Best Way to Thaw Pork Chops


Want to know the best way to thaw pork chops?

Thawing pork chops may seem like a simple task, but it’s important to do it properly to ensure they are safe to eat and retain their flavor and texture.

Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or a beginner, it’s always good to have some tips on the best way to thaw pork chops.

Below I’ll explore some of the most effective and safe methods for thawing pork chops, so you can enjoy your pork chops without any worries.


Why Is It Important to Thaw Pork Chops?

Thawing chops is crucial for several reasons.

  1. Thawing them will ensure that they cook well.
    If the chops are not thaw, the outside may cook leaving the inside frozen, resulting in an under-cooked meal. Hence, leading to food safety issues.
  2. Thawing frozen pork chops helps to prevent the growth of harmful bacterial growth.
    The growth of bacteria slows down when the meat is freezes.

If the meat is not thawed, the harmful bacteria will multiply, leading to the risk of food poisoning.

Food Safety Tips

  • Never use hot water or warm water to thaw frozen meat.
  • Never thaw frozen meat on the kitchen counter.
  • Never leave perishable foods, frozen or raw meat at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Cook meat immediately after microwave thawing.
  • Never refreeze thawed meat.
  • After defrosting use a rub to help tenderize the pork chops
  • Cooking time of semi-frozen meat will be longer than thawed meat.
  • Thaw time depends on the size of the cuts of meat.
    Pork chops take 12-14 hours to thaw if using the refrigerator method.
    Where as a small roast will take 3-5 hours and a large roast will take 4-7 hours per pound to thaw.
  • Always practice food safety protocols when handling meat or utensils when thawing meat.
    By doing this you will avoid contamination between foods.
    For example, Keep your hands, utensils and surfaces clean during the thawing process.
  • Always use a meat thermometer.
    Ensure that the internal temperature of the pork chop is below 40 degrees F.
  • Temperatures between 40-140°F are a food safety risk.
    These temperatures promotes the growth of harmful bacteria.

Methods of Thawing/De-frosting

1. Refrigerator Thawing/De-frosting Method

This is the safest method for thawing frozen pork chops. Follow these steps:

  • Arrange frozen pork chops in a single layer in a shallow dish or baking sheet.
  • Cover the dish with plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent the meat from drying out.
  • Place the dish in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours depending on the thickness.
  • Once thaw is complete, cook chops immediately or within 3-5 days (when kept in the refrigerator).
    Internal temperature should be below 40 degrees F.

2. Cold Water Method

If you do it the right way, cold water de-frosting should be quicker than the refrigerator method. Follow these steps:

  • Remove frozen chops from packaging.
  • Place them in a freezer safe bag.
  • Fill a large bowl with cold tap water.
  • Submerge chop in cold water bath.
  • Replace cold water every 30 minutes until thaw is complete.
  • Cook chops immediately after thaw.
  • Place cooked leftovers in the freezer.

Note: The exact time to de-frost meat depends on the size and thickness of meat.
A 1-pound chop should take 1 hour to thaw. A 4-pound chops will take approximately 3 hours.

3. Microwave Thawing Method

The quickest way to thaw/de-frost meat is by using the microwave method. Follow these steps:

  • Remove chops from packaging.
  • Place them on a microwave safe plate.
  • Cover plate with heat safe plastic wrap.
  • Cook with power setting at 50% for 2 minutes.
    Flip the chop and repeat as needed until thaw is complete.
    This should take 5-10 minutes depending on the size and thickness of meat.
  • Cook immediately after thaw is complete.
  • Place cooked leftovers the freezer.

4. Ambient Heat Method

This method is unconventional to most, but it works. Follow these steps:

  • Place frozen chop in a leak proof plastic bag on a baking tray.
  • Fill a large metal pot with room temperature water (enough to make it heavy).
  • Place metal pot with water on top of the frozen chop, so that it is between the pot and baking tray.
  • Allow to rest for 10 minutes then flip and repeat for another 10 minutes.
  • Cook immediately when thaw is complete.

What Makes This Method Work?

  1. The weight of the water in the metal pot applies enough pressure to the chop to increase it’s surface area. Hence, making it easier to thaw faster.
  2. The metal pot and the baking tray conducts ambient heat. The meat can thaw faster as it is between both metal items.

Thawing pork chops is important to ensure that they cook well.

Refrigerator thawing is the safest method.

Cold water thawing is quicker than the refrigerator methods but more tedious.

Microwave thawing is the quickest method. But, it can lead to uneven de-frosting and cooking.

Remember, always make sure to cook the pork chops immediately after thawing.


Cooking From Frozen

For those who have little or no time to thaw meat to prepare dinner, cooking pork chops from frozen is also an option.

But, it will take longer and may result in uneven cooking.

Baking Method

To cook pork chops from frozen, follow these steps:

  • Preheat oven at 375 degrees F.
  • Place frozen chops in a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.
  • Bake chops for 50% longer than you would if they were thaw.
  • To tell if the pork chops are done check the internal temperature of the chop with meat thermometer. It should reach 145 degrees F.
  • Allow chop to rest for 3-5 minutes before serving.

Air Fryer Method

To cook pork chops from frozen, follow these steps:

  • Preheat air fryer for 5 minutes at 380 degrees F.
  • Spray basket with non stick spray.
  • Place frozen chops inside.
  • Cook for 5 minutes at 380 degrees F.
  • Open basket and spray meat with olive oil and sprinkle dry rub on top. (Dry rub – salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and brown sugar).
  • Close basket and cook for 13-15 minutes at 380 degrees F (after the first 7 minutes flip chop and sprinkle dry rub).
  • Allow to rest for 5 minutes to maintain juices before serving.

The reason this method works is because the air fryer basket has holes.

This allows the de-frost water to drain away from the meat rather than sit in it’s juices like it would on a baking tray.


Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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