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How to Defrost Food Quickly

Defrosting food means to thaw it out after it has been frozen. When food is frozen, it becomes very cold and solid. Defrosting is the process of bringing it back to its normal temperature so that it's ready to be cooked or eaten.

How to Defrost Food Quickly

Another way is to put it in the refrigerator overnight, where it will slowly thaw out. Although you can defrost food more quickly by using the microwave, you have to be careful not to cook it accidentally.

Sometimes, you might be in a hurry and need to defrost food quickly. While it's best to thaw food in the refrigerator, there are other ways to do it fast and safely without letting bacteria grow.

There are many ways to defrost food quickly. Let's explore more about how to defrost food by using the following way (using the Coldwater):

Defrosting Food

This method is best for frozen meat or cooked meals that you need to reheat again, but it is not recommended for bread or baked goods. Meat can be defrosted in cold or warm water, but warm water can be risky if you leave it for too long. Veggies, thin meats, noodles, and fruits can be defrosted in the microwave at a minimal temperature. For bread and baked goods, use the oven to prevent them from getting soggy. Let us discuss the steps required:

Step 1: Place the Food in a Leak-proof Plastic Bag

If you want to defrost food using cold water, you must follow some basic steps. First, you must place your food in a leakproof plastic bag.

  • Get your plastic bag ready and open your freezer.
  • Take out the frozen food you want to thaw.
  • Put the food inside a sealable plastic bag. You can use more than one bag if needed. Make sure the bag fits comfortably around the food.

It's important to do this inside the freezer to avoid introducing bacteria into the food. If you originally stored the food in aluminum foil, remove the foil and put the food in a plastic bag. Thawing food in a plastic bag is faster than using the refrigerator thawing method, which can take all night, and it is also safer than using hot water.

Step 2: Put the Bag in a Bowl and Fill Cold Tap Water

  • Get a big bowl from your cupboard.
  • Put the sealed plastic bag with your frozen food in the bowl.
  • Fill the bowl with cold tap water from your sink.
  • Make sure the water covers the food completely.
  • Let it sit for a bit to thaw. Depending on your home's water system, it may take 20-30 seconds for the cold water to reach its possible lowest temperature.

Step 3: Thaw Your Food in the Cold Water for Some Time

Now, after that, defrost your food in cold water for some time. This generally depends on the amount of food you are trying to defrost. This may take from a few minutes to several hours. For example, a large frozen turkey can take up to 12 hours to thaw. Besides, a 3-4 lb package of meat may take 2-3 hours, while smaller items might thaw in about 1 hour.

  • After you have filled a big bowl with cold water, leave the bowl in your sink or on your countertop and let it thaw.
  • You can check whether the food is thawed or not by touching it. If it feels soft, it is ready. However, this is true in the case of small food items. Larger items may still be frozen in the middle, even if the surface feels soft. Therefore, this method is better for thick foods.
  • If you're in a hurry, put the bag in a colander and let cold water run over it. Turn the bag every few minutes until it's thawed.
  • If the food keeps floating, use a spoon or spatula to hold it down under the water.

Step 4: Change the Water to prevent it from Warming

Now, change the water every 20-30 minutes so the food does not get warm. When you're thawing food in cold water, the main goal is to keep the water really cold to prevent harmful bacteria from growing in your food. To do this:

  • Drain the water and refill the bowl with cold tap water in your sink every 30 minutes to ensure it stays below 40 °F (4 °C). By doing this, you keep the water cold and your food safe as it thaws.

Once your food is completely thawed, it's important to cook it right away to prevent bacteria from producing and multiplying.

This is the most common way to defrost food quickly and safely. However, there are many other methods that can be used as per the ease of use and requirements.


It's important to defrost food properly. If it's not done correctly, bacteria can start to grow on it, which can make you sick. So, always make sure to follow the recommended methods for defrosting food safely.

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