Can You Defrost Seafood in Hot Water?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “can you defrost seafood in hot water?”. We will also discuss other freezing and thawing seafood queries, such as ways to defrost, store, and refreeze seafood. 

Can you defrost seafood in hot water?

No, you cannot defrost seafood in hot water. Defrosting seafood in the hot water will put it in the danger zone (above 8°C and below 63°C) and carry a high risk of food poisoning.

Freezing does not kill bacteria in food. Bacteria remain alive but inactive at freezing temperatures below 18°C. The cold stops the growth of bacteria and the production of toxins. 

If you remove the food from the freezer or leave it out for a long time, the thawing process will start. When this happens, harmful bacteria in food “wake up” and become active. 

Once they are active, they begin to grow when the temperature moves to the danger zone (above 8°C and below 63°C). According to the Food Standards Agency guides, the danger zone is the temperature range where the most harmful bacteria grow. 

To better understand freezing and thawing seafood, we will discuss the following details:

  • Can you defrost seafood in the microwave?
  • Can you defrost seafood in the fridge?
  • Can you defrost seafood in the water?
  • Can you defrost seafood on the counter at room temperature?
  • Can you refreeze thawed seafood?
  • How long can you store seafood in the freezer?
  • How long can you store seafood in the refrigerator?
  • Can you cook seafood without defrosting?

Can you defrost seafood in the microwave?

Yes, you can defrost seafood in the microwave. However, it might overcook the seafood, so you should only use the microwave defrosting method as a last resort. It is also a high-risk food. 

If you need to thaw the seafood, it is advisable to thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or use the cold water method. 

You can also buy a frozen seafood filet that can be cooked directly from the freezer, either in the microwave or oven. Always check the packaging instructions to see if the seafood needs to be defrosted before cooking.

If for some reason, you need to defrost the seafood in the microwave, you can follow the steps below:

  • Remove from the packaging and place the seabass in a safe dish in the microwave. 
  • Use a microwave-safe paper towel or a lid to cover the dish.  
  • Select the defrost setting or minimum power. 
  • Defrost seafood for a few minutes (check every 30 seconds) and flip it over regularly. It should be supple but not cooked. The time required for defrosting depends on the size or thickness of the seafood.
  • Be sure to cook the seafood immediately after thawing.

Can you defrost seafood in the fridge?

Yes, you can defrost seafood in the fridge.

This is the safest defrosting method for seafood, as it thaws at a low temperature (5°C or below) and prevents it from the danger zone. Defrosting seafood in a refrigerator prevents the growth of harmful bacteria and reduces the risk of food poisoning.

To defrost seafood in the fridge, you can follow these steps:

  • If you purchase frozen seafood, check the instructions for thawing time. 
  • Remove the seafood from the packaging, discard any internal organs (if any), and place it in a clean container to contain the thawing liquid. Cover the container. 
  • Defrost the seafood in a separate refrigerator from cooked foods. 
  • If you don’t have a separate refrigerator, place the seafood under all other foods (bottom shelf). This prevents the thawing liquid from dripping onto other foods and contaminating them with harmful bacteria. 
  • Before cooking, make sure the seafood is completely thawed. It should have no ice crystals and has a supple texture. 
  • Always cook seafood within 24 hours and refrigerate if not ready immediately. This will leave the seafood out of the danger zone.

Can you defrost seafood in the water?

Yes, you can defrost seafood in the water.

If you don’t have enough time to wait for the seafood to defrost overnight in the fridge, you can submerge it in cold water or place it under cold running water to speed up the defrosting process.

To defrost seafood in cold water, you can follow the steps below:

  • Place the seafood in a sealed plastic bag, airtight container, or original packaging. 
  • Fill a clean bowl with cold water to completely submerge the bag or container.
  • Change the water every 30 minutes to keep the water cold. 
  • Never use hot water as it promotes the growth of harmful bacteria.
  • Instead of the submerged method, you can also run the seafood under cold running water until it is completely defrosted. 
  • Do not thaw raw seafood directly in cold running water. Harmful bacteria can scatter around the kitchen and contaminate the surface. Be sure to put it in a closed container first.  
  • Always disinfect the sink before and after defrosting any food.

Can you defrost seafood on the counter at room temperature?

No. You cannot defrost seafood on the counter at room temperature.

Freezing does not kill bacteria in food. Bacteria remain alive but inactive at freezing temperatures below 18°C. The cold stops the growth of bacteria and the production of toxins. 

If you remove the food from the freezer or leave it out for a long time, the thawing process will start. When this happens, harmful bacteria in food “wake up” and become active. 

Once they are active, they begin to grow when the temperature moves to the danger zone (above 8°C and below 63°C). According to the Food Standards Agency guides, the danger zone is the temperature range where the most harmful bacteria grow. 

Defrosting seafood on the counter at room temperature will put it in the danger zone and carry a high risk of food poisoning.

Can you refreeze thawed seafood?

Yes. You can refreeze seafood that has been thawed in the refrigerator. 

However, you have to keep in mind that you can’t refreeze the thawed seafood that has been left at room temperature since it puts the seafood into the danger zone where bacteria are multiplying.

How long can you store seafood in the freezer?

According to the FDA, any frozen seafood, including prawns, shrimp, and salmon will be safe indefinitely. However, after lengthy storage, the flavor and texture will lessen. For best quality, freeze (0°F / -17.8°C or less) seafood for up to 3-8 months. 

How long can you store seafood in the refrigerator?

seafood should only be stored in the refrigerator (40°F / 4.4°C or less) for one or two days before cooking or freezing. Cooked seafood can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. 

Any seafood should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

Can you cook seafood without defrosting?

It is highly recommended to defrost seafood if you are going to cook it using direct heat methods like frying, grilling, breading, and sautéing. 

On the other hand, indirect cooking methods like boiling or simmering do not require the seafood to be defrosted before cooking. 

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have answered the question, “can you defrost seafood in hot water?”. We have also discussed other freezing and thawing seafood queries, such as ways to defrost, store, and refreeze seafood. 

References

https://www.fda.gov/food/buy-store-serve-safe-food/selecting-and-serving-fresh-and-frozen-seafood-safely

https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze/fish.html#:~:text=Wrap%20the%20fish%20in%20moisture%2Dvapor%20resistant%20paper%20or%20place,is%20frozen%2C%20label%20and%20freeze.

https://www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygiene/chilling

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.