Are you limited on time and don’t know if it is a good idea to cook beef directly from frozen? Will the texture and flavor of the meat suffer? Or is it better to thaw it quickly and start the cooking process? Let’s find the pros and cons for both cases so you can pick the right path for you.
Can You Cook Directly From Frozen?
Yes, you can start cooking the beef directly from frozen, but you should pay more attention to the beef. You should all the time be with an eye on the meat as it is very easy to overcook the meat on the edges and undercook in the thickest part of the meat.
If you’re looking for the best taste, consider thawing the beef in the refrigerator overnight. If you’re limited on time, consider using the defrost option on your microwave oven to cook it as usual.
How Long Does It Take to Cook?
As a general rule, when you’re cooking beef directly from frozen, you will need around 50% more time than if you will cook it thawed. This happens because you need to cook the meat slowly, at the lowest temperature, to let it thaw first. Then, you can increase the heat and cook it as usual.
To ensure that the beef is properly cooked, it is recommended to use a meat thermometer and to check the inner temperature of the meat in the thickest part of the beef.
It should reach 145°F if you’re looking for medium-rare beef. If you need to cook the beef to medium, you should wait until the beef reaches 160°F. For a well-done beef, opt for 170°F.
Should You Thaw Before Cooking?
It is always recommended to thaw the meat first if you have the chance because you have more control over how you will cook the beef.
For example, if you cook beef from frozen and set the heat to high, the middle of the meat will remain still raw where the edges of the meat will be cooked and in some cases overcooked.
If you cook thawed beef, you can get a juicier and more flavorful piece of meat than if you will cook it directly from frozen because you can set the heat to high, to offer a crust to the meat that will keep the inner juice of the meat inside.
How to Thaw?
I will mention the thawing methods in the order that will give you the best results but keep in mind that the best results are the longest ones. So, pick one that is optimal for you.
Quick Note: The more you force the thawing process, the more texture and flavor you will lose from your meat because the ice crystals will break the texture of the meat.
In the Fridge
If you’re looking to get the most flavor and texture from your beef meat, then it is recommended to thaw in the fridge for several hours. Usually, overnight. This method will get you the best results as the meat will thaw slowly and evenly.
Under Cold Water
This method is optimal as you will thaw the meat a lot quicker, but at the same time, you will also keep most of the texture of the beef meat.
To defrost the beef in cold water, you should put the meat in an air-tight container or, ideally, in a sealed bag, as it will take up less space in the water. Then put the beef sealed in a bag in a large bowl, and pour over it the cold water until you cover the meat.
For the best results, replace the cold water every 30 minutes to shorten the defrosting process.
Quick Note: Don’t defrost the meat in cold water as the bacteria will grow fast and you will spoil the meat until it will thaw. Also, it may be dangerous for you to eat that piece of meat.
In the Microwave
I’m using this method only as the last option as it gives better results if you cook the beef directly from frozen, but it is still worse if you cook the beef thawed.
This happens because when you thaw the beef in the microwave oven, the temperature on the edges of the meat will be higher than in the middle of it.
As a result, there is a high chance that the meat will not be cooked evenly.
How to Check if the Beef Is Done?
The best and safest option is to use a meat thermometer and check the beef’s inner temperature.
You should check the thickest part of the meat, and when you see that it has reached the internal temperature from 145°F to 170°F (depending on how well you want to cook the beef), you can remove the beef from the heat, let it rest for a short period of time and then serve.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer in your kitchen (I highly recommend buying one), you can use the “poke” method. All you will need is to press with your finger or a spoon on the thickest part, and if you notice that it feels soft and yielding, it is mostly like rare.
It is medium if you feel that the meat is firm but yielding. If it feels firm and unyielding, it is well done.
As we saw, it is possible to cook the beef directly from frozen, but it may be a little bit difficult as it needs more attention to the cooking process, and it is very easy to cook the meat unevenly in some parts.
Also, the texture and flavor of the beef may suffer from cooking it directly from the frozen. Because of that, if you have the time, it is recommended to thaw the beef meat before you start cooking it.