Can You Defrost Meat And Put It Back In The Fridge?

Can You Defrost Meat And Put It Back In The Fridge
  • Save
Can You Defrost Meat And Put It Back In The Fridge

When you have a tough daily routine to follow, it gets quite difficult to keep up with the stuff sitting in your refrigerator.

Many of us keep frozen meat at home which we take out and defrost on the day we decide to cook it.

Sometimes this defrosted meat gets forgotten or our plans change and we go out for dinner or cook something else. Is it still safe to consume this meat? Can it be refrozen?

In this quick guide, we will address all your concerns about defrosting and refreezing meat safely. Stay with us!
Defrosting Methods and Refreezing

The most commonly used methods are defrosting in the microwave, defrosting in the refrigerator, leaving meat out at room temperature, and the water bath method. We’ll look at which of these are safe.

  • Microwave defrosting

Microwave defrosting
  • Save

When you need to get dinner on the table quickly, the microwave is probably your fastest defrost option. Meat can take a whole day or so to defrost in the fridge and at least an hour in a water bath.

A microwave can defrost even a fairly large piece of meat in under half an hour. The main drawback is that it’s difficult to defrost the meat evenly. Sometimes edges and corners become overcooked while the middle remains frozen.

This issue can be mitigated by regular turning of the meat as it defrosts. However, this means that you have to be in the kitchen to do this every so often.

However, this remains the most convenient option. It is safe as long as the meat is cooked immediately after defrosting. If it is left to stand at room temperature, harmful germs begin to grow.

Do not refreeze the meat if you have defrosted it using this method unless you cook it first.

  1. Remove any plastic or polystyrene packaging.
  2. Put the meat into a microwave-safe container such as one made of glass.
  3. Using the “thaw” or “defrost” setting, microwave the meat for 8 to 10 minutes per 500 g (pound). The defrost setting uses about 30% power.
  4. Remember to turn the meat every 2 minutes or so to prevent hot spots.
  5. Allow the meat to stand for half an hour or so before cooking to complete the defrost cycle if you have time.
  • Water bath defrosting

Water bath defrosting
  • Save

Water is a better conductor of heat than air so putting your meat into a water bath will cause it to defrost quicker than leaving it in the air. It is important to remove all the air from the packaging before defrosting this way.

Either shrink-wrap the meat or put it into a Ziploc bag and remove all the air. Then you’re good to go. You can use either a hot or cold-water bath.

Do not refreeze the meat if you have defrosted it using this method unless you cook it first.

We’ll start with how to do a cold-water bath:

  1. Fill the sink or a large basin or pot with plenty of cold tap water.
  2. Make sure your meat is wrapped in airtight packaging.
  3. Leave it in the water, using a dinner plate to keep it submerged if it floats. A pound of meat will take about an hour to defrost but a large chicken will need a couple of hours.
  4. Change the water if it becomes too cold.

You can also use a hot water bath. This will be quicker than a cold-water bath but is only suitable for thinner cuts of meat like steaks, chops, and chicken pieces.

Do not use this method for large cuts of meat or poultry because the outer part will remain in the danger zone for too long. A one-inch piece of steak will take about 10 minutes to defrost at 102˚F.

It is vital to cook the meat immediately after defrosting this way to prevent the growth of bacteria.

  1. Remove all foil and outer packaging.
  2. Shrink-wrap the meat or put it into a Ziploc bag, removing all the air.
  3. Fill a sink, basin, or big pot with hot water.
  4. Submerge the meat and weigh it down with a plate to keep it submerged.
  5. Stir the water around every few minutes to disperse the cold water that forms around the meat.
  6. Cook the meat immediately.
  • Refrigerator defrosting

Refrigerator defrosting
  • Save

This is probably the safest defrosting method because it keeps the meat chilled as it thaws slowly. However, it is the least convenient because it takes at least 24-48 hours.

After defrosting, you can safely keep the meat in the fridge for another few days. It can also be refrozen if you have used this method.

  1. Leave the meat in its original packaging.
  2. Put it into a dish to catch any drips.
  3. Place it into the refrigerator and leave it overnight or until it is completely defrosted.


We hope this has given you a clear idea about what is and isn’t safe when it comes to defrosting meat. Remember, never leave thawed meat at room temperature for more than two hours.

  • Save
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap