The Ultimate Guide to Freezing Ground Beef

Ground beef is a kitchen staple that’s great to have on hand for quick weeknight meals. Buying it in bulk and freezing it can save you time and money. This complete guide shares everything you need to know about buying, storing, freezing, and thawing ground beef.

Why Freeze Ground Beef?

Freezing ground beef has several advantages:

  • Saves money – Buying in bulk is cheaper than purchasing small packages. Stock up when it’s on sale.

  • Saves time – No need to run to the store. Always have ground beef ready to go.

  • Maximizes freshness – Freezing prevents spoilage. It can keep ground beef fresh for 4-12 months.

  • Avoids waste – Freeze what you don’t use right away in convenient portions.

How to Buy Ground Beef for Freezing

  • Buy in bulk – Save money by purchasing family packs or bulk packages from warehouse stores.

  • Check the color – Select bright red ground beef without brown or gray spots.

  • Check the fat ratio – Choose 80/20 or 85/15 ground chuck or ground sirloin. Higher fat content stays moister.

  • Check the expiration date – Make sure you can freeze it before the sell-by date.

  • Consider pre-frozen – No need to freeze already frozen packs. Convenient but more expensive per pound.

Proper Storage Before Freezing

  • Store ground beef in original packaging or rewrap it.

  • Refrigerate at 40°F or below. Use within 1-2 days.

  • Freeze as soon as possible for best quality.

  • Don’t freeze ground beef if it has turned brown. Cook it instead.

How to Freeze Ground Beef

Portion into Servings

  • Divide meat into sizes your family will use like 1 pound.

  • Flatten into thin patties or crumble into recipe amounts before freezing.

Use Freezer Bags

  • Place portions into labeled freezer bags. Remove air.

  • Quart-size bags work for 1 pound. Gallon bags hold family packs.

  • Freezer bags provide the most protection.

Use Plastic Wrap

  • Wrap portions tightly in plastic wrap.

  • Wrap again in foil for extra protection if not using bags.

Use Freezer Paper

  • Wrap in 2 layers of freezer paper sealed with tape.

  • Write contents and date on paper with permanent marker.

Freeze Flat

  • Flatten packages by hand or with a rolling pin.

  • Takes up less space and freezes faster.

  • Stack packages in rows in freezer.

How Long Does Ground Beef Last in the Freezer?

Properly stored frozen ground beef maintains quality for 4-12 months. Check condition before use. Discard if freezer burned or odor is off.

Tips for Freezing Ground Beef

  • Chill meat thoroughly before freezing for faster freezing.

  • Exclude as much air as possible from packages.

  • Use high quality freezer bags, wraps, and papers.

  • Label packages with contents and date.

  • Stack flat packages tightly together.

  • Freeze new packages towards back of freezer.

Thawing Frozen Ground Beef

Thaw in the Refrigerator

  • Keep ground beef packages on a plate to catch drips.

  • Allow about 24 hours to thaw 1 pound frozen.

  • Use within 1-2 days after thawing.

Cold Water Thaw

  • Place in leakproof bag submerged in cold water.

  • Change water every 30 minutes.

  • 1 pound should thaw in 1-2 hours.

  • Cook immediately after thawing.

Microwave Thaw

  • Unwrap ground beef and place in microwave-safe dish.

  • Microwave on defrost setting or low power.

  • Turn over and break up chunks as needed.

  • Cook immediately after thawing.

Cooking Frozen Ground Beef

  • Ground beef can be cooked directly from frozen.

  • Add a few extra minutes to recipe cooking times.

  • Break up any large frozen chunks as meat cooks.

  • Cook to a safe internal temperature of 160°F.

Freezer Storage Tips

  • Use ground beef within 4 months for best quality.

  • Freeze fresh ground beef as soon as possible after purchase.

  • Store at 0°F or below. Use a thermometer to monitor freezer.

  • Avoid exposing ground beef to air during storage.

  • Handle frozen packages gently to prevent freezer burn.

  • Double wrap or use extra layers if storing longer than 2 months.

Following proper guidelines for buying, storing, freezing, thawing, and cooking ground beef will help keep it fresh and safe to eat. With a freezer full of ground beef ready to go, you’ll always be prepared for a quick and delicious dinner!

How Rachael Stores Ground Beef In The Freezer | #StayHome


How do you store ground meat in the freezer?

Ground beef can be frozen indefinitely, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, it is recommended to use ground beef within four months of freezing, as the quality of the meat will begin to deteriorate over time. Ground beef that has been frozen for too long may not be as flavorful.

Can you freeze hamburger in Ziploc bags?

To freeze ground beef. If you have a vacuum sealer, this is the time to use it. Otherwise, place the portions in separate freezer zip-top bags. Use a quart-size bag for 1/2-pound portions and a gallon-size bag for 1-pound portions.

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