how long keep ground beef in fridge

A package of ground beef can stay in the fridge for up to two days from the date of purchase, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. By day two, it’s best to either cook the ground beef or freeze it. Freezing ground beef is a great long-term solution, as it can last in the freezer for months.

Have some leftover steak or a burger that went uneaten? You can safely store it for another meal. However, how long cooked beef lasts depends on how you store it.

When cooking ground beef, the minimum internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer is 160°F (71°C). It is important that a person never leaves ground beef out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, as this can cause harmful bacteria to grow.

Consuming spoiled or undercooked beef can make people feel sick, so individuals should try to store, handle, and prepare beef safely to prevent them from getting ill. There are signs people can be aware of that may warn them that ground beef is now bad.

One quick way to determine if ground beef has spoiled or is good to eat is by looking at the color of the meat. Good quality, unspoiled ground beef bought from the supermarket should be bright red on the outside.

Ground beef is a popular and versatile meat that may be a staple item in many people’s diets in the United States. Research estimates that around 62% of all beef sold in the U.S. is ground. But the process of grinding meat exposes a larger surface area of ground beef to potentially harmful bacteria. This means it is likely to go bad faster than other cuts of beef.

In addition to safe handling and storage of ground beef, people should also ensure they thoroughly cook ground beef to the correct internal temperature to destroy bacteria.

How to Store Cooked Beef

Cooked beef should be stored in the refrigerator. It will cool more quickly if big pieces are cut into smaller ones, or if it is spread out on a baking sheet.

Once its no longer hot, wrap the meat tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it. Its best to refrigerate the meat as quickly as possible, and definitely within two hours of cooking. If meat is left at a temperature of 40 degrees F or warmer for longer than two hours, harmful bacteria can multiply quickly.

Once refrigerated, cooked beef should be eaten within three to four days, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Cooked beef can be stored in the freezer for a longer window of time. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, making sure there is as little air as possible in contact with the meat. Its a good idea to place the wrapped meat in a zip-top freezer bag to further protect against freezer burn, and be sure to label the contents and the date.

According to the USDA, cooked beef will keep in the freezer for two to three months; after that it may still be safe to eat but the texture and flavor may begin to deteriorate.

How to Defrost Cooked Beef

The best way to defrost cooked beef is in the refrigerator. Transfer the wrapped package of frozen meat into the refrigerator, and let it thaw slowly.

This method can take a long time depending on the size of the meat, up to 24 hours for steaks or roasts.

A faster method is to put the wrapped meat in a resealable bag if it isnt already, press out any excess air, and submerge the bag in a large bowl of cool water. Change the water every half hour or so, replacing it with fresh cold water, until the meat is thawed, which can take up to two hours, depending on size.

A package of ground beef can stay in the fridge for up to two days from the date of purchase, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. By day two, it’s best to either cook the ground beef or freeze it. Freezing ground beef is a great long-term solution, as it can last in the freezer for months.

FAQ

Can I eat ground beef after 5 days in fridge?

It is safe to store ground beef in the refrigerator for 1–2 days, and eat leftovers within 4 days. A person can store ground beef in the freezer for up to 4 months. When cooking ground beef, the minimum internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer is 160°F (71°C).

How long can you leave raw ground beef in the fridge?

The refrigerator and freezer are definitely your friends when storing the ground beef you purchase. When you’re preparing to use your ground beef after freezing, make sure to thaw it in the refrigerator to keep it cold. Raw meat can be stored in the refrigerator for one to two days and kept frozen up to four months.

How do you know if ground beef has gone bad?

To determine if your ground beef if spoiled, use your senses. Touch the ground beef. If it’s slimy, that’s not normal. Smell and visually examine at your ground beef, and if it’s brown or an off odor, those could be signs that your ground beef is spoiled.

How long can ground beef stay in the fridge past date?

A sell-by date tells the retailer how long a product can be displayed for sale. Ground beef can be refrigerated and safely eaten up to 2 days past this date. Meanwhile, the expiration date — also labeled as “best before” — tells you when the product will likely start going bad.

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