How to Cook Frozen Beef

5 from 3 votes

Cook frozen ground beef quickly and easy in your Instant Pot. This is a great kitchen hack when you need to get dinner on the table quickly!

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Can you cook frozen ground beef? Yes! Here are directions for how to cook frozen ground beef in an Instant Pot. Forgot to slow defrost overnight in the fridge? Use this hack when you need to get from a gigantic meat ice cube to dinner in just over half an hour. Dinner is saved!

Cooked ground beef from instant pot in bowl with parsley
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  • Ground meat: This recipe works well for any type of ground meat – veal, lamb, etc. – and can be used for ground chicken and ground turkey, as well.
  • Seasoning: At the minimum, add salt and pepper to season the ground beef. Then, depending on what you’re using the ground beef for, add up to ½ a teaspoon more of seasoning. For example, this could be taco seasoning for a Mexican inspired recipe or 7 spice for a Lebanese type of recipe.
  • Water: This is essential to pressurize the Instant Pot for cooking the frozen ground beef.
Ingredients to make the recipe


  1. Add water to the Instant Pot. Place the trivet in the bottom and put the ground meat directly on the trivet.
  2. Season with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices. Cook at high pressure according to instructions in recipe card below.
  3. When time is up, check the middle part for doneness. Then transfer the beef to a plate and break up for recipe.
3 image to collage to show the ground beef in the instant pot, then with seasoning and then breaking apart with fork

Ground Beef Recipes

Tips for cooking beef in instant pot

  1. Remove all the packaging from your frozen meat. That includes that absorbent pad that often sits between the bottom of your meat and the tray.
  2. Consider substituting a broth that compliments your meat instead of water. This will create a richer flavor. Adjust seasonings accordingly.
  3. Check your meat’s temperature. The FDA says beef, veal, and lamb are safe at 160°F. So if you’re unsure of doneness, you can definitely check with a thermometer.
  4. Check for dampness. Frozen foods can let off a lot of water. If your meat seems too damp, blot with paper towels.
  5. Don’t forgot to taste and adjust seasonings after cooking. This will depend on how you’ll use the thawed frozen ground beef in a recipe.

Frequently asked questions

Does this method brown the meat?

No, but it is succulent and delicious. To crisp up some edges, remove the cooked meat, drain the water from the pot, wipe dry, add a tiny bit of oil, and sauté in the Instant Pot very briefly. Do not overcook.

Is this method safe?

Yes! Slower methods of defrosting such as leaving meat out on the counter (not safe, people!) allows for harmful bacterial growth. Even defrosting under cold running water can be tricky.

What can I use in the place of a trivet that came with the Instant Pot?

A vegetable steamer would work. You want something that elevates the meat above the water and is oven safe.

Instant pot ground beef served in large white bowl

It’s so easy to cook ground beef from frozen using an Instant Pot. You can press a button, get the rest of your meal ready and you’ll find the ground beef cooked to perfection in no time! Be sure to also check out the tutorial for how to cook frozen chicken in an instant pot!

More instant pot recipes:

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How to Cook Frozen Ground Beef

Cook frozen ground beef quickly and easy in your Instant Pot. This is a great kitchen hack when you need to get dinner on the table quickly!
5 from 3 votes
Servings 4 servings
Course Ingredient
Calories 288
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
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  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon other spices like oregano and garlic powder


  • Pour the water into the instant pot. Add the trivet and place the frozen ground beef directly on the trivet. Season with salt, pepper and any other seasoning.
  • Place the lid on and move the valve to sealing. Press manual pressure and set the timer to 20 minutes high pressure. You’ll notice the Instant Pot will start to come to pressure first and then the timer will begin. It can take 8-10 minutes to come to pressure.
  • When the cook time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then do a quick release for any remaining pressure. Carefully open and remove the lid. Check the middle part of the ground beef for doneness. If it’s not cooked to your liking, seal again and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the trivet from the pot and discard any cooking liquid and grease. Transfer the ground beef to a plate, and use a spatula, fork or meat chopper to break apart the ground beef. Use as desired in a recipe.


Storage: Cooked ground beef will keep well covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.


Calories: 288kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 81mg, Sodium: 370mg, Potassium: 308mg, Fiber: 1g, Vitamin A: 1IU, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Ingredient

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