How long is ground beef good for in the fridge? (+3 Tips)

In this article, we will answer the question “How long is ground beef good for in the fridge?”, and how to tell If the ground beef has spoiled?

How long is ground beef good for in the fridge?

Raw ground beef will last 3 days while cooked ground beef will stay fresh for up to 4 days in the fridge. The meat will remain the best quality for the time periods suggested below. It may remain safe beyond this time but not of the prime quality.

In the fridgeIn the freezer
Raw ground beefUp to 3 daysUp to 4 months
Cooked ground beefUp to 4 daysUp to 3 months

How to tell if the ground beef has spoiled?

Color

If the ground 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.

Expiration date

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

How to store ground beef?

Refrigerate your ground beef in its original packaging if it is to be consumed within 3 days of its purchase. Keep at a steady temperature of 4.4°C or below.

Cured ground meat will last more in the fridge than raw meat. It is not recommended to store partially cooked ground meat. This allows the bacteria to multiply to unsafe levels that cannot be destroyed by subsequent cooking.

If meat is to be stored for longer time periods, then freezing is a good choice. For freezing, take out the meat from the original packaging and transfer it to a freezer bag or a heavy-duty plastic bag to prevent freeze injury. The meat will remain safe indefinitely at a steady freezing temperature but gradually loses quality over time.

How to thaw ground beef?

Do not thaw your meat at room temperature. Instead, plan ahead and thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Refrain from refreezing thawed ground beef as it will considerably damage the quality.

The freeze-thaw cycle will result in the formation of larger ice crystals each time. These crystals, each time when they melt, disrupt the texture and deprive the meat of essential nutrients.

Although it is not recommended, if you are in a hurry and will be cooking your meat immediately after thawing, you can thaw your meat under cold running water.

The second option is to microwave it. This is going to damage the quality and partially cook your meat and is not recommended. You can also thaw ground beef by keeping the bag in a bowl full of water and changing the water every 30 minutes or so.

Cons of refreezing thawed ground beef

Although it is safe to refreeze thawed beef, it may not necessarily remain of the best quality. Because the freeze and thaw cycles are eventually going to damage the quality of your meat and this reflects in the loss of moisture and undesirable textural changes.

This dried-out meat can be used for soups or you can season it with a marinade or a sauce. Use this meat in lasagna, pie, or pasta.

How to brown frozen ground beef?

Let the frozen beef thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking. For this, you need to plan ahead. Cook the beef with the method of your choice. To be safe, check the internal temperature of the beef with a thermometer. It should be at least 165°F, according to the USDA.

How to drain fat from cooked ground beef?

  1. Tilt the pot you used to cook the ground beef. Push the meat to one side and let the pot stay in the tilter position until the fat collects on the bottom of the pot or pan. 
  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove the drained fat and discard as is or after refrigerating so that it solidifies
  3. Now transfer the beef onto a paper towel and let it absorb the remaining fat.

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “How long is ground beef good for in the fridge?”, and how to tell If the ground beef has spoiled?

References

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-tell-if-ground-beef-is-bad#2.-Inspect-the-texture
https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/meat-preparation/ground-beef-and-food-safety/ct_index#:~:text=Never%20leave%20ground%20beef%20or,meat%20may%20contain%20harmful%20bacteria.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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