Ground beef is a versatile ingredient that may be used in a variety of recipes, including burgers, nachos, tacos, meatloaf, and kebabs.
But, before you go overboard on ground beef, find out how long it lasts in the fridge.
How long does uncooked ground beef keep in the fridge?
Raw ground beef will only keep in the fridge for 1-2 days.
Keep it in the original packaging it came in when you bought it and keep it unopened until you’re ready to cook.
Also, verify that your refrigerator maintains a constant temperature of 40°F. Put uncooked ground beef in the freezer if you need to keep it for more than two days.
Continue reading to find out how long ground beef keeps in the fridge, as well as storage and handling advice.
How to prevent browning of ground beef
It’s so easy to brown some ground beef. Simply toss in some onions and garlic, season with herbs and spices, and use as a base for a number of meals. However, there may be a catch to this adaptability. If you keep raw ground beef in the refrigerator, it won’t stay long.
Storage and Handling
Time is critical in keeping raw ground beef fresh and extending its shelf life. Raw ground beef begins to deteriorate from the time it is purchased until it is placed in the refrigerator or freezer.
When you go home from the grocery shop, store the raw ground beef first, followed by the other products. If you’re running other errands after purchasing raw ground beef, bring a cooler or icebox and store it there.
Should I put it in the refrigerator or the freezer?
Whether you bought ground beef at the shop or thawed it from the freezer, it will only last 1-2 days in the fridge. Place your ground beef on a shelf that is consistently 40°F or lower. Also, while storing ground beef in the refrigerator, keep it in its original container.
Refrigerate or freeze uncooked ground beef immediately after purchasing it to inhibit the formation of bacteria. Bacteria can be discovered in ground beef, just as they can in any other animal product. Bacteria, on the other hand, thrive quicker in temperatures ranging from 40°F to 140°F.
Bacteria found in raw ground beef
Raw ground beef can harbor bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella, which can cause foodborne disease. To avoid becoming unwell, cook ground beef fully and thoroughly. The required internal temperature is 160°F.
However, before purchasing raw ground beef, ensure that it is of high quality in order to have a longer shelf life. As a result, only purchase high-quality ground beef from reliable sources. Ground beef can be safely stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. If you need to keep it for an extended period of time, place it in the freezer.
Not intending to use it for more than two days? – It should be frozen.
If you need to keep raw ground beef for more than two days, don’t put it in the fridge. Instead, place it in the freezer. Simply ensure that your freezer maintains a constant temperature of 0°F.
It is strongly advised to maintain the ground beef in its original packaging for freezer preservation. Wrap it in plastic wrap, heavy-duty aluminum foil, or freezer paper after that. Wrapping your ground beef securely will avoid freezer burn and improve the freshness and shelf life of your ground beef.
Ground beef can be stored for 3 to 4 months if properly frozen. Don’t forget to label the package of your ground beef with the date it was stored.
Is ground beef safe to eat after three days in the refrigerator?
Ground beef can be refrigerated and consumed safely for up to two days after this date (3, 6).
Before this date, the food will have the finest taste and quality.
Ground beef should not be eaten after its expiration date unless it has been frozen, in which case it can last up to 4 months ( 8 ).
Ground beef temperature guide
Bacteria often reproduce more faster at temperatures ranging from 40°F to 140°F. To kill these germs in raw foods, including raw ground beef, heat the meat to an internal temperature of 160°F. Ground meat has a larger surface area that can be contaminated by microorganisms. As a result, it is critical to thoroughly cook your fresh ground beef.
Some bacteria induce rapid spoiling or cause food to degrade and lose its freshness. Food might also develop an unpleasant odor if it becomes rotten.
How to store raw ground beef properly
We’ve answered the question, “How long does uncooked ground beef last in the refrigerator?” Next, let’s look at how to properly store raw ground beef in the fridge so that it stays as fresh as possible.
Bacteria can be found in almost any diet. Some dangerous bacteria, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus, can be detected in animal-sourced food. Because germs cannot be seen (or smelled), determining if food is infected can be challenging. They can quickly multiply if food is not properly preserved.
To guarantee that your raw ground beef stays fresh, observe the critical storage and cooking guidelines listed below:
1. Purchase in bulk and portion it
When you buy ground beef in quantity, it is usually less expensive. Plan your menu ahead of time if you’re buying a lot of ground beef. Separate the ground beef into pieces. You have the option of dividing it into half-pound or one-pound parts. Separately freeze these sections for easy and faster thawing.
The sell-by date stamped on your ground beef may have expired while you’re storing it. Even after the sell-by date, if stored appropriately and under the proper conditions, it is totally safe to prepare and consume.
2. Position it on the bottom shelf.
Raw ground beef will keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Place the meat on the lowest shelf of your refrigerator to prevent fluids from spilling onto other foods. It also eliminates cross-contamination.
3. Allow it to remain in its original packaging.
Do not open the original packing of uncooked ground beef until it is ready to use. Put it in your fridge or freezer as soon as you get it. Ground beef will keep in the fridge for 1-2 days and in the freezer for 3 to 4 months.
When purchasing ground beef at the store, select packaging that is chilly to the touch. The wrapper should be rip-free and tear-free, and the meat should be bright red.
4. Make use of appropriate storage containers
If you’re thawing frozen ground beef in the refrigerator, make sure it’s in a container so the juices don’t drip on anything else. Also, before storing ground beef in the freezer, label it with the date it was purchased. Always use the freshest ground beef you can find.
Store ground beef in zip lock containers to save space in your refrigerator. Use a rolling pin to flatten it out. However, don’t go back and forth with the rolling pin too much. It only needs to be flattened once or twice.
Also, remember to expel any excess air before storing it in the freezer to make stacking simpler. Stacking the bags will also make them easier to pull out when you’re ready to cook.
Keep in mind that if you’re freezing ground beef, you’ll need to wrap it in its original packaging. Heavy-duty aluminum foil, heavy-duty cling wrap, or a freezer-safe bag can all be used.
5. Use simple thawing techniques
Thawing ground beef that has been stored in freezer-safe bags and rolled out thin will be faster and easier. If you have a larger surface area, frozen food thaws significantly faster. It will come in handy if you are in a rush to prepare dinner.
Place the frozen ground beef in a dish of water for 15 to 20 minutes to thaw. You can also use your microwave to thaw frozen foods. Place the frozen meat in the microwave for 5 minutes to thaw.
6. Refrigerate or freeze as needed
Cooked ground beef is acceptable to eat after 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. If you want to keep cooked ground beef for a long time, freeze it. It will keep in the freezer for up to four months.
Larger chunks of beef, such as shanks, cubes, and steaks, can be refrigerated for up to five days. To avoid cross-contamination in the fridge, use the instructions provided above while storing these beef pieces.
Ground beef freezing instructions
The only surefire way to extend the life of your ground beef beyond a couple of days is to freeze it. Ground beef and other ground meats can be stored in the freezer (at 0 degrees F or lower) for three to four months.
To prevent freezer burn, keep ground beef in its original package and wrap it in heavy-duty aluminum foil, plastic wrap, freezer paper, or place it in a freezer-safe plastic bag. If you’ve already opened the package, place the ground beef in a freezer-safe bag and label it with the date.
Place the packed ground beef in a large dish of cool water when ready to use. To keep the meat underwater, use a heavy weight. Allow 5 to 10 minutes for it to defrost. Ground beef that has been previously frozen should be used promptly and should not be refrozen.
How to determine whether raw ground beef is spoiled
So, before you make that amazing recipe with ground beef, double-check to see if the meat is still safe to use. To avoid foodborne infections, we only want to utilize fresh, properly stored raw ground beef. But how do you know if ground beef has gone bad?
If you followed our advice on how to store raw ground beef properly, your meat should be fine. However, keep in mind that uncooked ground beef can only be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. You can keep it in the freezer for up to four months.
Here are a few things you may perform to see if your raw ground beef is still safe to cook and eat:
- Examine the color of your uncooked ground beef. The color of raw ground beef should be vivid red. It’s fine if some of your ground beef is brown; beef gets a brownish tinge when it lacks oxygen. However, if your raw ground beef has become gray, it is ruined and must be discarded.
- Examine the aroma of your uncooked ground beef. Fresh ground beef has a little iron odor. It will have a sour, putrid scent if it is starting to spoil. The odor is caused by gases generated by bacteria that have developed in the beef. If the meat smells rotten or you have any questions about its freshness, discard it.
- Make contact with your raw ground beef. When you touch fresh and raw ground beef, it is smooth, juicy, and chilly. When you touch the flesh, it should simply break apart. Ground beef that has gone bad will feel sticky and have slime on it. It’s also difficult to pull apart and has a tacky feel to it.
If you find any unfavorable symptoms in your raw ground beef, throw it away. Never take the risk of attempting to prepare it. Even a small amount of rotten beef can cause foodborne disease.
To handle ruined meat, put on a pair of gloves. Place the rotten meat in a small plastic bag and knot it up before discarding it. To prevent bacteria cross-contamination, wash your hands and everything that comes into contact with the ruined meat.
So, to address the original question, “How long does uncooked ground beef last in the refrigerator?” If stored properly, raw ground beef will keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. While storing, your refrigerator should maintain a constant temperature of 40°F.
Maintain the original package of the ground beef. Then, to avoid dripping and contamination of other goods, store it in another container or bowl on the lowest shelf of the fridge.
If you aren’t intending to cook your ground beef within two days, place it in the freezer to keep it fresher for longer. Ground beef can be stored in the freezer for up to four months. Follow the steps outlined above to ensure that you always have fresh ground beef.
Can I store leftover cooked hamburgers in the refrigerator or freeze them? How should they be warmed up?
Ground beef can be securely refrigerated for 3 or 4 days if chilled soon after cooking (within 2 hours; 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 °F). It should hold its quality for around 4 months if frozen.
When reheating fully cooked ground beef patties or casseroles, make sure the internal temperature reaches 165 °F (73.9 °C).
Why is pre-packaged ground beef red on the outside but drab, grayish-brown on the inside?
Oxygen from the air reacts with meat pigments to produce the brilliant red color visible on the surface of store beef. Oxymyoglobin, a molecule found in all warm-blooded animals, is the pigment responsible for the red color in meat. The hue of fresh cut meat is purplish. Due to a lack of oxygen, the interior of the meat may be grayish brown; however, if all of the meat in the package has turned gray or brown, it may be spoiling.