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How to Defrost Meat, Poultry, and Fish Quickly

We usually keep meat and fish in the freezer. But sometimes it just so happens that we need to make dinner quickly but they’re still frozen. There are a few quick defrosting methods for such situations that we will describe below. They are good for meat, poultry, and fish.

With 5-Minute Crafts, you’ll learn how to defrost meat, poultry, and fish quickly and safely.

The ideal but long method

The best and safest way to defrost meat, poultry, or fish is by slowly thawing it in the fridge. With this method, the meat has enough time to re-absorb the ice crystals formed between the fibers, which will positively affect its texture.

If you want to use this defrosting method, take the food you want to cook out of the freezer, put it in a bowl, and refrigerate. Use a high-sided bowl so that the liquid doesn’t spill into the fridge while thawing.

1 pound of meat or fish will take approximately 5-6 hours to defrost, depending on how thick it is. It’s best to move food from the freezer to the fridge the night before you want to cook it. But small pieces of fish or chicken breast can be put in the fridge in the morning, and by the evening, they will be defrosted. But a whole turkey weighing 15 pounds may need 3-4 days to completely thaw.

Cold water

Meat will defrost faster in cold water than in the fridge.

  • Put the frozen piece of meat or fish in an airtight bag.
  • Squeeze all the air out of it and seal it.
  • Fill a large bowl with ice water and submerge the bag in it. To keep the water cold, which helps the meat thaw, it needs to be changed every 30 minutes.
  • For best results, add a handful of ice to the water. Repeat this every time you change the water.
  • If the bag is quite small, it may float to the surface. If so, place something on top, like a plate.

If you have enough free space in the fridge, you can use the following method.

  • Take a large container and pour cold water into it.
  • Place frozen meat or fish in the water, then settle it in the fridge.

Hot water

If you need to defrost small pieces of meat or fish very quickly, use hot water.

  • Put frozen food in a zip-lock bag.
  • Remove excess air and seal it.
  • Immerse the bag of meat in hot water and put something heavy on top so that it’s completely submerged.

Defrosting should take approximately 15 minutes. This allows you to protect the meat from the growth of harmful bacteria.


Pieces of meat or fish that aren’t too thick can be thawed with metal objects.

  • Take a cast iron or steel pan and put the frozen food on it.
  • Press the piece of meat with another pan on top.

You can use pots instead of pans.

  • Take a pot and turn it upside down.
  • Put the frozen piece on top.
  • Fill the second pot with water and place it on top of the meat.

The metal has a high thermal conductivity, which helps food thaw. Aluminum cookware is especially good for this purpose.


You can use a microwave to quickly defrost your food. The main thing is to be extremely careful not to miss the moment when your food stops being defrosted and starts being cooked.

This method works especially well for small pieces of chicken breast or minced meat. Put the frozen food in the microwave and select the defrost mode (50% power). Some microwaves allow you to specify the amount of meat to be defrosted and calculate the necessary time. If you don’t have a defrost mode, do the following.

  • Set the power to the lowest level.
  • Reheat the meat in short intervals.
  • Check the degree of defrosting from time to time.
  • Sometimes the meat needs to be repositioned or turned over so that it thaws evenly.

Never defrost your food like this.

Never defrost meat or fish by simply leaving it on the counter. Food thawed at room temperature is a potential breeding ground for bacteria. While the center of the frozen meat thaws, the outside will become too warm, causing bacteria to grow in it.

5-Minute Crafts/Tricks/How to Defrost Meat, Poultry, and Fish Quickly
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