Best Defrosting Trays for Faster Meal Preps
Published: May 5, 2022
Make meal preparations easier with a defrosting tray! Discover how this innovative kitchen tool can help thaw frozen food fast.
Home-cooked meals are, without a doubt, healthier, but the process of making them could be daunting. You have to follow a tedious recipe, shop for ingredients, and prepare everything in the kitchen. Not to mention, there’s the long process of defrosting meat in the fridge. Although it’s much easier to thaw frozen food on the kitchen counter, it is not advisable as it can cause bacteria to grow. A better solution would be using a defrosting tray.
What is a Defrosting Tray? How Does it Work?
A defrosting tray, also known as a thawing plate, is a metal tray made from aluminum. It doesn’t require electricity as aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat. How it works is simple: heat passes through the aluminum easily, so it warms up and cools down quickly. If you place frozen food on it, the tray will instantly absorb the warm air around the kitchen to thaw out frozen food. The thawing process is sped up when the cold temperature of the frozen food transfers to the defrosting tray. The tray instantly dissipates the cold since aluminum also cools down fast.
Although defrosting trays help thaw frozen food, their efficiency highly depends on the size and thickness of the meat. Of course, those with thicker cuts take longer to defrost as the tray focuses more on warming up the meat’s surface than the interior. Still, you may find this incredibly useful when thawing seafood, chicken nuggets, or other ready-made frozen meals.
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Best Defrosting Trays
Although most foods can be cooked straight from frozen, they usually require a longer cooking time. This is to ensure the food reaches the core temperature of 70 degrees Celsius to kill harmful bacteria. If this seems too much work, consider buying a defrosting tray to hasten the cooking process. Here are some of the best defrosting trays you can buy from Amazon.
Canned, processed food is convenient, but not exactly healthy. Grill food outside and host barbecue parties for a change! Grilled meat, fish, and vegetables are much healthier as they usually contain less fat and oil. Plus, grilling can be a fun activity for you and your family! Just make sure to bring a defrosting tray with you to ensure you don’t have to wait for a long time to thaw frozen foods.
For fun barbecue parties, we recommend the XWELL Aluminum Defrosting Plate. This thawing plate is bigger than your regular defrosting plate, so you can quickly thaw multiple pieces of meat (or vegetables) at once! Plus, it has a lightweight design so you can easily carry it to and across your backyard.
- Thick, defrosting plate
- Lightweight, easy-to-carry
- Food-grade aluminum
- Item weight: 1.2 pounds
- Defrosting plate is 3mm thick
- Measures 14 inches (L) x 8 inches (W) x 0.12 inches (H)
- Ideal for defrosting seafood and meat
- Higher heat capacity due to its thick defrosting tray
- The tray has a non-stick coating, allowing you to clean it easily
- No drip tray
Weekday mornings can be hectic, especially if you have to travel to the office for work. Make preparing meals quick with the YUNDOOG defrosting tray. You can leave burgers, nuggets, or any frozen ready-to-cook meals on the tray while you prepare for work. And since it is made from aluminum, it can help defrost food safely and quickly. Make sure though not to leave food outside for more than two hours as it can encourage bacteria growth.
What is also great about this defrost tray is you can hang it on a kitchen hook for easy access. Consider buying one of these sturdy S-hooks for your kitchen to ensure the defrosting tray won’t fall easily.
- Non-stick coating
- Large defrosting plate
- Silicone corners
- Measures 13.65 inches (L) x 7.8 inches (W) x 0.08 inches (H)
- The package includes 1 large defrosting plate, 4 red silicone corners, 1 silicone sponge, and 1 hanging rope
- The thermal conductivity property of aluminum hastens the thawing process
- It comes with a silicone sponge to avoid damaging the non-stick surface while washing
- Red, silicone corners aren’t effective enough to prevent the defrosting plate from moving/sliding
The cold water method may be an effective way to defrost food, but it requires more preparation. You still have to put the frozen food in a plastic bag, fill a large bowl with cold water, and submerge the plastic bag containing the frozen food in the bowl. With the Underlying Assumption Premium Defrosting Tray, you only have to take out the frozen food from the fridge, place it on the tray, and wait for a couple of minutes for it to defrost. It’s that easy! This thawing plate also has a sturdy drip tray made from Polypropylene (PP) plastic. It is a tough material with great chemical resistance, guaranteed to last.
- Versatile drip tray
- Thermally-conductive high-density aviation aluminum
- Measures 13.2 inches (L) x 9.2 inches (W) x 1.2 inches (H)
- The package includes 1 defrosting plate, 1 black silicone brush, and 1 tong
- Size is twice thicker than other defrosting plates
- Rose gold-colored tray looks beautiful, adding style to the kitchen
- Has a similar size to a cutting board, so this defrosting tray is easy to store
- Not ideal for defrosting large blocks of meat
Thawing food can be messy as the ice will eventually melt and drip. This can damage kitchen island countertops because although most have a sealant, frequent water spills and drips can break them. So, when buying a defrosting tray, always check if it comes with a drip tray — just like this one from AMMOTI. Apart from catching drips, you can also use the tray as a container for boiling water to hasten the thawing process. The steam coming from the boiling water will be absorbed by the aluminum tray, helping defrost food quickly.
- Extra-large defrost tray
- Complementary drip tray
- Defrosting plate is 6mm thick
- Measures 17.8 inches (L) x 10 inches (W) x 1.7 inches (H)
- The package includes 1 defrosting plate, 1 silicone sponge, and 1 drip tray
- Free silicone sponge
- No-stick surface for easy cleaning
- The plastic drip tray is not durable enough
Another way you can thaw food is by using a microwave as some models have a defrost setting. This method is safe as long as you cook the food immediately after defrosting. Although convenient, food left inside the microwave can be forgotten. If unfrozen food is left for a long time, bacteria grows, which may potentially cause food poisoning. We suggest using the BeChef thawing plate instead, so you can see right away if food is fully thawed. Made from extra-thick aluminum, this tray can defrost food without needing electricity, helping you save energy.
Moreover, it comes with a silicone basting brush! You can use this to add sauces and glazes after thawing the meat to add extra flavor. This can be useful, especially if you frequently host barbecue parties.
- Extra-thick aluminum
- Teflon coating
- Dishwasher safe
- The maximum weight capacity is 10 pounds
- Measures 14.5 inches (L) x 10.2 inches (W) x 1.6 inches (H)
- The package includes 1 thawing plate, 1 drip tray, 1 silicone basting brush, and 1 shredder claw
- No electricity needed
- Safe, chemical-free thawing plate
- Has a thick, Teflon coating that prevents food from sticking to the thawing plate
- Flimsy tray
Even though cooking food straight from frozen is safe, it is not advisable to do so. It takes a long time to thaw and cook the innermost portion of the particular food, causing the outer part to burn. We suggest using the Mirra Kitchen defrosting tray to cook frozen goods properly. Just like any other defrosting tray, it has an aluminum plate to help thaw food fast. Furthermore, it features a grooved surface to defrost your food evenly.
- Non-stick coating
- Extra-thick aluminum plate
- Defrosting plate is 0.24 inches thick
- Measures 15.8 inches (L) x 9.5 inches (W) x 1.6 inches (H)
- Faster thawing process due to its thick aluminum plate
- Wide and deep channels for a no-mess counter
- The drain tray is flimsy
A single defrosting tray might not be enough if you plan to cook and prepare meals for a large group of people. Instead of buying only one, look for a defrosting tray set — such as this one from FORIOUS. Made from high-density aluminum, this two-piece defrosting tray set can thaw various frozen foods in no time! Plus, it comes with detachable silicone strips to keep the metal plate in place. With blood and water dripping while thawing, kitchen counters can get slippery. These silicone strips are useful to prevent the defrosting pate from getting knocked over.
- Oxidized surface
- High-density aluminum
- 2 defrosting trays of different sizes
- Item weight: 2.65 pounds
- Long defrosting tray measures 8 inches x 14 inches
- Short defrosting tray measures 8 inches x 10 inches
- A lifetime warranty is included
- High-density aluminum conducts heat faster
- The oxidized surface helps prevent food from sticking
- No drip tray
If you only have a small kitchen layout and don’t have much space to add more tools and appliances, we suggest buying this Quick Food Defrosting Tray from That! Inventions. Unlike most defrosting trays with bulky drip trays, this product has a slim, integrated drip tray to help catch melted ice. In addition, it has an elegant appearance due to its matte silver finish, thus this functional kitchen tool doubles as a decorative accent in the kitchen.
- Integrated drip tray
- Highly conductive aluminum body
- Item weight: 3.63 pounds
- Measures 12.75 inches (L) x 7.87 inches (W) x 0.75 inches (H)
- Helps save kitchen space
- Has an integrated drip tray keeps your kitchen counter clean
- High price tag
Things to Consider When Buying a Defrosting Tray
After going through our product recommendation list, you are probably now considering one or two defrosting trays for your kitchen. Although all of them offer virtually the same benefits, each product differs in performance. So, before making a decision, consider these factors first:
Most defrosting plates are made from aluminum, while others are made from copper. Just like aluminum, copper is a highly conductive material, but it is not as durable as aluminum. It can scratch easily and is prone to rust, so if you decide to buy a copper defrosting tray, make sure it has an aluminum coating for added protection.
Also, look for defrosting trays with a non-stick surface as food sticks easily on any metal steel plate. Another advantage of non-stick surfaces is it makes cleaning easier.
Defrosting Plate Size
As much as possible, choose defrost trays with thick metal plates as they conduct heat better, which helps thaw food faster. For reference, around 3mm to 6mm thick should be enough.
As for the dimensions of the defrosting plate, it should be at least 11 inches long and 8 inches wide to fit two to three servings of meat. Some have a much bigger size which can accommodate more meat servings. This option can be great for grilling food during get-togethers and house parties.
Additional Features & Accessories
Sometimes, a defrosting plate alone is not enough. You may need extra tools to avoid messy kitchens. As such, an additional drip tray would come in handy if you have to defrost frozen meat. This will help catch the blood and water, keeping the kitchen counter clean. However, defrosting plates with drip trays can be bulky. If space is a problem, look for those with a silicone rim. This additional feature stops any liquid from dripping on your kitchen counter while thawing.
Although not necessary, it would also be great if a defrosting tray comes with a silicone sponge. Regular scrubbing sponges are too abrasive and can damage the defrosting plate’s sealant, so a silicone sponge is a better cleaning tool.
Food take-outs are convenient, especially for people with busy lifestyles. But eating out too much isn’t healthy, so cooking and preparing meals at home is encouraged. Luckily, you can avoid long meal preparations with a defrosting tray! It is a simple kitchen tool that can thaw frozen food without using electricity or a battery. If you want to buy one for yourself, just check out and review our recommended defrosting trays above!