How long can cooked ground beef sit out?
In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long can cooked ground beef sit out” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of cooked ground beef at room temperature. Moreover, we are going to discuss tips to properly store cooked ground beef.
So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.
How long can cooked ground beef sit out?
As per the USDA guidelines, no meat product should be left out in the open for more than 2 hours. To ensure safety, ground beef should be refrigerated so that it can last for 3 – 4 days. Ground beef that has been sitting in the fridge longer than this duration is unsafe and should be discarded.
You should discard the cooked 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 cooked 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 cooked ground beef that is left out in the open for more than an hour at 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
The beef itself is a highly perishable food time and when it is ground, its overall surface area increases. As the surface area of ground beef is increased, therefore there is more space for bacteria to spread on. Moreover, during the mincing and grounding process, the bacteria that were otherwise present on the surface of the meat now gets mixed throughout the whole mixture and the rate of contamination, as well as degradation of ground beef, also increases. Therefore care should be taken while handling, storing, and cooking it.
Shelf life of cooked ground beef in the fridge
Cooked ground beef lasts for about 3-4 days if stored at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the fridge when stored in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag.
Shelf life of cooked ground beef in the freezer
Cooked ground beef, if kept in a heavy-duty freezer container or air-tight plastic freezer bag, can last for about 2-3 months in the freezer.
You can also opt for vacuum sealing at home that can prolong the shelf life of cooked ground beef. It involves the process of putting the cooked ground beef in a plastic zipper bag, removing air from it, and almost sealing the bag with a little space left while lowering it into water. Afterward, press out the bubbles from the bag starting from the bottom of the bag and once you reach the sealed end, you should press the seal closed. A vacuum sealer pump can also be used for this purpose.
Thus keeping the cooked 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 cooked ground beef.
It is worth mentioning that the figures mentioned above are the estimated shelf life of cooked ground beef.
How to thaw frozen cooked ground beef properly?
You can thaw frozen cooked ground beef by leaving them in the fridge overnight. The cooked ground beef that you thaw in the fridge can stay there for 3-4 days before you decide to reheat and eat it.
But if you thaw your cooked ground beef in a bowl of cold water or the microwave, it is advised to consume it immediately after heating it till its internal temperature rises to 165 °F.
Can I refrigerate the reheated cooked ground beef?
So once you have reheated the cooked ground beef, you should never refrigerate it. As when you reheat the cooked ground beef, its temperature rises more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit and we know that bacteria grows at a faster rate between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. So the bacteria will find their way to your cooked ground beef and you should never refrigerate the reheated cooked ground beef.
Tips to store cooked ground beef
- You should always store your cooked ground beef at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore it is always advised to store your cooked ground beef at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness for a long time.
- It is recommended to store cooked ground beef on one of the shelves of the refrigerator rather than the door as there are a lot of temperature fluctuations at the door of the fridge.
- Thaw the cooked ground beef properly before reheating it. If you are thawing your cooked ground beef by keeping it in the refrigerator then you can reheat and utilize it within 3-4 days but if you are directly thawing and reheating it in the microwave it is recommended to consume it immediately.
You can read how to make Korean ground beef stir fry here.
Other FAQs about Beef which you may be interested in.
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In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long can cooked ground beef sit out” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of cooked ground beef at room temperature. Moreover, we discussed tips to properly store cooked ground beef.