How Long is Vacuum Sealed Beef Good For? A Complete Guide

Vacuum sealing is an excellent way to preserve beef and keep it fresh for longer. But just how long can vacuum sealed beef last in the fridge or freezer? Here is a complete guide to vacuum sealed beef shelf life and food safety.

An Introduction to Vacuum Sealed Beef

Vacuum sealing removes oxygen from packaging, which slows down spoilage and bacteria growth. This extends the shelf life of beef significantly compared to beef stored without vacuum sealing.

Some key benefits of vacuum sealed beef include:

  • Raw beef can be kept refrigerated for up to 10 days when vacuum sealed, compared to just 3-5 days for non-vacuum sealed beef.

  • Frozen beef when properly vacuum sealed can last 1-3 years in the freezer depending on the cut. Non-vacuum sealed beef only lasts about 1-12 months.

  • Vacuum sealing helps ensure beef stays fresh during shipping. This makes it ideal for meal delivery kits, online grocery delivery, and food suppliers.

Proper food safety practices are still essential when handling vacuum sealed beef, as some dangerous bacteria can grow without oxygen. But overall, vacuum sealing gives beef a much longer shelf life.

Refrigerating Vacuum Sealed Beef

When stored in the fridge, raw vacuum sealed beef can last up to 10 days before needing to be cooked or frozen. Make sure your fridge temperature is between 34°F – 40°F to maximize shelf life.

Here are some tips for safely refrigerating vacuum sealed beef:

  • Store vacuum sealed beef on the bottom shelf of the fridge or in a designated meat drawer to prevent leaks and cross-contamination.

  • Place vacuum sealed beef packages on a plate or tray to catch any leaks.

  • Inspect packages before use and discard any with signs of spoilage like foul odors, slime, or gas bubbles.

  • Once opened, rewrap beef tightly in fresh plastic wrap or butcher paper, or place it in a resealable plastic bag.

  • Cook refrigerated vacuum sealed beef within 1-2 days after opening package.

Freezing Vacuum Sealed Beef

For long term storage, the freezer is the best place for vacuum sealed beef. At freezing temperatures below 0°F, bacteria growth slows drastically.

Follow these guidelines when freezing vacuum sealed beef:

  • Beef can be kept frozen for 1-3 years depending on the specific cut when vacuum sealed properly.

  • Make sure all air is removed from packages before freezing. This prevents freezer burn.

  • Quick freeze beef immediately by placing it right against frozen items or ice packs in the freezer. This minimizes ice crystal formation.

  • Avoid piling items on top of frozen vacuum sealed beef. Allow space for air circulation.

  • Thaw frozen vacuum sealed beef slowly in the fridge or immersed in cold water. Never thaw at room temperature.

  • Once opened, re-wrap and refreeze beef immediately if you won’t use it within a few days.

Vacuum Sealing Tips for Beef

To get the most out of vacuum sealed beef:

  • Use a quality vacuum sealer machine and bags to remove the most oxygen. Double seal beef for extra protection.

  • Pre-freeze beef for 1-2 hours before vacuum sealing for a tighter seal.

  • Portion beef into meal-sized vacuum sealed packages so there is less reopening.

  • Label vacuum sealed beef packages clearly with the cut, amount, and date. This prevents confusion and waste.

  • Inspect packages for holes, leakage or inadequate seals and re-seal any questionable beef packages before freezing.

Shelf Life of Specific Cuts of Vacuum Sealed Beef

The shelf life of vacuum sealed beef depends somewhat on the specific cut. Here are general guidelines for common cuts:

  • Steaks: Vacuum sealed steaks like ribeye, strip, tenderloin, or sirloin can last 10-14 days refrigerated. They can be frozen for 1-2 years.

  • Roasts: Vacuum sealed roasts like chuck, rump, or sirloin tip roasts last 7-10 days refrigerated and 1-2 years frozen.

  • Ground beef: Because ground meats are more exposed, refrigerate for just 2-5 days and freeze for 3-6 months when vacuum sealed.

  • Organ meats: Heart, liver, tongue last 5-7 days refrigerated and up to 1 year frozen when vacuum sealed.

  • Beef ribs: Can be kept for 7-10 days refrigerated and up to 1 year frozen when vacuum sealed.

Vacuum Sealing Other Meats

While this guide focuses on beef, vacuum sealing also extends the shelf life of other meats. General guidelines include:

  • Pork: 7-10 days refrigerated, 1-2 years frozen

  • Poultry: 7-10 days refrigerated, 1-2 years frozen

  • Lamb: 7-10 days refrigerated, 1-2 years frozen

  • Fish: 5-7 days refrigerated, 3-6 months frozen

Always inspect packages and look for signs of spoilage no matter how long meat has been stored. When in doubt, throw it out.

Food Safety Tips for Vacuum Sealed Meats

To keep vacuum sealed meats safe:

  • Always start with fresh, high-quality meat products. Avoid sealing spoiled or contaminated meat.

  • Use clean tools and surfaces when prepping meat for vacuum sealing.

  • Chill meat thoroughly in the fridge before vacuum sealing.

  • Handle vacuum sealed meat packages with clean hands and utensils.

  • Inspect packages carefully before use. Do not eat meat from damaged, leaking or ballooned packages.

  • Cook vacuum sealed beef within 1-2 days of opening refrigerated packages. Never re-freeze thawed raw beef.

  • Discard vacuum sealed beef after recommended fridge/freezer storage times, even if it looks or smells normal. Don’t risk foodborne illness.

  • When in doubt, remember the old adage – “if in doubt, throw it out!”

Signs of Spoiled Vacuum Sealed Beef

Watch for these signs that vacuum sealed beef has spoiled and should be discarded:

  • Unusual odor, sliminess, or stickiness
  • Discoloration or unnatural colors
  • Gas bubbles or package swelling
  • Freezer burn or dehydration
  • Presence of mold, yeast growths or slime
  • Rancid or sour smell
  • Significantly darkened or dull color
  • Dry, leathery, or tacky texture

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common vacuum sealed meat FAQs:

How long can raw vacuum sealed beef be stored in the fridge?
Raw beef keeps 10 days max when vacuum sealed and refrigerated at 34°-40°F. Cook within 1-2 days after opening.

Can you freeze vacuum sealed beef?
Yes, freeze vacuum sealed beef at 0°F or below for 1-3 years depending on cut. Quick freeze for best quality.

Can you re-freeze thawed vacuum sealed beef?
Previously frozen raw vacuum sealed beef should not be refrozen after thawing. Cook within 1-2 days.

Is it safe to eat vacuum sealed beef after freezing?
Yes, as long as it was stored properly frozen at 0°F and shows no signs of spoilage after thawing. Cook immediately after thawing.

Can you cook vacuum sealed beef from frozen?
Yes, vacuum sealed beef can safely be cooked directly from frozen. Just allow extra cooking time. Thaw first for more even cooking.

Does vacuum sealing kill bacteria?
No, vacuum sealing only slows bacteria growth. Proper food safety rules must be followed. Inspect packages and discard spoiled meat.


Vacuum sealing gives beef a significantly longer shelf life compared to traditional packaging methods. Refrigerated raw vacuum sealed beef stays fresh for 7-10 days, while frozen beef can be preserved for 1-3 years.

Always use proper food safety practices when handling vacuum sealed beef. Look for visual spoilage signs, contamination, damage, or freezer burn. When in doubt, throw meat packages out.

Vacuum sealing is a great way to reduce waste and safely enjoy beef’s peak flavor and quality longer. With proper storage and handling, vacuum sealed beef can deliver delicious meals for your freezer or dinner table.

How long will food stay good vacuum sealed?


How long does vacuum-sealed beef last in the fridge?

Raw Meats – Raw meats can be kept up to 10 day when vacuum packed before needing to be cooked or frozen. In comparison, raw meat that is not vacuum packed will only last 3-5 days in the refrigerator before turning.

How can you tell if vacuum-sealed meat is still good?

If a strong aroma remains after half an hour, or if the odor errs more on the rancid egg side, it may be spoiled. Here are signs your vacuum-sealed meat might be past its prime: The seal feels loose or slack before you try to open the package. The protein has a sticky, slimy, or gooey texture.

How long does vacuum-sealed beef jerky last?

Shelf Life of Beef Jerky
Unopened Manufacturer Sealed Bag
Vacuum Sealed at Home
Zip Lock Bag
1-2 years
3-6 months
1 week to four months

Is vacuum-sealed food safe after expiration date?

No, if food is past its use-by date, it is not safe to eat even if it is vacuum-sealed. Vacuum-sealing can help preserve food for a longer period of time by removing air and slowing down the growth of bacteria, but it does not guarantee the safety of the food beyond its use-by date.

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