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Defrost safely.

Photo of someone taking frozen meat out of the freezer to put into the refrigerator

"Isn't it okay to leave frozen food to thaw out on the counter before I go to work?"

  • Perishable foods should never be thawed on the counter, or in hot water and must not be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. There are three ways to safely thaw food.

  • You can defrost foods overnight in the refrigerator.

  • You can defrost foods in a leak-proof package or tightly sealed plastic bag in cold tap water—change the water every 30 minutes so it continues to thaw. Cook immediately after it is thawed. 

  • You can defrost in the microwave. Cook immediately after it is thawed. 

  • It is safe to cook frozen foods, but it can take some foods, such as meats and poultry, longer to cook without thawing before

Try This

Take a frozen food out of the freezer tonight and thaw it in the fridge for dinner this week. 

Food Handling Tips

Steps for safely defrosting meat.

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