There’s nothing more disappointing than taking out a steak for dinner only to realize you forgot to thaw it out. But don’t worry; there’s an easy way to thaw steak! Using a microwave is the most convenient and fastest way to defrost your steak – without compromising food safety.
From learning how long to defrost steak in the microwave to what precautions to take, I cover it all in this complete guide.
Is It Safe to Defrost a Steak in the Microwave?
Yes, it is safe to defrost steak using the microwave! It is one of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved defrosting techniques. Known as ‘The Big Thaw,’ these safe defrosting methods can help protect you from food poisoning while thawing foods.
Although, the USDA do advise to cook the steak immediately after defrosting using the microwave method. This is because some areas of the steak may begin to cook while defrosting, bringing the steak to ‘danger zone’ temperatures (between 40 °F and 140 °F).
So long as you cook the steak immediately after microwaving, it is perfectly safe!
How Long to Defrost Steak in the Microwave
The amount of time it will take for your meat to defrost depends on the size and thickness of the steak.
You must also consider how powerful your microwave is. Always use the ‘defrost’ setting when defrosting steak in the microwave. If your microwave does not have this setting, reduce the power to 30% before using it.
On average, it can take steak approximately 2-5 minutes per pound to defrost in the microwave. You should also flip the steak over every 30 seconds to ensure it defrosts evenly. Consider using a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your defrosting steak. A temperature of 40°F means the steak is fully thawed.
How To Defrost a Steak In the Microwave
Defrosting steak in the microwave is the quickest method and is super simple! Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do it:
- Remove any plastic wrap, original packaging, or foam trays from your frozen steak.
- Check how heavy your steak is by checking the information on the packaging or by weighing it.
- Place your frozen steak in a microwaveable container or on a microwave-safe plate.
- Select the defrost setting on your microwave or reduce the power to 30%.
- Set the timer on your microwave to the right amount of time – around 2 to 5 minutes per pound of steak.
- Flip your steak over every 30 seconds or so to ensure an even thaw.
- Once defrosted, cook your steaks right away to avoid any foodborne illnesses.
Tips on Safely Defrosting Steak in the Microwave
You now know how long to defrost steak in the microwave, as well as how to do it! To further help you out, here are some tips to remember when defrosting steak in the microwave:
- Only ever defrost one steak at a time – trying to defrost multiple steaks at once can lead to uneven thawing.
- Don’t forget to flip your steak over every 30 seconds.
- Only ever use a microwave-safe container or plate when defrosting any food in the microwave.
- Check your steak’s internal temperature with a meat thermometer to ensure it is fully thawed. The internal temperature of your steak should be 40°F.
- Always click the microwave defrost button or reduce the power level to 30%.
- Only defrost fully frozen steak in the microwave. If the streak has started to thaw, use another defrosting method.
- Cook the steak immediately after defrosting – this helps to ensure food safety.
Can You Refreeze Microwave Defrosted Steak?
You cannot refreeze raw meat that has been defrosted in the microwave.
Due to the microwave’s high heat temperatures, some parts of the steaks may start cooking – making refreezing unsafe. You can only refreeze raw steak if it has been defrosted in the refrigerator, so keep this in mind when considering which defrosting method you should use.
You can, however, refreeze your microwave-defrosted steak once fully cooked! If you’re meal-prepping or have some leftovers, you can refreeze this cooked beef for up to 3 months.
Can You Cook Steak From Frozen?
You can cook steak from frozen, but ideally, as a last resort. The top of the steak will cook much quicker than the inside, so you won’t get an even cook – unless you like very rare steak!
If you have to cook your steak from frozen, reverse searing steak is the best method. Reverse searing allows more control over the doneness of your steak and helps ensure you get a good even cook.
Can You Defrost Ground Beef in The Microwave?
Yes, you can defrost ground beef in the microwave. The process is similar to defrosting steak and can make mid-week meals a breeze. Be sure to check out my complete guide on thawing hamburger meat, which includes using the microwave and other alternative methods.
How Do Microwaves Defrost Steak?
Microwaves emit energy waves that cause water molecules to vibrate, which generates heat and effectively defrosts the steak. However, it is important to note that microwaves do not heat from the ‘inside out.’ Like other cooking methods, such as a grill, microwaves heat from the ‘outside in.’
When defrosting your steak in the microwave, there is a chance the outside may start to cook before the middle is fully thawed. So while using a microwave is a completely safe way to thaw frozen meat, it isn’t always the best option.
Aside from potentially cooking areas of the steak during the defrosting process, microwaves can also alter the texture of your steak. Always flip the steak over to ensure it defrosts evenly, and avoid overcooking in the microwave.
If you have the time, defrosting your steak using one of the methods below is the best way to ensure it retains its flavor and texture.
How to Defrost Steak Without a Microwave
If you don’t want to use a microwave to defrost your steak, there are a few different ways you can do it.
This method is the best way to thaw steaks; it is the safest way and doesn’t impact the texture or taste. Using the fridge takes more time, but if you can plan ahead, the refrigerator method is best.
To defrost steak in the refrigerator, place your steak on a plate and leave it in the fridge overnight or for up to 24 hours. Steak thawed using this method should then be cooked within 3-5 days. You can also refreeze your steak when defrosted in this way, but it may affect the overall quality of the meat.
Cold Water Method
The cold-water method is a faster way when compared with the refrigerator but slower than a microwave – making it a good middle ground for those in a hurry!
Place your steak in a resealable plastic bag and submerge it in cold water for this method. Change the water every 30 minutes so the temperature of the water remains cold to avoid bacteria growth. Alternatively, you can use a sink filled with cold tap water and leave it to defrost.
Don’t use hot water or even warm water, we want to keep the steak at a safe temperature.
The cold water method should take around 1-2 hours, depending on the size of your steak. Like microwave defrosting, you should cook the food immediately and only refreeze once cooked.
Can You Thaw Steak at Room Temperature?
No, you should never thaw steak at room temperature. This can cause harmful bacteria to grow on your steak, making it unsafe to eat. Given how quick and easy it is to defrost steak in a microwave, there’s no need to take the risk.
How to Cook a Defrosted Steak
Once your steak is defrosted, you can cook it using whichever cooking method you prefer! Grilled steak is super simple and can result in some delicious meals, like my grilled flank steak and grilled T-bone steak.
Knowing how long to defrost steak in the microwave is a great skill to have and means you can cook delicious steaks in no time. Just be sure to follow the guidelines above, and you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to defrost your steak again!