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How Do Thawing Trays Work? 4 Tips To Use Effectively

How Do Thawing Trays Work? 4 Tips To Use Effectively

If you’ve ever heard of thawing trays, you may have asked yourself a few questions. How do thawing trays work? Are thawing trays actually effective? If it’s worth it, should you invest in a thawing tray or two?

Many people know the frustration of getting home, being hungry but forgetting to pull something out of the freezer the night before. For a lot of frozen food (especially frozen meat like ribs), thawing in the refrigerator takes too much time.

Cooking it from the freezer without thawing doesn’t yield yummy results. Thawing it in the microwave? For some types of food (like vegetables or soups), that may be fine. For other types of food, thawing by microwave is sloppy or even downright dangerous.

So, thawing trays just might be a cook’s heavenly solution to common culinary problems. Even better, there are several methods you can use to make thawing trays more effective if you decide to add them to your collection.

The Science Behind Thawing / Defrosting Process

First, take a look at what a thawing tray actually is to understand what it does. Thawing trays, sometimes called defrosting trays or plates, do exactly what its title suggests.

It helps thaw food. While there are different ways of doing that without one, a thawing tray expedites that process in a way that doesn’t foster food spoilage.

The process of safely thawing food can be a tricky one. It truly is a balancing act. Anytime food reaches a temperature of 40℉, it enters the infamous “danger zone” that many chefs and cooks are aware of – and also wary of.

That means all-day countertop thawing is a no-no. It’s also why quick thawing methods, such as microwave defrosting, are a dice roll. Unless the food is to be immediately cooked, it’s not the best method to use.

Cold water submersion and refrigerator thawing have a steady place in safe defrosting, but, once again, it can take too long.

Enter the beautiful world and function of thawing trays. These ingenious inventions are a dinner-saving segue when you’re short on time, but don’t want to risk foodborne illness.

How Thawing / Defrosting Trays Work

The magic of the thawing tray or defrost tray is summoned from its heat-conducting materials.

Commonly made with metals such as aluminum or copper, these metals have an amazing ability to quickly conduct heat. Those same metals also have a knack for quickly disposing of that same heat.

Because of its metal composition, a thawing tray is a chameleon of a kitchen tool. Whatever temperature surrounds it, or that it comes into contact with, the tray will match it. It doesn’t matter if it’s cold or hot.

That’s what makes it such an effective defrosting gadget. It matches the temperature of the food and external environment to create a perfect (and safe) thawing atmosphere. Food doesn’t stay too cold, but it also doesn’t get too warm that it becomes unsafe.

The food warms up while the tray cools down. It’s a symbiotic technique because both food and tray affect each other. The upside is a quicker thaw that won’t make you sick. If you plan on using one, you will want to take into account the type of food you’re defrosting.

Liquids will melt much faster than a thick cut of meat will thaw. It will work, but you may need to allocate more time to the thawing process. The upside is that it’s still going to be quicker than the refrigerator or cold water submersion.

Four Tips to Use Thawing Trays Effectively

Even though thawing trays are refreshingly convenient in their own right, it doesn’t hurt to have a few tricks up your sleeve to increase their effectiveness.

There are several techniques that you can use to get optimal thawing progress from your defrosting tray.

Always Make Sure Thawing Trays Are at Room Temperature

You don’t want to give a willing and waiting thawing tray a starting disadvantage. You want to make sure that wonderful tool will be able to do its job as soon as possible.

Make sure that the thawing tray is at room temperature before you put anything on it. That gives it an optimal chance to effectively defrost the food without it having to heat up or cool down to work.

A thawing tray standing at room temperature is a tray with a fighting chance to work even better for you.

Mind The Type of Food Being Thawed


As mentioned before, different types of food require different amounts of thawing time. Things like veggies will not take too long.

If you’re defrosting meat, particularly thick cuts, it will take more time to thaw on the tray. Anytime you cook, it will require some forethought and planning.

Thawing trays help drastically cut down thawing time, but you still need to factor in what you’re going to defrost before using one.

Have Plastic Baggies and Wrap on Standby

While you consider what you need to defrost, pay heed to the food’s makeup. Certain foods leave more bacteria in their wake than others.

For example, thawing out a package of frozen asparagus may be a bit watery, but creates an insurmountable mess.

If you’re planning on defrosting something like a frozen steak, pork chop, brisket, or a chicken breast, then you need some armor.

Sealed plastic bags, like Ziploc, or plastic wrap would be smart things to have on hand when you’re using thawing trays.

Liquids from thawed meat are an ideal playground for bacteria to eventually gather. It also makes for a messy clean-up.

Make sure to use plastic when thawing meat, especially when it’s ground. It’s actually a good rule of thumb for any food that is super wet and comprised of tiny pieces.

Double Up on Plates For Quicker Thaws

Doubling the trays could help you quicken the thaw. It’s not the worst idea to have at least two thawing trays on hand. You can always place food on a tray and then put another thawing tray on top of the food.

It creates a thaw coming from both sides and could quicken the defrosting time. Always make sure the base thawing tray is on a neutral surface like wood (cutting boards are perfect).

Ready to add some thawing trays to your kitchen accessories? It may be one of the best investments you can make to save time when cooking.

Bestseller No. 1
Cuisinart CDT-010 BBQ Defrosting Tray, Black
  • QUICK AND EVEN THAWING: Made of highly conductive food-safe aluminum, this tray will come to room temperature and will defrost your food item quickly and safely.
  • PRESERVES NATURAL FLAVOR: Safe and eco-friendly way to thaw food. Preserves the natural tastes of your frozen food. Dimensions: 7.87” x 13.78” x .08”.
  • EASY TO USE AND CLEAN: Simply place frozen food on the non-stick surface and it will defrost. To clean, use mild soap and soft sponge or cloth. Not dishwasher safe.
  • SLEEK DESIGN: Large, non-stick and durable surface is very slim for convenient storage in compact places.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Defrosting Tray for Frozen Meat Rapid and Safer Way of Thawing Food Large Size Defroster Plate Thaw by Miracle Natural Heating A Pack with 7 Pieces Included
  • ❤NATURAL HEAT: Instead of using microwave, electricity, hot water to defrost food fast and quick, it is a healthy way to thaw meat or frozen food quickly and naturally by defrosting master tray, while retains the essential Nutrients and Vitamins of food. The meat defroster tray is wonder and magic!
  • ❤SUITABLE FOR MULTIPLE FOODS: The size of defrosting plate for meat is: 13.65 in * 7.8 in. The large and flat surface enables you to thaw multiple items together, such as small food like breast or bacon or chicken or fish or burger patties or vegetables or broccoli, large pieces of meats or steak!
  • ❤GOOD QUALITY AND EASY TO CLEAN: Aluminium has thermal conductivity and speeds food thaw, and large size of thawing tray for frozen meat is faster than small, which will save you more time while cooking. This non-stick coated defrosting board makes it easier to remove food from the surface and easy to clean. The thick Aluminium of thawing plate resists warping or bending.
  • ❤7 PACKS IN ONE SET: A large defrosting plate with four red silicone corners, one sponge, and one hanging rope. It is easy to pick up and put it down with silicone corners, and every corner is red and fully fit with the tray. You had better to use the silicone sponge to wash the tray to avoid damaging non-stick surface and reducing the defrosting effect. There are two holes in the edge of the defrost plate, so you can hang the tray with hanging rope. It is easy to store and save space.
  • ❤100% GUARANTEE: If you're not satisfied with our tray within 30 days, feel free to send it back for a full refund. In addition, if you have any question, please feel free to contact us, and we will reply you within 24 hours.
Bestseller No. 3
BLAZIN' THAW Defrosting Tray for Frozen Meat | 14” Large-Size | Aluminium Plate for Thawing Frozen Food | Natural Thawing Process | No Microwaves, No Cold/Warm Water Required |
  • 【WHAT’S A DEFROSTING TRAY?】A defrosting tray is a uniquely designed aluminium plate used for thawing frozen meats and food. A defrosting tray is the perfect alternative to the outdated conventional thawing methods, such as the use of microwaves or submerging food in water.
  • 【HOW DOES IT WORK?】Simply place frozen meats or food flat on the plate and let the thawing board do the work! The thawing plate is made with aluminium material which is effective in extracting the cold from the food onto the plate.
  • 【WHY A DEFROSTING TRAY?】Thawing with a defrosting tray allows you to thaw your frozen food in a natural, healthy and timely manner. Thaw faster than soaking in water and more safer than using the microwave. Thawing with a defrosting tray ensures you can maintain the nutrients and taste in your food.
  • 【WHY THE BLAZIN’ THAW BRAND?】We listened to what our home-cooks cared about most. Thawing times & Size. We researched what truly made a difference in the time and effectiveness of thawing: Premium-grade aluminium material, wider & deeper draining channels and an upgrade in size (16” Family-Size edition), thickness & surface area of the aluminium plate.
  • 【PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS】14” Large Size Defrosting Tray - Tray Dimensions: 14in x 8in (35cm x 20.5cm), Tray Thickness: 0.24in (0.06cm/6mm), and 2 silicone edges to attach on each end to prevent spillage of thawed fluids.
Bestseller No. 4
Evelots Defrosting Tray for Frozen Meat-Set of 2-Thaw Frozen Food Fast-No Electricity-No Microwave
  • SAVE ENERGY : Evelots set of 2 defrosting plates allow you to prep your meals in an eco-friendly and natural way using our defrosting tray for frozen meat. Simply set the meat onto the defrosting plate and watch the ice melt off your meat on the defrosting board.
  • SAVE TIME : The secret to the defrosting rack is the induction of heat that thaws foods in half the time. Extra quick meat thawing board for last-minute bbq grilling or unexpected guests. Black metal finish gives it a sharper modern design.
  • AVOID FOOD-BORNE ILLNESSES: When you defrost your frozen food in the sink, tub or on the countertop for long periods of time, you risk the chance of harmful bacteria making you sick. The defrosting pad will keep your food and your family safe.
  • THE RIGHT SIZE: Our meat defrosting tray, at 14 inches long x 8.1 inches wide x 0.6 inches thick, the mat is big enough to hold the amount of food you need it to, but stores neatly away when not in use.
  • FROM OUR VERMONT, USA HOME TO YOURS: For over 10 years, Evelots has offered customers unique products with a 30-day easy return policy.