Put a skirt steak in a plastic bag with a marinade and then promptly put it in the freezer. It has been in the freezer for a couple of days now. I want to thaw it out for dinner tonight, but I'm wondering if the meat has had a chance to marinate in its frozen state?

1 Answer 1


Marinating steak - apart from very acidic marinades - will affect only the outer few mm of your meat. While these are the first to freeze, they are also the first to thaw, together with the marinade.

Your total marinating time will be

(time until outer layer is frozen) + (time since outer layer thawed, before cooking)

Unless you flash-froze your meat and thaw in a microwave, this can be a few hours. In frozen state, marinating is basically stopped. So do the math, according to your desired total marinating time. You can always leave the meat thawing/marinating in the refrigerator for a bit longer, if neccesary.

  • 1
    I did the math, with engineering and chemistry math - I say that marinating is still in progress in the subzero celcius freezer. It is not "stopped", just slowed.
    – Cynthia
    Sep 17, 2015 at 5:53
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    @BlessedGeek: Veeeery muuuuuuuch sloooooooooooooooooooooooooooowed. To the point of stopped, for all practical purposes. Sep 17, 2015 at 6:13
  • But with salt in it, the marinating is actually quite effective while in the freezer, over two weeks - slow gradual and even marinating action. The ionic activity of saline ice at -5 C is still quite significant. Should not confuse the ionic activity of saline vs that of plain water.
    – Cynthia
    Sep 17, 2015 at 13:23
  • "To the point of stopped, for all practical purposes." You wanna take a look at the phase diagrams of saline at subzero temps before making that statement.
    – Cynthia
    Sep 17, 2015 at 13:24
  • 2
    @BlessedGeek So for heaven's sake just write your own answer - we appreciate knowledge here, me included.
    – Stephie
    Sep 17, 2015 at 13:26

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