How Long Can You Use Frozen Ground Beef

How long will ground beef stay good in the freezer?

You may be surprised to find that frozen meat can technically last forever in a properly cooled freezer (one that remains at 0°F) — but it does have a “best by” shelf life after which taste declines. According to the USDAs freezing and food safety guide, loss of moisture is a big reason why frozen ground beef loses flavor over long periods of time. Raw beef is best used within three to four months of freezing, per the USDA. Due to the loss of moisture in the cooking process, cooked ground beef can last two to three months in the freezer.

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How to properly store ground beef in the freezer

Frozen meat can be frozen in its original store packaging for up to two months, according to U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines. If you plan to keep it longer than that, you can wrap the original packaging in heavy-duty foil or place it in a freezer bag to stop air from getting in. Be sure to label the meat with the date it was frozen so theres no guessing how long its been in there.

Additionally, according to the USDA, the sooner raw beef is frozen, the better. When the meat is defrosted, it will taste fresher if you put it in the freezer as soon as you return from the grocery store rather than freezing it closer to its expiration date or after it has been cooked.

The USDA states that cooked beef, on the other hand, can be frozen in three to four days, provided it is never kept outside of the refrigerator for longer than two hours.

One to two days after being taken out of the freezer, raw meat that has been frozen and thawed in the refrigerator can be refrozen. However, the only meat that can be safely frozen is cooked meat that has only been out for a few hours or raw meat that has been refrigerated.