Can you thaw and refreeze ground beef?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you thaw and refreeze ground beef?”, and how to safely thaw and refreeze ground beef?

Can you thaw and refreeze ground beef?

Yes, you can refreeze ground beef. However, it is not recommended since each thawing and refreezing cycle negatively impacts the texture and taste of ground beef. 

You can minimize the quality changes by safely refreezing the ground beef and taking a few precautionary measures to ensure food safety.

How to safely refreeze ground beef?

Meat is a perishable food commodity. But when it is ground, it is naturally exposed to a lot of spoilage and disease-causing microbes. The surface area of the ground beef adds to the vulnerability.

If you thawed your ground beef, whether cooked or uncooked, in a refrigerator then It will be safe to use within 3-4 days. You can either cook it or toss it back into the freezer. 

But If it had been thawed out in the open and kept there for more than 2 hours or 1 hour in case the temperature was above 32 degrees Celcius, it is likely to have become unsafe for consumption. Whether your meat is cooked or not, always use a heavy-duty plastic/aluminum bag to contain it. 

If you are not using vacuum-sealed bags then squeeze out as much air as possible from the bag. This creates a vacuum-like environment with minimum air contact. 

Raw ground meat will stay fresh for 3-4 months in the freezer.

How long can you keep thawed ground beef in the fridge?

As per the USDA, thawed ground beef can be safely kept for 1-2 days in the fridge. However, this only applies if the ground beef was thawed in the fridge overnight. 

Ground beef thawed by quick methods, such as in the microwave or under the tap water, must be cooked immediately after thawing.

How to safely thaw ground beef?

There are three safe ways as recommended by the USDA to thaw your raw ground beef.

  1. Plan ahead and always try to defrost your meat(cooked or uncooked) in the refrigerator. Refrigeration temperature will prevent the bacteria from multiplying.
  1. If you are in a hurry and want to cook meat, opt for a microwave. Just put your meat on a microwave-friendly plate and remove it once thawed completely. 

Note that this method is applicable only when you are going to cook it immediately after.

Defrosting in the microwave deprives the meat of its moisture and when you cook your meat, it feels very chewy.

  1. The third way is to put your meat in a plastic bag. Seal it tight. Put the bag in a container and fill it with water. Keep changing the water after regular intervals. Cook your meat immediately after thawing.

Never thaw your meat on a tabletop or counter at room temperature. That’s just a very bad idea because you are giving bacteria the perfect chance to grow to unacceptable levels.

Can you cook beef from frozen?

Yes, you can cook beef from frozen. Frozen beef cuts like roasts can be stored in the freezer for 4-12 months while beef steals will last 6-12 months. Ground beef has a shelf-life of 3-4 months in the freezer. Follow the safety guidelines below when cooking beef from frozen.

  1. Do not cook frozen beef in a cooker or crockpot. This allows the beef to stay at the temperature range of the “Danger zone” for too long which results in the growth of microbes. 
  1. The best place to thaw frozen beef before cooking is the fridge. Let it stay in the fridge overnight. If you leave the beef on the counter to defrost for more than two hours, It becomes unsafe for consumption.

How to tell if the beef has spoiled?

Keep a track of the expiration dates and do not consume if the beef is past its expiry. In case the meat was frozen, it will be safe to eat past its expiry.

Color

If the beef has developed grey, green, or brown patches on the surface, throw it out because it is a clear sign of spoilage. Fresh meat has a bright red color due to oxymyoglobin. Raw ground beef that looks grey or brown from the inside is safe to eat.

Texture

Fresh meat looks juicy and firm. If the meat develops a slimy texture and feels tacky upon touching, discard it immediately.

Smell

If the meat is rotting, it will give off a rancid and putrid odor due to the growth of spoilage bacteria like Lactobacillus and Pseudomonas.

Other FAQs about Beef  that you may be interested in.

Can you eat beef raw?

How long to keep ground beef in the fridge?

Can I refreeze thawed ground beef?

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “Can you thaw and refreeze ground beef?”, and how to safely thaw and refreeze ground beef?

References

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/meat/ground-beef-and-food-safety#:~:text=The%20best%20way%20to%20safely,within%201%20or%202%20days.&text=Do%20not%20refreeze%20raw%20ground,unless%20you%20cook%20it%20first.
https://www.southernliving.com/meat/beef/can-you-refreeze-ground-beef
https://www.thepioneerwoman.com/food-cooking/cooking-tips-tutorials/a36972979/can-you-refreeze-meat/
https://food.unl.edu/free-resources/newsletters/it-safe-refreeze-raw-meat-and-poultry-has-thawed

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.