How to Defrost Frozen Fish and Meat Quickly

2 minute read

Before I left the house the other morning, I repeated the mantra, “Take the salmon out of the freezer. Take the salmon out of the freezer,” but over the course of the morning, it got drowned out by other mantras (“Feed the cat. Comb your hair. Drink coffee now”) and by the time I realized I’d left my dinner plans in an icy vortex, I was already on the subway. While I’d like to blame Monday for my reckless fish abandonment, I’ve made the same mistake far too often to be able to place the onus on a day of the week.

I knew what to do: Once I returned home, I fell back on a time-honored tradition known as thaw the fish as quickly as possible. Here’s how to do it, and feel free to replace “fish” with your protein of choice—this method works for all manner of frozen-solid meats:

  • Remove the fish from its packaging and place it into a resealable zip-top bag. Push all the air out, secure the zipper, and place it in a bowl that fits the entire fish and bag.
  • Place the bowl in your sink under cool running water (keeping the water under 40° F is key here—any warmer can encourage bacteria growth). If the fish floats, weigh it down to submerge it—I find that a jar of peanut butter works swimmingly for this task.
  • Replace the water every 10 minutes until the fish has thawed, or keep the water running at a very slow rate. (Depending on the size of your fish, this method should take anywhere between 20 minutes to 1 hour.)
  • Remove the fish from the water (and bag) and cook immediately.
  • defrost-fish-ziploc
    James Ransom/Food52
    James Ransom/Food52

    This article originally appeared on Food52

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