Can You Cook Frozen Meat Sous Vide?

Storing your meat in the freezer can help you stock up on ingredients to save money in the long run, and it can keep your food fresh until you are ready to cook it. But if you want to prepare your meat the sous vide way, can you just cook it from its frozen state or do you need to defrost it first? Yes, you can cook from frozen!

If you thought sous vide was super convenient before, you’ll think it’s even better once you learn how to cook frozen meat perfectly. With the right sous vide machine, such as a high-quality immersion circulator or sous vide oven, you can prepare tasty recipes for your whole family, and you don’t have to put in a lot of effort either. Check out our tips below to get started.

Do You Need to Defrost the Meat First?

You might think that you need to thaw your meat before you can cook it in your sous vide water bath, but the truth is that you can cook it while it’s still frozen. Everything about the cooking method will be the same, except for the amount of time that it needs to cook.

Also, dropping your frozen meat into your water bath may be a safer way to thaw the meat, compared to letting it sit on a countertop in your kitchen. The heated water bath itself will work on thawing and then cooking the meat evenly and thoroughly.

This means you don’t have to find ways of thawing the meat, such as by putting it into your refrigerator for many hours before preparing it. Instead, you can just toss it into your water bath, let your immersion circulator get to work, and go about doing other things until it’s ready to put the meat on your plate and enjoy it with your family.

Can You Use the Original Packaging?

A lot of people wonder if they can cook meat from frozen by simply keeping it in the packaging that it was purchased in. The answer is that it really depends.

While it might sometimes be possible to just place the package in the water bath and let the immersion circulator do its thing, other times, the original packaging might not be appropriate. For example, the packaging should be BPA free, it should have strong seals, and it should be heavy-duty.

For these reasons, a lot of people just opt to remove the frozen meat from its original packaging so they can put it into a new bag that will work. You can use a vacuum sealer or a Ziplock bag, as a couple of examples.

What Is the Cooking Time and Temperature for Frozen Meat? 

If you don’t have a recipe that you can follow for cooking a piece of frozen meat, you can use a simple formula to figure out how long the cook time should be. Basically, when you cook meat that’s frozen, it will take around 1½ times the usual number of minutes to prepare it.

Start with the time required to cook the same piece of meat in its fresh form. Divide that in half, and then add that number to the fresh cook time. Then, in terms of temperature, you can still set the same temperature when setting up your immersion circulator in the water bath. It’s that simple!

Here’s an example to clear things up: if you need to cook a piece of fresh meat for an hour, you would need to cook the same piece of meat, in its frozen form, for 90 minutes.

What About Flavor? 

Do you need to compromise flavor when you’re cooking frozen meat rather than fresh meat? Usually, no, you don’t.

When prepared the right way, you likely won’t notice any difference between meat that was cooked while fresh versus meat cooked from frozen. You can even test it out for yourself by preparing the same recipe with fresh meat and frozen meat. See if you can tell the difference between the two when it comes to flavor and texture. You probably won’t be able to!

Make Things Even Easier for Yourself by Using Sous Vide to Cook Frozen Meat! 

You already know that sous vide is an easy way to prepare a wide variety of delicious meals right at home. But now that you know you can cook frozen meat the sous vide way, without having to thaw the meat in advance, you can save even more time and effort.

Photo credit: FotoCuisinette/Shutterstock

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