How to Defrost Ribs (the Quickest Way)

If you’re in a hurry or don’t have much time to grill, you’ll need to know how to defrost ribs quickly and efficiently.

They’re one of those must-haves in any BBQ or grilling party. They’re cheap, easy to find, and absolutely delicious.

But if you don’t defrost them well, it’ll affect the final result of your grilled ribs and won’t taste as good as they should have.

This article will give you the quickest way to defrost ribs quickly without ruining the flavor.

Find out how to defrost ribs without affecting its taste once cooked

What is the Quickest Way to Defrost Ribs

The quickest way to defrost meat is definitely a microwave oven.

The microwave oven is the quickest way to defrost ribs, taking about 10 minutes on average.

You should keep three rules in mind when microwaving beef or pork ribs, though.

  1. Make sure they don’t have any additional marinade or seasoning on them. This will ensure your meat isn’t too salty once it’s done.
  2. Don’t overcook them. In a microwave oven, cooking meat too long can lead to tough, rubbery ribs.
  3. You’ll want to make sure they reach at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius).

You can follow these steps for the quickest way to defrost ribs in no time at all.

Steps of Defrosting Ribs in the Microwave

1. Remove your ribs from their packaging and place them onto a microwave-safe plate or dish that will fit into your microwave oven. Have a little bit of water ready. You’ll need it shortly.

2. Once they’re laid out on the tray/plate, cover the ribs with a damp paper towel before heating them in 5-minute intervals until completely thawed through (this may take around 20 minutes).

3. Make sure to flip over the package every five minutes, so both sides get equal treatment from your microwave’s microwaves. Also, make sure there is always some water covering the bottom of whatever container you are using.

4. Once your ribs are thawed through; you can cook them in any way that tickles your fancy. If you can’t get your hands on a microwave oven, don’t worry, there are a few quick ways to defrost ribs.

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Other Quick Methods to Defrost Ribs

No matter what method you choose to use, it’s important to remember that time is of the essence when it comes to thawing ribs properly.

The faster you’re able to bring them up to an internal temperature of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius), the better.

Method 1: Cold Water

A very common method for quickly defrosting ribs is to use cold water.

The water temperature doesn’t matter very much; what’s important is that it’s cold enough that the meat won’t heat up anyway before it has a chance to defrost properly.

This takes about 3 hours on average.

Method 3: Defrost Cycle in Your Kitchen Sink

This method is very similar to the previous method, but you’re going to use your kitchen sink.

Fill up the sink with cool tap water and let it run until it gets cold enough to add no more heat before putting your ribs into it.

The time this takes varies according to how big an area you need to cover, but on average, expect it to take about 3 hours for your ribs to defrost.

Method 4: Defrost Meat in a Plastic Bag

Another option is to put your ribs in a zippered plastic bag and immerse them in cold water until they’re thawed through.

This method takes about 1 hour on average, but it does require that you check the temperature of the meat periodically and replace the water if it starts to warm up too much.

Method 5: Defrost in Your Refrigerator

This method takes the longest amount of time, about 12 hours.

While it’s not as quick as microwaving your ribs, this is still a very effective way to defrost meat quickly. Just remember that you’ll need to use them within 2 – 3 days or risk having them spoil.

Defrosting ribs using any of these methods will leave you with juicy, tender meat once they’re fully cooked.

With just one or two exceptions, cooking frozen pork or beef ribs is not recommended; always defrost first.

Why is Cooking Frozen Ribs Not Recommended

It’s because cooking frozen ribs can lead to tough, rubbery meat that lacks that juicy flavor all great ribs should have.

Just like grilling frozen pork chops or beef, there’s a way to cook frozen ribs.

The same is true for any other ribs cut, especially with larger ones like pork spareribs, beef short ribs, or baby back ribs.

Smaller, thinner racks thaw in a matter of minutes. While larger, thicker racks can take hours or even overnight.

If you plan to cook frozen ribs, it’s best to simply leave them in the freezer until they’re ready for cooking.


So now you know the best ways to defrost ribs. The fastest one is using a microwave oven (at a certain temperature only).

The second quickest way is by using cold water in a sink or bowl. But all of them will keep the ribs tender and delicious.

I hope you enjoyed this article and put this into use at your home.