Do You Have to Thaw Meat Before Air Frying? 


Last Updated: July 5th, 2023

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Personally, I love air fryers because they’re convenient. They eliminate the need for messy cleanups and multiple kitchen appliances. Plus, it takes only a short time to cook most recipes, and it’s beginner-friendly as well. 

However, for some people, air fryers can be overwhelming. Such is especially the case for those who’ll be using such a kitchen appliance for the first time. If you’re a newbie, you might have some questions, including do you have to thaw meat before air frying. 

It’s a common practice to thaw frown meat before cooking. But in the air fryer, do you need to do the same? Keep on reading to find out! 

Do You Have to Thaw Meat Before Air Frying?

Why You Should Thaw Frozen Meat 

Before anything else, let’s talk about why thawing is a common practice among many people. The most common reason is that it makes cooking faster. Common sense dictates that cooking anything frozen will take longer than cooking anything that is thawed. On average, the cooking time can be up to 50% longer, which is why most people defrost food. 

More than speed, another benefit of thawing is that it can ensure even cooking. When the meat is frozen, the ice in the exterior prevents heat from penetrating the interior. As a result, there can be fluctuations in the temperature. This can make cooking inconsistent. And because of this inconsistency, there can be differences in the texture, affecting the overall quality of the meat. 

Also, thawing meat is done because of the way it is cooked or prepared. For instance, if you need to apply breading or batter, you first need to thaw. Otherwise, water will flow out of the meat during cooking, which can affect flavor and quality of the breading or batter. More so, if you’re cooking ground meat that you need to shape into patties or meatballs, thawing is also recommended.  

Is Thawing Necessary Before Air Frying? 

Now, let’s go back to the main topic of this post, No, you do not need to thaw meat before air frying. It’s safe to cook meat from the freezer to the air fryer. 

Learning how an air fryer works is key to understanding why you can skip thawing before cooking. It relies on hot air circulation to cook food, which is similar to what a convection oven uses. As such, it can cook food quickly and consistently, even if it starts as frozen. 

Some air fryers are even equipped with a thaw function. You can defrost in an air fryer. However, if you will be cooking the same food in an air fryer, defrosting may no longer be necessary. You can proceed straight to cooking. 

One of the reasons why you no longer need to thaw is food safety. But, this will depend on the chosen thawing method. For instance, most people would do it by leaving meat at room temperature before cooking. Aside from being a lengthy process, this can also make meat harbor bacteria, which can compromise your health and safety. 

Things to Keep in Mind 

While thawing is unnecessary, it does not mean that you can just cook frozen food in an air fryer carelessly. Rather, you need to be mindful and consider the things mentioned below. 

Use a Meat Thermometer 

To ensure food safety, you must know the safe minimum internal temperature. For poultry, the internal temperature should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, for pork, beef, lamb, and veal, the internal temperature should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Rest time is also important, which is what will allow the meat to continue to cook. 

Knowing the internal temperature isn’t a simple guessing game. You can’t rely on the color of the meat alone. Instead, the best thing to do is to use a meat thermometer. Stick it to the meat and watch out for the reading. By doing so, you can be more confident in food safety.  

Preheat the Air Fryer 

Preheating the air fryer is a good practice if you are cooking frozen meat that has not been thawed. This will ensure that the kitchen appliance is at the right temperature before cooking meat. It also helps cook more consistently. 

Adjust the Settings 

Remember, cooking frozen meat is different from cooking at room temperature. Hence, you must change the time and temperature to compensate. This means that you might need to cook longer or at a higher temperature. 

Flip the Meat 

Once you’re halfway through the cooking process, flip the meat. This can ensure more consistent cooking. Again, the challenge with cooking frozen meat is that it can be difficult to cook it evenly. So, flipping the meat can be a good idea. Another thing that you can do is to shake the basket, depending on the style of the air fryer you’re using. 


So, do you have to thaw meat before air frying? If you’ve been paying attention, then you’ll know that the answer is no! You can cook meat straight from the freezer to the air fryer. Nonetheless, take note of some things. For instance, you need a meat thermometer to ensure the right internal temperature. Adjusting the cooking time and temperature is also necessary.

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Thomas S.

Hey there! I've been cooking for myself and loved ones since the age of 18. In our busy world I've always looked for ways to be more time efficient when it comes to preparing food but also creating tasty and healthy dishes. That's when I came accross air fryers a few years ago and eversince I am trying to spread the word of the benefits of these wonderful machines.