3 Ways to Defrost Food

Defrosting food should never get warmer than 40° F before it's cooked, so leaving that hunk of frozen beef on the counter all day may not be the safest idea. Here, the three best ways to thaw things out.

  • Susie Theodorou

In the Refrigerator

Bottom line: There's no safer way to thaw any type of food, especially meat.
Bear in mind: You need to plan ahead. Allow eight hours of refrigerator time for each pound of meat.

In the Microwave

Bottom line: This method is fast. You can thaw a couple of lamb chops in less than five minutes flat.
Bear in mind: Because the defrost setting on a microwave starts the cooking process (raising temperatures to bacteria-friendly levels), it's essential that you go on to cook the food immediately.

In a Bowl of Water

Bottom line: A gentler, low-tech alternative to the microwave, thawing in water is great for frozen soups and cutlets. Seal the food in a watertight bag and immerse it in a large bowl of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes.
Bear in mind: Don't use this process for more than two hours or you'll risk bacterial growth.