How to Thaw Ground Beef

Ground Beef coming out a meat grinderLooking to make some homemade burgers? Should be a quick and easy 1-2, the only problem is you have ground beef in the freezer and need to defrost it.

No worries! We will show you how to thaw ground beef using 3 different options.

Defrost Ground Beef in the Fridge

According to the United States Department of Agriculture website, they have stated that the safest way to thaw out your ground beef is in the refrigerator.

All you need to do is place the frozen ground beef and place it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. The reason for placing the meat on the bottom shelf is actually for food safety. While the ground beef thaws out, you do not want the juice to leak and contaminate other food in the fridge. It’s best to thaw uncooked meat on the bottom shelf so that the meat juice won’t leak down onto other things in the fridge.

This is the best and safest method, however, it is also the longest. It can take up to a day for the ground beef to defrost, depending on much you have. If you plan ahead and give yourself 1-2 days lead time, this should be no problem.

Note: Once you have thawed the meat, you should cook it within two days.

Ground Beef Sitting in a BowlPlacing it in Cold Water

If you need the ground beef thawed out in a much shorter timeframe, then you could always use the cold water method.

The cold water method can have the ground beef defrosted really quickly, depending on how dense the meat is. If you freeze the ground beef flat, it can thawed out in about ten minutes. The thicker pieces will take about 30 minutes for each half pound.

The Process.

Put frozen meat in a leak-proof ziplock bag (if it isn’t already) and place into a bowl of cold water, ensuring that it’s totally covered.

The Microwave is a Quick Option

A microwave is the quickest way to thaw ground beef quickly. You can have your meat thawed out in under 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of it.


  1. Place ground beef in a microwave safe zip lock bag and put on a plate
  2. Use the microwave’s defrost setting and zap it for 3-4 minutes
  3. Stop at 2-3 minute intervals and turn the meat to ensure even defrosting
  4. Once fully defrosted. Use immediately.

Note. Please be aware that microwaves have different wattages. So the time it takes to defrost can be more or less.

Also note that the microwave might start to cook some parts of the ground beef, this is why it is important to use the meat immediately when it is finished thawing out.

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