Defrosting ground beef in a microwave is fast and easy. Microwaving frozen ground beef is one of the quickest ways to defrost ground beef, ready for cooking.
Defrosting ground beef in a microwave takes less than 5 minutes and provides the same results as techniques that take longer if done right. For 450 grams of ground beef, 2–3 minutes in the microwave is enough.
Here’s how to defrost ground beef in a microwave:
- Take the ground beef and remove all packaging
- Place the ground beef on a microwave-safe plate and stick it inside the microwave
- Adjust the microwave setting to 50% power
- Microwave the ground beef for one minute
- Stop the microwave and flip the meat to ensure even thawing
- Microwave the meat for another minute on the same setting
- Take out the ground beef and remove the thawed chunks
- Continue heating frozen sections of the meat for one-minute periods until no frozen chunks are left
- Cook the ground beef immediately after defrosting to maintain freshness
Health Safety When Thawing Ground Beef in Microwave
Ground beef should be cooked no later than two hours after defrosting, or one hour after defrosting if the temperature in the room is over 90°F. The sooner the beef can be cooked after defrosting, the better. This helps prevent the development of harmful food-borne bacteria in the meat and keeps the meat fresh and safe for consumption.
Don’t refreeze ground beef that has been defrosted in the microwave. Refreezing defrosted meat, especially if the meat has been defrosted in warm microwave conditions, increases the risk of bacteria growth. Bacteria start to grow as soon as the meat begins to thaw, and growth is only stopped when the product is exposed to heat. That’s why defrosted ground beef should be cooked thoroughly before refreezing or refrigerating.
Other Ways to Defrost Ground Beef
If you don’t have access to a microwave, you can use other efficient ways to defrost beef safely before cooking.
How to Thaw Ground Beef in a Refrigerator
The safest way to defrost ground beef is in a refrigerator. Although it takes longer than in a microwave, this method allows you to keep the meat longer before cooking. This method can be used if you plan at least 24 hours in advance to cook the ground beef because refrigeration takes all day.
Here’s how to defrost ground beef in a refrigerator:
- Take out the ground beef from its original packaging
- Place the meat into a plastic Ziploc bag
- Put the bag on a plate to prevent leakage
- Leave the ground beef in the fridge for 24 hours
- Cook the meat 1–2 days after full thawing
- Refreeze any leftovers
How to Thaw Ground Beef in Cold Water
Another way to defrost ground beef is by submerging the meat in a bowl of cold water. This process takes between 1 and 3 hours depending on the amount of meat you have.
Here’s how to defrost ground beef in cold water:
- Take the ground beef and remove the original packaging
- Place the meat into a plastic Ziploc bag
- Put the bag in a large bowl and fill it with cold freshwater
- Place something heavy on top of the bag to keep the meat fully submerged
- Change the cold water every 30 minutes until the meat is thawed completely
- Cook the ground beef immediately after defrosting in water
How to Store the Ground Beef Leftovers
Ground beef can be refrigerated safely after defrosting in a fridge. After thawing ground beef in the refrigerator, the meat can be stored in the refrigerator for two days. Once this time has passed, the meat should be cooked or returned to the freezer. Store ground beef in the coldest part of the fridge, where the temperature is 40°F or lower, to keep the meat fresh and avoid bacteria.
Avoid storing ground beef on the top shelves of the fridge to prevent the juices from the meat staining other fresh products. Don’t put ground beef in the door compartments of the fridge because temperature changes from opening and closing the fridge will cause the meat to go off faster.
Don’t refreeze ground beef that has been defrosted using the cold water or microwave method. Thoroughly cook the beef at a high temperature before putting it back in the fridge or freezer to avoid the spread of harmful bacteria. If storing cooked ground beef in the freezer, put the meat in Ziploc bags and freeze it two hours after cooking.