I needed to defrost a steak and followed the advice in this article.

In short you invert a pot, place the steak on top (bottom?), then place a pot with hot water on top of that.

enter image description here

To my surprise, it worked (took about 10-15 minutes though).

It does not seem intuitive to me at all. The steak was completely frozen, and 15 minutes later it was defrosted all the way through. How did this work?

  • See also: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/46088/…
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Oct 21, 2017 at 1:11
  • A simpler and less precarious way of doing this is to put the steak in a water-tight bag (like in the picture) and put the bag in some warm water in the sink, maybe with something on top to keep it submerged. Might take a bit longer, but you don't have to worry about pots falling over. You can also just simply cook the frozen steak as is, adjusting the cooking time accordingly.
    – Ross Ridge
    Commented Oct 21, 2017 at 4:16
  • What I think is funny, is the article has a link that says ”click to learn the science on why it works”. Is there a part of that which is confusing? My answer maybe has a little more than their explanation, but I feel they do a pretty good job. Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 1:04
  • @KevinNowaczyk - I missed that link somehow. Thanks for pointing it out.
    – amflare
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 2:23

1 Answer 1


Have you ever noticed that if you walk outside on a cold day and touch a metal object, the metal feels colder then the air? The reason is, solids and liquids transfer heat better than gasses do. If you set a steak on a plate to defrost, there is air above it, and a cushion of air below. When you sandwich the steak between two pots, one of which has a large mass of warm water in it, the heat from the water will flow into the meat, and the weight of the water squeezes the air out from beneith the steak, ensuring it makes good contact with the pot below. This all increases heat transfer and the rate of defrosting.

Edit: on a similar note, you can see the “cushion of air below” effect when boiling water. As a pot of water nears a boil, and there are just small bubbles forming and collapsing on the bottom of the pot, pressing down on the handles will improve the solid-solid contact area and you will see (and hear) the rate of bubble formation increase...and then decrease when you release the handles.

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