Spaghetti carbonara. Pigs in blankets. A classic bacon sandwich.
Bacon is one of the most beloved cuts of meat (let alone pork) in the world, and freezing it is a great way of ensuring that you always have a backup supply.
However, it’s not always obvious once you’ve frozen your bacon, how to safely, effectively thaw your bacon.
In this article, I’ll lay out the five best methods for defrosting bacon, their pros and cons, and instructions on how to use them.
Method One: Refrigeration
Approximate defrosting time: 8-12+ hours
One of the most frequent questions I get asked is this:
How do you freeze and thaw bacon? I recommend that you freeze bacon in the packs you buy it in. Alternatively, separate your bacon into blocks of 6-10 rashers, and freeze them in freezer bags. When it comes to thawing bacon, hands down the best method is to do so in the fridge overnight.
Here’s how to thaw frozen bacon rashers with refrigeration:
Step One: Remove your bacon rashers from the freezer. Next, place them (in their freezer bag(s)) into an airtight container.
Step Two: Place the airtight container on the bottom shelf of your fridge, away from any opened foodstuffs. Leave the container there.
Step Three: Leave the frozen bacon in its bag and container in the fridge for at least 8 hours. Preferably, leave the bacon in the fridge for longer – 12-24 hours will guarantee a perfect thaw.
Step Four: Remove your bacon from the fridge, pat the rashers dry, and cook them as your normally would. Alternatively, leave them in the fridge for up to 2-3 days before cooking.
If it’s not quite clear, and you’re still wondering how long does it take for bacon to defrost in the fridge? The answer is at least 8 hours, this time can be longer depending on how thick the block of frozen bacon is and might reach 12-18 hours.
- Safest, most hygienic means of thawing frozen bacon.
- Very easy to do, you simply put the bacon in the fridge and leave it.
- Provides an even thaw and preserved the quality of the rashers.
- You don’t have to cook the bacon immediately, but can instead keep it in the fridge for up to 2-3 days after it’s thawed.
- Longest defrosting time of all viable thawing methods.
- Fridge space can be at a premium, and taking up a shelf with defrosting bacon might not always be possible.
Method Two: Cold Water Bath
Approximate defrosting time: 1 hour per lb (pound)
Whilst the refrigeration method is always my recommended go-to, there are other safe ways to defrost bacon that don’t take nearly as long.
Here’s how to defrost frozen bacon in a cold water bath:
Step One: Take your bacon rashers out of the freezer, and remove them from their packaging. Place them in a zip-locked or hermetically sealed bag. (If you froze them in such a bag, they can stay in it.)
Step Two: Place the bag of bacon in a large bowl in the sink. Next, fill the bowl with cold water until the bag of bacon is fully submerged. (You can weigh the bag down with a plate if it floats.)
Step Three: Recycle the water in the bowl with fresh cold water every thirty minutes. Leave the bag in cold water for 1 hour for every 1Lb (one pound) of bacon you are thawing.
Step Four: After the allotted time, test to see if the bacon is fully thawed. If it is not, leave it in the cold water for another half hour.
Step Five: Pat the bacon rashers dry, and cook them as you like, making sure to do so immediately after they are thawed.
- Fairly quick method for thawing frozen rashers.
- Hygienic, with minimal risk of bacterial growth.
- Defrosts the bacon evenly throughout.
- Takes regular attention to keep the water cold.
- There are still quicker ways to defrost bacon.
- You must cook the bacon immediately following the thaw.
Method Three: Microwave
Approximate defrosting time: 5 minutes per lb (pound)
If you wake up on a Sunday with a hankering for a bacon roll, but all you’ve got is frozen bacon, then you’re probably wondering:
What is the quickest way to defrost bacon? Thawing bacon in the microwave is the fastest way to have it ready for cooking, taking only about 5 minutes per pound.
However, the microwave can start to cook the bacon in the process, negatively affecting the overall taste and texture of the meat. I would recommend that you use another defrosting method wherever possible.
Here’s how to defrost bacon in the microwave:
Step One: Remove your bacon from the freezer. Take it out of the container or bag it is in.
Step Two: Next, line a microwaveable plate with two layers of kitchen towel. (The thicker the ply of the kitchen towel, the better).
Step Three: Place your bacon rashers in a single layer between the two layers of kitchen towel on the microwaveable plate. Put the plate in the microwave.
Step Four: If your microwave has a ‘defrost’ setting, turn it to this. Alternatively, set the microwave to 30-50% power.
Step Five: Thaw in the microwave for 5 minutes per 1Lb (one pound) of bacon, but do so in 1-2 minute increments. Check the bacon after each 1-2 minute increment to see if it has fully thawed. Keep doing this until the bacon is defrosted.
Step Six: Remove the thawed bacon from between the paper towels, and use some more kitchen towels to pat the rashers dry. Finally, immediately cook the bacon.
- Fastest method of defrosting frozen bacon, at around just 5-10 minutes, depending.
- May impair the quality of the bacon’s taste and/or texture.
- Microwave may start cooking the bacon, thus thawing it unevenly.
- Requires constant attention so as not to spoil the meat.
- Bacon must be cooked immediately after thawing, as will not keep.
Method Four: Cook From Frozen
Approximate defrosting time: 13-15 minutes
Can you cook bacon straight from frozen? The simple answer is: yes! Miraculously, you can actually cook bacon straight from the freezer, however, this process only works really well in an air fryer.
Otherwise, we would seriously recommend you use one of the other defrosting methods I discuss in this article.
Here’s how to cook bacon from frozen in an air dryer (thus defrosting it in the process):
Step One: Remove your bacon from the freezer. Take it out of the packaging or freezer bag it’s in.
Step Two: Place the bacon rashers in a single layer in an air fryer. Set the temperature of the air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) and turn it on.
Step Three: Thaw the bacon at this temperature for five minutes. Turn the rashers halfway through.
Step Four: Crank the temperature of the air fryer up to 400 Fahrenheit (200 Celsius). Cook the now-thawed bacon for 8-10 minutes (depending on how crispy you like it).
Step Five: Enjoy your breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack!
This is a super quick, super-easy way to defrost bacon and cook it at the same time. Unfortunately, however, it just doesn’t work as well without an air fryer.
You can, of course, try to defrost and cook frozen bacon in a frying pan or under the grill.
However, you’re liable to find that the excess water content and frozen core of the bacon either leaves them soggy or burned on the outside and raw on the inside.
- Very quick and efficient method of defrosting bacon.
- No mess nor fuss, and easy to do.
- Requires you to own an air fryer; the same results cannot be replicated without one.
- Doesn’t give you versatility to use the bacon in other recipes.
Method Five: Hot Running Water
Approximate defrosting time: 15-30 minutes
Frozen meat should almost never be exposed to room temperature during the thawing process. Whilst some people swear by it, most of us have had some sort of dodgy experience with meat left out to defrost.
The ‘Danger Zone’ (40-140F or 4-60C) is the range of temperatures at which meat begins to accrue dangerous amounts of unhealthy bacteria, which can cause food poisoning when consumed.
However, time is also a crucial factor here, and provided meat is only exposed to the ‘Danger Zone’ for a very limited amount of time, you should be safe.
Here’s how to defrost bacon under running hot water:
Step One: Remove your bacon rashers from the freezer. If they are in a ziplocked bag, leave them there, otherwise, move them from their current packaging to a ziplocked bag. Remove all air from the bag before sealing.
Step Two: Place the bag of bacon in a colander or sieve in the sink. Turn on the hot water and run it over the bag of bacon.
Step Three: Check to see how thawed your bacon is every 5-10 minutes. Leave the bacon under running hot water for no longer than 30 minutes. 30 minutes should be more than enough time to fully thaw a 16oz pack of frozen bacon.
Step Four: Remove your thawed bacon from the bag, pat it dry, and cook it immediately.
- Second fastest defrosting method, after the microwave.
- Thaws the bacon evenly throughout.
- Riskiest method of defrosting frozen bacon, carrying the greatest chance of the bacon acquiring bacteria, which could in turn lead to food poisoning.
- Wasteful water use.
- Requires constant attention to remove the bacon from the hot water as soon as it is thawed.
All meat-eaters love bacon, and since it’s super easy to freeze, it’s worthwhile knowing the safest and most effective methods for defrosting those rashers.
If you’ve got time, definitely opt for thawing your frozen bacon in the refrigerator overnight.
Alternatively, use the cold water bath method, or cook the rashers in an air fryer from frozen. If you’re really pressed for time (and only then), you could use the microwave or hot running water method, instead.