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Need Dinner on the Table Fast? A Guide to Quickly and Safely Defrosting Meat

After a busy day at work, you’re ready to prepare dinner for your family – and then, you realize that you forgot to defrost your ground beef before heading to the office. What do you do now? Instead of opening your Domino’s Pizza delivery app, you should know that it is possible to safely defrost meat in as little as 10 minutes. Here are a few tips straight from Good Housekeeping that will guide you in safely defrosting your meat, so that you can prepare your favorite meals in as little time as possible.

Thawing in the Refrigerator

If you have time, the best and safest way to defrost any type of meat is overnight in the refrigerator, only removing the meat once it is completely thawed. After thawing, ground meat, poultry, and seafood should keep in the refrigerator for an extra day or two, while red meat (beef, pork, lamb, and steak) stays good for 3 to 5 more days. Thawing in the fridge also allows you to safely freeze the meat again if you don’t get around to using it.

Thawing in Cold Water

If you have an hour or so to spare, we highly recommend that you use this defrosting method, which uses cold water to slowly thaw out the meat. In this way, this method is most similar to thawing in a refrigerator.

• Place your frozen cut of meat in a resealable plastic bag, squeezing out as much air as possible.
• Fill a large bowl with cold water and submerge the bag in the water. Change the water every 30 minutes to ensure that it stays cold and continues to thaw the meat.
• Smaller cuts of meat, poultry, or seafood (about a pound) can thaw in an hour or less, larger quantities (3 to 4 pounds) may take 2–3 hours.

Thawing in the Microwave

Prepped protein in under 10 minutes? It’s a possibility when you use your microwave to defrost meat! Ideal for smaller cuts of meat only uses your microwave when you are prepared to cook the meat all the way through right after defrosting.

• Before starting, consult your microwave’s instruction manual to learn the best way to defrost a specific cut of meat according to the microwave’s settings.
• If your microwave doesn’t have a “defrost” setting, set it at a lower power level and run in short bursts until the meat is thawed. Try defrosting for one to two minutes at a time.
• Be careful not to defrost your meat at too high of a temperature. If you do, you could accidentally cook the meat instead of merely defrosting it.
• Once your meat is thawed, cook it immediately to prevent bacterial growth.

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