The freezer is undoubtedly one of the best kitchen appliances ever created for those who enjoy cooking at home and frequently shop in large quantities. In the 1940s, it was widely adopted in America for the first time and immediately benefited families there. By keeping foods safe to eat for a very long time, it reduced food waste. All of a sudden, you could buy more food at once without having to worry about it spoiling nearly as much. Butter, fruits, and vegetables could all be kept edible for much longer than in the past.
Many people, even those who keep well-stocked freezers, frequently wonder about the freezer shelf life for these proteins, but what about frozen meat. If you’re wondering how long your frozen meats will stay safe to eat, the answer depends on what type of meat it is and whether you have any old ground beef, steak, or chicken in the back of your freezer.
|Freezer (0 °F or below)
|Fresh beef, veal, lamb, and pork
|4 to 12 months
|4 to 12 months
|4 to 12 months
|Fresh, uncured, uncooked
How do I store meat in the freezer?
First, ensure that all of your foods, including meat, are being frozen at or below 0° Fahrenheit. This is the temp that keeps food safe. Meat can be frozen in its original packaging, but the FDA advises using heavy-duty packaging, such as foil, plastic wrap, or freezer bags, if you intend to store it in your freezer for more than two months. You can seal protein inside an airtight , too. Utilize one of our top-rated, best vacuum sealers to preserve freshness.
How long does frozen meat last?
Whole chickens and turkeys can be frozen for up to a year. Giblets should only be stored for three to four months and should be consumed within nine months of purchase of the turkey or chicken.
Beef, Veal, & Lamb
For six to twelve months, raw steaks can be kept in the freezer. Chops can be frozen for four to six months, but roasts can last up to a year.
Similar to beef, uncooked pork can be stored in the freezer for up to a year in the form of roasts and chops, respectively. Bacon, sausage, hot dogs, ham, and lunch meats made from processed pork shouldn’t be kept in the freezer for more than one to two months.
While fatty fish only lasts two to three months in the freezer, lean fish can be stored there for up to six months.
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Bass, cod, tuna, and tilapia are examples of common lean fish, while mackerel, salmon, and sardines are examples of common fatty fish.
Other fresh seafood, like squid, scallops, crawfish, and shrimp, should keep in the freezer for three to six months.
For three to four months, ground beef, turkey, lamb, or veal will retain their quality in the freezer. (The same goes for hamburger meat!).
Cooked & Leftover Meat
Cooked meat doesn’t keep its quality in the freezer as long as raw meat does: Beef, veal, lamb, and pork shouldn’t be kept in the freezer for more than two to three months. Cooked fish can be kept in the freezer for four to six months.
Hannah Jeon writes expert-driven commerce content for everything related to health, wellness, and beauty as an associate commerce editor for Prevention. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and psychology, and was formerly the editorial assistant at Good Housekeeping. When she’s not searching online for the best products, you can usually find her exploring new restaurants in New York City or clicking away with a camera.
As an assistant editor for the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Samantha (she/her) writes about delectable recipes, must-try food items, and tried-and-true tips for successful home cooking. Since joining GH in 2020, she has tasted hundreds of products and recipes (a difficult job!). She is a Fordham University alum and believes that her happy place is in the kitchen.
How long should you keep meat in the fridge or freezer?
Does beef go bad in the freezer?
Uncooked beef, poultry, and pork can be kept for up to a year in the freezer, while fully cooked meats like ham, sausage, and bacon can be frozen for up to two months. For roughly three to four months, raw hamburgers and ground beef should remain fresh.
Can you keep beef frozen for 2 years?
Information. Frozen beef will be safe indefinitely. Use raw steaks, roasts, or chops within four to twelve months, raw ground beef within four months, and cooked beef within two to three months for best quality.
How do you know if beef is bad after freezing?
Although freezer burn doesn’t render frozen meat unsafe, it will give it a dry, leathery texture. Look for ice crystals on the meat’s surface or a shriveled or discolored appearance to spot freezer burn. You can cut off freezer-burned spots before or after cooking.
How long does meat last in the freezer after expiration date?
Although raw meat and poultry only last a few days in the fridge, if you freeze them, you can keep these foods past their expiration date. According to FoodSafety. gov, whole chickens or turkeys can be frozen for up to a year, and frozen ground meat will keep for three to four months.