Can You Marinate Frozen Meat?

Do you have frozen meat in your freezer and plan on making a stellar dinner out of it? You are ready with your delicious marinade recipe but do not have enough time to wait for the meat to defrost? One question must bother you now—can frozen meat be marinated?

Yes, you can marinate frozen meat. Thawed meat absorbs marinade quickly and effectively. Although you will not be able to yield the same results as you would with thawed meat. However, we can help you with a few tips on making the most out of this experience and how to marinate frozen meat step-by-step.

So let’s get started.


Is Marinating Frozen Meat Safe?

marinating meat

Yes, it is safe to marinate frozen meat. As long as you follow the protocols and avoid exposing the meat to bacteria and extreme temperatures, it should be fine. However, it would be best to allow the meat to completely thaw once you have marinated it while ensuring it does not get into contact with hazardous germs.


How Long Can You Marinate Frozen Meat?


According to USDA, you can let usual meat marinate for about two days without complications. Post that, you might notice the meat getting a mushy texture as the marinade begins to seep into the various layers. It is important to note that these guidelines are for meat that has been thawed and at room temperature. For frozen meat, the duration can be longer.

Conclusively, you should be able to marinate frozen meat for about 12 to 13 hours, as that is how much time most recipes call for.


Best Way To Marinate Frozen Meat

Now that we know marinating frozen meat is safe, along with how long can let the frozen meat marinate, let’s see how to do it exactly! Only the best methods have made it through.

  • First, you must decide the flavor profile you’re aiming for in the end result/product and look for a recipe that helps you achieve it.
  • Now ensure that the recipe contains a minimum of one acidic component (e.g., apple cider vinegar, lime juice, yogurt, etc.).
  • While creating a batch for your marinade, make sure you blend all the ingredients well before you coat the meat.
  • Now pick a container in which you will place the meat for marination.


For frozen meats, we always recommend freezer bags. Use the same ones they are stored in. You can also use a baking dish. We will show you how to use both below:


How To Marinade In A Baking Dish

Step 1: Pour a small amount of the marinade into the baking dish and gently place the meat over it. Now empty the rest of the marinade on the top of the meat.

Step 2: Take a piece of plastic wrap and gently push it on top of the meat and place the baking dish in the fridge.

Step 3: Flip the side after about five to six hours to ensure both sides are marinated perfectly. Marinate the meat until it has thawed.

Step 4: Take the meat out of the baking dish and begin to cook your meat as per your preference.


How To Marinade In A Freezer Bag

Marinade In A Freezer Bag

Step 1: No need to pull out a new freezer bag; pour the marinade in the same bag you have stored the frozen meat. Properly coat the meat.

Step 2: While sealing the bag, ensure you press out all the air not to spoil the meat while it marinates.

Step 3: Once you have sealed it shut, shake the bag a little to swish the marinade for better coating.

Step 4: Leave the frozen bag on a dish and place it in the refrigerator for 10 to 12 hours. Flip the meat every few hours for even coating.

Step 5: Wait for the meat to thaw; take it out of the bag and cook as per your preference.


Super Simple Frozen Meat Marinade

Whip up a simple and tasty marinade for your frozen meat using the recipe below. This recipe should be enough for about 2 pounds of meat, preferably steak.


  • Half cup soy sauce
  • Half cup balsamic vinegar
  • Half cup of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of sweetener (honey/sugar)
  • 1.5 tbsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp of Italian seasoning


  • Mix all the ingredients and pour them all over your meat.
  • Marinate for at least 4-10 hours or as per your recipe.
  • Cook as per your preference.
  • Serve and enjoy!


Tip: If you have made the extra marinade, you can easily store it in a glass container as it is the safest option!


Can You Leave The Meat In The Marinade Overnight?

We do not recommend leaving the meat in marinade throughout the night as it leads to the meat absorbing all of the marinades. You may not expect this, but it will result in loss or uneven flavor in your meat. We suggest that you allow a gap between marination and cooking.

If you are cooking with pre-marinated and thawed meat, you can cook it inside a large vessel after. This will give it the time and environment to release all the juices which may have been trapped inside, making your experience even tastier.

If you do not have time for this, consider keeping the meat outside the marinade for about 10 minutes at least. This will help you retain the flavors better!



Can You Put Seasoning On Frozen Meat?

Yes, of course! For maximum satisfaction to your taste buds, cook this chicken in broth. It will make it more flavorful and prevent the meat from drying. Feel free to apply a salt-and-pepper rub or seasoning mix to the frozen meat.


Difference Between Marinating And Basting

Pouring liquid on something while it’s cooking is known as basting, while marinating means you soak something (e.g., meat) in a special sauce before you cook it. Marinating is for tenderizing and seasoning meat, while basting does not let the meat dry out during cooking.



Conclusively, yes, you can marinade frozen meat. However, you must take a few precautions to avoid bacterial contamination and loss of flavor. Make sure to keep the meat refrigerated throughout the entire process.

Please note that while this method of marinating helps save time, it is not the best way of marination. You’re better off doing it in an old-school way, it takes more time, but it’s worth it.

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