Can You Cook Frozen Ground Beef

Can You Cook Frozen Ground Beef?

Cooking Tips

Are you in rush, has less time to cook or just forgotten to thaw that ground meat from the freezer? From these scenarios we can basically think if we can just cook the frozen meat, say for example ground beef.

Can I cook unthawed ground beef? You can, but there is a slight change in the process of how you will cook it and that is what we want to share with you. Please read on.

Risks of Cooking Frozen Ground Beef

It is okay to cook icy ground beef but the process of how you cook it may pose an environment for beef to grow bacteria which can spoil the beef or cause health problems when eaten.

Slowly cooking unthawed ground beef in an oven can put the food at high risk of growing bacteria but cooking it in a stovetop or in an instant pot will pose lesser risk of growing unwanted microorganisms like salmonella.


Ways To Use Ground Beef

You might think of different ways to cook unthawed ground beef for sumptuous meals so here’s a list that you might want to try.

  • Stuffed Tomato with Ground Beef
  • Beef Stroganoff
  • Beef Enchiladas
  • Bolognese Sauce
  • Bean and Beef Chili
  • Beef Skillet
  • Cabbage Roll Soup
  • Ground Beef Casserole
  • Beef Lasagna
  • Beef Meatballs
  • Ground Beef Rice Bowl


Best Ways To Cook Frozen Ground Beef

You can cook ground beef in many ways even without thawing and you can choose from this list with tips on how to.

1. Instant Pot

They say the quickest and simplest way that you can cook unthawed beef is by Instant Pot. Simply put the beef on the trivet or steamer insert in the pot. Keep the lid tightly close and cook it for at least 30 minutes. Be sure to reduce the pressure in the last 5 minutes of cooking. So, it’s easy-peasy and you got soft and juicy ground beef ready for your recipe.

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2. Pressure Cooker

Pressure cooker is the commonly used kitchen ware when you want to soften the meat over a stove. Like the Instant Pot, it cooks the meat under high pressure.

You can cook the frozen beef on the steamer plate and cook it in high heat for 30 minutes but also slowly release the pressure and set stove to low heat in the last 5 minutes. Now you have the beef ready for any of your delicious recipes.

3. Sous Vide

Sous Vide is a way of cooking in low temperature but for quite some time. If you want to do this process, be sure to use an airtight freezer bag to package ground beef to prevent water from sipping in.


When you are sure about the packaging of the beef, submerge it in water and cook it for at least an hour longer than your usual cooking time. Normally it will take at least 2 hours to sous vide a frozen ground beef at temperature not lower than 137 degrees.

Two hours might be a long wait if you are in a rush but still you can savor that soft beefy meat.


4. Stove

You might think that cooking over a stove is very traditional and yes you are right, but no harm done if you want the unthawed ground beef to become soft and a bit chewy.

Prepare the skillet with a cup of water and place your unthawed ground beef. Heat it over the stove and wait until the water starts to simmer. You may turn the beef with a spatula every after 5 minutes and see it get slowly cooked. Do it for quite some time until you see the beef breaks down into granules.

Make sure that it is cooked well and season it if you want to add it on your pizza or taco right after. Remember this method is the best way to cook a chunk of frozen ground beef.

5. Air Fryer

An air fryer is a handy convection oven designed to simulate deep frying but basically you need not submerge it oil when cooking with it. It circulates very hot air to cook food without the need of submerging the food in oil.

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You might not think of using the air fryer, but this little machine is also fit for cooking your unthawed ground beef be it a chunk or patties.

Place the beef in the fryer basket, close it and start cooking. Set temperature to not more than 380 degrees F and cook for about 20 minutes. You can check on the beef after 15 minutes to see if you need to prolong the cooking time.

Beef cooked in the fryer tends to be a bit dry than pressurized-cooked beef, but you will have a somewhat grilled ground beef that is still good for any recipe and best for burgers.

6. Oven

I will assume you are too familiar with the oven, so this is quick and easy for you. Yes, you can use the oven for cooking unthawed ground beef, but this works best for beef patties.

Pre-heat your oven to not more than 350 degrees while preparing your baking sheets.

Grease the baking sheets and layout the ground beef on the sheets. Then, place your sheets in the oven and cook beef for at least an hour. You may check the beef after 30 minutes and turn it so you can have it evenly cooked.

7. Grill

Grilling frozen ground beef might be new to you, but it is as good as the other ways of cooking it and works best in formed ground beef or patties.

Ensure to preheat the grill at medium temperature in ten minutes before putting on the beef. Flip the patties every 4 minutes and do it for not more than 20 minutes to be able to cook it evenly. You can also check if the grill has reached the right temperature to cook the beef well by using a thermometer.

Can You Cook Frozen Ground Beef
Can You Cook Frozen Ground Beef

Worst Ways To Cook Frozen Ground Beef

1. Crockpot/Slow Cooker

Commonly known as crockpot, the slow cooker is used to cook or simmer food at low temperature and for quite a few hours. This is the great choice for those who love multi-tasking as you can cook while doing something else or as they say, “unattended cooking”.

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Simmering your frozen beef for like an hour or two is literally a bad idea because it is like creating an environment for unwanted microorganisms to grow on the beef. Since it is being simmered at low temperature it is like leaving it sitting at temperature not higher than 140 degrees, and at this temperature bacteria like salmonella can grow.

However, there is still a catch, if the beef has been cooked before freezing it then using a crockpot should not worry you. You can use the crockpot to cook or more like reheat your frozen cooked beef. You can let it reheat for around 2 to 4 hours and you can later savor your dish.

2. Microwave


Yes, you can also defrost frozen beef in the microwave. Microwave is the quickest  and simplest way to reheat your cooked frozen beef but not at all a good idea for cooking frozen uncooked beef.


Whether ground or chopped, beef should be cooked well and typically you can say it well-cooked when it looks brownish, but the microwave cannot do that for you.


Tip off, you can defrost frozen beef ground or not within three minutes inside the microwave. You can reheat frozen cooked beef while rotating in inside the microwave for at least five minutes.


Related Questions

We want our articles to be informative, I hope you learn more and here are other takeaways too.

What is the best way to thaw frozen ground beef?

The time you can spend while defrosting or thawing frozen beef is the first consideration on which process you would like to do, and which do you think is the best.

For example, doing the sous vide can be time consuming than using a microwave, a pressure cooker, or an Instant Pot. But it is more time consuming for you to wait till it thawed inside the fridge or to thaw it while plunged in water at room temperature.

For me, the fastest and easiest is using a microwave.

Can the ground beef be browned when frozen?

It will be easy to brown frozen meat like ground beef after it has been defrosted. You can cook it over a stove, in a slow cooker or in an oven to make sure you get that ideal brownish ground beef for your recipe.

Will ground beef taste better when cooked after thawing instead of frozen?

How you want your dish to taste with the ground beef will depend on which thawing  and cooking process you followed.

Say, you need to season the beef after thawing it because the seasoning will logically not be going to affect a frozen meat so it will be stale.

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