From chicken to pork and more, here is our guide on when to toss these items out.
Hosting a backyard bash full of flavorful grilling recipes or throwing together a hearty family dinner can be a cinch if you’ve got protein options in your freezer. Plus, buying meat in bulk and freezing some for later = major savings. But if that ribeye has been in your freezer for a while, you might be wondering: How long does frozen meat last?
According to the USDA, frozen foods are safe to eat indefinitely. But just because something is ok to consume doesn’t mean it will still taste delicious after years in a deep freeze. Here’s how it works: Zero-degree temps (and below) inactivate any bacteria, yeasts or molds and prevent harmful microorganisms from growing. Frozen foods, however, will decrease in quality (think: taste, texture, color, etc.) over time, especially if they are loosely wrapped or frozen slowly. So while you won’t get sick from your months-old frozen steak, it might not make for the juiciest cut.
We put together guidelines based on recommendations from the FDA for how long to store all types of meat in the freezer. And when it comes time to thaw that prized piece, be sure to defrost meat safely for the healthiest — and tastiest — result.
*The graphic above illustrates our Chief Food Directors professional opinion on frozen meat quality over time, which may suggest shorter freezing time than the FDAs recommended time outlined below.
|Food||Type||Freezer (0 °F or below)|
|Hamburger, ground meats and ground poultry||Hamburger, ground beef, turkey, chicken, other poultry, veal, pork, lamb, and mixtures of them||3 to 4 months|
|Fresh beef, veal, lamb, and pork||Steaks||4 to 12 months|
|Chops||4 to 12 months|
|Roasts||4 to 12 months|
Safe Food FAQs – How Long Are Frozen Foods Good?
How do I store meat in the freezer?
First, make sure that youre freezing meat — and all other foods — at a temperature of 0° Fahrenheit or lower. This is the temp that keeps food safe. Its fine to freeze meat in its original packaging, but if youre planning to keep it in your freezer for longer than two months the FDA recommends that you switch to heavy-duty packaging like foil, plastic wrap or . You can seal protein inside an airtight , too. Lock in freshness using one of our top-tested, best vacuum sealers.
How long does frozen meat last?
Whole chickens and turkeys can last up to a year in the freezer. Turkey or chicken breasts, thighs, or wings should be consumed within nine months, while giblets should be kept no longer than three to four months.
Beef, Veal, & Lamb
Raw steaks can be kept in the freezer for six to 12 months. Chops last four to six months while roasts can be frozen for up to a year.
Uncooked pork has similar freezer guidelines to beef: Chops last four to six months in the freezer, while roasts can be frozen for up to a year. Processed pork, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, ham, and lunch meats, should not be kept in the freezer for longer than one to two months.
Lean fish can last six to eight months in the freezer while fatty fish only lasts two to three months.
Not sure if your fish is lean or fatty? Common lean fish include bass, cod, tuna and tilapia, while fatty fish include mackerel, salmon and sardines.
Other fresh seafood such as shrimp, scallops, crawfish, and squid should last three to six months in the freezer.
Ground beef, turkey, lamb, or veal will preserve their quality in the freezer for three to four months. (The same goes for hamburger meat!)
Cooked & Leftover Meat
Looking to save that leftover turkey? Cooked meat doesnt 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 shouldnt be kept for longer than two to three months.
Hannah (she/her) is the associate commerce editor for Prevention. Previously, she was the editorial assistant for Good Housekeeping, where she writes health content and assists with social media strategy across platforms including Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Twitter. Previously GHs editorial fellow, she earned her bachelors degree in writing seminars and psychology from Johns Hopkins University. When she isn’t endlessly scrolling through social media, you can often find her clicking away behind a camera, fangirling over Taylor Swift or trying out new food spots in New York City.
Samantha (she/her) is an editorial assistant in the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, where she writes about tasty recipes, must-try food products and top-tested secrets for home cooking success. She has taste-tasted hundreds of products and recipes since joining GH in 2020 (tough job!). A graduate of Fordham University, she considers the kitchen to be her happiest place.This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.
Is 2 year old frozen beef still good?
Is meat frozen for 4 years still good?
Is 10 year old frozen meat still good?
Is frozen beef good after a year?
According to the handy cold storage chart located at FoodSafety.gov, ground meats have the shortest freezer shelf life, at three to four months. Fresh cuts of beef, veal, lamb, and pork — including steaks, chops, and roasts — will last for between four and 12 months.