How to Defrost a Frozen Beef Roast in Water

When approaching any frozen meat product, proper defrosting technique is crucial to ensure that the meat remains safe to cook and eat. Safe defrosting typically consists of letting the meat defrost in the controlled environment of your refrigerator. When you need a cut like a beef roast defrosted in less time, you can also use the cold-water method, as long as you carefully follow certain safety instructions.

Step 1

Place your beef roast in a sealable, leak-proof bag. You do not want air and water to be able to get inside the bag, because this can introduce bacteria into the meat as it defrosts.

Step 2

Fill a camping cooler with cold tap water. The cooler needs to be large enough for the roast to be completely submerged in water.

Step 3

Place the meat in the cooler. Add more water if the meat is not fully submerged. Close the cooler to help regulate the temperature.

Step 4

Replace the water every 30 minutes. This ensures that the water stays the right temperature to defrost the roast but doesn't get warm enough to encourage the growth of bacteria.

Step 5

Wait two to three hours for a 3- to 4-pound beef roast to thaw. For larger roasts, figure 30 minutes per pound.

Things You'll Need

  • Sealable bag

  • Camping cooler

  • Tap water


If you do not have a camping cooler, you can use any container large enough to allow the beef roast to be completely submerged in cold water.


Never thaw meat on your countertop. This creates a warm enough environment in some areas of the meat as it thaws to encourage the growth of potentially dangerous bacteria.

Do not refreeze raw meat that you have thawed out.

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