Thawing Foods Safely

Do you thaw foods safely? Thawing of hazardous food at room temperature could lead to foodborne illness. One way to prevent foodborne illness is to control the temperature of food and to keep food out of the temperature danger zone.

To thaw foods safely, use one of the following methods:

In a fridge at 4°​C (40°​F)

Use this method whenever possible, as it’s the safest. Plan ahead. This method takes time, so allow a day or more for large items such as poultry and roasts to thaw. It takes about 10 hours per kilogram or 5 hours per pound. Make sure you follow our Safe Refrigeration Tips.

Under cold running water

Keep food in a leak-proof container or a sealed plastic bag to protect the food from contamination while thawing. Place the packaged food in a sink or a container under cold running water. Do not use warm or hot water as food will not thaw evenly and safely.

Make sure water doesn’t splash on other foods or surfaces such as counters. Remove the food from the sink as soon as it’s thawed and sanitize the sink and all utensils used in thawing.

In a microwave

When using this method, make sure the food is cooked immediately after thawing. Microwave thawing is not recommended for large food items (e.g., large frozen turkey).

Cooking from frozen

You can cook food from frozen. This works well for small or thin portions such as seafood and hamburger patties. However, when cooking from frozen it may require longer cooking time than thawed foods.


Never thaw hazardous foods at room temperature. At this temperature, harmful bacteria multiply quickly which may cause foodborne illness.

If you have any questions, you can contact us at 519-258-2146 ext. 4475.