Can you boil frozen meat? (3 Tips)

In this article, we will answer the question “can you boil frozen meat? and discuss how to safely boil frozen meat and the possible risks of incorrectly boiling frozen meat.

Can you boil frozen meat?

Yes, you can boil frozen meat. Meat can be boiled from the frozen state when it has been previously cooked and when it is still uncooked. 

In general, the time needed to cook meat from the frozen state  and by the different cooking methods, including boiling, is 50% longer than the time needed to cook meat from the fresh or defrosted state (2).

How to boil frozen meat?

To boil frozen meat, place the frozen meat in a cooking pan with water and bring to boil. If the meat has been cooked prior to freezing, it should boil till the temperature of the center of the meat reaches 165°F (74°C) to ensure safe consumption (3).

If the meat is boiled from the frozen but raw state, the minimum safe temperature that the meat should reach in its core is 145°F (63°C) for whole cuts and 160°F (72°C) for ground meats.

The slow cooker is not recommended to boil meat, as this cooking method is not safe to sufficiently reduce the microbial contamination of the meat. Studies show that pathogenic bacteria were able to survive after slow cooking processes of different types of meat, including beef and turkey (5).

What are the risks of incorrectly boiling frozen meat?

The risk of incorrectly boiling frozen meat is to have a food infection caused by the consumption of contaminated meat. Studies report that cooking meat from the frozen state represents the risk of insufficient heating of the meat in its center (1).

This can result in the insufficient reduction of the microbial load of the meat already present before freezing. Freezing and frozen storage is not able to reduce the initial microbial contamination, rather it can only halt the growth of microorganisms (2,4).

In this way, microorganisms already found in the meat begin to grow as soon as the conditions are favorable, that is, during the thawing process or after insufficient cooking.

The ingestion of undercooked meat was reported to cause several episodes of food outbreaks in the past years, according to studies (1). Foodborne illnesses can lead to hospitalizations and even death.

What are the benefits of boiling frozen meat?

The benefit of boiling frozen meat is the lower temperature applied, which reduces the formation of heterocyclic amines and other toxic compounds that result from the meat cooking procedures at higher temperatures (6).

Cooking meat, especially at high temperatures, leads to the generation of compounds that are related to causing cancer, especially colorectal cancer. These compounds (heterocyclic amines), which derive from the thermal degradation of proteins, are considered mutagenic. 

Boiling is a cooking method where the temperature is kept to a maximum of 100°C (212°F) and generates a lower quantity of these toxic compounds, when compared to roasting and frying. 

However, aromatic compounds are also generated when meat is cooked by these methods, giving the meat pleasant color and aroma. Although boiled meat is less appetizing, it may be considered healthier.

Other FAQs about Meat that you may be interested in.

Can you eat cooked meat left out overnight?

Can you eat goat meat?

Can you eat horse meat?


In this article, we answered the question “can you boil frozen meat? and discussed how to safely boil frozen meat and the possible risks of incorrectly boiling frozen meat.


  1. Nesbitt, Andrea, et al. High-risk food consumption and food safety practices in a Canadian community. J food protect, 2009, 72, 2575-2586.
  2. Freezing and Food Safety. United States Department of Agriculture.
  3. Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart. United States Department of Agriculture.
  4. Evans, Judith Anne, ed. Frozen food science and technology. Blackwell, 2008.
  5. Breslin, T. J., et al. Evaluation of Salmonella thermal inactivation model validity for slow cooking of whole-muscle meat roasts in a pilot-scale oven. J Food Protect, 2014, 77, 1897-1903.
  6. Navarro, Alicia, et al. Meat cooking habits and risk of colorectal cancer in Cordoba, Argentina. Nutrition, 2004, 20, 873-877.

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