how long can cooked beef stay in the freezer

Cooked & Leftover Meat

Cooked meat doesn’t maintain its quality in the freezer for as long as raw meat does: Cooked poultry and fish can be kept in the freezer for four to six months, while beef, veal, lamb and pork shouldn’t be kept for longer than two to three months.

Looking to extend the life of meat you’ve purchased? Storing meat is a breeze with the help of Glad’s handy guide to freezing meat. But how long does meat last in the fridge and freezer? How long meat lasts in the fridge and how long meat lasts in the freezer depends on the kind of meat and how it’s stored. Here’s everything you need to know about storing meat.

Follow the guidelines below for storing food in the refrigerator and freezer. The short time limits for home-refrigerated foods will help keep them from spoiling or becoming dangerous to eat. The guidelines for freezer storage are for quality only—frozen foods stored continuously at 0°F (-18°C) or below can be kept indefinitely.

Looking for a specific item? Check out FoodKeeper to find storage tips for over 650 food and beverages.

How to Thaw Meat

When it comes time to use some of the meat you’ve stored in your freezer, you should be aware of how to thaw meat properly. According to the USDA, you should never thaw meat on the counter or in hot water, nor should you leave it at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

The best way to thaw meat is to move the frozen package from the freezer onto a plate and into the fridge, and then let it thaw gradually. This method requires some planning ahead, as it can take a full day for meat to thaw in the fridge.

Need to thaw meat fast to cook it the same day? Ensure the frozen meat is in an airtight bag — such as Glad® FLEXN SEAL™ Food Storage Gallon Bags — then submerge it in cold tap water, changing the water every 30 minutes so it continues to thaw. You can also thaw frozen meat in the microwave but should plan to cook it immediately after thawing to prevent bacteria from growing.

how long can cooked beef stay in the freezer

For safe meat preparation, reference the USDA website.

How to Freeze Meat for Storage

Curious about how to freeze meat long-term while avoiding freezer burn? The trick is to first tightly wrap each piece of meat, unwashed, in Glad® Press’n Seal® or another type of freezer wrap. Then add a second layer of protection by placing the wrapped meat in an airtight freezer bag, like Glad® FLEXN SEAL™ Freezer Quart Bags. Be sure to wash your hands before and after handling meat, especially if it’s raw.

When freezing meat, it’s also a good idea to clearly mark each bag with the date it was frozen, so you can stay organized and know what to prioritize cooking first and what you can save for later.

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Cooked & Leftover Meat Cooked meat doesn’t maintain its quality in the freezer for as long as raw meat does: Cooked poultry and fish can be kept in the freezer for four to six months, while beef, veal, lamb and pork shouldn’t be kept for longer than two to three months.

FAQ

Is 2 year old frozen beef safe to eat?

Poisonous microbes like bacteria are put into sleep mode by freezing. In simpler terms, it’s almost impossible for most frozen foods to ever become spoiled in a working freezer. So, from a food safety perspective, your two-year-old meat is good to go.

Does frozen beef go bad?

Fully cooked meats like ham, sausage and bacon can be frozen for up to two months, while uncooked beef, poultry and pork can last for up to a year. You can expect raw hamburgers and ground beef to keep their freshness for about three to four months.

Does freezing cooked beef make it last longer?

If you have leftovers that include cooked meat or poultry, those will stay good in the fridge for 3–4 days, and can be kept in the freezer for 2–6 months.

Can you freeze leftover cooked beef?

This results in discolouration of the meat, such as brown spots on your beef. The meat is still perfectly edible, but it can affect the taste, so you may want to trim off any affected areas. It’s fine to freeze cooked meat, including meat leftovers and meals cooked from previously frozen meat.

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