Can you defrost and marinate at the same time?

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “can you defrost and marinate at the same time?” We will also discuss the meaning of defrosting, marination and tips for marinating the food.

Can you defrost and marinate at the same time?

Yes, it is possible to defrost and marinate meat at the same time. It is not harmful to marinate meat when it is defrosting. However, the marination can be done on the meat only when it is defrosting in the refrigerator. 

This is because employing other methods to defrost meat is easier and does not require as much time to defrost and can be marinated once defrosted completely.

However, marinating the meat completely after defrosting is even better as it can soak all of the marinade and give out the flavors that you are looking for.

What is defrosting?

Defrosting is the process of warming frozen food so that it can be eaten when cooked. Defrosting is done by different methods. The most widely used method is the refrigeration method.

There are also other methods using which defrosting can be carried out like the cold water method, microwave method, hot water method, hot water bath method and of course by the cooking method itself.

The process is time consuming and it takes different time periods to defrost depending on the method used and the food in question. Usually the thinner the food/meat is the lesser time it takes and it takes more time when you are defrosting an entire turkey.

It is also very important to note that after defrosting, the food/meat cannot be left outside on the kitchen counter for long as it might allow bacteria to grow on them as room temperature is the ideal temperature for bacteria to grow.

Defrosting using the hot water method is debatable as it does not work with every kind of meat and it is best suited for smaller portions or meat or meat which do not have a lot of fat in them. There are several safety guidelines that need to be followed while working with frozen meat/food.

What is marinating?

Marinating is the process of soaking meat/food in a spice mixture to induce flavor to the food. Some foods do not have a very pleasant taste and require some seasoning before being cooked. This is especially important while cooking meat and meat related products. 

Marination allows for the meat/food to soak all the spices/flavors and also makes the food/meat remain juicy and tasty to eat. 

The more the time given for the meat to marinate the better the flavors are. It is said that at least 2-4 hours of marination is required for the flavors to be imbibed by the meat.

There are different marinade recipes that are available depending on the food that you are gonna cook with. It is always advised to keep extra marinate to incorporate it while cooking to enhance the flavor of the food being cooked more.

What are the problems of marinating while defrosting?

While it is safe and normal to marinate the meat of choice while it is still defrosting in the refrigerator, it is not the most preferred method. There is a lot of debate about the same and there is no clear answer if it can be done or not.

The marinating of the meat/food while it is still defrosting is every individual choice. However, it is very important to keep in mind that marinating the meat/food is only possible when it is defrosting in the refrigerator. It cannot be employed on the other defrosting methods.

The marinade has to be thicker and also stronger when marinating the food while it is still defrosting because when the ice melts the marinade that is applied on the food can be diluted. It is not advisable to use the marinade on the food at the beginning when the food has just started thawing. 

It is best to marinate the food at least when it has started defrosting and at least ⅓ rd of the defrosting is completed so that the outer layer can start soaking up the marinade. There are misconceptions that applying more marinade on the frozen food will help to soak in more.

This procedure does not work in reality as when the food is still frozen, there is no way that the food can start to soak up the marinade. 

There are several reports that suggest that once the defrosting is halfway the marinade can be applied, especially in turkey if it is applied overnight, the results are better.

The best option is to apply more marinade as and when the food is defrosting more. It is also advised to use more acidic flavors as this not only helps defrosting but the meat/food can take up more of the flavor.


In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “can you defrost and marinate at the same time?” We have also discussed the meaning of defrosting, marination and tips for marinating the food.


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