How To Cut Frozen Meat? (5 Techniques & Safety Tips)

Gabriel Woods
Published by Gabriel Woods
Last Updated On: September 28, 2023

As a decade-long meat enthusiast, I can remember more than one instance when I had forgotten to thaw my meat and ended up slicing it frozen for my quick-fix recipes.

Over the years, I've tried different ways of cutting frozen meat. I also consulted different top chefs and butchers to get their different professional views.

Today, I'll share the five ways to cut your frozen meat without breaking a sweat.

Quick Summary

  • You can cut frozen meat using an electric knife, butcher saw, meat slicer, or a cleaver.
  • Using a heavy-duty and serrated blade makes cutting frozen meat easier.
  • Cutting solid frozen meat is not advisable; slightly defrost it by running it under cold water.


While cutting frozen meat can be challenging if you don't know how to do it, here are five ways to get the job done quickly and effortlessly.

1. Slice With a Butcher Saw

A butcher slicing a frozen meat with a butcher saw

The butcher's saw is the go-to instrument for slicing frozen meat. It works just as well on thawed meat as on frozen meat.

To prevent ripping or shredding the flesh or harming the blade, the key is to saw slowly and steadily.

Its long, thin blade may quickly cut even the heaviest cuts, and its sharp teeth guarantee a precise cut each time. If you can't get your hands on a butcher saw, regular hacksaws will work just as well, and you can use them to cut frozen meat quickly.

When using the butcher saw, ensure you place the meat on a hard cutting board and slice at a 45° angle for even slices [1].

2. Using Traditional Meat Knife

Using a regular kitchen knife is an additional method for cutting frozen meat.

However, the blade you select needs to be highly durable and feature a saw with serrations so that cutting can be much more straightforward.

Before making any cuts, I always ensure the knife has the right cutting edge; otherwise, the cuts can be irregular.

It is necessary to first soften it by either running the frozen meat underwater or microwaving it.

Microwaving frozen meat takes less than 5 minutes to soften the edges, so it’s easier to cut it with a regular knife.

Last, but not least, remember that this is not a heavy-duty knife and is not appropriate for frozen meat with bone or particularly thick slices.

I recommend using it to slice frozen meat, like thin slices of steak or tender turkey breast.

You can also use a standard knife when cutting boneless meat, like chicken breasts, to get fine cuts.

3. Manual Meat Slicer

A chef using manual meat slicer for frozen meats

Using a high-quality meat slicer is another easy and convenient approach. A manual meat slicer is usually helpful when I'm pressed for time and cannot defrost my meat.

To avoid any meat or frozen food sticking to the manual slicer, ensure the blade is sharp enough before you begin slicing.

Also, you should cut downward and move slowly at the same speed while holding the frozen beef firmly so that no meat pieces fly out of the slicer.

4. Use Electric Knife

An electric knife is one of your best friends if you want to chop frozen meats and veggies.

When cutting frozen meat, you only need to switch on the blade and push it against the frozen piece of meat.

Typical electric knives have two jagged blades coupled to a motor. When the knife is in action, these serrated blades glide in opposing directions; hence, it cuts through frozen meat easily.

To cut frozen meat using an electric knife:

  • Push the on button after plugging the electric knife cable into the switch.
  • The edge of the serrated blade should be on the flesh.
  • Place your free hand on the remaining piece of meat to hold the meat firmly and prevent any slippage.
  • Turn on the knife, then slice the beef as desired by moving the blade.

Tip: I always wrap the cable around my hand to maintain a firm hold on the electric knife.

5. Using a Meat Cleaver

A man using a meat cleaver to cut frozen meats

A cleaver is suitable if you want a simple way to slice frozen food or meat without having to defrost it first.

Cleavers are large, flat-bladed, hefty knives. The blade is so thick and hefty that it is ideal for slicing through meat that is still frozen.

When using a cleaver, grasp it with your dominant hand and your fingers tightly around the knife handle.

Hold the meat down with your other hand and press the cleaver with your weight to cut the frozen meat.

Safety Tips for Cutting Frozen Meat

A man in a kitchen cutting up meat on wooden board

Cutting frozen meat, whether raw or cooked meat, can pose some safety risks even with the right tools.

Here are tips to help you slice your frozen meat without any issues:

1. Cut Correctly

It's always important to cut the frozen meat correctly.

Any meat should always be divided into sections along the muscle tissue. To achieve this, make your cuts perpendicular to the natural fibers.

This will significantly shorten the cooking time and tenderize the meat.

Also Read: Cutting Steak Against the Grain

2. Choose the Right Knife

Before you cut the frozen meat, you must select the appropriate knife for the job; otherwise, you will fail.

The two factors to consider when selecting a knife are its weight and sharpness.

Choose a heavy-duty knife with a serrated edge that feels weighty in your palm and allows you to cut through the meat effortlessly.

Ensure the knife is sharp so the cut does not leave a jagged edge.

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3. Slightly Thaw Frozen Meat

Thawing frozen meat by placing it on a running water

To minimize any difficulty, a light defrosting is required before using the meat cutter.

Put the meat under cold running water or in a dish of slightly warm water and let it sit there until the edges are tender enough for a knife blade to cut through. Avoid defrosting with hot water as it can precook the meat.

If you want a quicker thawing method, put the frozen meat in a microwave under the defrost setting for a few minutes.

"Slightly thawing frozen meat allows the ice crystals formed on the meat fibers to dissolve and soften the meat."
- Kristy Norton, Chef

Also Read: How to Thaw Meat Fast?

4. Wrap the Meat

When slightly defrosting your frozen steak, ensure it's covered in a Ziploc bag or a vacuum-sealed package. This prevents the natural meat juices from being washed away with water.

5. Position the Knife Right

When cutting meat, always point the knife or saw blade away from you. Also, ensure you place the meat on a flat, non-slip surface.

You can also wear gloves to give you a firm grip on the meat cutter and the meat to avoid any slippage.

Mistakes to Avoid

When learning how to cut frozen meat, it's essential to avoid common mistakes to ensure safety and a successful outcome.

Here are some pitfalls to steer clear of:

Forcing Cuts

When cutting frozen meat, avoid the temptation to force the cuts. Frozen beef, especially, can be extremely tough.

Forcing it can not only damage your knife but also result in uneven and jagged slices. Instead, apply even pressure and let the blade do the work. If it's too difficult, allow the meat to thaw slightly.

Dull Blades

Using dull blades is a recipe for frustration and accidents. Dull knives are less efficient and can slip, causing injuries. Keep your knives sharp and well-maintained to make clean and precise cuts through frozen meat.

Neglecting Safety

Safety should be a priority. Use a stable cutting surface, and keep your fingers away from the path of the knife. Consider wearing cut-resistant gloves for extra protection.

When you're done, store the completely frozen meat properly by placing it in plastic freezer bags or containers to prevent freezer burn and maintain its quality.


Is It Easier To Cut Frozen Raw Meat?

It's easier to cut frozen beef when you have the right tools for the job. Also, slightly defrost the meat by running it under cold water for a few minutes before slicing.

How To Cut Frozen Meat Ground Beef?

To cut frozen ground beef use a sharp serrated knife, apply gentle pressure, and make even cuts to achieve desired portions. Ensure the ground meat is wrapped in at least one cling film layer or plastic wrap.

Can I Thaw Frozen Ground Beef in a Multifunctional Pressure Cooker Before Cutting?

You can safely thaw frozen ground meat in a multifunctional pressure cooker before cutting. Use the defrost or sauté function for efficient thawing before you cook frozen ground beef.

Will a Hacksaw Cut Through Frozen Meat?

A hacksaw will cut through frozen meat because it has a heavy-duty, hard-serrated blade. The action of the serrated teeth moving in opposite directions enables easier cutting.

Should I Freeze Raw Ground Beef After Cutting?

You should freeze ground beef after cutting to preserve it when not in use. Freezing raw minced meat after cutting is safe and practical. It helps preserve the freshness and quality of the meat, ensuring it stays frozen solid until use.

Can I Cut Ground Beef Into Small Sections Before Freezing

You can cut ground beef into small sections before freezing. It will allow for portion control and quicker thawing when you only need a portion of the meat.


Cutting frozen meat is safe if you do it well and have a few tricks up your sleeve.

If you don't want the trouble of cutting hard frozen meat, you can save yourself any hassle and order pre-sliced frozen meats from ButcherBox.

For all online orders delivered right to your home, ButcherBox offers a wide variety of fresh, sliced frozen meats, from beef and fish to poultry and pork.

I always use this service because all their meat is hormone- and antibiotic-free, plus their all-time free shipping is a budget-saver.


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About the author

Gabriel Woods
Chef/Food Editor
Gabrielle Woods holds a BSc degree in Hospitality Management with a summa cum laude distinction from the University of Santo Tomas, majoring in Culinary Entrepreneurship. She helps clients achieve specific fitness goals through protein-based meal prepping. She believes cooking is both an art and a science best done with a balance of tradition and innovation.
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