How to Thaw Frozen Bacon

Bacon is one of the most popular and best selling meats in America. Bacon sits only behind beef and chicken as the most purchased meat in American. Did you know that Americans eat an average of over 50 pounds of bacon per year?

Thankfully, bacon can be thawed in the microwave for easy cooking on a skillet or griddle. You also have the option for a couple slower methods, including the refrigerator or in cold water.

Also consider checking the recommendations made by the bacon’s packaging to ensure that you are following safety guidelines.

Why Thaw Bacon?

Bacon doesn’t tend to cook evenly when heated up right after being taken out of the freezer. People tend to like crispy bacon, and the best taste and texture are difficult to achieve when different parts of the bacon cook to different temperatures. 

How Do I Thaw Bacon in Cold Water?

Thawing bacon in cold water is easy! 

  1. Remove the bacon from the freezer
  2. Remove any sink stoppers to keep water from overflowing
  3. Place the bacon either on a grate within your sink
  4. Run a stream of cold water consistently over your bacon
  5. Check the bacon to see if the meat pieces can be separated. If they can, you are done.

One thing to not do is simply leave the bacon floating in a sink full of water. Bacon packaging is not meant to stand up to much water pressure, and constant water pressure can make the package leak. 

Bacon should take about 30 minutes to thaw when placed under a stream of cold water. While we have offered a time guideline, you should certainly check the bacon yourself. Bacon has thawed when it’s easier to separates and no longer frozen hard.

Does the Cold Water Method Require the Packaging?

You can modify the cold water a bit. If the packaging shows signs of early damage or you’d like to be able to see the bacon better, you can use a zip lock bag. Ensure that the zip lock bag is wide or tall enough for frozen bacon. 

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Either way, the packaging from bacon should be protective enough, but might not show you your bacon as it’s being thawed.

How Do I Thaw Bacon in the Microwave?

The microwave is the fastest method of thawing bacon. A microwave can apply small amounts of heat. Even better, some microwaves come with a thaw button that allows you to select the right kind of meat and weight.

So, step by step

  1. Remove the bacon from the packaging (unless the packaging specifically says not to)
  2. Place the frozen bacon on a microwave safe plate
  3. Place the bacon in the microwave
  4. Many microwaves have a defrost button. This button will allow you select both a meat type and weight. Try to use this button
  5. If the microwave doesn’t say defrost, look up how long to cook your specific weight of bacon and at what microwave power.
  6. Let the microwave take care of the rest
  7. Check to see if the bacon can be separated. This means that it has been thawed.

Depending on how much bacon you are thawing, it could be done within a few minutes. The microwave is among the best options if you didn’t take the bacon out when you intended. Or when you spontaneously want to add some crispy bacon to your cheeseburger or omelette.

How Do I Thaw Bacon in the Refrigerator?

This one is pretty simple, and is best done a few hours or the night before. Remove the bacon from your freezer and put it in the fridge. One of the easiest ways to tell if it’s thawed is to see if the meat itself is flexible.

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Thawing bacon in the fridge is amongst the lowest risk options. You have no chance at accidentally heating the bacon up too much. You also have a very low chance of rupturing the package.

Can I Thaw Bacon on the Counter?

We wouldn’t suggest it. Leaving bacon out at room temperature won’t thaw it quickly. Countertop bacon will also take a long time to thaw. 

Culinary schools generally recommend you throw away any meat that has been unrefrigerated or unfrozen for more than 4 hours. This is simply to avoid taking any risks or getting people sick. One major reason to avoid putting bacon at room temperature to thaw is because it might be left out too long or forgotten.

How Soon Should I Cook After Thawing?

The most important thing to know about thawing bacon, or any meat in general is to use it right away after thawing. The USDA says that thawed bacon should be eaten within a week after thaw. However, the amount of bacteria will keep building in thawed bacon, making it riskier for you to enjoy it.

Most people who do thaw bacon will most likely eat the bacon the same day. Just know that the longer the bacon sits even in the refrigerator, the more chance you have of getting sick.


Cooking bacon brings about one of the best smells in all of cooked meats. There are a few ways to achieve properly cooked bacon, but getting bacon thawed is the first part. We offer the above information with a love for bacon, and to ensure it is handled properly.

Ever made too much bacon? We sure have. We would love to help you get the best bacon reheating experience possible, so we suggest you learn a bit more about reheating your favorite meat.