How to thaw and cook frozen steaks

Published July 31, 2013

| The Daily Meal

How to thaw and cook frozen steaks

How to thaw and cook frozen steaks

A frozen steak isn’t something to be scared of.

Thawing: Ranked

The first step to making a great steak that’s been frozen is getting it thawed, and so many people wonder how to do that. Marsh has three methods that he recommends, and he’s ranked them in order of preference. The one method he does not recommend, though, is leaving it to thaw out at room temperature, which will require too much time and makes it more likely for bacteria to develop. Keep reading to read his top three methods.

Method: The Refrigerator

Marsh’s overall preferred method is to let your frozen steak thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Allowing it to defrost slowly and at a controlled temperature lends to a juicier, more flavorful steak. Place the frozen steak in its wrapper on a plate or flat surface and allow it to defrost overnight on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator.

Method: Sink

If you’ve just gotten home and you need that frozen steak cooked that night, the sink is Marsh’s second preferred method for thawing a steak. If you can spare the space, he recommends filling the entire sink with cold water and allowing the steak to defrost in its packaging. This allows the steak to defrost evenly and at a controlled temperature. Because the cold water will become slightly warm from sitting, this method works faster than the refrigerator and usually only takes about 20 minutes.

Method: The Microwave

Marsh strongly discourages using the microwave to thaw a steak. The heat from the microwave causes the steak to lose its natural juices, and the final product with be drier and less tender than had you used the refrigerator or sink. That being said, he knows that sometimes the microwave can’t be avoided, and claims that oftentimes defrosting in the microwave goes wrong because people don’t know how to do it correctly. To use the microwave, leave the steak in its packaging and watch it carefully as it defrosts. As soon as the out portions start to thaw, take it out and let it rest. The rest of the meat will thaw during standing time.  

Prepare the Grill

When you’re ready to start cooking, it’s time to prepare the grill. The first step is to clean the grill and get it preheated. A hot grill is important for cooking steaks because of searing, and you’ll see why later on. Along with getting it clean and hot, Marsh recommends lightly oiling the grill so that it helps with the searing process and prevents the steak from sticking.


Have you ever had your butcher tell you that all a fat piece of steak needs is a little salt and pepper for seasoning? Well, he’s right, but unfortunately it’s not always the case with frozen steaks. While the high water content of a frozen steak lends to a tender, juicy texture, it sometimes can weaken the steak’s flavor. To help your frozen steak out a bit, Marsh recommends using seasonings like brown sugar, paprika, and cumin, or other marinating ingredients like Dijon mustard, soy sauce, and citrus juice to amp up the flavor.


You won’t get a juicy steak without perfectly searing it, says Marsh, and this is especially true for frozen ones. By giving it a good, hot sear, it locks in all of the flavors and juices, and creates a charred, textured crust. In order to sear the steak well, place it on the hot grill and touch it as little as possible, allowing the grill to do its work. Marsh recommends flipping when the juices of the steak start bubbling up to the top of it, and to use the 60/40 rule, which means grilling the steak 60 percent on one side, and then 40 percent on the other.

See more tips at The Daily Meal

More from The Daily Meal

A Guide to Steak Cuts

Best Steak Grilling Tips from the Pros

The Ultimate Grilling Guide

How to Make the Perfect Fried Chicken