum-sealing and shipping processes in our FAQ section. Our packaging helps preserve the flavor and texture of your steaks so that you can thaw them without worrying about compromising their quality.

Defrosting Steak FAQs