Buying in bulk and freezing some of your purchase to cook another day is a great way to save money. But the problem with freezing things is that then you have to unfreeze them. That’s right, my friend. We need to talk about defrosting.

If I told you there was a super-fast way to defrost meat that doesn’t require a heat source, a microwave, or even hot water, you’d probably think I’d been drinking too much Lemon Coke or something. But, dear reader, never again will you feel depressed about the single-person servings lined up neatly in your freezer. Never again will a good steak go to waste for want of an eater. Never again. And it’s all thanks to the magic of physics. Yes. Magic.

This nugget of scientific wizardry is brought to us by CTi, a Taiwanese cable TV network (I hear that’s where all the good scientists are working these days). They showed us how to defrost a 1cm-thick steak in just five minutes. Are you ready for this culinary extravaganza? Then let’s go!


1) Two metal pans
2) Water

“Wait a second,” I hear you call. “I thought you said we weren’t gonna use hot water? What are those pans for, if we’re not going to heat them up?!” Fear not. Like I said, no heat is required.

First, put the meat on top of one of the pans. Yep, on top of the upturned pan. Then, put the other pan on top.


Next, fill the top pan up with water.

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And…wait five minutes. That’s it!

▼ Luckily, one of the scientists had brought along a special digital stopwatch called an “eye-fone”.

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Now for the magic (sorry, “physics”) part. How does it work?

Well, a heavy flat piece of metal is a great conductor of heat (even the ambient heat in the room). So whack your meat onto an aluminium surface, and it’s going to defrost faster. Using the second pan (and making it heavy by adding water) increases the surface area of steak that’s coming into direct contact with the metal, making the process even more efficient.

Isn’t that amazing!? Let’s take a look at some before-and-after shots, just to make sure.



▼ Five minutes later: not frozen.


A quick internet search lead me to an (arguably) even simpler solution to those in-a-pinch defrosting moments, which can even be used if you only have one pan! Biggie from food blog Lunch in a Box has this genius suggestion:

“Line a heavy room temperature frying pan with aluminum foil, put the frozen food right on top wrapped or unwrapped, put the pan on a rack or the stovetop (turned off) and let it defrost quickly at room temperature, turning the food over once.”

On the CTi show they used a steak about 1cm thick, which when squished between two pans, magically turned to a frozen-no-longer steak in 5 minutes! And according to the show, a 5cm-thick steak should only take 10 minutes!

You can watch the video in full here:


But remember: when you’re not sandwiching it briefly between heavy pans, keep meat refrigerated. There’s nothing enchanting about poor food hygiene.

▼ Oh yes, and remember to cook your steak before eating (unless you’re into that kind of thing). Om nom nom.

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Video and screencaps: CTi TV via YouTube