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Refreezing Thawed Meat

Can You Refreeze Raw Meat After Thawing?

It's probably fair to say that every omnivorous home cook has wondered at some point or another whether it's OK to refreeze that piece of steak after thawing it out and realizing it won't need to be made after all. The short answer? Yes, you can — but you may not want to.

According to the USDA, when raw meat is thawed in the refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze it without cooking. For this reason, it's perfectly all right to purchase, say, a previously frozen piece of salmon, and then put it in your freezer when you get home. But if you refreeze thawed poultry or meat, you will be compromising quality of taste and texture. Not only does meat lose water during the defrosting process, but refreezing it also creates ice crystals within the structure of the meat that alter its fibers, leaving an unfortunately dry cut of meat.

Of course, like all raw animal protein, the true safety of the product will depend on whether it's been properly handled. The best ways to defrost raw meat are in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave — not on a room-temperature kitchen counter.

donoel826 donoel826 3 years

Good information. Remember the most important part of microwave defrosting is the hold time between cycles. Reabsorbing the water molecules in the food structure takes time.

Marci Marci 8 years
I meant to say 'Been there done that' with chicken. Peeeeyuuuu.
Marci Marci 8 years
Maybe you can do this with beef but definitely not with chicken. I wouldn't do it with either, personally.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I've always wondered!!!! I have to say I've had to do it before, rarely but I have.
nancita nancita 8 years
I have always wondered about this. Thank you!
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
I will do it from time to time but definitely try to avoid it. I also wanted to mention that you can marinade meat then freeze it - just stick the bag with the meat and marinade right in the freezer! Try to thaw it out in the fridge, that will help the meat to really soak up the flavor (it won't get any of the marinade flavor while frozen). I try to do this a lot because it makes dinner that one step quicker!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
my family has done this in the past, and i guess they've always been fine with it. sometimes it's hard to plan. for example, my mom will defrost steak or something for dinner assuming that my brothers will be home in time, and then their plans change, so a steak has to go back into the freezer. it's either that, or waste the money - and no one's ever really complained about the taste/texture in the past.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I have always wondered this.
miss-malone miss-malone 8 years
I wouldn't..
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