How to Defrost Ground Beef & How to Freeze It

By Eric Mitchell •  Updated: Mar 30, 2022 •  7 min read

There’s a list of delicacies that you can make using ground beef: tacos, burgers, and meatloaf to mention but a few.

Some people like to do a big grocery shopping at the end or the beginning of the month for dairy, meat, fruits and the like. Freezing processed meat reduces enzyme activity while minimizing microbiological changes that might otherwise negatively affect the quality of the product.

When done the right way, frozen meat will remain delicious and safe for consumption, and will at the same time retain its color, texture and nutritional value for a long time.

How To Freeze And Defrost Ground Beef

How Do You Defrost Ground Beef – 4 Easy Ways

There are a number of ways to defrost ground beef. Depending on the method you choose you will require a few things.

1. Defrost Ground Beef In The Refrigerator – Best Way, Slow Wins the Race

What you’ll need: a plate and a refrigerator.

How it’s done:

The best way to defrost ground beef remains moving it from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw slowly but if you had not thought of the meal you want to make beforehand, then you can use any of the other methods to quickly turn the block of frozen ground beef into recipe ready beef.

2. Fastest Way to Defrost Ground Beef – In The Microwave

What you will need: the ground beef, a plate, and a microwave.

Say you forget to remove the ground beef from the freezer before leaving for work, what are you to do? You do not have to change the menu, just place the frozen beef in the microwave and press the “defrost” button.

How long do you defrost ground beef in the microwave

It will take three to four minutes to defrost the half-inch-thick ground beef. It helps thaw faster if you flip or turn the meat halfway through the process. If the meat is not thawed in 4 minutes, repeat it again. This is the fastest way to defrost ground beef.

Since the meat will start to cook in the microwave, it is advisable to cook it right after defrosting and avoid refreezing it.

Refreezing meat thawed in the microwave might encourage pathogenic bacteria to grow which can cause illness if consumed. Hawing meat in the microwave is the fastest method to defrost frozen ground beef.

3. Defrost Ground Beef In Water

What you will need: the frozen beef, a large bowl or the sink, cold water and a heavy object, for example, a can of beans.

How it’s done:

Meat thawed in cold water can be refrozen and that is why it is important to use cold water. If you use hot water to thaw the meat, bacterial growth may be encouraged and that can be harmful to your health.

4. Defrosting Ground Beef In A Pan

What you will need: the beef, a pan/skillet, some water, and a stove.

How it’s done:

How to Freeze Ground Beef Meat – 6 steps

Important Points To Note

Tools of trade . This is what you will require:

Step One

Remove the beef from the packaging you brought from the store.

Step Two

Divide and weigh the portions into half a pound and/or one-pound portions.

Step Three

Put the ground meat in quart-size Ziploc bags for the half pound portions and gallon-sized Ziploc bags for the one-pound portions.

Step Four

Before sealing the bags, use a rolling pin to firmly press flat the meat and get rid of excess air. Half-inch thickness is recommended so it can be easy when thawing or defrosting the meat later.

Roll the meat flat in one direction and avoid back and forth rolling. Press out as much air as possible so as to avoid dehydration or freezer burn which can create an off-putting flavor in the meat.

Step Five

Indicate the date of purchase using a permanent marker. Well packaged, frozen ground beef will remain in good condition for three to four months.

Step Six

Place the bags flat in the freezer shelf. Once the meat is frozen, you can stack them together or stand them vertically.


Freezing ground beef helps extend its lifetime. Properly frozen meat will remain safe for human consumption for up to 4 months.

After that, the meat may start to lose some of its value such as flavor and texture. To keep the beef safe store it at 40 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees) or below and cook at 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71.1 degrees Celsius) internal temperature.

Eric Mitchell

Eric is the owner, author, content director and founder of He is the lead architect and the main man in matters concerning dehydrators, their accessories, guides, reviews and all the accompaniments.Whenever he is not figuring out simple solutions (hacks) involving cookery and their eventual storage, you will find him testing out the different types of dehydrators, to bring us the juicy details regarding these devices.He is a foodie enthusiast, pasionate about making jerky has a knack for healthy and tasty food and won't hesitate to share out any ideas that might be of value around this subject.

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