How Long can Meat Stay in the Fridge After Being Frozen?

If you are planning to buy meat and do not want to waste your money, you should first ask yourself how long meat can stay in the fridge after being frozen. While there are a few things you should consider, there is no set number of days, but it is safe to say that cooked meat can remain in the fridge for about two to three months. Some tips can help you safely store your food in the refrigerator and prolong the life of your meat.

A good rule of thumb is to keep cooked meats at 40 degrees or less. Similarly, seafood should be frozen at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or less. The temperature should be kept as low as possible to prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying. Besides keeping the meat cold, there are other ways to increase the time of a piece of meat’s shelf life. One is to vacuum seal it. This ensures that there are no leaks. Another is to place the pieces in a freezer bag.

What is Meat?

Meat is the animal flesh consumed as food. Since the beginning, humans have hunted, farmed, and scavenged for meat from various animals. Domesticating animals like chickens, lambs, rabbits, pigs, and cattle was made possible by the Neolithic Revolution’s settlement-building. This ultimately led to their usage in industrial-scale butcher meat production.

Water, protein, and fat make up the majority of meat. Although it can be eaten raw, most people prefer to consume it cooked, seasoned, or processed in several ways. Because of bacterial and fungal contamination and microbial breakdown, unprocessed meat will decay or rot within hours or days.

How Long can Meat Stay in the Fridge After Being Frozen?


Whole chickens and turkeys can be frozen for up to a year. The recommended storage period for turkey or chicken breasts, thighs, or wings is nine months, and the recommended storage period for giblets is three to four months.

Lamb, Veal, and Beef

Steaks that are still raw can be frozen for six to twelve months. While roasts can be frozen for up to a year, chops last for four to six months.


Regarding freezing, pork is identical to beef: While roasts can be refrigerated for up to a year, chops only survive four to six months. More than one to two months should not be spent freezing processed pig products, including bacon, sausage, hot dogs, ham, and lunch meats.

Meat and Seafood

In the freezer, lean fish can keep for six to eight months, but fatty fish barely keeps for two to three.

What is the Correct Method of Storing Meat?

Good food safety practices should be followed as soon as food enters a kitchen. Before anything else, you should be mindful of its temperature and the surfaces and foods it comes into touch with. Do not accept the delivery if the temperature is above the range for safe storage because the food may already be unhealthy and potentially dangerous.

To prevent animal juices from contaminating other items, make sure that all meat, fish, and poultry are in sealed containers. Food can be protected with cling film, but it must be utilized properly, like many other things. Check the box’s description to see what meals it can use because not all cling film can be used with all foods. However, if at all possible vacuum-packed meat is always best.

As soon as the product is delivered, check its temperature and promptly refrigerate or freeze raw goods. After purchase or receipt, fresh chicken, fish, ground meats, and organ meats can all be frozen for up to two days. Three to five days should pass before freezing beef, lamb, and pork. When storing meat and poultry in their original packaging in the freezer for over two months, add a layer of protection using airtight plastic wrap or plastic freezer bags.

Ensure your refrigerator is cold enough to stop food-poisoning germs from growing and increasing; a temperature range of 0°C and five °C is advised. Additionally, it’s crucial to keep your refrigerator clean, washing it frequently on the inside and outside.

Which Cuts of Meat are Best for Moist Heat Cooking?

The right cooking technique must be chosen for the meat cut. To help break down the tough connective tissues, provide moisture to the meat, and cook the meat gently over a lengthy period, less tender pieces of meat require moist heat cooking techniques. Most of the time, dry heat is used for cooking more delicate portions of meat because they don’t need moisture or lengthy, slow cooking.

The method used to prepare a particular cut of meat should be directly related to how naturally tender that cut is.

The location of the meat on the animal, the amount of marbling, the animal’s age, the method used to keep the meat, and the method used to prepare the meat for the market all affect how tender the meat is.

The meat will be less soft the further away it is from the loin portion, which often has the most tender pieces.

How to Freeze Meat?

As they freeze differently, various meat slices have distinct needs. Fish should only be stored in water or airtight packaging, beef only retains its flavor for around 4-6 months in the freezer, and chicken breasts should be individually wrapped and frozen promptly after purchase.

Nevertheless, despite the variations in cutting, they all adhere to the same fundamental guidelines for safe freezing and storage. Use these suggestions to keep your freezer tidy and organized while ensuring your meat is safely frozen and protected from dangerous bacteria!

Organization is Essential

Many people make the error of freezing a lot of meat all at once. This might complicate the freezing and thawing processes, so avoid doing it whenever you can. Instead, meat should be kept in portions suitable for a meal, with the cut, quantity, and date marked. Doing this ensures that your meat is thawing evenly and freezing without exposing it to bacteria.

Quickly Freeze Meat

Meat should always be frozen as quickly as possible while doing so. This stops big ice crystals from growing along the surface of the meat, which can cause freezer burn and result in drier, harder meat when thawed. Ensure your freezer is set to a minimum temperature of 0°F to prevent this from happening.

When Freezing Meat, Wrap it Up

Avoiding exposure of frozen meat to outdoor air is crucial. However, you can get by just fine by double wrapping slices of meat in freezer paper, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or airtight zip-loc bags. Vacuum sealers are perfect for making sure that meats are wrapped appropriately.

How to Thaw Frozen Meat?

Ts is never a good idea. Meat has a higher propensity to grow bacteria when thawed at room temperature, which can make you sick and sour that is never a good idea to thaw frozen meat outside or on the counter—The Flavor of the cut. The microwave, refrigerator, or cold water bath are the safest places to thaw frozen meat.

We firmly think that, for the greatest results, meat should always be thawed overnight in the refrigerator (or many nights for larger cuts). Additionally, once the meat has thawed in the refrigerator, it can be frozen once more if you change your mind.

However, if you’re in a hurry, you may safely defrost fully wrapped chunks of meat in a basin of cold water in a few hours. Just be sure to change the water around every 30 minutes to prevent the growth of bacteria on your meat.

If you must thaw meat quickly, only do so in the microwave because it alters the consistency and texture of the flesh. Because every microwave is unique, you should consult the manufacturer’s manual to ensure you’re correctly thawing meat in your microwave.

How to Identify Spoiled Meat?

Perhaps the quickest and most accurate sign is the smell. When meat is off, it will have a foul scent that will cause you to turn away instantly. Remember that just because something doesn’t smell bad doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe. Make sure the meat doesn’t smell like bleach or ammonia, indicating that it might be old but was misrepresented as fresh. Bacteria may be hiding in meat that isn’t “rotten,” making you regret your lunchtime fast food burger in a whole new way.

Although texture can be slightly more subtle, you can typically detect whether something is slimy or sticky. Are you combined with a foul smell? Goodbye, my little buddy.

Another indicator is color. Natural greying or browning occasionally occurs, especially with ground meats. Green is another matter; avoid it.

Always check the sell-by date, and don’t forget to account for how long it will remain fresh in your refrigerator before you intend to cook it. Two days after the sell-by date is a decent cutoff point. Additionally, if you have ground meat more than a day or two past its sell-by date, cook it (but never if it smells bad). If properly preserved, cooked ground meat will remain edible for a week.

What are the Adverse Effects of Consuming Spoiled Meat?

Red meat consumption has been associated with higher rates of heart disease, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes. The magnitude of the connections for processed red meat is greater.

When Harvard University published research in 2011 suggesting that consuming unprocessed beef was linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, the study garnered significant media attention.

Those who consumed more than 110g of unprocessed red meat each day had a 20% increased chance of developing diabetes. However, the inclusion of hamburgers on the list of unprocessed foods in the study drew some criticism. A meal of processed beef increases a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes by 50%.

Red meat that has been processed includes cuts that have been cured, cooked in advance, ground, or to which preservatives and binding agents have been added.

Most hams sold in supermarkets will likely have undergone preservation treatment (such as nitrites) and may be made of minced (ground) meat.

Reference: Meat and Human Health—Current Knowledge and Research Gaps

Despite small variations based on the animal’s species, food, and age, saturated fatty acids (SFAs) typically make up about half of the fat in meat, and meat accounts for roughly half of the maximum advised intake of SFAs. Since multiple sizable observational studies have linked a high intake of red and processed meat with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, all-cause mortality, and type 2 diabetes, the high contribution of SFA has come under the spotlight. In the past 30 years, dietary recommendations have promoted limiting SFA intake to less than 10% of total dietary energy to lower the risk of death and disease.


Whether you’re looking to stock up on ground meat or just starting to try new recipes, it’s important to know how to store your meat so it will stay fresh for longer. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends freezing and refrigerating raw ground beef. While it may last up to four months in the freezer, the quality will deteriorate over time.

When freezing ground meat, the USDA recommends that you freeze it in its original packaging. If you’re planning on freezing meat, it’s best to use vacuum-sealed packages to minimize oxygen exposure. If you don’t have a vacuum packer, you can wrap your meat in a freezer-safe plastic bag.