Is it Safe to Cook Frozen Meat without Thawing?

Cooking frozen meat can save time and effort when preparing a meal, but it is not always clear if it is safe to do. If you do not have the time to thaw frozen meat, chances are that you will just cook it immediately. However, a lot of people are concerned with regard to the safety of cooking and eating frozen meat without thawing. Is frozen meat really safe to cook? Check out the rest of this article for the answer.

Is it safe to cook frozen meat without thawing? According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), meat is safe to cook without thawing but you need to be careful when cooking frozen meat. Make sure that it is properly cooked to avoid bacterial contamination. It usually takes 50% longer to cook frozen meat as compared to fresh meat. When cooking frozen meat, the temperature used must reach 70°C for at least 2 minutes to get rid of any harmful bacteria.

What are the tips on how to safely cook frozen meat? How to cook frozen meat without thawing? How to thaw frozen meat quickly? Can you cook frozen meat in a slow cooker? These are some of the questions that we will discuss in this article. If you are worried about cooking frozen meat, read more below for useful information.

Is it safe to cook frozen meat without thawing
Image by Shutterbug75 from Pixabay

Can You Cook Meat Straight from Frozen?

If you do not have time for defrosting, you can cook meat straight from frozen. It is safe to cook fresh-out-of-the-freezer blocks of meat provided that it is properly cooked. On the other hand, the meat will take longer to cook and it may not achieve a golden-crispy skin or a perfect sear.

Tips on How to Safely Cook Frozen Meat

There are a few guidelines that you need to consider when cooking frozen meat to make sure that it is safe to consume. It is easy to cook frozen meat and it does not usually compromise taste, but you need to be very careful in cooking because frozen meat is prone to bacteria that can cause food-borne illnesses. Below are some tips on how to safely cook frozen meat.

Never Cook Frozen Meat in Slow Cooker

Do not cook frozen meat in a slow cooker or crockpot regardless of what type of frozen meat it is. This is because cooking frozen meat in a slow cooker allows it to spend too much time at a temperature where dangerous bacteria can grow. Temperatures between 40°F and 140°F are considered as the danger zone because it allows bacteria like salmonella to grow before reaching the temperature when it is normally killed.

Use the Refrigerator to Thaw Frozen Meat

Using the refrigerator is the safest way to thaw frozen meat. The average size cut of meat usually takes a day to completely defrost in a refrigerator. On the other hand, larger cuts or whole birds can take about 24 hours per five pounds to thaw.

How to Cook Frozen Meat without Thawing

There are different methods on how to cook frozen meat without thawing which usually depends on the type of meat.


It is not ideal to grill or sauté frozen chicken. For the best outcome, you can bake or simmer frozen chicken in sauce. Make sure that you properly cook the chicken by cooking it twice as long as you normally would than an unfrozen chicken. Moreover, make sure that the temperature does not reach below 350°F for safety. You can also check out this article that we have written titled, how can I defrost chicken quickly? We have shared tips and information that you can use when defrosting frozen chicken.


To cook bacon straight from frozen, fry it on low heat until the rashers start to separate. Increase the heat gradually and fry the pieces of bacon until it is thoroughly cooked.


When cooking frozen sausages, make sure to check the packaging if they need to be thawed before cooking. Most brands of sausages are okay to cook frozen. It usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes to cook thoroughly in a frying pan. Make sure that the core temperature reaches 70°C for at least 2 minutes so that any harmful bacteria will be destroyed.


To easily cook frozen steak, place it in a bowl and run it under cold water. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Remove the steak from the cold water and coat it with salt and pepper. Place the steak into the oven for 15 minutes. Make sure that it reaches the desired internal temperature before removing it from the oven. Allow the steak to rest for five to eight minutes before serving.

✅ Video – Make the Best Steaks By Cooking Frozen Meat (No Thawing!)

America’s Test Kitchen shared the video below on YouTube. It demonstrates how to make the best steak by cooking frozen meat and without thawing. Cook’s Illustrated Editor Dan Souza explains how this is done. Watch the video below for tips and instructions.

Why Should You Not Defrost Meat on Room Temperature?

Do not defrost meat at room temperature on the counter. Make sure that you do not leave any meat out at room temperature for more than two hours. The reason for this is that it will bring the meat to the danger zone temperatures where bacteria can grow. This is also the same in defrosting meat with hot water.

Why You Shouldn’t Cook Frozen Meat?

Large joints of meat should not be cooked frozen because it is unlikely to reach its essential core temperature during the cooking process. As a result, it will increase the risk of harmful bacteria contaminating the meat. See to it that you check the packaging for defrosting instructions.

Is it Better to Cook Meat Frozen or Thawed?

This will have to depend on the kind of meat that is cooked. For instance, frozen steaks are better than thawed steak because the colder temperature prevents overcooking and allows the steak to brown. This can also work for pork and chicken. When cooking, set the oven at a slightly lower temperature but make sure that it is above 350 degrees for safety’s sake. On the other hand, it is not recommended to cook frozen meat in a slow cooker.

How to Thaw Frozen Meat Quickly

Quickly thaw frozen meat using the microwave or the cold water method. The microwave method usually takes 10 minutes while the cold water method takes up to one hour. This will have to depend on the type and size of meat that you are thawing.

The Microwave Method

Defrosting meat in the microwave can take around ten minutes. This is the ideal method for smaller cuts of meat that will be cooked all the way through after defrosting. Before using the microwave, read the instruction manual to find out the best way to defrost a specific cut of meat based on its settings. Most microwaves now feature a defrost setting. On the other hand, if your microwave does not have a defrost setting, you can set it at a lower power level then run in short bursts until the meat is defrosted. When defrosting using the microwave, you need to be careful because setting it at high heat for too long can cook the outer layer of the meat instead of defrosting. You can also read this article that talks about if you can cook frozen chicken on a pellet grill. We have shared helpful tips and information about grilling using a pellet grill.

The Cold Water Method

If you do not have a microwave, this is the next best method to use for quick thawing. To do this method, put the frozen meat in a resealable plastic bag and remove air pockets. Fill a large bowl with cold water and submerge the bag in it. Make sure to change the water every 30 minutes so that it stays cold and the meat will continue to thaw.

Can You Cook Beef from Frozen in Slow Cooker?

Do not cook frozen beef or any type of meat in a slow cooker. It is not safe because slow cookers cannot quickly or evenly get frozen meat up to a safe temperature. For this reason, the meat will spend a lot of time in the danger zone temperatures and make it susceptible to bacteria. You can also check out this article that discusses if it is OK to grill frozen chicken. We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.


In this article, we have discussed if it is safe to cook frozen meat without thawing. We have found out that it is safe to cook frozen meat without defrosting as long as safety guidelines are followed. Moreover, make sure that you check the defrosting instruction from packed meat. While it is safe to cook frozen meat, it is still recommended that you thaw them first if you have time. Thank you for reading!

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