Ground beef is a popular ingredient at dinnertime because it’s versatile and easy to cook. You can make burgers with it, but you can also use ground beef to make tacos, lasagna, sloppy joes, or Swedish meatballs! But how long do you keep minced beef after opening?
There are several factors to consider: how long you’ve had the beef, how you’ve frozen it, and how you plan to thaw it.
How Long Can You Freeze Ground Beef?
Ground beef can be frozen for 3-4 months, but this depends on how well it is packaged. Frozen meat that is cooked lasts 1-2 days in the fridge and four months in the freezer. If you are unsure how long your meat has been frozen, it’s best to err on caution and throw it out. For longer storage, it’s best to freeze your minced beef in meal-sized portions. For example, soup recipes often call for 1 pound (16 ounces) of ground beef. It’s best to freeze these amounts separately as they make up a single meal.
The Safest Way to Thaw Frozen Ground Beef
First, let’s talk about many people’s big mistakes when freezing minced beef: wrapping it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then putting it in a resealable plastic bag. This is one of the worst ways to freeze meat for the long term. Why? Because moisture from the meat can seep through those materials and cause freezer burn.
Preserving Meat Proteins
When we say “moisture,” we don’t mean just water. We also mean protein-rich juices, which help keep the meat tender and juicy when cooked. So if you want your uncooked ground meat to retain the sweet and savory flavors, don’t wrap it in anything but freezer paper.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you thaw a frozen hamburger?
The best way to thaw a frozen burger is in the refrigerator. If you’re in a hurry, you can place the frozen cooked meat in a bowl of cold water for 30-60 minutes, but be sure to change the water often to keep the frozen food cold. Do not microwave a hamburger from frozen!
How long does cooked ground beef lasts at room temperature?
The meat usually lasts less than two hours at room temperature, as this is when bacteria begin to grow on it. After two hours, you should throw away any leftovers that haven’t been refrigerated.
Why use freezer paper?
Freezer paper keeps moisture out and provides an airtight seal, so your raw meat stays constantly frozen and fresh until you’re ready to cook it. You can also use a vacuum sealer when you thaw meat, which will remove all the air from the bag and further protect your frozen foods from freezer burn.
Minced beef has a shelf life of 3-4 months in the freezer, but this depends on how well-packaged the frozen meat is. For longer storage, it’s best to freeze your raw ground beef in meal-sized portions. The best way to thaw frozen ground beef is in the refrigerator. Ground beef usually lasts less than two hours at room temperature.