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Can you boil frozen meat for stew?

Quick Answer

Yes, you can absolutely boil frozen meat for stew. However, there are some important things to keep in mind when boiling frozen meat that will help ensure it cooks properly and yields the best results. The main considerations are allowing extra time for the frozen meat to thaw and cook through, using extra liquid to accommodate the frozen meat, bringing the liquid to a boil before adding the meat, and boiling gently once the meat is added. With a few simple adjustments, boiling frozen meat for stew delivers a flavorful, tender result.

Does Frozen Meat Need to Thaw Before Boiling?

It is not necessary to thaw frozen meat before boiling it for stew. The frozen meat can go straight into the simmering liquid. However, it will take longer for frozen meat to cook through, so extra time needs to be allowed. The total time required will depend on the size and thickness of the meat pieces.

Smaller frozen meat pieces such as stew meat cubes may only need an extra 10 to 15 minutes of cooking time. Larger frozen chunks or whole pieces like chicken breasts or pork chops may require up to 30 more minutes of simmering to cook through.

Monitor the doneness closely by cutting into a few pieces to check that there is no pink meat remaining once the extra time has elapsed. Cook longer if needed until the meat is fully cooked.

Should Extra Liquid Be Used When Boiling Frozen Meat?

Yes, it is a good idea to use extra liquid when boiling frozen meat for stew. Adding more liquid helps to compensate for the frozen meat and keep it simmering steadily.

The frozen meat will initially lower the temperature of the liquid. Having plenty of hot liquid helps bring it back up to a boil quickly. Extra liquid also allows for evaporation as the meat cooks and prevents boiling dry or scorching.

For a stew that would normally start with 4-6 cups of liquid, add 2 extra cups when boiling frozen meat. The excess liquid can be reduced or thickened later once the meat is tender.

Does the Liquid Need to Boil Before Adding Frozen Meat?

It is best to bring the liquid up to a boil before adding the frozen meat. Adding the frozen meat to cold or tepid liquid will prolong the time it takes to come to a boil and start cooking.

Heating the liquid to a boil first will minimize the temperature drop when the frozen meat is added. This helps the liquid recover and return to a simmer more quickly so the meat cooks through efficiently.

Once the extra liquid amount comes to a rolling boil, add the frozen meat and stir. Maintain a gentle boil, adjusting the heat as needed to keep the liquid bubbling steadily.

Should the Meat boil rapidly or Gently Once Added?

Frozen meat should be boiled gently, at a slow simmer, rather than a rapid boil once added to the hot liquid. Vigorously boiling frozen meat can cause it to seize up and become tough and chewy.

Gentle boiling allows the meat to thaw and warm gradually as it cooks. Moderate bubbling rather than a roiling boil helps preserve moisture and tenderness.

Keep the heat adjusted to maintain a slow but steady simmer. Check the meat occasionally as it cooks and lower the heat if the liquid starts to boil too vigorously. The more gently the frozen meat simmers, the more tender it will turn out.

Tips for Boiling Frozen Meat for Stew

– Cut the frozen meat into pieces no more than 1-2 inches thick for faster cooking.

– Allow 10-15 minutes extra cooking time for stew meat cubes, up to 30 minutes for larger pieces.

– Add 2 extra cups of liquid to compensate for the frozen meat lowering the temperature.

– Bring the liquid to a boil before adding the frozen meat.

– Once added, gently simmer the meat at a slow bubble rather than a hard boil.

– Check doneness by cutting into a few pieces to ensure no pink Meat remains.

– Let the stew simmer with the lid off toward the end if the liquid needs reducing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I put a large frozen roast or chicken directly into stew liquid?

It is not recommended to put one very large frozen piece of meat into stew liquid. The outside will overcook and become stringy before the inside thaws. It is better to partially thaw first or cut into smaller pieces before boiling frozen meat.

How do I know if the stew meat is fully cooked if boiled from frozen?

Check doneness by cutting into a few pieces of meat after the estimated cooking time. The meat should look cooked throughout with no raw pink interior. If there is still pink inside, continue simmering and testing additional pieces every 5-10 minutes until done.

Is it okay to boil frozen hamburger meat for stew?

Frozen ground beef or hamburger can be boiled for stew without thawing first. Break up any large chunks using a spoon when adding to help it cook evenly. Ground meat takes less time than stew cubes. Start checking doneness after about 10 extra minutes of simmering.

Can boiling frozen meat make the stew tough?

As long as the frozen meat simmers gently after being added, it will turn out tender and not tough. Boiling too vigorously can cause seizing and toughening. Maintain a slow bubble and monitor heat to keep it gentle.

If I’m short on time, can I pressure cook frozen meat for stew?

Yes, using a pressure cooker is a great time-saving method for boiling frozen meat for stew. The high pressure environment allows meat to cook through from frozen state much faster. Make sure liquid covers meat and follow manufacturer’s instructions.

The Best Practices for Boiling Frozen Meat for Stew

Here is a summary of the key best practices to follow when boiling frozen meat for stew:

Best Practice Reason
Cut meat into 1-2 inch pieces Smaller pieces cook faster
Allow extra simmering time Frozen meat takes longer to cook through
Use extra liquid Compensates for temperature drop
Bring liquid to boil first Recovers temperature quickly
Gently simmer meat Avoids toughening from rapid boiling

Following these simple guidelines will ensure successfully cooked, tender boiled meat for stew even when starting from frozen state. With the proper adjustments, freezing meat to use later does not have to disrupt plans for delicious homemade stew.


Boiling frozen meat to make stew is entirely doable with a few easy adaptations. Allowing extra time for frozen meat to simmer gently in extra hot liquid results in optimal texture and flavor. Cutting the meat into smaller pieces before freezing helps it cook efficiently. Bringing the liquid to a boil before adding the meat minimizes temperature drop. Maintaining a gentle simmer rather than vigorous boil keeps the meat tender as it cooks through. Following basic best practices, frozen meat can be boiled to make fantastic stew any night of the week.