How long does ground beef last in the fridge?

ground beef

How long does ground beef last in the fridge? Raw ground beef lasts in the refrigerator for up to two days, while cooked ground beef lasts up to four days. Consuming raw and cooked ground beef as quickly as possible will ensure the meat is tasty and not spoiled. Spoilage bacteria multiply rapidly, and it’s a nasty thing; therefore, avoiding it is necessary not only for your taste buds but also for your stomach.

In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about storing ground beef, signs of spoilage, and how long both cooked and raw ground beef last in the fridge. When stored properly, ground beef will not spoil before a use-by date.

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How long does ground beef last in the fridge?

Before we go any further, here’s what you need to know. On meat packaging, there’s a sell-by date and a use-by date. Sell-by date indicates the recommended time by which it should be sold, while the use-by date suggests the day it should be consumed.

how long can you keep minced beef in a fridge

Keep in mind that cooked meat and raw meat can stay in the fridge for a different amount of days. Here’s how long both raw and ground meat can stay in the fridge:

How long does raw ground beef last in the fridge?

According to the USDA, raw ground beef last in the fridge for up to two days. However, to be safe and sound, try to consume it within a day, or if you do not plan on cooking ground beef, store it in a freezer. It can stay in a freezer for up to 4 months.

How long does cooked ground beef last in the fridge?

According to the USDA, cooked ground beef can last in the fridge for up to 4 days; however, it’s better to consume it within three days to be cautious.

How to tell if ground beef has gone bad?

Here’s how to know if your beef is spoiled:

How to tell if raw ground beef has gone bad?

  • The use-by date has passed. The label on the meat package has a use-by date so if you suspect your ground beef has spoiled, check it to make sure it’s not past the use-by date.
  • Ground beef has discolored. Fresh ground beef should have a bright red color. However, if you noticed your ground beef had turned dark gray, it might be a sign that it’s gone bad. It happens when meat is exposed to oxygen. The process is known as oxidation. If you want to learn more about how bad steak looks, read this article.
  • Slimy Texture. Spoiled ground beef has a slimy texture that sticks to the fingers when squeezing meat between fingers. Slime on the meat is bacteria – it’s a sure sign that steak has begun to spoil. Fresh, high-quality beef should have a firm texture and easily break apart without leaving a slimy film on your palms and fingers.
  • Smell. It’s one of the strongest indicators of meat spoilage. Harmful bacteria on ground beef cause an unpleasant sour smell. Fresh, quality ground beef should be odorless.

How to know if cooked ground beef has gone bad?

  • Smell. Ammonia odor indicates it’s time to throw cooked ground beef into the bin. It should smell like cooked beef with a hint of aromatics used for seasoning.
  • Slimy texture. The slimy texture is bacteria caused due to extended or improper meat storage. If it feels sticky, throw it away to avoid food poisoning. Here are some food safety tips: before handling ground beef, use kitchen gloves.
  • Mold. Yet one more excellent indicator that the ground beef is out of date is mold growing on the surface of the ground beef. Do not consume it and throw it away.

How to properly store ground beef (raw and cooked)?

storing ground beef

Refrigerate in the original packaging

Once you have bought fresh ground beef, place it in the refrigerator in the original packaging on the lowest shelf to prevent juices from accidentally contaminating other products in the fridge. Keep it at 40 °F or below for no more than two days.

Store in an air-tight

Both raw beef and cooked ground beef can be stored in an air-tight container. Make sure to remove as much air as possible to prevent the meat from spoilage and oxidation. Raw meat stays in an air-tight container for up to 2 days, while cooked ground beef can stay in the air-tight container for 3-4 days.

Vacuum seal

You can vacuum seal both raw and cooked ground beef. Sealing protects the meat from oxidation and spoilage before a use-by date. However, it does not mean you can keep it in a fridge for too long. You should still adhere to the USDA guidelines. Vacuum sealing should extend the shelf life; however, still, use your senses to check for meat spoilage signs if using meat past its use-by date. Keep the sealed ground beef on the bottom shelf of the fridge to avoid cross-contamination.

Freeze ground beef

You can freeze raw and cooked ground beef for up to 4 months. Place it in a plastic bag made for freezing, freezer paper, vacuum seal bag, or an air-tight container suitable for freezing. It’s essential to use proper storage containers and bags to prevent freezer burn. While raw ground beef can stay in a freezer for up to 4 months, cooked ground beef can remain in a freezer for only 3-4 months without going bad. So make sure to label your meat before putting it in a freezer; otherwise, you’ll have a hard time figuring out when it was frozen.


How to thaw ground beef?

Take the beef mince out of the freezer and thaw it in the fridge overnight. To thaw a big lump of raw ground meat takes quite a while. Thawing frozen meat in the refrigerator is the safest method since it prevents the meat from spoiling.

Does vacuum sealing extend the shelf life of ground beef?

Vacuum sealing extends the shelf life of the ground beef by 3-5 times compared to supermarket-bought packaging.

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