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How to Thaw and Cook Frozen Steaks

How many times have you spotted that frozen steak sitting in your freezer and decided that you’d save it for another night? You’re not alone.

For a lot of people, the idea of cooking a frozen steak is daunting, and most of the time it’s because they just don’t know what to do with it. From getting it thawed to making it taste great, a frozen steak abides by its own set of rules when it comes to cooking, and a lot of people aren't sure what they are. Thus, it’s easy for people to put off dealing with a frozen steak because it’s frozen and it’ll always be there, right?

Click here to see How to Thaw and Cook Frozen Steaks with 5 Recipes

We’re putting an end to the constant neglect frozen steaks are victim to by telling you how to thaw and cook frozen steaks. We don’t care how it got there — whether you froze it yourself, bought it that way, or received it as a gift — but we want you to take that steak out of your freezer and finally put it to good use.

To do this, we’re working with someone in the steak industry who, out of everyone, should know a lot about thawing and cooking frozen steaks. For nearly 100 years, Omaha Steaks has perfected the art of frozen steaks. Starting with premium grain-fed beef that’s been aged and hand-trimmed by their experts, they freeze their steaks at the height of their flavor and tenderness. When an Omaha Steak product arrives at your door, you know you’re receiving the best variety of steak out there, frozen, and now we’re going to tell you what to do with it with tips and recipes from their executive chef Karl Marsh.

Marsh doesn’t recommend freezing steaks at home, because you need professional equipment to vacuum-seal and flash-freeze them to ensure quality and freshness. But as we all know, sometimes a frozen steak finds its way into our kitchens, and he has some great tips for how to handle it. Marsh doesn’t just tell us one way to thaw a steak, but he gives us three, and he ranks them in order of his preference. He also guides us step by step through cooking the steak on the grill, starting with seasoning the steaks and finishing with how to tell when they’re done. And to further get you to do something with that frozen steak, Omaha Steaks has provided recipes for you to try out at home, each one specially developed so that your frozen steak is seasoned and tenderized just right.

So stop scratching your head and wondering about that frozen steak. It doesn’t matter why it’s frozen but it’s important that it’s made well and tastes great, so here’s how to thaw and cook it.

Anne Dolce is the Cook editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @anniecdolce

Why You Should Stop Thawing Frozen Steaks Before Cooking

Ever decided that what you're really craving for dinner (or breakfast, we won't judge) is a nice, juicy steak? You could always hit up your local steakhouse, sure, but maybe it's a week from payday and you're not feeling like a big spender. Lucky you, you just remembered that the grocery store recently had a sale on sirloin and you stocked up last time you went shopping. But oh, darn it, how long is it going to take to thaw that steak before you can throw it in the pan? And do you absolutely have to thaw it in the refrigerator, or can you maybe just this once try thawing on the countertop without courting a nasty case of food poisoning? And what's up with that microwave "thaw" button anyway? Is there any way to make sure that the microwave will actually just thaw your meat without starting to cook it? Whoa, too many questions. Too much confusion. Might as well just throw the steak back in the freezer and nuke another Lean Cuisine.

But wait, we bring you tidings of great joy! According to Cook's Illustrated, the optimal thawing time for a frozen steak is exactly 0 minutes and 0 seconds. Yes, fellow lazy cooks, you read that right — frozen steaks actually cook up juicier than the ones you've taken the time to thaw overnight in your fridge. Here's how to do it.

The Fastest Way to Thaw a Steak Safely

In all situations, the best way to thaw a steak is in a refrigerator. The meat will stay at a constant, cold temp while it defrosts. This keeps it at a safe temperature, and you won’t run the risk of becoming ill from bad bacteria.

But in the event you don’t have time for this lengthy process (it typically takes 24 to 36 hours), you can speed things up with this FDA-approved method:

1. Grab a steak from your stash, and place it in a zip-top bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible, and seal the bag.

2. Place the steak in a large bowl. If you’re thawing more than one steak, you can speed up the process by giving each steak its own bowl. Fill the bowl or bowls with cool water, not hot or even warm water. Cool water is safest. The higher the temp climbs, the closer you get to the danger zone, or when bacteria growth accelerates.

3. Leave the steak in the water for 30 minutes. Place a spatula or wooden spoon on the meat to keep it submerged. After that half hour, check the steak. If it’s not completely thawed, empty the water, and fill the bowls with fresh cool water. Because the water’s temperature is cool, you don’t have to worry about discoloration of the meat, and it’s not hot enough to start the cooking process.

Plan for about 30 minutes per pound of meat. Thinner steaks will be fully thawed in 30 minutes. Thicker ribeyes or filets might need more time. You can speed up the process by separating individual pieces from each other when they’re thawed enough to pry apart.

4. Remove the bag from the water. Open the seal, and remove the steak. Season and cook the meat just as you typically do. If the center remains a bit icy, that’s OK. You can still cook the meat. Just give it a few extra minutes to reach temperature.

3. Method: Sink

If you’ve just gotten home and you need that frozen steak cooked that night, the sink is Marsh’s second preferred method for thawing a steak. If you can spare the space, he recommends filling the entire sink with cold water and allowing the steak to defrost in its packaging. This allows the steak to defrost evenly and at a controlled temperature. Because the cold water will become slightly warm from sitting, this method works faster than the refrigerator and usually only takes about 20 minutes.

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Perfect Pork Chops From Frozen

It may surprise you, but we’ve even included pork chops on this from-frozen cooking list, using this perfect pork chops from frozen recipe.

These pork chops amazingly come together in 30 minutes flat, and you need only a handful of ingredients for juicy, succulent pork. We’re talking boneless pork chops, avocado oil, Italian dressing, salt, and pepper. That’s it.

All you have to do is run the pork chops under cool water for a minute (gets the chill off). From there, sear your pork chops, coat them in tangy Italian dressing, and finish them in the oven. Don’t forget to let them rest for 5 to 8 minutes for maximum juiciness.

The Problem with Improper Defrosting

Now that you know the right ways for how to thaw frozen steak, you may be wondering if there is a wrong way and what happens if you use those wrong methods. There definitely are some methods for defrosting steaks you should not use, and we’ll share with you what happens to your steak when you don’t follow the best thawing methods. Hopefully, that will make you less tempted to use what may seem like shortcuts to getting your steak thawed out.

You could thaw out your steak in the microwave using the defrost setting. This is more work for you, though, as you may need to check it every so often and will typically need to keep activating the microwave when it prompts for a check during the thawing process. How much work you have to do and how long it takes to thaw frozen steak in the microwave depends on the kind of microwave you use and the defrost setting you use.

You can also use the regular microwave cooking setting to thaw your steak out, but this can thaw it unevenly, and parts of the steak may start to cook while other parts are still frozen. This is a method that can work if you plan to cook up the steak right away, but it’s not very practical or safe for when you want to transfer a frozen steak to the fridge thawed.

Trying to cook the steak to thaw it will also result in an uneven steak. The outside may start to cook while the interior stays frozen, resulting in a steak that isn’t cooked evenly.

Watch out for the dangerous temperature zone, which is between 41°F to 135°F. That’s where bacteria feel safe and will attach onto the steak and start to grow. If steak stays at room temperature for long, even if it is sealed, the bacteria can begin to affect it. Taking steak from the freezer while still sealed will probably protect it from bacteria for a while, but there is still risk there. Never leave steak at room temperature uncovered for any length of time, though.

Keep it cold before you cook it and keep it hot after it is cooked until it is time to eat it. That way, you’ll protect yourself and others from bacteria and the resulting food poisoning. If you are concerned about the temperature of the steak and the risk of food poisoning and bacterial growth, you can use a thermometer to check the internal temperature.

Thawing, preparing and cooking 100% wild Alaska Halibut

1. Cilantro Halibut
Corn flakes makes a crispy coating, and cilantro gives zest in this baked Halibut recipe.

2. Baked Halibut Limone
The freshness of lemon combined with garlic make an excellent Halibut entree.

3. Baked Halibut Supreme
Alaska Halibut with bacon, sour cream and parmesan cheese.

4. Deviled Alaskan Halibut
Elegant, delicious, and impressive. Halibut at it's finest.

5. Alaska Halibut Royale
Alaska's best tasting fish with a touch of white wine.

Alaskan Halibut Cheeks

1. Halibut Cheeks Sauteed in Vermouth
A remarkably simple, yet elegant, serving of delicious halibut cheeks.

How to thaw frozen Halibut

Method 1: Place your vacuum sealed fish in a tub and add cool water. Periodically change the water when it gets too cold. This thawing process should take about 30 minutes depending on how frozen your fish is.

Method 2: Remove your fish from the freezer the night before you want to prepare it. Unwrap fish from plastic vacuum sealed pouch. Place fish on plate with saran wrap over it, then place the fish in the refrigerator. It should be ready to cook by the next evening.

Steamed Halibut

1. Cilantro Ginger Halibut
Use the cilantro-ginger sauce as both a marinade and a serving sauce for the halibut.

2. Ginger Scallion Oriental Halibut
A Halibut variation on Chinese Fish with Ginger and Scallions.

3. Thai Steamed Halibut
This recipe has a very distinct taste from the marinade used.

Grilled Halibut

1. Basic Grilled Halibut
This Grilled Halibut is easy and delicious.

2. Barbecue Halibut
Fire up the grill and enjoy Alaska Halibut.

3. Spicy Grilled Alaskan Chili-Lime Halibut
Use sweet Thai Chili Sauce for genuine Thai flavor.

5. Grilled Halibut with Citrus, Watercress and Olives
The molasses included in the marinade helps the fish brown without overcooking it. You won't taste the sweetness. Goes well with soft, full-bodied white wines.


1. Alaska Halibut Chowder
On a cold day, or a Sunday night supper. mmm,good!

2. Halibut Stir Fry
A slightly Oriental, refreshing and fresh tasting Halibut entree.

4. Alaskan Halibut Lasagna
A healthy and tasty variation on lasagna.

Cold Salads with Halibut

1. Ceviché with Wild Alaska Halibut
The acid from the limes essentially "cooks" the fish without using heat.

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How to Safely Freeze, Thaw, and Reheat Food

Freezing food is a game-changer. Not only does it preserve food for the long and short term, it also saves you loads of time in the kitchen when you make and save freezer meals for later. When you ready to eat, you can pull them from the freezer to either finish cooking or simply reheat for busy weeknight meals. We&aposll share tips for how to freeze foods the right way, plus how to thaw and reheat them safely.

How to Freeze Foods

Before freezing hot food, it&aposs important to let it cool down. Heat will raise the temperature of the freezer and the food will not freeze uniformly, the outer edges of the hot dish will freeze hard quickly while the inside might not cool in time to prevent spoilage. After that, you&aposll want to wrap it correctly to preserve the quality of the food. Here&aposs how to do it:

1. Cool It Off

  • Cool precooked dishes as quickly as possible before they are placed in the freezer.
  • For fastest cooling, place the pan of hot food in a sink filled with ice water (or in a larger pan of ice water). If you&aposre cooling a soup, stew, or sauce, stir occasionally to help it cool evenly.
  • Once the dish is cooled, portion it into meal-sized containers or packages. Label and date the containers. Place them in a single layer in the coldest area of your freezer until completely frozen. Rearrange as necessary.

2. Wrap It Right

Poorly wrapped foods run the risk of developing freezer burn and unpleasant odors from other foods in the freezer. Follow these simple wrapping and container tips to ensure the quality and safety of your food:

  • Use only specialty freezer wrappings: they should be both moisture-proof and vapor-proof.
  • Leave as little air as possible in the packages and containers. When freezing liquids in containers, allow a small amount of head room for expansion. When using freezer bags, be sure to remove as much air as possible before closing.
  • Wrap solids foods like meats and baked goods tightly in foil before you bag them.
  • Use rigid containers with an air-tight lid and keep the sealing edge free from moisture or food to ensure proper closure.
  • Secure wrapped packages and containers with freezer tape, and write the dish and the date on the tape with a marker.
  • In many cases, meats and fish wrapped by the grocer or butcher need no extra attention before freezing. However, meat wrapped on Styrofoam trays with plastic wrap will not hold up well to freezing. If the food you want to freeze was not specially wrapped, then re-wrap them at home.
  • Freeze in small containers with no more than a 1-quart capacity to ensure that freezing takes place in a timely manner (i.e., within four hours). Food that is two inches thick will take about two hours to freeze completely.

3. Don&apost Crowd the Freezer

A temperature of 0 degrees F (-18 degrees C) is best for maintaining food quality. Proper air circulation is key to keeping your freezer operating at maximum efficiency.

Freezing does not kill bacteria, yeast and molds that might be in your foods — it merely holds them at bay by keeping them inactive. If the freezer&aposs temperature is disturbed often or altered for an extended period of time (such as a door left ajar or power outages) these microbes can compromise your food&aposs safety.

Jeff Rossen on ButcherBox and Cooking an Amazing Steak From Frozen

This is a guest post from Jeff Rossen, the Chief National Consumer Correspondent at Hearst Television. He is known for his Rossen Reports segment on the TODAY Show. Opinions expressed are Mr. Rossen’s opinion and do not represent the views and opinions of ButcherBox.

You know I’m all about the tips—my career has been built on bringing the best tips and advice to my viewers. I have to tell you about how to cook your steak…get this, from FROZEN!

First off, let’s talk about this big box on my counter, ButcherBox. I get all my steaks from them. My wife, Danielle, actually discovered the company online and got it as a gift for me earlier this summer (I love steak—a lot) and I’ve been obsessed ever since. I thought it was just steak, but they also have amazing ground beef, pork, chicken and scallops.

I’m lazy sometimes, okay a lot, so this is perfect. You order it all online and in 2-3 days it arrives at your door…it doesn’t get much better than that. They say everything comes frozen. I didn’t fully believe that at first. But it is! Everything comes frozen, solid as a rock . There are a few different box options—we used to have ButcherBox pick all the meat—like a surprise grab bag, they call their curated box—but now we’ve moved to the custom box where we get to pick the exact cuts we want to get in each box.

In a busy household like mine where my wife and I try to make sure we are feeding our family a meal that is healthy, whipping up together a meal in 30 minutes or less is key. Which leads me to my tip…

You can literally cook steak from frozen. Mind blown, right? I never knew that, I always thought you had to thaw it before cooking, but no! I talked to a ton of chefs and you can cook it right from the package when your ButcherBox arrives. So, you can be eating in 15 minutes! Chefs say it could even be better from frozen. All you need is a very hot cast iron pan, or grill, some seasoning and 15 minutes to cook. You be the judge—try it out and let me know what you think!

Watch the video: How to Cook a Frozen Steak Without Thawing First (November 2021).