Can you defrost plant based meat?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the question “can you defrost plant based meat?”, what plant based meat is, their sources, the possible ways to defrost plant based meat and the tips to consider when defrosting plant based meat. 

Can you defrost plant based meat?

Yes, you can defrost plant based meat, just like all other frozen foods. The same principle applies to thawing them, once they have been frozen, then, you will be able to remove the frost. Several methods are available for defrosting all foods, and it’s similar to your plant based meat.

What is plant based meat?

Plant based meats are products made from plants that bear resemblance to animal sources of meats. They are protein extracts from plants that appear, feel (texture) and taste like the meats from animal sources. 

The products were made to serve as alternatives to meats from animals. Some popular plant based meats are “Beyond burger” and “Impossible burger”. 

What are the possible sources of plant based meat?

Just like its name portrays, plant based meat is meat obtained from plant sources. Plant sources of protein are the basic ingredients for producing their meat using advanced technologies. 

Some of the common sources of plant based meats include legumes like soybeans, lentils, grains like quinoa, vegetables like peas, coconut oil and seitan (vital wheat gluten). 

Which possible ways can you defrost plant based meat?

Plant based meats, like all foods, can be defrosted by choosing from a variety of methods ranging from low to high temperature thawing. Some thawing methods that work under low temperatures include the refrigeration and cold water process. 

Alternatively, thawing methods that employ high temperature include the countertop, microwave, oven, stove top and more. 

It is highly recommended to defrost by the low-temperature methods, but these processes last longer, unlike the high-temperature processes. 

Let us discuss in detail 3 possible ways to defrost plant based meats.

Defrosting by refrigeration.

Thawing by refrigeration is most recommended for most foods and it works perfectly for plant based meat too. To defrost in the fridge;

  • Remove the plant based meat from the freezer and send them to the fridge.
  • You can leave the plant based meat in its original packaging material and place it in a bowl.
  • Leave the meat on the bottom rack of your refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours or overnight and your plant based meat is well defrosted to be cooked and consumed.

Defrosting on the countertop

Your plant based meat can equally be defrosted on the countertop for great results. This process uses a higher temperature than the refrigeration process and thus uses less time than the former to defrost fully. 

  • To start, you should remove your plant based meat from the freezer, also remove the meat from its primary packaging to hasten the thawing process.
  • Keep the plant based meat on a plate and separate them from each other using a paper towel if you are defrosting a few stacks of them. You may also spread them singly on a big plate and leave them on the countertop to defrost quickly.
  • On the countertop, your plant based meat will be fully defrosted in 30 to 60 minutes.

Defrosting in cold water

You can also defrost your plant based meat in cold water for a shorter time compared to the methods described earlier. This principle is similar to that of refrigeration thawing because they operate based on low temperatures. To thaw by this process,

  • Remove your plant based meat from the freezer and make sure the primary packaging on the meat is intact. You will be required to also keep them in either a freezer safe or zip lock bag. 
  • Completely submerge the zip lock bag with its content in the cold water and leave them to thaw.
  • Intermittently check and change the cold water after 5 to 7 minutes to hasten the process.
  • In a couple of 15 to 30 minutes the plant based meat will be defrosted and ready to be cooked.

What are some precautions to consider when defrosting plant based meat?

Because plant based meats are protein foods, they are prone to rapid bacterial growth when left at room temperature. To avoid the multiplication of bacteria which may lead to food poisoning some safety tips should be considered.

  • Never, allow the defrosted plant based meat on the countertop for more than 30 minutes, this may accelerate the rate of bacterial growth. 
  • Always ensure to cook defrosted plant based meat immediately or shortly after thawing to avoid bacterial growth in the meat.
  • Don’t refreeze room temperature or countertop defrosted plant based meat unless properly cooked. You may, however, refreeze plant based meat thawed in the refrigerator if you were not able to cook them all.


In this brief guide, we have discussed the question “ can you defrost plant based meat”, what is plant based meat, some common sources of plant based meat, the possible ways to defrost plant based meat and the precautions to consider when defrosting plant based meat.


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