How to Defrost Ground Beef for Dinner

For me, ground beef is just as much of a cooking staple as chicken breasts. Both are versatile and can be kept in the freezer for months. Ground beef can be used as the main ingredient for many easy dishes such as tacos, meatloaf, casserole, burgers, etc.

How To Freeze Ground Beef

The best way to store ground beef in the freezer is actually not in the original packaging. Divide your beef into ziplock bags, about a half-pound or so per bag. Gently flatten out the meat with your hand while pressing out any excess air. Seal the plastic bags and store them in the freezer. This method will also prevent freezer burn and help it defrost quicker. Once you are ready for that frozen pound of ground beef for the quick dinner you're supposed to make, turns out there are a few different options for thawing ground beef in no time.

Keep in mind, defrosting raw ground meat, or any raw meat for that matter, the wrong way can risk the growth of bacteria. So, you want to make sure you're doing it the safest way possible.

Here are the three best ways to safely thaw ground beef for your next meal.

If you have 12-24 hours: Defrost ground beef in the refrigerator 

The best way to thaw ground beef is in the refrigerator. If you are doing a little meal planning and know you'll be needing that frozen ground beef, you can take it out of the freezer in advance. Keep it on a plate and store on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator. Typically, it takes about 24 hours for a pound of ground beef to defrost, but if you have it portioned out into smaller batches, it should take less time.

And if dinner plans change, but you find yourself with defrosted, raw meat-no need to worry. It should last for up to two days in the refrigerator.

If you have one hour: Submerge in a bowl of cold water

Another way for thawing ground beef is to place the frozen meat into a large bowl of cold tap water. First, you want to make sure the ground beef is in a tightly sealed package or leak-proof ziplock bag before placing in the water. Once it's defrosted, usee right away.

If you have five minutes: Use the microwave

If you're really tight on time, the microwave can quickly defrost frozen ground beef. Remove it from the packaging, place on a microwave-safe dish and use the defrost setting for 3-4 minutes. Be sure to flip the meat every 30-45 seconds. If some of the meat cooks, that's okay. Just cook it immediately after defrosting.

Here are some ground beef recipes if you need a little dinner inspiration.

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