This Is What Happens If You Cook Frozen Meat

You should still cook meat properly even if you're in a hurry.

IMAGE Shutterstock

Got a last-minute meal idea that has inspired you to cook? That's great, especially if you have all the ingredients in your kitchen. What might not be so great is that the meat you need for the dish may still be hard-as-a-rock frozen since you didn't plan on cooking it today. If it hasn't been thawed, you may experience a serious damper on your enthusiasm to cook since you need to wait. 

If this scenario has ever happened to you, we understand. The joy and thrill of finding a new recipe to try at home is irresistible to ignore, especially if the pictures are enticingly delicious.

You might want to forge ahead anyway despite this need to wait for the meat to thaw. However, you need to know a few things, especially if you do not know what happens if you cook frozen meat

Here's what you can expect to happen if you cook frozen meat: 

  • • The temperature of the cookware as well as the oil or water you place the frozen food in drops dramatically
  • • Once in the pot or pan, the meat cooks unevenly because the outside will cook before the inside thaws. 
  • Cooking time increases to allow for thawing and subsequent cooking of the frozen meat. 

The drop in temperature is a given. Frozen food placed into something hot is going to force the two to try to equalize in terms of temperature. This means that you have to wait for the water or oil to heat back up to the right temperature. You can also add the frozen food to the pot before you even turn on the heat so that both can heat up gradually at the same time. 

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You might think that this trick will help the food cook more evenly but that's not the case. The heat won't be able to penetrate the inside of the food before the outside is more thoroughly thawed resulting in the outside cooking before the inside can begin to heat up properly to the right temperature. 

This steak is perfectly seared on the outside but still pink and juicy on the outside.
Photo by Shutterstock

Cooking the food unevenly however isn't always bad. This uneven cooking is what is desired when cooking steaks from frozen. The resulting steak is commonly well seared on the outside while leaving the inside meat still pink and juicy. However, this is not what is recommended for other meat, especially pork and chicken. 


Pork and chicken are two kinds of meat that are best cooked well and moderately thoroughly. By thoroughly, we mean it needs to reach a certain temperature to be deemed safe to eat by food safety standards

Finally, your cooking time will vary dramatically because of the other factors. This is because the temperatures need to be at the right ones before the meat and other ingredients are cooked properly. So if your meat is still cold, it needs to thaw and soften all the way through first. Then it needs to warm up before it can finally start sizzling or otherwise finish cooking. This is extra time that the dish will need no matter what dish you're cooking. 

There is however one cooking method that is not recommended if you are cooking frozen meat: slow cooking. Why? Slow cooking is a low-temperature cooking method and while this may sound like a great idea for frozen meat, the meat will be cooking for hours at temperatures that are within the danger zones. This zone is within 40 to 140 degrees F or 4 to 60 degrees C. 


So, remember: if you're going to cook your dish using frozen meat, you need to account for a longer cooking time. The good news is that this longer cooking time won't force you to curb your enthusiasm to make that dish that so inspired you.   

If you actually have some time to spare to thaw your meat, here are articles to read to learn different ways to do that safely: 

Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here. is now on Quento! Click here to download the app on Android and IOS, and enjoy more articles and videos from us and your other favorite websites!

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