How to Thaw a Roast Beef

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Things You'll Need

  • Plate or dish

  • Refrigerator

Frozen roast beef must be thawed before it can be sliced.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety Inspection Service, the average American eats about 60 pounds of beef per year. Precautions must be taken when storing, handling, preparing and cooking beef at home, to avoid contamination. A roast beef maybe frozen for up to 12 months. Remember that meat is highly perishable; learn how to safely thaw your roast beef.


Thaw in Refrigerator

Step 1

Place your frozen roast beef on a plate or dish to catch any juices.

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Step 2

Put your roast beef on the lowest shelf of your refrigerator.


Step 3

Leave your roast beef in the refrigerator for up to two days, depending on its size. A thin pot roast will take three to five hours per pound to thaw. A thick pot roast will take four to seven hours, a small oven roast will take up to five hours per pound and a large oven roast will take up to seven hours per pound. A 1-inch thick steak will take 12 hours to thaw, while a thicker steak may take up to 24 hours to thaw.


Thaw in Cold Water

Step 1

Leave your roast beef in its packaging; check that it is airtight. If it is not, put it into a leakproof bag.

Step 2

Fill a large container or your basin with cold water. Submerge the roast beef in the water.

Step 3

Change the water every 30 minutes. Allow two to three hours for a 3-lb. to 4-lb. roast to thaw.


You may also thaw your roast beef in the microwave. Check your user manual and follow the directions for defrosting a roast beef. Cook it as soon as it has thawed, because some parts of it may have started to cook during the microwaving. If you are planning to stew your beef or use another method of cooking that involves cutting it into small pieces, do this before it is fully defrosted. Place the pieces back in the refrigerator until they have fully thawed. Place fresh raw beef in the freezer for a few minutes to firm it up and make it easier to cut. It is safe to cook frozen beef in the oven, on the stove or grill without defrosting it first; prepare for the cooking time to be approximately 50 percent longer. Never cook frozen beef in a slow cooker.


Never thaw frozen beef at room temperature; this can encourage the rapid growth of bacteria.



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