How to Defrost Hamburger Meat in a Microwave? (Complete Guide)

Ground beef is a key ingredient when making a hamburger. The meat is inexpensive, and you can prepare it in different ways to make it as tasty as possible.

The good news is that you can easily find it in your local market, either freshly ground or frozen.

So, if you are planning to prepare hamburgers for your loved ones and all you have is frozen ground meat, you’ll have to defrost it first.

And of all the methods of thawing ground beef, defrosting it in the microwave is the fastest.

This article talks more about defrosting meat in a microwave. Continue reading to learn how to go about it and more.

Defrosting Hamburger Meat in a Microwave

How to Defrost Hamburger Meat in a Microwave

A microwave comes in handy if you’re in a hurry and need to thaw your meat fast. 5 minutes are enough to get your meat ready.

So, how do you go about it? Follow these steps:

  1. Get your frozen meat from the freezer. Once out, put the zip-top bag with your frozen meat on a plate in the microwave.
  2. Defrost the meat on 30% power for about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the meat every 45 seconds, keeping an eye on it to ensure that it’s defrosting. The less time the meat spends in the microwave, the better. You don’t want the meat to cook at this point.
  3. Once you’re sure that the meat is perfectly defrosted, remove it from the microwave.

If your microwave is one of those that comes with specific defrost settings, use the settings to thaw your meat to perfection.

After the defrosting process is over, press onto the meat with your hands (it should be clean) to feel it’s evenly defrosted.

After ascertaining that the meat is well done, you can use it immediately or within the next 2 hours after thawing it. Leaving it longer is unsafe as the warm spots can grow bacteria.

Other Ways of Defrosting Hamburger Meat

You can also defrost your hamburger meat in the fridge or a bowl of cold water.

Thawing Ground Meat in the Fridge

If you have enough time, say about 24 hours, you can defrost your meat in the refrigerator for excellent results.

Although the process isn’t as fast as defrosting in the microwave or cold water, it results in the best results. Meat thawed in this process is moister and of better quality.

Another advantage of defrosting in the fridge is that you can keep your meat for a day or two before cooking. You can also save the unused portions before cooking them first.

Defrosting Ground Meat in Cold Water

If you want to defrost your frozen meat relatively fast, submerging it in a bowl of cold water will do the trick. The process is, however, slower than using a microwave.

Depending on the quantity of your meat, it takes between half an hour and 2 to 3 hours to get it evenly defrosted.

Put your ground meat in airtight packaging and dip it in a large bowl of cold water for the best results. Pour the water out and refill the container with fresh water every 30 minutes.

Once defrosted, prepare your hamburger immediately.

Tips on how to Defrost Hamburger Meat in a Microwave

Listed below are a few guidelines on ways to safely defrost your ground meat.

  • Freeze or refrigerate your ground meat in its original package if not planning on cooking it instantly.
  • If storing the frozen meat, add in zip-top bags and ensure that it’s airtight. Place smaller portions in each pack for easy defrosting.
  • Flatten the ground meat with a rolling pin to ensure there’s no excess air in the bag.
  • Never leave raw meat at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Also, don’t leave the meat for more than 1 hour at a temperature of over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Don’t use hot or warm when using the submersion method to thaw your food. The hot water can make bacteria grow rapidly in your meat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How can I defrost ground meat quickly?

The fastest method to defrost meat is placing it in the microwave and thawing on 30% power for about 5 minutes.

Q. How long do you put meat in the microwave to defrost?

You should defrost your meat in the microwave for at most 5 minutes. You don’t want to cook portions of the meat during the process by letting it stay longer.

Q. Why is it bad to defrost meat in warm water?

You shouldn’t defrost ground beef in warm water as it can warm the lower outer layer of your meat too quickly, which is dangerous. It risks the growth of bacteria.

Q. Can you freeze thawed ground meat?

It depends on the method you used to defrost the meat. If you thaw it in the fridge, you can safely store it in the freezer for up to 48 hours without risking the growth of bacteria.
However, if you thawed the meat in cold water or used a microwave oven, you must cook it immediately. You can’t refreeze it.

Q. How long will it take to thaw 1 pound of ground meat in a microwave?

It’ll take you about 24 hours to thaw a pound of meat in a refrigerator, 5 minutes in a microwave, and about 90 minutes when defrosting it in cold water.

Q. Can you defrost meat in a ziplock bag in your microwave?

Yes. A Ziploc bag is safe to use in a microwave.


As an important hamburger ingredient, ground beef makes (1) a great addition. If you always store it in the freezer, always defrost it before cooking.

Thawing it in the microwave will give you faster results hence the most preferred option. This doesn’t mean that it’s the only method.

You can use the defrost setting on your microwave if it’s available. If it’s not, lower the temperature to 30% to prevent cooking the frozen meat.

You can also choose to defrost the ground meat in your refrigerator if you’re not in a hurry to cook it or submerge it in the water for 20 to 30 minutes.