How Long Can Frozen Steak Sit Out? A Chef’s Guide

As a chef, I have seen it all. People often ask me questions about food safety, and one of the most common queries I receive is about frozen steak.

Meat is a perishable food item, and if not handled properly, it can cause serious foodborne illnesses.

How long can frozen steak sit out? Frozen steak should not sit out for more than 2 hours at room temperature, as per USDA guidelines. Beyond this, bacteria can multiply rapidly, increasing risk of foodborne illness. For safe thawing, use the fridge, cold water, or microwave methods.

In this article, I will use my experience in the kitchen to answer one of the most asked questions about frozen steak – how long can it sit out?

The Danger Zone

Steak on ice. Credit: Unsplash
Steak on ice. Credit: Unsplash

The danger zone is a temperature range of 40°F to 140°F in which bacteria can grow rapidly.

When food is left at this temperature range for an extended period, it can cause foodborne illness. The same applies to leaving raw steak out for a long time.

It’s essential to keep your food out of the danger zone and at the proper temperature to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

How Long Can Frozen Steak Sit Out?

When it comes to frozen steak, the general rule of thumb is to never leave it out at room temperature for more than two hours.

Some sources recommend only leaving it out for one hour, but you should be safe as long as you keep an eye on the temperature and time.

It’s worth noting that frozen steak should not be left out at room temperature to thaw.

This method can take too long, and the steak will be in the danger zone for an extended period, increasing the risk of bacterial growth. Instead, use one of the following methods.

Thawing In The Refrigerator

When thawing frozen steak, the best way is to plan ahead and leave it in the refrigerator overnight.

This method is the safest as it keeps the steak at a constant, safe temperature, and the slow thaw helps to retain the quality of the meat.

Thawing In Cold Water

If you don’t have time to thaw your frozen steak in the refrigerator, you can thaw it in cold water.

Place the sealed steak in a bowl of cold water, making sure to change the water every 30 minutes.

This method is faster than thawing in the refrigerator, but it requires more effort to monitor the temperature and time.

Thawing In The Microwave

The third option is to use the microwave.

To thaw steak in the microwave, you should use the defrost option and set the time according to the weight of the steak.

The microwave method is the fastest, but it can result in uneven thawing, and the steak may start to cook in some areas.

Cooking Frozen Steak

Although it’s best to thaw frozen steak before cooking it, you can cook it from frozen in some cases.

However, keep in mind that cooking from frozen generally takes 50% longer than if the steak was fully thawed.

When cooking frozen steak, make sure it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F to ensure it’s safe to eat.


Can I Refreeze Thawed Steak?

According to the USDA, it’s safe to refreeze thawed steak as long as it was thawed in the refrigerator and not at room temperature.

Can I Cook A Steak From Frozen?

Yes, you can cook a steak from frozen, but it will take longer than cooking a thawed steak. Make sure to check the internal temperature to ensure it’s safe to eat.

Are There Any Shortcuts To Thawing Frozen Steak?

While there are some shortcuts to thawing frozen steak, taking the time to thaw it properly is the safest and most effective method.


If you want to keep yourself and your family safe, it’s essential to handle frozen steak correctly.

Always thaw your frozen steak in the refrigerator, cold water, or the microwave and never leave it out at room temperature for more than two hours.

When cooking frozen steak, take extra care to ensure it reaches a safe temperature before serving.

Stay safe and enjoy your delicious meals!

Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.

Exclusive Coupons & Discounts and Yummy Recipes!

Sign up to our free newsletter!