Can you thaw meat in water | cold, warm or hot water is not the same thing

Can you thaw meat in water
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When you are in a hurry and you want to thaw meat out to be cooked, there are a variety of ways in which you can do this. Many people opt to thaw meat in water.

Smaller cuts of meat, such as a pound or less, will thaw out in an hour or less. Larger pieces of meat such as pieces between three and four pounds may take two to three hours to fully thaw out.

The question is: do you thaw meat in cold, warm, or hot water?

It is safe to thaw meat in cold water. But it is not safe to thaw meat in hot water. Meat should be thawed in water at a temperature of 40°F or less. This is safe and much faster as the water is a great conductor of heat, being able to transfer heat faster than air.

Can you thaw frozen meat in warm water

According to the United States department of Agriculture, food that falls under the category of perishable food should never be left on the counter at room temperature for more than two hours, and should also not be left on the counter to thaw out. In addition, it should not be thawed out in warm water either.

When using warm water to thaw meat products, you will be able to effectively thaw the meat, but you will also possibly begin to cook the meat. Certain parts of the meat surface may start to cook and the temperature may rise above 40°F (4°C). This is a problem as it will put the meat in what is known as the danger zone.

The danger zone is a temperature range between 40°F and 140°F (4°C and 60°C ) where microorganisms will start to form on the surface of the perishable food item. It may cause food-borne illnesses to develop which may make you very sick.

Can you defrost frozen meat in hot water

This debate is quite similar to defrosting meat in warm water. While you can do it, there is a series of potential health risks involved and that is why most food experts and chefs would highly recommend that you do not do it.

Much like warm water, hot water may defrost the meat but may also cause parts of the meat to start cooking and place these parts or the whole piece of meat in the danger zone.

While it is not recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture, New York Times states that there have been studies conducted which indicate that it may in fact be safe to thaw meat out in hot water.

However, the methods are not yet recommended. What the study highlights is that it is possible to do this without causing the meat to enter the danger zone.

Can you thaw frozen ground beef in hot water

Ground beef should never be thawed in hot water. Raw meat naturally has a layer of bacteria that sits on the surface of the meat. With ground beef, this surface layer of bacteria is spread out throughout the meat.

Thawing ground beef in hot water will cause the surface of the meat to start cooking and will subsequently place the meat in the danger zone.

In order to thaw ground beef, the meat must be placed in a sealable plastic bag. The bag must be placed in a bowl of cold tap water and allowed to thaw out. The water should ideally be changed every 30 minutes or so to ensure that the meat is thawing in temperature approriate water.

Can you thaw hamburger meat in hot water

Hamburger meat and ground beef are essentially the same thing. There is a key difference between the two though. While both products may contain beef fat, hamburger meat may not contain more than 30% of the beef fat.

The same rule that applies to thawing ground beef in hot water also applies to thawing hamburger meat in hot water. The water may cause the meat to start cooking and place it directly in the danger zone.

Can you run hot water over frozen meat

Can you run hot water over frozen meat

No. Running hot or even warm water over frozen meat is essentially much worse than putting the meat on the counter and allowing it to thaw over several hours.

The hot water will cause the surface of the meat to start cooking. In addition, by placing the meat under a stream of hot water will only cause one section of the packaged meat to start cooking while the rest of the meat remains frozen. This is very dangerous.

It may be better to run cold tap water over the frozen meat. As previously stated, water is an excellent conductor of heat. The water may allow the meat to defrost quicker, provided that is is below 40°F.

Alternatively, you could place the meat in a sealed ziplock back and place the meat in a salt water bath. The melting temperature of saltwater is lower than normal tap water which may help to defrost the meat even faster.

Does meat thaw faster in cold water or hot water

Hot water may thaw the surface area of the meat much faster but leave the center of the meat cold. This creates a situation where the meat enters the danger zone.

Cold water on the other hand, may help to thaw out food much faster and is essentially much safer than thawing food in hot water.

This is because water heat capacity allows it to thaw out meat faster. The heat capacity of water refers to its ability to store heat inside. Essentially, the cold water holds a lot of heat energy inside which the meat is able to absorb.

This allows the meat to thaw out much faster in cold water than in hot water.


I am a kind of person that would sneak a taste out of grandma’s pot when I was barely tall enough to reach it. I grew up in kitchens full of love and liveliness and have spent my whole live learning, experimenting and succeeding in the art of cooking. At Pro Family Chef, every day is an opportunity for a new meal and a brand new flavor. I created this website to connect people that love to cook, with the products designed to make their cooking easier, hassle-free and rewarding every time.

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