Sign up ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

So I've long been in the habit of freezing my meat when I get it home from the store, and then thawing it later. My fridge tends to be set rather cool (because someone in my house likes nearly frozen beverages) so if I leave the meat in the fridge, it may not defrost completely overnight. But I'm concerned about leaving it out in the sink for too long.

What's the best way to know how long to leave some ground hamburger meat from the store in the styrofoam tray that's been frozen once it got home?

Assume 1 or 2 lb chunks of meat, 85% through 97% ground beef.

share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

I like to put the meat in a largish ziplock bag and flatten it out so it occupies the whole flat area of the bag but is only a couple of cm think. Then I press a chopstick into the meat lengthways both horizontally and vertically to create indents in the meat, as if I was making a naughts and crosses (tic-tac-toe) grid.

Then I freeze it lay flat in the freezer. Then when I want to use it I can 'snap' off squares of meat (along the indentation lines) to the amount that I need and I don't need to defrost the whole pack in a single go.

To defrost (I don't have a microwave) I leave the pieces on a metal tray for a little while, turning occasionally. This usually defrosts them in an hour or so, depending on how many there are

share|improve this answer

Does your microwave have a defrost option?

I freeze ground beef in the tray it's bought in. To defrost I remove it from the packaging, put it on a microwave-safe plate and put it in on the "defrost" option for the appropriate weight.

When the microwave defrost cycle completes I then use a large sharp knife to chop the block into quarters, turn them so the corners of the quarters that were in the centre of the block are now on the outside edges of the plate, then put it through the defrost cycle again.

share|improve this answer

I freeze my hamburger meat in smaller pieces than that - squares a little smaller than the palm of my hand. I don't get worked up about them all being the same size either - I can grab two large ones or three smaller ones and come up with the amount of ground beef I want.

For spaghetti sauce, shepherd's (technically cottage) pie etc, I defrost the right number of squares in the microwave (on a plate or in a wide shallow bowl) then into the hot pan. Usually the centre is still frozen but it doesn't matter, it will defrost while the rest is browning. Sometimes a corner starts to cook but again this is not a big deal. For hamburger patties, I buy medium instead of lean or extra lean, and form them into patties before freezing. This means I know at a glance which is which in the freezer, and I don't have to worry about the meat partly cooking in the microwave before I form it into patties.

About the only meal this doesn't work for is meatloaf, which really needs ground beef that isn't a teeny bit cooked in one corner already and isn't still frozen in the middle either. I make that only with fresh ground beef which eliminates the problem.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.