Does Frozen Meat Weigh More? A Science-Backed Answer

  • By: Emma
  • Date: August 13, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Cooking meat is an everyday job for most of us. Sometimes, you’d go to the market and buy fresh meat. On other occasions, you’d buy frozen meat. Does frozen meat weigh more than fresh meat? And if so, what is the explanation for this difference in weight?

This post is an interesting summary of all the research on this topic. Let’s find out answers to all of your related questions.

Table of Contents

Does frozen meat weigh more?

Yes, frozen meat weighs 15-28% more than fresh meat. It is due to the high moisture content in the meat. When meat is frozen, water inside it freezes, which increases the weight. When frozen meat is defrosted, a juice called thaw exudate is released. About 20% of meat’s weight loss occurs due to this juice’s release.

Read: Difference Between Microwave and Oven

Does Frozen Meat Weigh More? Evidence from scientific literature

Through research, it is proven that significant weight loss in meat occurs at various temperatures. A study conducted at Iowa state university showed frozen lamb meat to lose weight between 15-28% at controlled temperatures.

Studies suggest that defrosting methods and the piece of cut are the main factors determining defrosting time and percentage of moisture loss.

Temp.Weight Loss MinWeight Loss MaxWeight Loss Avg
120 oC18.4 %25.9 %22.0 %
150 oC22.7 %27.8 %25.9 %
175 oC27.6 %30.0 %28.3 %
Table 1 Does frozen meat weigh more? Min and Max weight loss of meat at lower and higher temperatures.

Why does frozen meat weigh more? An easy explanation

When you freeze meat, it contracts. When it contracts, it can shrink and also hold more water. That’s why frozen meat weighs more than fresh meat.

The amount of water in the meat is also essential. This doesn’t just apply to ice cream. Weighing your food with a scale is the most accurate way to measure the amount of food you are eating, and there is a simple scale that anyone can use: the hydrometer or melting point test.

To do this test on beef, cut a piece of beef tenderloin until it is about 80% thawed and weigh it to see how much moisture it contains at room temperature.

Then, heat the beef in a pan till it starts to boil and let it cool before you weigh it again (this process re-dissolves the muscle proteins so they can be weighed again).

If you compare those two results, you will see that as the beef cools, its weight goes down.


Because muscle contractions shrink tissue while other liquids expand, cooling your frozen food is an effective way to lock in extra-leanness (and therefore weight loss) and ensure your food stays as fresh as possible when you return from a camping trip or field trip.

What happens when meat is frozen? A flow chart of the process.

Read: How hot does a microwave get in 30 seconds?

What chemical and physical changes occur in meat when it is frozen?

When meat is frozen, a chemical change happens to the proteins. The freezing process causes the muscular proteins in beef to crystallize, reducing the muscle fibers’ size and increasing their moisture content.

The above-mentioned reactions happen because water becomes trapped in the smaller cells of the muscle fiber, and it can’t be absorbed as well as before.

The physical changes also happen when meat freezes. The freezing process lowers the boiling point of water, so what was liquid becomes solid ice, and what was gas becomes solid ice.

In addition, when meat freezes, it shrinks into a smaller package that holds less water and weighs more.

What chemical and physical changes occur in meat when it is defrosted?

When defrosted, the chemical changes in meat are the conversion of muscle proteins to sugar. As they cool, they release water, which makes them more gelatinous and less viscous.

Additionally, the myofibril disorganizes and re-forms into a more uniform shape. When defrosted, the physical changes in meat are changes in the surface tension of the liquid surrounding the cell.

When this liquid is cooled, its surface tension decreases significantly, which allows for better mixing with the environment and reduces friction or drag on cells. This prevents fresh meat from sticking to surfaces like dry ice and helps avoid tearing when trying to stir or mix your food.

Does meat weigh more raw or cooked?

The weight of the meat is more affected by how it’s cooked. Raw meat weighs about 10% less than cooked because raw muscle proteins contract as the muscle fibers shrivel. In contrast, its weight increases when your food is cooked for a long time or in high heat.

This is because the protein molecules are broken down and reformed into larger molecules with different weights. With this process, the muscle proteins hold water while they’re being re-formed into larger molecules, and heat causes the meat’s interior to release water so that it can’t be weighed again with its original mass.

This is why you need a digital scale greater than your average kitchen scale to accurately weigh your food before cooking.

Do frozen vegetables weigh more than fresh vegetables?

Frozen vegetables weigh more than fresh vegetables. When you freeze vegetables, they contract, and the cells shrink, holding more moisture. This is why frozen vegetables weigh more than fresh ones; because their water content is higher.

Read: Can you put a Ziploc bag in the microwave?

Does freezing reduce the nutritional value of the food items such as meat and vegetables?

No, freezing meat does not reduce the nutritional value of the food items. The most common concern is that freezing can remove some of the nutrient content. However, only some nutrients are lost from freeze-dried foods.

For example, proteins and minerals such as iron and phosphorus are usually considered stable during frozen storage, but water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and thiamin can be lost in large amounts when frozen food is stored for prolonged periods.

Freezing will also affect the texture of your food items. Some products will lose their moisture, which leads to a product that is too dry and crumbly (think about how you feel after eating a bag of marbles).

Other products might gain water weight, causing mushy or iced-over textures (think about ice cream or other dairy products). So, freezing works well for getting your food items as fresh as possible while locking in extra-leanness.

How much does 8 oz raw chicken weigh cooked?

8 oz raw chicken weighs 3.5 oz cooked. This is because the muscle proteins contract and shrink during cooking, making the dry weight equal to the wet weight. 1 lb raw chicken weighs 454 g but cooks down to 450g when cooked.

Is frozen fish heavier than fresh fish?

No. The water content in a fish is so great that it does not weigh more in the frozen state than when it is fresh. This means that fish weight has nothing to do with freezing or refrigeration before cooking.

Does frozen shrimp weigh more than thawed?

The weight difference between frozen and thawed shrimp isn’t exactly the same as beef. Since shrimp has a much higher water content than beef, freezing it reduces its weight.

If you want to measure how much water has been removed from your shrimp, freeze it in a bag of ice for about 24 hours. Then, take the thawed shrimp and weigh them.

The amount of water removed from your shrimp will give you an idea of how much weight it lost when you froze. Since the moisture content of shrimp is so high, less water means more weight.

Does a frozen turkey weigh more?

The amount of water in meat is essential, but not every type of meat has the same amount of water. For example, a turkey will have much less water than beef tenderloin. A frozen turkey will weigh more than a frozen tenderloin because there is less ice.


So, does frozen meat weigh more? To conclude, frozen meat is heavier than fresh meat because of the chemical changes in the meat as it is frozen. Frozen meat has a higher density because ice is denser than water.

Frozen meat is usually thawed in the fridge for 12-24 hours before cooking, which makes it easier to handle. When cooking frozen meat, you should weigh it and then multiply the weight by 6.8 to get the cooked weight. The cooking time for frozen meats ranges from 20-40 minutes on average.