Using Sous Vide To Defrost Food To Get You Up And Cooking

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Sudden guests are coming, and you have a full course dinner to cook. However, the only thing you are doing is fidgeting your fingers and tapping your toes. The meat is defrosting!

Defrosting food is indeed an unavoidable part of cooking. Not only does it kill your precious time, but it also eats your head. While dueling with defrosting, many often think of an oven, microwave, or even sous vide. You heard me correct – sous vide!

But, using sous vide to defrost food – is it possible?

Yes, using sous vide is an effective way to defrost food. Fill the pot with water, and turn on the sous vide machine to get the precise temperature. Now, put the food in the sealed bag and submerge it in the water. Within 15 – 45 minutes – depending on the food  – it will be ready to cook.

Here is the approximate defrosting time for different foods using the sous vide method.

Food TypeTemperatureTime (approx.)
Ground Meat (beef, pork)35-102°F30 minutes
Chicken35-59°F30-45 minutes
Veggies40°F5-30 minutes
Fruits32°F30 minutes

Using Sous Vide To Defrost Food – Myth Busted

Using Sous Vide To Defrost Food

Using a water bath to defrost food is a difficult and time-consuming process, but using sous vide can save time and energy. Using a precise temperature and immersion time, sous vide can quickly and easily defrost food without any hassle or mess.

But most people don’t know about this little-known defrosting method.

Contrary to popular belief, sous vide is an effective way to defrost food and can also be used to cook food evenly and quickly. It can also be a convenient and healthy way to thaw food without hovering over a hot stove.

Furthermore, you can control the water bath temperature to maintain the food’s temperature throughout the process. Also, you can increase or decrease the temperature to make the defrosting method faster or slower.

How To Defrost Using Sous Vide?

How To Defrost Using Sous Vide

Even if you’re not a fan of sous vide, you’ll love defrosting your food using this method. It is a great way to ensure your food is evenly defrosted without any hot spots. Plus, it’s much gentler on your appliances than traditional defrosting methods.

By using a water bath and a controller, you can precisely heat the water until it reaches the correct temperature, then let it cool down slowly. Defrosting is done.

However, particular foods defrost at a particular time and temperature. So, let’s see how to defrost different types of foods using sous vide.

1. Meat

Can you defrost ground beef sous vide? What about chicken or pork – can you use sous vide to defrost? Yes, you can.

Sous vide defrosting is a great way to keep your meat fresh and bacteria-free. This method works well by defrosting your meat evenly without turning it into mushy messes.

However, how do you defrost chicken in a sous vide? Or any meat like beef, pork, etc.? Trust me; it’s way too simple.

Use the following steps to defrost any meat using sous vide. But, you may need to adjust the temperature according to the meat type.

Step 1

Place the frozen meat in sous vide bag or plastic bag. Make sure there is no air in your sous vide bag.

Step 2

Take your sous vide machine pot and fill it with water.

Step 3

Turn on the machine and set the temperature according to the meat type.

For example, set it 35°F for ground beef, pork, or a similar type of meat.

The temperature is 35-59°F for frozen chicken.

Step 4

Drop the sealed meat in the water once the water reaches the desired temperature. Usually, it will defrost your frozen meat in 30 minutes.

Step 5

Now, you can use the meat for cooking or keep it in the fridge for two days before you use it. However, make sure you preserve the meat at a consistent temperature, else you may ruin the recipe.

If you are not sure about the ideal temperature to defrost other types of meat other than beef, pork, or chicken, keep the temperature between 38-102°F.

In addition, depending on the load, you may need to adjust the temperature.

2. Veggies

The defrosting methods for vegetables are the same as the meat, and you will need to preheat your sous vide machine to the desired temperature before adding the vegetables. Usually, the machine needs to be preheated to 40°F to defrost vegetables quickly.

Using this method, you can defrost vegetables in just 5 minutes.

As you already know, the sous vide technique uses low temperatures to defrost food. So, you can avoid the waterlogged and mushy texture resulting from traditional methods like boiling or microwaving

3. Frozen Fruits

If you have frozen fruits that are starting to get a little too dense or icy to bite into, use the sous vide technique to defrost them at a lower temperature.

All you have to do is put the frozen fruit in a sealable bag and submerge it in the water bath preheated at 32°F. Leave it there for around 30 minutes or until the fruit is defrosted.

The defrosted fruit will taste as good or better than when they were fresh.

Is It Necessary To Defrost Before Cooking With Sous Vide?

Is It Necessary To Defrost Before Cooking With Sous Vide

There seems to be a lot of confusion about whether or not it is necessary to defrost food before cooking with sous vide. Some people say that you don’t need to, while others insist that you must.

So, which is it?

It is not necessary to defrost before cooking with sous vide. The theory behind sous vide is that the vacuum seal will maintain the food’s temperature and prevent it from spoiling. So, if you’re cooking meat, vegetables, or seafood, you typically don’t need to defrost it.

So, can you use frozen food in sous vide? Yes, with a hiccup.

Cooking with frozen food will take more time. Add 50% more time than the regular cooking time and do the math now.

For illumination, if an unfrozen beef requires 90 minutes, frozen beef will take 135 minutes to cook. It’s a lot of time!

However, you can speed up the process by starting your sous vide with hot tap water to reach a specific temperature faster.

Defrosting With Sous Vide: Is It Healthy?

Defrosting With Sous Vide Is It Healthy

Defrosting food using Sous Vide is a safe way to do so because the water bath method is tightly controlled and does not create any splatters or mess.

Also, the slow defrosting process means there is little or no risk of bacteria growing as the temperature remains between 38°F to 140°F. Hence, the food stays cold throughout the defrosting process.

Moreover, it will evenly defrost food always to have a safe internal temperature. As a result, the vacuum seal of the food preserves all of its nutrients and flavors.

So, defrosting with sous vide is healthy.

What’s Wrong With Normal Defrosting?

What’s Wrong With Normal Defrosting

There are many defrosting methods such as microwaving, cold running water, a hot pan or pot, cold-water methods, etc.

Microwave defrosting is touted as a quick, easy way to thaw food, but this method isn’t always good for your food. Defrosting in the microwave can cause water to come out from the food and make it soggy. It can also create unsafe levels of bacteria in the food. It also wastes energy and can cause ovens to overheat.

When food is defrosted in the microwave with overheated, it can also lose moisture and nutrients, making it harder to cook and eat. Additionally, microwaving can also cause food to become crispy and dry.

Defrosting food with cold running water is not a good idea because it can damage the food. Also, it is a waste of water too.

Some people defrost food using a hot pan, which is not the best way to go about it. Not only is it dangerous, but it’s also inefficient.

Sous Vide Defrosting: Pros And Cons

The popularity of sous vide defrosting continues to grow as people find it an easy, convenient, and rewarding way to defrost food. However, like all things in life, this method has pros and cons. Here is a look at the benefits and limitations of sous vide defrosting.


Several advantages are there when you use sous vide to defrost. 

  • Thaw food quickly and evenly.
  • Prevent food from spoiling.
  • It doesn’t allow harmful bacteria to grow, making the process safe for food.
  • It takes less time than thawing with other methods.
  • Moreover, food comes out evenly defrosted and without any bad smells.


Like the dark side of the mood, using sous vide to defrost food has some disadvantages.

  • Sous vide defrosting may not work at the expected level if the food is not properly frozen. For example, if one part of the food is not enough frozen, sous vide may not defrost it evenly.
  • If you cannot seal the bag properly, you may not get evenly defrosted food.


  • Can You Sous Vide A Whole Frozen Turkey?

Yes! You can sous vide a whole frozen turkey, which will give you an evenly cooked and moist poultry. However, make sure your water bath is large enough to accommodate the bird and regulate the temperature to ensure it is cooked at 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Though a bit more time-consuming than traditional methods, this technique ensures that your bird is cooked to perfection without dry or overcooked areas.

  • How Long Does It Take To Defrost Food Using Sous Vide?

The defrosting time depends on the food and the quantity you put in the pot. Moreover, you can increase or decrease temperature too.

Usually, the sous vide defrosting method takes 5-30 minutes. For example, according to a study, researchers defrosted a steak in 11 minutes at 102°F.

Similarly, chicken might take between 10-30 minutes to defrost, depending on the temperature.

Final Words

Using sous vide to defrost food is a great way to avoid wasting food and ensure that your food is as fresh as possible. You may ask, why sous vide when you have so many other options?

There are three main reasons you would want to use the sous vide method to defrost food. First, it saves you time. Second, you don’t have to worry about the food going bad. Third, you can defrost all kinds of foods, including chicken, beef, lamb, pork, fish, vegetables, fruits, etc.

Aren’t they enough to select sous vide for defrosting food? So, forget fidgeting your fingers and defrost with sous vide.

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