How Long to Sous Vide Frozen Steak: All the Tricks and Steps You Need to Know

According to many traditional methods of cooking, you first have to defrost a frozen steak before you move on with cooking it. However, sous vide has changed all that! Now, the only thing you need to know is how long to sous vide frozen steak.

The best part is that this trick doesn’t only work with frozen steak ― you can use it with tons of different cuts of meat too!

Here, we’ll be showing you some common meal prep techniques we use for this method of cooking.

Enjoy!

Is It Possible to Sous Vide Frozen Foods?

Yes, it is!

And the best part is by the time you’re done, the frozen steak will taste every bit as good as fresh steak. There will be zero difference in texture or the intense flavor that’ll flood your mouth after each bite.

Of course, when you’re cooking any type of steak this way, you won’t just be throwing the cuts of meat into the plastic container or freezer bags at random. Rather, you have to be very specific with your actions.

But not to worry!

We’ll be guiding you through how to pull this off like a pro shortly.

Packaging Frozen Beef for Sous Vide

Meat in bags and sous vide devices

One factor that’s super critical when it comes to making sure that there are no differences in texture, spicy flavor, and the amazing sear you get when you sous vide frozen meat without defrosting is how you package the classic steak, tenderloin steak, or boneless steak for sous vide.

When meal planning from fridge-to-plate, it can be tempting to just throw in your flank steak bits or T-bone steaks into the hot water bath with the original packaging.

However, this approach isn’t always ideal, not just because it affects your chances of getting the perfect steak.

From a food safety perspective, it’s better to remove the frozen piece of meat you want to sous vide from its original packaging first. The main reason for this is that some of the materials used to make the packaging may not be safe or suitable for this method of cooking.

So, before placing that ribeye steak or tenderloin steak into the hot bath water with its original wrap, first make sure that the wrap in question is a high-quality plastic container that’s BPA-free.

Sadly, allaying your food safety concerns this way can be hard because finding information on what the packaging is made of isn’t always straightforward.

So, as a rule of thumb, we sous vide steak in reusable sous vide bags or freezer bags we’re already familiar with. Again, for food safety reasons, this may be the best thing to do.

Still along the lines of packaging your frozen meat for sous vide from a food safety perspective, please be sure to remove any absorbent pad that might come with the cuts of meat.

Do You Need a Vacuum Sealer?

If you’re intent on making tasty and healthy meals here, you may be wondering if you’ll have to invest in vacuum sealers.

Short answer? No, you don’t.

In this case, any good, air-tight bag like a zip-top bag will do just fine.

And, as marinating is an important part of many delicious recipes, we recommend you get high-quality freezer bags. These will help you package your 1-2 tbsp cold compound butter, fresh rosemary sprigs, coarse sea salt, fresh garlic cloves, and other fresh herbs more securely.

And, when it’s cooking time, you simply throw the entire bag into the container with water!

Let’s go over marinating your frozen steak briefly.

Marinating Frozen Steak: What to Remember

As a cooking method, sous vide relies a lot on marinating to make amazing food. But, while it’s possible to marinate frozen beef, you have to be a bit choosy with the ingredients you use for this amazing meal prep strategy.

So, some questions to ask yourself when you want to marinate a frozen steak are:

  • Does the marinade contain oil? If it does, then it can affect the connective tissue of the pieces of meat, causing them to wilt.
  • Does it contain sugar or alcohol? If it does, then, there’s a chance it’ll draw out the moisture from the cuts of meat, resulting in a slightly dry steak.
  • Does it contain salty ingredients like flaked sea salt or BBQ salt? If it does, the marinade can serve as a brine for the meat cuts.
  • Does it contain any acidic ingredients? If it does, then the cuts of steak can have slight differences in texture. It may also make the steaks dry.

Ultimately, this isn’t a factor you have to worry too much about, especially if you make your marinade yourself. In the end, you should still end up with a tender and juicy steak.

How Long to Sous Vide Frozen Steak

With the basics out of the way, we’re sure you want to know just how long to sous vide frozen steak to get delicious meat!

As you would expect, the cook time for frozen steaks is a little longer than for fresh steaks. That aside, the cooking times will also differ slightly here depending on the thickness and type of steak you’re cooking.

Typically, thicker steaks will have a longer minimum cook time compared to slimmer pieces of meat.

One of the best ways to figure out how long to let the frozen meat sous vide at a certain cooking temperature range is to first find out the initial cooking time for the fresh form of the meat.

When you know how long fresh steaks cook for, you can just multiply that time by 1.5 and cook your frozen meat for that window of time.

So basically,

Fresh Steak Cook Time X 1.5 = Frozen Steak Cook Time

Following this rule of thumb, if it takes a fresh 2-inch skirt steak 3 hours of minimum cook time at 130℉ (which would make it a medium-rare steak), then you just need to multiply that time by 1.5 for a frozen skirt steak of the same thickness.

This means your frozen steak will take about 4.5 hours to reach medium-rare doneness in a hot water bath of the same temperature.

Easy!

Here’s a simple 5-step cooking guide you can follow to try this amazing meal prep strategy for yourself.

The Complete Guide to Sous Vide Frozen Steak

steak cooking sous-vide

To get flawless steak dishes from frozen cuts of meat:

Step One: Prep the Steak

Season steak with your preferred choice of herbs and spice rubs. Make sure that the spice rubs reach every part of the meat. Then, put the cuts of steak in a single layer in the freezer or vacuum bag. You can throw in fresh rosemary sprigs and other herbs here for good measure.

Finally, freeze the bag until its cooking day.

If you got your frozen steak from the store, don’t forget to check that the packaging is sous vide-safe and that the cuts of steak are lined in a single layer. If it isn’t, switch the meats to a freezer bag and arrange them properly before popping them in the freezer.

Step Two: Ready Your Sous Vide Setup and Put the Food Bags Into the Water Bath

Set up your immersion circulator. Preheat the water bath according to the temperature guide we mentioned earlier.

When the water bath has reached the desired internal temperature gradient, use a pair of silicone tongs to place the vacuum-sealed bag into the hot water and cover the container lid.

If you’re using a zip-top bag, be sure you use the water displacement method so that no air gets trapped in the bag and affects the doneness and evenness of your cooking.

Step Three: Use Paper Towels to Dry the Cooked Steak

When the steak has reached the desired level of doneness, empty the contents of the vacuum-sealed bag onto a paper towel-lined plate or cutting board and pat the cooked steak dry with paper towels.

If you didn’t before, you can season with salt, pepper, or any other seasoning you want now.

Step Four: Fire Up Your Heavy Cast Iron Skillet and Add Butter

Heat your favorite cast iron over high heat and add a tablespoon of butter. Swirl the herb butter around until it becomes foamy.

Step Five: Get That Cleaner-Tasting Sear

For the finishing steps of this method of cooking, gently place the cooked steak on a cast iron skillet to get that amazing sear. You can deep-sear the meat by leaving it for 30 seconds on each side.

To get an even deeper sear and brown crust layer, leave it for 50 seconds on each side. Be sure to not overcrowd your skillet and only sear the cuts of meat one at a time until a brown crust forms.

When you’re done, remove the steak from the skillet. Let the meat rest for 5 minutes. Then, you can eat this with your serving of choice for a complete meal!

Conclusion

Now, you not only know how long to sous vide frozen steak but also how to do it like a pro.

If you’re tired of traditional cooking methods and want to push your culinary boundaries even further, all you need to get started is a great sous vide cookbook!

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