How To Store Cooked Ground Beef?

It can be challenging to prepare and store ground beef because it must be done so safely for you and your family. In this blog post, we’ll go into great detail about how long cooked ground beef lasts in the fridge, what containers work best for keeping it fresh, and how to recognize when it’s past its prime. Read on to find out more!.

If ground beef is refrigerated promptly after cooking (within 2 hours; 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 °F), it can be safely refrigerated for about 3 or 4 days. If frozen, it should keep its quality for about 4 months.

How Long Does Ground Beef Last?

How To Store Cooked Ground Beef?

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Probably not as long as you think. According to the USDA, raw ground beef should really only stay in your fridge for one to two days (yikes).

However, you can always keep it for longer by keeping it in your freezer. It can stay there for around four months.

How Do You Know If Ground Beef Is Bad?

How To Store Cooked Ground Beef?

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To determine whether your raw ground beef is past its prime, use your senses:

  • Look for discoloration or mold. Good ground beef should be bright red and not brown. Naturally, if it has mold, it should be disposed of immediately. Examine the sell-by and expiration dates as well. If the beef is USDA-approved (as it should be), they should be prominently displayed.
  • Smell your ground beef. It’s past its expiration date if it has a rancid, tangy scent.
  • It should feel cool, smooth, and slightly damp when you touch it. Spoiled ground beef can feel sticky or slimy. (But for the love of God, make sure you thoroughly wash your hands after handling raw meat.)

Still unsure? When in doubt, throw it out.

Even if the ground beef is fully cooked, spoiled ground beef should never be consumed. It may contain harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. You may experience fever, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea if you ate spoiled meat. The very young, the very old, and those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk from these symptoms.

Related: How to Make the Most of Your Ground Beef

How to Store Ground Beef

How To Store Cooked Ground Beef?

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Put your ground beef in the refrigerator as soon as you get home from the store. Raw meat shouldn’t be left at room temperature for longer than is absolutely necessary. In fact, it’s best to pick up ground beef toward the end of your shopping trip and head directly home after you’ve made your purchases. If you don’t live close to the grocery store, you may want to bring a cooler or thermal bag to hold perishables on your drive home.

How To Store Cooked Ground Beef?

For one to two days, store ground beef in the main compartment of your 40° or lower refrigerator, which is typically the area that is the coldest. If at all possible, keep it on the bottom shelf to avoid having juices drip onto other foods.

Avoid keeping it near the door because the temperature there varies more.

What About Cooked Ground Beef?

Refrigerate ground beef—including hamburgers—within two hours of cooking.

For three to four days, keep cooked ground beef in the refrigerator in a shallow, airtight container.

This was our favorite instant read thermometer out of all that we tried.

How to Freeze Ground Beef

How To Store Cooked Ground Beef?

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To freeze ground beef, simply wrap it tightly in heavy duty plastic wrap, foil, or freezer-safe zip-top bags (these reusable freezer bags have more than 500 5-star reviews on Amazon).

You can save storage by flattening the meat with a rolling pin after it’s been sealed in a bag, just make sure no juices leak out onto your counter or rolling pin.

Use the packages within four months after the date is written on them. Even after that, the frozen meat will still be safe but lose quality.

Advice: Freeze beef in the portions you’ll use for later cooking. In this manner, you can avoid repeatedly defrosting and refreezing the same meat.

How to Thaw Ground Beef

The refrigerator is by far the best and safest place to thaw frozen ground beef. Don’t even think about letting it sit at room temperature.

Simply transfer it the night before you intend to cook it from the freezer to the refrigerator.

If you need it thawed more quickly, according to the USDA, you can use the defrost setting on your microwave or put the meat in a water-tight plastic bag and submerge in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes.

How To Store Cooked Ground Beef?

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We’ve got ideas for how to use all that properly stored ground beef:

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How to Freeze Cooked Ground Beef


How do you store leftover ground beef?

If the meat will be consumed soon, it can be frozen in its original packaging or kept in the refrigerator. Use within one or two days if refrigerated, and keep at 40 °F or lower. Wrap in freezer paper, heavy-duty plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or plastic bags designed for freezing for extended freezer storage.

How do you store cooked ground beef for meal prep?

Refrigerate ground beef—including hamburgers—within two hours of cooking. For three to four days, keep cooked ground beef in the refrigerator in a shallow, airtight container.

How long can cooked ground beef be saved?

The USDA suggests using cooked beef within 3 to 4 days while keeping it chilled (at 40°F or less). Refrigeration slows but does not stop bacterial growth. USDA recommends using cooked leftovers within 3 to 4 days.

Is cooked ground beef good after 5 days?

If cooked ground beef is properly sealed and stored, it can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. However, for the best freshness and flavor, consume within 3–4 days. It is best to throw away the cooked ground beef after that point.

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