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The Proper Methods of Thawing, Cooking, Cooling and Reheating Food

The Proper Methods of Thawing Cooking Cooling and Reheating Food Feat Image

If you work in a food service establishment, it’s crucial to understand how to properly handle and prepare food. Otherwise, you could be putting your customers’ health at risk. At Raise-The-Grade®, we proudly offer several ServSafe® certification courses that teach you everything you must know about food safety basics. Today, our expert instructors will walk you through the proper methods of thawing, cooking, cooling, and reheating food. Keep reading, then check out our certification courses to learn more.

frozen food in a freezer


When thawing frozen meat, you must do so properly to prevent bacteria from growing. The safest place to thaw is at the bottom of the refrigerator, but check that blood or juices can’t drip onto other items in the fridge as the meat thaws. You can also thaw meat in the microwave or underneath cold running water, but it must be cooked immediately after.

steaks and mushrooms cooking on a grill


Raw meat must be cooked to the appropriate internal temperature, given the type of meat it is. If your food service establishment serves undercooked food, your customers are at risk of foodborne illnesses and bacteria. The USDA recommends these internal temperature guidelines:

  • Poultry: 165ºF
  • Ground meats: 160ºF
  • Steaks, chops, roasts, etc.: 145ºF minimum

steak dinner on a plate at a restaurant


If your customers consume their food immediately after it’s cooked properly, they should be safe from foodborne illness. But if their food cools too much, bacteria could grow and cause harm. Before serving, hot food items should be held at 140ºF minimum, while cold foods need a holding temperature of 40ºF or cooler. Don’t allow anything that has sat at room temperature for more than two hours to be consumed.

chef getting a piece of pizza from an already cooked pizza


You can’t reheat food that has been sitting out for more than two hours, so dispose of it. For items that have been safely stored, though, you can reheat to an internal temperature of 165ºF for safe consumption. 

As a food service establishment employee, it’s important to understand the basics of food safety and handling to keep your customers safe. If you’re interested in learning all there is to know, enroll in the ServSafe® certification course from Raise-The-Grade®! We have in-person training throughout Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, as well as online courses, so get your ServSafe® certification today!