Where do you defrost your dinner meat?

Y’know, like when you take the ground beef or pork chops out of the freezer…where do you put it?

ETA: Also, when?

I set it on top of the turned off stove. The stove is metal, which I believe is a better conductor of heat than a countertop. Once it’s thawed, I’ll probably put the meat in the fridge unless I’m ready to start cooking then.

Depends. If I’ve left it until late, I’ll thaw it in a sink of cold water. If I’m remembering to plan ahead, I do it in the fridge.

On days when I work, I don’t decide what to make till I’m on the way home, so I’ll put the frozen item in a bowl of water that I change often - but not hot water - I don’t want it to start cooking. Some things will be thawed in the microwave. If I’ve got all day, I’ll start it on the counter, then move it to the fridge when it’s mostly thawed.

Where? On the countertop.

When? Long enough before we need to cook it that it thaws completely. So…an hour or three, depending on the cut of meat. Or sometimes we’ll take something out of the freezer one day, let it thaw, then put it in the refrigerator until we’re ready to eat it the next day. I’m sure such practices should have killed us many times over by now, but we like to live dangerously.

I do believe the last time we defrosted a whole ham that we did it in the fridge though, because it was going to take many, many hours regardless.


When I’m planning ahead, I like to put it in the refrigerator. I feel like I’m saving power that way, but it’s probably so negligible that it’s offset just by opening the door to put the item in.

However, the most common way is to thaw it by leaving it out. I tend to use the stove so that air can circulate above and below the item. Plus, if it leaks, my stove can always use a good scrubbing whereas my counters were probably clean to start with.

In a bowl of luke-warm water. When the water gets cold, I change it for more luke-warm. Unless I’m in a hurry, then it’s the microwave.

It depends on whether it’s something that cooks to my purposes better if it’s thawed. If I want it thawed, I use a bowl of cold tap water, about an hour before I’m going to cook. Or several hours if it’s something big like a whole duck. If it doesn’t matter and I can cook it from frozen, then I just cook it from frozen.

In the refrigerator usually. out if there is not enough time or if the thing is big. Never water except in a case of extreme emergency. Often both - get it started out then put it in the fridge if we are leaving for any amount of time.

I typically toss it in the microwave in the morning before I go to.work. Keeps the dogs away.

In the winter, I take it out of the freezer late at night and defrost it overnight on the kitchen counter.
In the summer (when the house is warmer overnight), I take it out of the freezer in the morning (of the day before it is needed), then defrost for longer in the fridge.

Raw meat:

if we have enough advance warning, in the fridge; if not, on the countertop. If there isn’t enough warning to let things defrost in the countertop then the menu will be changed to something which will not require defrosting. Attempts at defrosting in the microwave things which will not get heated/cooked there have been considered insatisfactory.

Cooked meat (meatballs, for example) can be microwaved if needed.

Generally, I do it in a bowl of cool water (so I voted ‘other’); sometimes under running water. If I’m up on my game, then I do it a couple days in advance in the fridge. Very occasionally I’ll just leave it out on the counter, but defrosting it in water is much faster. I’ve not had good luck with the microwave.

If I have planned far enough ahead, the fridge.
Not quite as well planned, the counter.
Really unplanned, nuke it in my microwave.

I use one of these, which work very well.

Because I live alone and rarely shop more than one or two meals ahead, often whatever it is hasn’t frozen yet. But if for whatever reason I have something in the freezer that needs to thaw, I throw it in the fridge in the morning. Cold water if I forget to put it in the fridge when I get home. That or I just order pizza instead.

In the microwave.

I put it there in the morning, and it’s usually defrosted by the evening.

Chicken, almost always in a bowl of hot water. There was a segment on NPR on how that’s the safest and fastest way to defrost something (not enough time for the bacteria to grow, which is the problem for counter top defrosting).

Beef or Pork, in the refrigerator the evening before I plan to use it.

Between this article and my kick-ass chamber vacuum sealer, nowadays everything that needs quick defrosting gets sealed in a bag (if it’s not already - typically I do that step before freezing) and stuck in hot water. Fast, easy, and safe.

If I have time, though, I’ll pull it out of the freezer and stick it in the sink all day. That typically won’t be enough time for, say, a whole chicken, but is fine for smaller pieces. I’m rarely organized enough to actually do that, though.