If you are looking to enjoy that frozen, leftover pork chop or pork roast, or you’re ready to make that pre-cooked frozen ham for dinner tonight, you need to thaw it first. Pork needs to be handled carefully to ensure that it does not grow harmful bacteria. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends three ways to safely thaw frozen pork: in the fridge, microwave or cold water bath.

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Thaw pork in the refrigerator. Remove pork from the freezer and place in the refrigerator . Depending on the type of pork, the thawing time will vary. Fully-cooked pork that has been defrosted in the refrigerator can be eaten cold if you prefer, or heated up as you normally would.

Thaw frozen cooked pork in the microwave. This works best for small pieces of pork. Place the leftover pork on a microwave-safe plate. Follow the directions on your microwave to use the defrost settings. After defrosting, you can use the microwave to continue reheating the pork.

Thaw pork in a cold water bath. This works best for large portions of frozen cooked pork, such as a whole ham. If it is not in its original plastic packaging, place the pork in a large, leak-proof bag. Place the bag in a large bowl of cold water until completely defrosted. Cook right away to avoid dangerous bacteria.