Photo by Joe LodgeCreative Commons License.

Thawing means to let frozen food become warmer until it is ready to cook. The most common foods to be thawed are meats, since they are usually frozen to prolong their usage date.


Difficulty to learn: Easy

Some Thoughts For You:

Everyone thinks that they know how to thaw foods. Maybe your mom used to put the chicken on the counter overnight to thaw it. Or your friend from college would leave the meat on the grill overnight to thaw. Thawing food by leaving it outside or on the counter is not safeBacteria can enter the exposed food after it begins to lose its freeze.

There are only three recommended methods for thawing food according to the FDA: Cold water thawing, microwave thawing, or thawing in the fridge.

Cold water thawing involves securely sealing your food in a plastic bag (if it is not already in one) and placing it in cold water for a few hours. This allows it to begin to thaw without exposing the food to heat. Exposing your food to heat may lead to bacteria entering the food, which is why thawing food on the counter is not recommended at all.

Microwave thawing is faster but slightly more risky, since your food may begin to cook prematurely in the microwave. You should plan on cooking the food immediately after.

Thawing in the fridge is the easiest and safest, but it can take as long as a day for your food to completely thaw.

What You Will Need:

What you need to thaw food depends on the method you choose.

If you choose to thaw by cold water, you will need a secure plastic bag to surround your food with. If water enters the bag, you run the risk of it entering your food too. You will also need a sink.

Alternately if you decide to thaw by microwave you need a microwave. You will also need a microwave-safe plate to place the food on.

Lastly, thawing by fridge requires just a fridge. You may want to cover your food with plastic wrap or tinfoil while it thaws.

Basic Steps:

The following steps are for thawing meat (such as chicken) using the cold water method.

  1. Cover the frozen chicken entirely with a plastic bag, making sure that it is securely sealed. If your chicken comes with packaging, feel free to just use that.
  2. Fill your sink with cold water. You need to have enough to fully submerge the chicken.
  3. Submerge the chicken in the water. You should rotate the cold water every 30 minutes or so.
  4. For your chicken to fully thaw, it may take a few hours. You will need approximately 45 minutes for every pound of frozen chicken.

Tips For You:

  • Thawing frozen foods prior to cooking is not essential! However, if you do choose to cook frozen foods you can expect to add 50% more preparation time onto the recipe.

Some Links To Help With Preparation: