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Food Safety Issues/defrosting stock and refreezing


Hi Carol,
I defrosted approximately eight cups of homemade chicken stock and made minestrone with it last night.  I was pressed for time and did not defrost it in the refrigerator.  Since the container was too big to fit in my microwave, I submerged the container in hot water in the sink while I chopped the veggies for the soup.  The chopping/defrosting time probably took about 45 minutes, and the stock was partially defrosted when it was time to pour the stock in the soup.  I poured about six cups of stock in the soup and put the rest still frozen in the fridge.  We had some of the soup for dinner and it was great.  Seemed fine.  I refrigerated some and froze some.  I plan to eat the refrigerated portion, but I wondered if it's safe to eat the soup I froze using the previously defrosted stock the way I defrosted it.
Thanks, and Happy Holidays!

Hi Mary,

Good question in which I don't have a definitive answer.  Here's why...

The way that you defrosted the stock is not considered safe.  Thawing under hot water is considered a risky way of defrosting since it heats up the surface into a temperature that can easily support the growth of harmful bacteria.  Since you ate the soup that you made from the hot water defrost stock and report not complications it appears that this time you were lucky. And since you froze the soup it should be okay to defrost and reheat.

However...I can't give a 100% assurance that it is safe since you defrosted the stock initially under hot water.  There are 4 ways to safely defrost food -- in the refrigerator, in the microwave followed by cooking, under COLD RUNNING water (this keeps the surface at a colder temperature that does not support the growth of harmful bacteria) and lasting as part of the cooking process.  In the future I recommend that you follow one of these 4 ways to ensure maximum safety.

Hope you have a very Happy New Year.


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Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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