Can you refreeze ground beef after defrosting?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you refreeze ground beef after defrosting” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not you can refreeze thawed ground beef. Moreover, we are going to discuss the shelf life of ground beef and tips to properly store ground beef.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Can you refreeze ground beef after defrosting?

If you have thawed the ground beef by leaving it in the fridge then you can refreeze it but if you have thawed it in a bowl of cold water, in the microwave, or by leaving it at the counter then it is not recommended to refreeze such defrosted ground beef owing to safety concerns.

It is worth mentioning that even if you can refreeze the ground beef thawed in the fridge still the beef will face some textural change. If you have thawed ground beef in the refrigerator then it is advised to use it within 1-2 days once thawed.

Moreover, if frozen ground beef is thawed by letting it sit on the counter, you should cook it within 2 hours or else discard it after 2 hours. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore there are greater chances of the ground beef being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2hours.

How long can ground beef stay in the freezer?

Ground beef lasts for about 3-4 months in the freezer when stored properly in an air-tight container or plastic freezer bag.

Thus keeping the ground beef in the freezer will increase its shelf life considerably owing to the cool temperature of the freezer that halts the bacterial growth on the ground beef.

How to thaw frozen ground beef?

When it comes to thawing ground beef there are a couple of ways that you can use to do so.

  1. You can thaw the frozen ground beef by keeping it in the fridge overnight. The ground beef thawed this way stays good for 1-2 days when stored in the fridge. It is worth mentioning that thawing the ground beef by leaving it in the fridge is the best method to defrost it as ground beef won’t face extreme temperature fluctuation this way.
  1. Another method that you can use to thaw your frozen ground beef is to submerge the plastic zipper bag containing the ground beef in a bowl of cold water. It is worth mentioning that you should cook the ground beef thawed this way right away.
  1. You can also taw your ground beef in the microwave or oven but it is recommended to cook it immediately after defrosting.

The reason behind cooking the ground beef immediately after thawing it in a cold water bowl or microwave is that when you warm the ground beef using these methods, the temperature at the surface of the ground beef gets higher than that of 40 degrees Fahrenheit before the core temperature can become 40 degrees Fahrenheit and it can thaw completely and that’s when the bacteria can start to grow on the surface rapidly.

Therefore it is advised to cook such thawed ground beef immediately because it is only by cooking the ground beef properly that we can get rid of the bacteria completely.

You can read how to make meatballs here.

How long can ground beef stay in the fridge?

Ground beef lasts for 1-2 days in the fridge if stored in an air-tight bottle or air-tight container at or below 40°F. 

How long can ground beef stay at room temperature?

Ground beef lasts for about 2 hours when kept at room temperature.

You should discard the ground beef that has been left in open for more than 2 hours as bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore there are greater chances of the ground beef being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours.

Moreover, if the temperature of the surroundings is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then the process of spoilage takes place at a faster pace and it is recommended to discard ground beef that is left out in the open for more than an hour at 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is worth mentioning that the figures mentioned above are the estimated shelf life of ground beef.

Tips to properly store ground beef

  1. You should always store the expressed ground beef at 40°F or below. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40°F and 140°F, therefore it is always advised to store ground beef at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness and quality for a long time.
  1. Ground beef can pick up odors therefore it should be stored in an air-tight container or bottle in the fridge. Moreover, it should be stored away from strong-smelling food items like garlic, onion, etc. 
  1. It is better to store the ground beef on one of the shelves of the refrigerator rather than the door as there is a lot of temperature fluctuation at the door of the fridge.
  1. It is best practice to store the raw ground beef on the lowest shelf of the fridge to eliminate any chances of its dripping on any other food item.
  1. You should never refreeze thawed ground beef.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you refreeze ground beef after defrosting” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not you can refreeze thawed ground beef. Moreover, we discussed the shelf life of ground beef and tips to properly store ground beef.

Citations

https://www.southernliving.com/meat/beef/can-you-refreeze-ground-beef#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20USDA’s%20Food,perfectly%20OK%20to%20refreeze%20it.
https://www.livestrong.com/article/526987-is-it-safe-to-freeze-thawed-ground-beef/
https://food.unl.edu/free-resources/newsletters/it-safe-refreeze-raw-meat-and-poultry-has-thawed
https://www.purewow.com/food/can-you-refreeze-meat
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/can-you-refreeze-meat

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.