How to Sous Vide Frozen Steak: No Defrosting

Disclaimer: There may be affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you sign up for a free trial or purchase through the links, but there is no extra cost to you.

A nicely cooked steak is hard to beat, but figuring out how to get your steak tender and cooked perfectly is something about which even trained chefs argue. Most of the time, the process is rather involved and takes a lot of skill to avoid drying the steak out.

If you aren’t a trained chef and just want to learn how to make a good steak at home without a lot of hassle, then you should try sous vide cooking.

Not only does sous vide help you maintain the tenderness of the meat but it also allows you to cook a steak without defrosting it. That’s correct! You can sous vide frozen steak and get a tasty meal.

Even better is that learning how to do this is not hard. Almost anyone can do it.

Can You Cook Frozen Foods in Sous Vide?

You can cook almost any type of frozen meat or vegetable sous vide. You can sous vide frozen steak or other frozen items if you don’t want to take time to thaw them out. It will not affect the final result. All you need is a sous vide cooker and your sous vide container

In fact, frozen sous vide is a very common process because it saves you time and allows you to prep your food before cooking. You can prepare several types of meat, such as sous vide frozen chicken or sous vide frozen salmon, weeks ahead of time. 

Take your favorite steak cuts, add in salt and pepper, spice flavors, marinade, or seasonings, put it in a sous vide bag and freeze. Once you are ready to cook, just take it from the freezer and start the sous vide process on the seasoned steak.

You can also season it right before or right after cooking depending on how you like the texture (more on that below). 

Season the fillet Sous Vide Frozen Steak

Cooking frozen foods allows you to also reduce cross-contamination because you aren’t working with raw meat when preparing your dinner. So, you can work on side dishes without having to wash up continuously.

ChefSteps explains that to sous vide frozen steak or other items, you will need to adjust the cooking time, not the cooking temperature.

The rule of thumb is to cook it for the regular cook time plus half. Add 50% to the regular cooking time. If you usually cook steak for 1 hour, then you sous vide the frozen steak for 1.5 hours. 

As an example, I love my T-Bone steaks and usually have at least one cut in the freezer. When not frozen and to achieve Medium-rare doneness, I sous vide at 57°C / 132.8°F for 1.5 hours.

For frozen T-Bone steaks, I sous vide at the same temperature of 57°C / 132.8°F, but do it for 2.25 hours / 135 minutes.

How to Sous Vide Steak from Frozen

You can sous vide almost any type of steak from frozen: skirt steak, strip steak, sirloin steak, flank steak, tenderloin steaks, filet mignon, and more. I like to get high-quality meats and sous vide multiple pieces of meat in bulk.

Here’s how to use a sous vide precision cooker to cook your frozen steak. 

  1. Steak thickness: The sous vide steak thickness should be between one and 2 1/2 inches for the best results. Thicker steaks you’ll need to add a longer cook time. 
  1. Bag it: You want to put each steak in its own sous vide bag, and make sure to prepare the steak before freezing. Add any seasoning or marinade ingredients at that time so that you do not have to unpackage and repackage when you go to cook it.
  1. Flat freeze: For the best results, make sure you freeze it flat. Do not let it bend up because this can make it more difficult to sous vide. You may end up having to thaw it first. It can affect the evenness of cooking as well.
  1. Meal Prep: When you’re ready to cook your sous vide steak, take it out of the freezer and prep your immersion circulator and the water bath container. 
  1. Temperature Range: For medium-rare, you want to maintain a temperature of about 135 degrees. Medium at 140 degrees. If you’d rather have a well-done steak, then cook at 160 degrees. While cooking, you need to keep it fully submerged in the water at all times for even results.
  1. Cook it: If you’re not using a vacuum seal bag and using the stove top method, you need to be careful about submerging the bag. To avoid getting water into the bag, clip it onto the side of your pot. However, be sure the water fully covers the steak.
  1. Sear it: Your sous vide steak will come out ready to eat, but if you like an outer edge crust, sear it first. Pat the steak dry with a paper towel and then use a kitchen torch or a cast iron skillet with butter to sear the steak. 

For a steak doneness and temperature guide, I have a handy temperature chart in the Best Steak Cut for Sous Vide article. 

How good will sous vide frozen steak taste compared to a thawed steak? Check out this video comparison.

Frozen VS Defrosted Sous Vide Challenge! Debunking a huge Debate 🙂👊👊

What is Sous Vide?

Sous vide is a French cooking process where you use a water bath to cook food in a plastic bag. The food never comes in contact with the water, so it won’t taste like you boiled it. Instead, it uses the heat from the boiling water to cook the food.

How Do I Sous Vide?

While there are sous vide machines you can buy, you can also do it in a pot of water on your stovetop. The key is that you will have to watch the temperature because the magic in this type of cooking is maintaining a set temperature. The machines do it for you, but on the stove top, you will need to monitor and adjust the heat.

The following steps will help you set up to sous vide frozen steak or any other food you want:

  • Fill a pot with water
  • Mount a thermometer on the pot
  • Heat the water on medium-low until it reaches the desired temperature
  • Add food into the water with top open
  • Start the timer once the temperature reaches the desired point again
  • Adjust your heat as needed to maintain the correct temperature

If you don’t have a thermometer that you can mount on your pot, then you will need to check the temperature often by sticking one in the water. You need to make sure that you are consistently checking it so that your food cooks properly.

You will also need a sous vide bag in which to put the food. I’d recommend getting a good vacuum sealer and vacuum seal bags. You can use ziplock bags too, but just make sure to remove the air using the water displacement method. 

Make sure whatever bag you use that it is BPA-free polyethylene/polypropylene. You also need to check that it is safe for boiling and has strong seams that won’t bust open during cooking.

When seasoning a steak before vacuum sealing, your meat could result in a firm texture. Seasonings can include kosher salt, sea salt, garlic salt, a spice rub, you get the idea, season it with anything to give your steak dinner that intense flavor you want. 

Ready to Sous Vide?

Once you learn how to sous vide frozen steak, you may never go back to your old traditional method of cooking. It’s quite easy once you get some practice with it. Plus, not having to remember to defrost your meat is a huge perk.

This tasty cooking method retains the natural fat in the steak to provide you with a tender bite. In addition, you can make several at one time without concern about crowding the pan.

It is an excellent cooking method that provides you with a tasty result. Discovering sous vide can allow you to finally cook a perfect steak of which you can be proud. Whether you have a fresh steak or frozen steak, it’s going to be tasty. 

Sous vide cooking is fun and flexible, allowing for creativity with your meal prep. You can use many kinds of food – beef, pork chops, fish, vegetables, and more.

There are many recipes for amazing dishes, but as you learn and cook sous vide more, you’ll soon have your own sous vide cookbook

Sous Vide Frozen Steak FAQs

Can you put frozen steak in sous vide?

Yes, you can sous vide frozen steak and enjoy a perfect steak. When cooking it, the rule is to cook it for the regular cook time plus half. The regular cooking time needs to be increased by 50%. For example, if you sous vide for 2 hours normally, cook the frozen steak for 3 hours. 

How do you defrost steak sous vide?

Defrost steak in sous vide in temperatures under 40°F. Much like defrosting meat in the room or in a bowl of water, you don’t use high temperatures to defrost. Higher temperatures are for cooking, but if you want, you can always sous vide frozen steak directly. 

How long do you sous vide steak?

How long you sous vide steak depends on how well-done you would like your steak, the thickness of the cut, and what kind of meat you have.
I like my steaks Medium-Rare and cook it at 132ºF / 55.5ºC for 3 hours.
For Medium doneness, set the temperature to 135-144ºF / 57-62ºC for 1-4 hours.
For Medium-Well, use 145-155ºF / 63-68ºC for 1-3 hours. 

Can you sous vide meat and then freeze it?

Yes, you can easily sous vide meat and then freeze it for future meals. Sous vide and freeze is a great for meal planning with minimal effort. The faster the meat cools down and freezes, the higher quality the meat will be, so you can give it an ice bath after sous vide and before putting it in the freezer. 

Can you sous vide a frozen roast?

Yes, you can sous vide a frozen roast. Just be sure to add 50% of your normal cooking time to the total sous vide cooking time.  

Can you eat 2 year old frozen meat?

Yes, you can eat 2 year old frozen meat if you want. Frozen, cooked meat has an indefinite shelf life according to the USDA. They do recommend throwing out uncooked, frozen steaks after a year and uncooked ground meat after four months. If the meat was cooked and frozen, throw it out after three months. But do keep in mind that the longer meat is frozen, the worse the taste will be.