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How To Thaw Ground Beef

Have Ground Beef frozen for upcoming dinners? Here’s how to thaw all kinds of Ground Beef! 

A close up of the Burger with a beer can in the back ground Biggest Baddest Best Hamburgers

Hello Burger!


Why This Recipe Works

  • Ground Beef will thaw easily 
  • Fast!
  • You’ll save a ton of money by having Ground Beef on hand for family gatherings and dinners! 

Here’s How It’s Done


STEP 1. 

Remove it from the freezer and place it into the refrigerator. Be sure to set it on a plate. Check the Ground Beef after 24 hours and see if it has thawed. A large amount of Ground Beef will take longer to thaw and may take as long as 3 days. 

1 lb package of ground beef hamburger in package


STEP 1. 

Remove the Ground Beef from the Freezer and place into a large container filled with cool water. 

Water running over a package of ground beef

STEP 2. 

Check it every 30 minutes and change the water every 30 minutes until ready. Then place into the refrigerator until ready to cook. Cook within 2 days. 

package of ground beef soaking in a bowl of water

Recipes for Thawed Ground Beef

We love to use our Ground Beef in these recipes! 

How To Cook Hamburger Helper

Bigger Better Burger

Cowboy Lasagna

Cheeseburger Stuffed Shells

red plate of grilled hamburgers

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How Do You Thaw Ground Beef? 

It’s so easy to thaw Ground Beef, in fact, you won’t find an easier recipe on this website! Simply move it to the refrigerator a few days before you plan to cook it. Be sure to place a plate under the Ground Beef to catch any dripping juices.

How To Thaw a Frozen Ground Beef Quickly

If you need to start cooking your frozen Ground Beef quickly, the best method is to use the cool water method (number 2 from above). For this method, you will need a large very clean container (cooler or plastic tub), fill it with cool water, place the Ground Beef in a large plastic bag with no holes, gently lower it into the cooler. Change the water every 30 minutes. The meat should unfreeze at a rate of 1lb per 30 minutes. 

How Long Does It Take To Thaw Ground Beef? 

It takes 24 hours. Take it out at least 1 day before you plan to cook it. 

Can I Cook Ground Beef From Frozen?

Yes, you can.

  • Place the ground beef into a skillet, set the heat on medium low. Pour 1/2 cup water into the skillet and put the lid on the pan. 
  • Using a wooden spoon, scrape the edges off of the brick of ground beef every few minutes and then replace the lid.

Can I Defrost Ground Beef in the Microwave? 

Yes, you can. HOWEVER, often the ground beef will cook on the edges if you defrost in the microwave. Use care. 

  • Set the microwave on defrost. 
  • Put the hamburger in a microwave safe dish.
  • Set the microwave for the correct amount of time based on the weight of your burger. 
  • Check and turn the beef frequently.

How Long is Thawed Ground Beef Good For?

Thawed Ground Beef is good for 3-5 days before you cook it. Therefore, thaw it out and then be ready to use it. It will be good for another 3-5 days once you have cooked it. 

How Long For a 10lb Ground Beef? 

A 10lb Chub of Ground Beef will be ready in about 3 days in the refrigerator. If you are using the cool water method, you can plan on 30 minutes per pound of Ground Beef, therefore, that would be about 5 hours.

Can I Eat Ground Beef That Has Been Frozen for 2 Years? 

That is really a judgement call. Essentially, if the meat has been frozen at 32F, it should be fine. However, freezer burn can set in and that will ruin the meat. Check the meat well for freezer burn before preparing it. 

How To Know If Frozen Ground Beef is  Bad

If you notice….

  • The meat  appears encased in ice crystals or frost
  • Meat is very light colored and dry
  • The meat  has been in the freezer longer than 6 months.
  • There was a lot of air in the package.

Tips and Tricks for How to Thaw Ground Beef

  • Plan ahead and place the Ground Beef into the fridge 1 day before you plan to use it.
  • Be SURE to put a plate or towel beneath the Beef to collect any dripping juices as it  becomes unfrozen in the refrigerator. 
  • Use the cool water method if you will need the Ground Beef more quickly. 
  • Place the Beef in a zippered plastic bag to keep the water out if you are using the cool water method. 
  • Use a VERY CLEAN cooler, sink or a plastic tub for thawing the Ground Beef with the cool water method. 

If You Enjoyed Learning About How To Thaw Ground Beef, You Might Also Want To See…

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Want to Know More About Freezing and Thawing?

How to Freeze Cream Cheese

Freezing Cheese Slices

How to Freeze Bread

Defrost Bread

How to Freeze Sour Cream

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1 lb package of ground beef hamburger in package

How to Thaw Ground Beef

Have ham ground beef for the upcoming family dinners? You'll be thawing ground beef like crazy!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: How to Thaw Ground Beef, thawing ground beef
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 288kcal


  • 1 lb ground beef


Method 1 (Refrigerator)

  • Remove the beef from the freezer.
  • Place a plate in the refrigerator with a kitchen towel on top of it.
  • Lay the beef on top of the platter and towel.
  • Allow to thaw in the fridge for 1-3 days before cooking (depending on size of the package)

Method 2 (cool water)

  • Fill a large container with cool water.
  • Wrap the beef in a plastic bag
  • Lower the bag into the large container of cool water.
  • Change the water every 30 minutes.
  • beef will thaw at a rate of 1lb per 30 minutes.


  • Plan ahead and place the burger into the fridge for about 1-3 days before you plan to use it.
  • Be SURE to put a plate or towel beneath the beef to collect any dripping juices as it thaws in the refrigerator.
  • Use the cool water method if you will need the ham more quickly.
  • Use a VERY CLEAN cooler, sink or a plastic tub for thawing the burger with the cool water method.


Nutrition Facts
How to Thaw Ground Beef
Amount Per Serving
Calories 288 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 9g45%
Cholesterol 81mg27%
Sodium 76mg3%
Potassium 306mg9%
Protein 19g38%
Calcium 20mg2%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Humility is a thing, ya’ll. It is so clear to see at this point in my life. I hope if you are younger, you’ll read this with a discerning eye. 

Luke 14:11

For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Wendi is the writer, CEO and dishwasher at Loaves and Dishes! When not in the kitchen or behind the computer, you can find Wendi serving on International Food Conference Boards, Speaking at various conferences, Leading and Cooking for the local Arts Council's "Taste of Stokes" events or donating home cooked goodies to various local non profits such as the Danbury Songwriters and Stokes Partnership for Children. Wendi is also a Registered Nurse with a Master's Degree and serves on her town's board of councilmen.

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Wendi Spraker

Friday 15th of November 2019

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