I love being in the kitchen, and I enjoy sharing tips with others.
Do I Have to Thaw Frozen Meat Before Cooking It?
I am writing this completely off the cuff, but I was thinking about this yesterday when I threw together a delicious dish of chicken, veggies, and rice: I never thaw any meat! Never! I just cook it frozen!
How do I do it? Be sure you have a pot big enough to accommodate the frozen meat. I have a nice big Dutch oven that can handle roasts, two big chicken breasts, and so on. A large crock pot can handle a whole chicken. Of course, with a whole chicken, you will have to watch for the time when you can take it out of the pot briefly and remove the innards, but that really is a small chore. I have done this before, but it is not something I usually do.
I will share how to cook the following:
- Steaks and chops
- Thicker poultry and small roasts
How to Cook Steaks and Chops
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
What You'll Need:
- Cast Iron Skillet
- Light Oil
- Seasonings, to taste
- Use a heavy cast iron skillet. Pour in just enough light oil to cover the bottom of the pan. I used peanut oil.
- Place your meat in the pan, season it as desired, and turn the heat to medium. If your meat is frozen together, that's okay. Just leave it that way for now. Cover the pan and set your timer for 10 minutes.
- When the 10 minutes is up, uncover the pan. Separate the meat if necessary, turn it, and season it again. Cover the pan once more and set your timer for 10 minutes.
- When the 10 minutes is up, check to see if your meat is done to your liking. Thin steaks and chops will be thoroughly thawed and completely cooked. Thicker ones will need a bit more time. Turn the meat and set your timer in 5-minute increments until it's done to your liking.
How to Cook Thicker Poultry and Small Roasts
Cooking Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
What You'll Need:
- Dutch Oven
- Onions, chopped
- Peppers, chopped
- Garlic cloves, minced
- Meat: You'll need poultry or small roasts (2-3 lbs).
- 16oz Can Stewed Tomatoes
- Bag of Vegetables: They can be frozen vegetables (carrots, California mix, stew veggies) or fresh vegetables (carrots, potatoes, celery).
- Chicken or Beef Bouillon
- Pour just enough peanut oil in the bottom of your Dutch oven to cover the bottom. Add chopped onions, peppers, and garlic to suit your taste. Set the Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat, covered, while you get the meat ready to cook.
- Unwrap the meat and rinse it if necessary. I rinse it because unwrapping frozen meat involves so much handling that I just feel it is better to rinse it.
- Uncover your Dutch oven. Stir the veggies and move them to the sides so that you have space to put your meat in contact with the hot surface of the pan. Set the meat in the pan and season it as you wish. Cover and set your timer for 10 minutes.
- When the 10 minutes is up, turn the meat and season the other side. Stir the veggies around a bit to keep them from burning.
- Cover and cook for another 10 minutes. Uncover the pot, turn the meat, and stir the veggies again.
- At this point, you will want to add liquids and more veggies. I add a can of stewed tomatoes and a bag of either fresh or frozen vegetables—I use what I have on hand. This is up to your taste. Just be sure you add enough veggies and moisture to just cover the meat. You can add chicken or beef bouillon to add more liquid.
- Add more seasonings to taste, cover the Dutch oven, and turn the heat to high. Bring the pot to a boil. Boil everything for 5 minutes, and then reduce the heat to medium or medium-low heat, depending on how hard it's boiling.
- Simmer for 30 minutes. Check for doneness and tenderness. Your meat may be ready at this point. If not, turn it and continue cooking it in 15-minute increments until it is done to your taste.
© 2009 justmesuzanne
justmesuzanne (author) from Texas on April 01, 2014:
Yes, I think it makes it a lot easier. If you begin with frozen meat, you can cook whole potatoes and large carrots with the meat and it all comes out ready at the same time. If you thaw the meat, you have to start the veggies and wait until they are about half done and then add the meat. Of course, this depends on the size of the piece of meat. Going straight from freezer to frying or roasting pan definitely eliminates worries over bacteria. Thanks for commenting and voting! :)
Rachael O'Halloran from United States on March 24, 2014:
I also cook from frozen and find it saves me lots of time. It doesn't change the taste of the food. Although many cooks say it should be thawed in the fridge, I don't like to thaw meat or poultry because of worrying about bacteria forming or worse ---- forgetting I left it out to thaw so it gets toward room temperature. Voted up and interesting.
justmesuzanne (author) from Texas on May 12, 2013:
Yes, I don't ever cook anything that big. I suppose you would have to thaw that, but things that fit into a pot or pan don't really need to be thawed. :)
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 11, 2013:
They say that the best way to thaw meat is in the refrigerator and of course that takes time. We have done that with things like turkeys which sometimes actually take a couple of days to thaw in that manner.
justmesuzanne (author) from Texas on May 10, 2013:
Thanks ladies! Yes, I have never understood thawing meat. The thawing time is the most dangerous time, and all you have to do is increase the cooking time and make sure it is cooked all the way through to use most meats frozen. This makes it possible to simply brown both sides and add veggies such as carrot and potatoes and have everything cooked through at the same time. :)
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 10, 2013:
I have done that with frozen meat if wishing to use it in a soup but I have never done it for other purposes such as you outlined here. Will have to give it a try sometime. Thanks for the idea. Up and interesting votes.
Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on May 10, 2013:
Sounds like a real time saver to me! I am always forgetting to take something out to thaw for dinner and have to spend the time to thaw it. This sounds great, especially for chicken breasts, which I cook often. I am going to give this a try right away! Voted up, useful and interesting! :)
justmesuzanne (author) from Texas on August 10, 2009:
WOW! That sounds great! I'll have to try that! :D
Lynn on August 10, 2009:
Wow, I never thaw either, and my friends think I am nuts! Guess what? The very BEST way to do a THANKSGIVING TURKEY is frozen in the crockpot!!! Yup! Family raves!!! And it's so darn easy we do it often! Get the largest oval crockpot. Find a large FROZEN turkey breast... I shop for one that got frozen into a flatter shape so lid will close. They freeze into all sorts of shapes in those big freezers. Unwrap it, leave the giblet/gravy bag inside. It'll float to top for removal later. Add about 2 cups water. Sometimes I add a scoop of powdered turkey gravy mix to the water. Then set on low at about 10 p.m. Next day, there's lunch!!! Hot, browned, gorgeous, falling off the bones! I do the same with frozen large chuck roasts! Add the veggies in the morning and ready at lunch!
justmesuzanne (author) from Texas on April 05, 2009:
LOL! OH! Good! I'm glad I could help. You know, when you think about it, not thawing is healthier, too. It's the thawing time when bugs like salmonella have a chance to get into your meat and take a foothold!
Glad you had a good Sunday dinner! :)
Dottie1 from MA, USA on April 05, 2009:
A life saver, like in today! Your off the cuff writing saved my sunday dinner. Thank you!
justmesuzanne (author) from Texas on March 28, 2009:
Cindy on March 28, 2009: