Last Updated on September 1, 2022
It’s a busy night, and you’ve forgotten to take your frozen steaks out to thaw for dinner. But your first question is how to cook frozen steak.
It turns out cooking steak straight from the freezer is an easy and delicious way to prepare them. Some chefs argue cooking frozen steaks yields even better results than cooking fresh ones.
Not convinced? Keep reading, and we’ll break it down further.
Can You Cook Frozen Steaks? Will They Taste Good?
It may sound counterintuitive, but cooking steaks straight from the freezer may actually be the ideal way to prepare a delicious steak dinner. This is because a frozen steak is more difficult to overcook. This is especially true for thick-cut steaks, which can be more forgiving during cook time.
Cooking frozen steak is a two-step process. Step 1: Sear or grill the surface of the steak. Step 2: Cook the inside. These steps can be done in different cooking locations. For example, you can do step 1 in a pan on the stove and step 2 in the oven. Or, with some finesse, you can do both steps on a grill.
What’s the Right Way to Cook Frozen Steak?
When you sear or grill a frozen steak on high heat, you’ll cook only the surface. You’ll be left with delectably caramelized exteriors, but you won’t cause the interior to lose moisture, tighten, or form what ThermoBlog calls a “gray band.” These are all signs of overcooked, tough steak.
Of course, you’ll need to cook the interior of the steak! (Make sure to follow the rules for doneness.) And you can by allowing some extra cooking time on the stove, moving your steak to the oven, or moving it to the indirect heat zone of the grill. We detail all these cooking methods later on.
Which Steaks Can You Cook From Frozen?
You can cook most steaks from frozen. In general, thick-cut steaks may be a little more forgiving as they won’t overcook as fast. Medium thickness steaks are still great when cooked straight from the freezer, you’ll just want to pay attention to the clock and doneness to keep from overcooking that delectable meat.
All of our steaks arrived packaged and frozen.
Here are some great options:
- Ribeye steak
- New York strip steak
- Top sirloin steak
- Filet mignon
Ultra-thin cuts, like shaved steak, skirt steak, or stir fry beef might be a little temperamental. These can be tricky to cook from frozen while yielding the same results as fresh steak.
How to Freeze Steaks for Cooking:
If you’d like to cook your steaks frozen, you’ll want to make sure you’ve packaged them in a way to prevent ice crystals and freezer burn. If you’ve ordered your steaks from ButcherBox, they are already carefully packaged. If you’ve purchased steaks at the butcher or store, you can try wrapping your steaks tightly in plastic wrap and freezing them flat on a baking sheet. Then, transfer them to heavy-duty freezer bags until you’re ready to cook them.
How to Cook Frozen Steak (3 Methods: Grill, Stove, Oven)
How to Cook Frozen Steaks on the Grill:
- Set up two heat zones on your grill: A high, direct heat zone and a low, indirect heat zone. For charcoal grills, do this by moving the hot coals to one side (Carefully! And with tongs or another grilling tool.) For a gas grill, you’ll just need to set the heat levels differently.
- Sear the steaks in the high heat zone for a few minutes per side. This will vary depending on the size of your steak. For a thick-cut steak, opt for 5 minutes per side.
- Once seared, apply your preferred steak seasonings to the meat.
- Cook the steaks in the indirect heat zone to your preferred doneness, around 10 minutes or more. Use a meat thermometer to gauge doneness.
- Allow the steaks to rest for 5 to 8 minutes before slicing them up.
How to Cook Frozen Steaks on the Stovetop:
- Place steak in a bowl under cool running water in the sink, until it’s significantly defrosted. This takes about 15 minutes.
- Preheat a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat.
- Season your steak to taste.
- Add high-temperature cooking oil to your pan and sear your steak on one side for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip it over and sear for one minute longer.
- At this point, you can add butter and herbs to the pan and baste the steak if you’d like.
- Cook your steak until it reaches your desired doneness, flipping every minute or so. Use a meat thermometer to gauge doneness. For example, 6 minutes total of cook time will give you a nice medium-rare for grass-fed ribeyes less than ¾ of an inch thick.
- Allow the steaks to rest for 5 to 8 minutes before digging in.
How to Cook Frozen Steaks in an Over (And Stovetop)
- Place your packaged steaks in a bowl in the sink. Allow cool water to run over them for a few minutes. The goal here is to defrost the surface just slightly, enough to allow seasonings to stick to the steak.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F and preheat a cast-iron skillet on high heat on the stove.
- Remove the steaks from their packaging, season them to taste, and sear them in the pan for 2 ½ minutes per side (depending on size and thickness). You can add butter and herbs here, too, if you’d like.
- Carefully move the steaks in the skillet into the oven and cook for roughly 10 to 15 minutes (depending on size and thickness). Use a meat thermometer to gauge doneness.
- Allow the steaks to rest for 5 to 8 minutes.
- Slice your steaks open and enjoy!
3 Frozen Steak Recipes to Get You Started
We know, it’s hard to picture a delightful, thick-cut steak like a ribeye turning out juicy and tender straight from the freezer. We’re here to show you it’s totally possible with this recipe! Since a ribeye is so unctuous and flavorful on its own, we keep the seasoning simple with a bit of salt and pepper. The steak also gets basted in garlic-infused butter for extra oomph. All told, this recipe is ready in under 15 minutes, right out of the freezer. Yes, really.
Steak and eggs is a protein-packed dinner idea. Plus it’s a great way to use up leftover steak!
Top sirloin steak is the perfect weeknight steak. It’s delicious, but also pretty forgiving and adaptable. For that reason, you may feel better about cooking a top sirloin from frozen if this is your first time. In this recipe, we’ve made a complete meal with top sirloin, cooked straight from the freezer on the stove and finished in the oven. It’s paired with broccoli and eggs, all cooked up in the same pan for easy cleanup.
With this NY strip recipe, our steaks will go straight from the freezer to a quick defrost (just enough to thaw the surface and allow seasonings to stick). Then, it will sear on the stovetop and finish in the oven. We’ve paired our NY strip with balsamic-glazed, umami button mushrooms and onions, which cook up in the same pan. It’s so good, nobody will believe the steaks were frozen 25 minutes ago.
Bonus: If you’d like a step-by-step visual tutorial for cooking steaks from frozen, check out our breakdown with our in-house chef Yankel Polak.
For more beef cooking ideas and recipes, check out the JustCook blog.