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How do you thaw frozen soup quickly?

Thawing frozen soup quickly can seem like an impossible task when you’re hungry and short on time. However, with some simple tricks, you can have hearty, delicious soup ready to eat in no time. Here are the fastest methods for thawing frozen soup so you can enjoy a hot, homemade meal without the wait.

Use the Microwave

The microwave is the fastest and easiest way to thaw frozen soup. This method works best for soups stored in plastic containers or bags designed for the microwave. Here’s how to do it:

  • Remove the frozen soup from the freezer and peel off any outer packaging.
  • Transfer the frozen soup to a microwave-safe bowl or container.
  • Microwave on the defrost setting or at 50% power, stirring every few minutes.
  • Once thawed, you can gently reheat the soup in the microwave or on the stovetop before serving.

Microwaving times will vary based on the amount of soup and your appliance wattage. For reference, a 16 oz container may take around 4-6 minutes to thaw completely. Just keep checking and stirring until thawed.

The major benefit of using the microwave is speed – most soups thaw within 10 minutes or less. However, microwaving can sometimes create hot spots that overheat, so pay attention and stir thoroughly during the process.

Use Cold Water

Submerging sealed frozen soup in a bowl of cold water is an easy thawing method. The cold water helps draw out the chill without risking contamination or water absorption.

Here are the steps:

  1. Fill a large bowl with cold tap water.
  2. Remove the frozen soup from its outer packaging and place the sealed soup container or bag in the water.
  3. Replace the water every 30 minutes so it stays cold.
  4. Massage and turn the soup bag periodically to distribute the temperature.
  5. The soup should be thawed in 1-2 hours. Drain the water once finished.

The time needed depends on the soup amount and container thickness. Though it takes longer than the microwave, the cold water method gently thaws soup without altering the texture or temperature too much.

Use Hot Water

For even faster thawing, use hot tap water instead of cold. The steps are the same:

  • Fill a bowl with hot tap water.
  • Submerge the sealed frozen soup.
  • Replace the water every 15 minutes to keep it hot.
  • Turn and massage the bag to distribute heat.
  • Check frequently until thawed, usually within 30-60 minutes.

The hot water speeds up the thawing process significantly. Just be careful not to use boiling water, which could warm the outer layers too quickly. Tap water around 120°F is ideal.

Defrost in the Refrigerator Overnight

For slow thawing with no effort, let your frozen soup defrost overnight in the fridge. Here’s how:

  • Take the frozen soup out of the freezer the night before you need it.
  • Place it on a plate or in a bowl to catch any drips.
  • Leave it in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours.
  • In the morning, the soup should be fully thawed and ready to gently reheat.

This hands-off method requires some advance planning but protects the texture and flavor of delicate soups. Defrosting in the fridge takes longer but prevents overheating or food safety issues.

Use a Thawing Tray

For a foolproof thawing option, using an electric or passive thawing tray can safely defrost frozen soup. These trays have a conductive surface that pulls warmth from the air or a heating element to gently warm the soup without cooking it. Here’s how to use one:

  1. Take the frozen soup out of the freezer.
  2. Remove any outer wrapping and place the soup container or bag on the thawing tray surface.
  3. Let it sit for 60-90 minutes if using a passive tray, or 30-60 minutes if using an electric heated model.
  4. Once thawed, the soup is ready to reheat and eat.

Thawing trays provide consistent, even warming without microwaving or excess moisture. They give you flexibility to thaw soup in the fridge or on the counter while you’re busy with other kitchen tasks.

Try a Quick Thaw in Warm Water

If you need thawed soup in a pinch, try this quick warm water method:

  1. Fill a large pot with warm tap water, about 110°F.
  2. Remove the frozen soup from packaging and place the sealed soup container or bag in the water.
  3. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally.
  4. Pour off the water and repeat with fresh warm water until thawed.
  5. Check frequently to avoid overheating the outer layers.

This quicker warm water technique can thaw soup in 30 minutes or less for emergencies. Just monitor closely to prevent cooking the soup before it’s fully defrosted.

Cook or Heat the Soup from Frozen

If you’re really in a bind, many soups can be cooked or heated directly from frozen. Here are two options:

  • On the stovetop: Place frozen soup in a pot on low heat. Gently bring to a simmer, then cook for 15-20 minutes until heated through, stirring occasionally.
  • In the microwave: Microwave frozen soup in a microwave-safe bowl for 8-10 minutes, stopping to stir every 2 minutes. Check frequently to prevent boiling or overflow.

Keep the heat low and stir often if cooking directly from frozen, allowing time for the center to fully thaw and heat. This method won’t give you the same texture as properly thawing but works fine in a pinch!

Tips for Thawing Frozen Soup

Follow these tips for the safest, most efficient frozen soup thawing:

  • Only thaw as much soup as you plan to eat within a few days. Don’t refreeze thawed soups.
  • Thaw soups in sealed containers or bags to prevent contamination.
  • Avoid thawing at room temperature longer than 2 hours.
  • Turn or massage bags during thawing to distribute temperature.
  • Check soup frequently during microwaving to prevent overheating.
  • Add a little extra liquid after thawing, as freezing evaporates some moisture.

Thawing Time Comparisons

Here is an approximate overview of thawing times for a 16 oz. portion of frozen soup:

Thawing Method Time
Microwave 4-8 minutes
Hot water 30-60 minutes
Cold water 1-2 hours
Refrigerator 8-12 hours
Thawing tray 60-90 minutes

Times vary based on portion size, container thickness, appliance wattage, and other factors. But this table gives a general timeframe for each method.


Freezing soup in individual portions makes enjoying quick, tasty meals easy. Thawing frozen soup quickly comes down to using the right technique for your timeframe and preference. For fast thawing, the microwave or hot water methods work best. For slower but safer thawing, try the fridge or a thawing tray. With the right approach, you can enjoy delicious homemade soup anytime, without the wait!