ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How Safely Thaw Food for Cooking

Updated on October 17, 2017

One of the greatest advents of modern technology is their refrigerator. This helps to keep food for an extended period, minimizing food waste and trips to the grocery store. On the other hand, food that is cold will take longer to cook because it must come up to a safe temperature for cooking. This is an even bigger problem for food that has been stored in the freezer. Without thawing the food, the dish could be cooked unevenly, making for an unpleasant surprise. Therefore, something stored in the freezer should be thawed before it can be cooked. What are some ways that this can be done safely?

Move Food from the Freezer to the Refrigerator the Night Before

One of the easiest ways to thaw food safely is to move it from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before it is needed for dinner. 24 hours is typically enough time; however, there are some dishes that could take even longer to thaw. This depends on the size of the dish and the temperature of both the freezer and the refrigerator. The colder the freezer is, the longer it will take to thaw. In contrast, the warmer the refrigerator is, the quicker the dish with thaw. Furthermore, larger amounts of food will take longer to thaw. For example, a package of individual meatballs may not take that long to thaw at all. On the other hand, a large Thanksgiving turkey could take multiple days to thaw.

There are multiple advantages to using this method. For example, the entire process is hands off. People can move the dish to the refrigerator, go to work, and forget about it. If plans change (for example, people decide to go out to eat), the food can simply be saved for tomorrow or moved back into the freezer where it will freeze once again.

Move the Food to a Container of Cold Water

The next option is to thaw the food under cold water. The food is first placed in a sealed package (if it is not already sealed) and then placed in a bowl or sink where it is dropped into the cold water. It is important to make sure that the food is sealed when it is placed in cold water. If the food is exposed to the water, it could degrade rapidly, making for an unappetizing meal. Over time, the water will start to warm up as it is exposed to the room air. It is important to change the water every half-hour or so. This process should be repeated until the food has thawed completely.

Sometimes, the package could be filled with air and the food will float in the container of cold water. To fix this, place an object on top of the food so it sinks in the water. This process is a little bit more hands-on and will require routine draining and filling of the water. On the other hand, this typically thaws food slightly faster than a refrigerator.

Thaw the Food in the Microwave Prior to Cooking

For those who are in a hurry, the microwave may seem like an attractive option. Most microwaves now come with buttons that will automatically set the time depending on the type of food that is going to be thawed. Fruits, meats, and other food items will take different lengths of time depending on their makeup. They may also vary depending on the weight of the food. The most notable advantage of this method is that the food will be thawed rapidly and will be ready to serve (in the case of fruit) or ready to cook (in the case of meat).

Unfortunately, this method also has some notable downsides. For example, the food may not thaw evenly, meaning that it will be hard to cook evenly. This can give the food a funky taste, an odd texture, or make it unsafe to eat. Depending on the temperature of the microwave, it could even start to cook in the microwave.

Thaw at Room Temperature for Some Items

Food items that do not have intrinsic bacterial growth can be thawed at room temperature. This includes pastries, fruits, and breads. These items do not start to grow bacteria until they begin to spoil. Therefore, they can be thawed at room temperature for a couple of hours prior to serving.

Although this works for some items, do not thaw meats in this fashion. They will start to grow bacteria as they start to warm up, potentially making them unsafe to eat. This method is quick for foods that are safe to thaw using this method.

Thaw the Food Under Running Water

It is also possible to thaw foods under running water. Instead of sitting the dish in a pool of water, it could thaw even faster if placed under a running faucet. Like the prior method, the food should be sealed. This will prevent it from breaking down under the pressure of the faucet.

Furthermore, make sure that the temperature is somewhat cool. If the water is warm, the dish could thaw unevenly, making it challenging to cook in a safe and complete manner. Even meats can be thawed in this fashion; however, with meat, it is even more important to make sure that the water is cool. Use the water to thaw the meat, not to cook it.

Everyone has their own way of thawing food and, while these ways will work, there could be others. The important points to remember are that food should not be heated too quickly and that all the bacteria need to be killed before the food can be ingested. Following these safety steps will ensure that the food both tastes delicious and is safe to eat. With this advice in mind, food can be safely stored in the freezer and cooked completely for a delicious meal.

*Disclaimer: This article pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion about med­i­cine, health, and related sub­jects. The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this article, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)