Food Safety: How Long Can You Keep Ground Beef in the Fridge?

how long can you freeze ground beef

For meat lovers all around the world, we know how important the quality of our meat is. Great quality meat is, after all, what makes it so delicious. 

Preservation plays a vital role in determining the meat’s quality and safety. You need to know how long the meat should be kept in the fridge or frozen before cooking. 

Ground beef can stay in the refrigerator for one to two days at 35 to 40 degrees. And if you can't use it within that time, freeze it. You might also want to check the “best by” label or expiration date on the package to be sure of the exact date the meat should be consumed by. 

 What is The Best Way to Freeze Ground Beef?

There are a few things to keep in mind when freezing ground beef. The two important elements to consider are temperature and timeliness. 

After buying your ground beef from the store, you should put it in the fridge as soon as you get home. Why? Leaving uncooked meat out in the open at room temperature would make it go bad fast. In fact, a good practice is to make the meat the last thing you buy during your shopping trip. 

The meat should be stored in the refrigerator at 40°F for optimal safety as anything above 50°F is nurturing for bacteria. If you are planning to consume the meat soon or immediately after purchase, then you can leave it in the package it came in. 

However, if you are saving the meat for much later, store it in the freezer. Here are some suggestions for preparing the meat for freezer storage: 

  • Heavy-duty plastic wrap
  • Freezer paper
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic freezer bags

How Long Can You Freeze Ground Beef?

As mentioned earlier, you should not store ground beef in the refrigerator for longer than two days. If you must, move it to the freezer. Ground beef can stay frozen for a long time, but for optimal quality, you shouldn’t keep it in the freezer for more than four months.

how long can you freeze ground beef

What Does the Defrosting Process Look Like?

One of the safest ways to thaw ground beef is to keep it in the refrigerator for a day or two. Keeping the meat cold while allowing it to defrost is a helpful way to keep bacteria from forming and spoiling the meat. 

Since it’s recommended that the frozen meat be kept in the fridge for a day or two, if you know you’ll be having meatballs for dinner sometime soon, you should definitely plan ahead. 

If you couldn’t wait to defrost the beef in the refrigerator, you two other options

  • Microwave: After using a microwave to thaw the frozen ground beef, make sure to cook the meat right away. 
  • Cold water: Place the frozen meat in an air-tight bag and submerge it in a bowl of cold water. Make sure to change the water every half an hour until it is thawed. 

You should be aware of the “danger zone” when defrosting ground beef. The danger zone is temperatures between 40 and 140°F, a temperature where bacteria may form in the process of thawing. So, it is always best to keep the meat cold while defrosting. An essential tip is to never keep the meat at room temperature for more than two hours. 

What Are Some Ground Beef Recipes?

  • Taco Pizza: A family favorite. There’s nothing better than when tacos and pizza come together to form the perfect Friday night dinner. Check out an easy recipe here
  • Beef sliders: Delicious beef sliders with sun-dried tomato mayo and pickles are a scrumptious option to enjoy alone or with company. With just a 30-minute prep time, you’ll be eating a delicious meal in no time. Here is a recipe for you.  
  • Ground beef bulgogi: Bulgogi is a Korean dish that consists of thin marinated grilled beef slices. Watch this video for a quick and easy tutorial on how to make bulgogi with your ground beef.

What Are Some Helpful Resources?

If you are worried about taking care of your refrigerator, there’s no need to. There’s plenty of resources to guide you. Among the concerns you may encounter with your refrigerator or freezer are regarding maintenance and organization as well as things to consider before investing in a refrigerator or freezer. Check out these blogs for tips and best practices to guide you.

Organization Tips

  • Plan it out: Make sure you have room for different categories of food, such as meat/seafood, produce, liquids, condiments. Then, you can break it down into even smaller categories, like ground meats, berries, fruits, pre-cut vegetables.
  • Create usable portions: Instead of storing your food in bulk, divide and store them in usable portions, perhaps in daily or single serving uses. It’ll be helpful not just for your own good but also for the environment since it’ll help produce less waste. 
  • Keep sanitation in mind: Make sure to store raw meat on the bottom shelf. There’s always a chance of leakage no matter how well packaged, so it’s crucial that meats are kept on the bottom. 

What Should You Consider When Buying a Refrigerator?

While the duration that the meat is kept in the freezer or refrigerator should be duly noted, it is equally important to have a refrigerator that does the job and preserves your food. Here are some things you should keep in mind before investing in a refrigerator:

  • Check your available space 
  • Review the product dimensions 
  • Remember to open the unit when it arrives and inspect for damage. Do not sign for the shipment before checking if the product is in good shape.

how long can you keep ground beef in the fridge

Concluding Thoughts

Here are a few takeaways to keep in mind when storing ground beef:

  • Ground beef can stay in the fridge for two days max.
  • If you have to store ground beef for longer than two days, it’s best to store it in the freezer, where it can stay for up to four months.
  • Never leave uncooked meat at room temperature for more than two hours. Temperatures between 40 and 140°F promote the rapid growth of bacteria.
Posted by Damon Shrauner on