How Long Fresh Ground Beef Can Be Stored In The Fridge And Freezer

When you buy fresh ground beef to make tacos, spaghetti, burgers, or maybe stuffed peppers, it's essential to get the freshest option available at the butcher or grocery store. The fresh ground beef will taste best, and it will last for its full shelf life in the fridge compared with a package that has a sell-by date that's about to expire. But even when you buy the freshest ground beef, you must know how long it will last in the fridge — and in the freezer if you can't eat it in a timely manner.

You should store ground beef in a refrigerator set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and use it within one to two days, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The ground beef that's left in the fridge for longer could grow bacteria, turn gray on the outside, and have a funky smell and should be tossed. And if you cannot use the ground beef within two days, freeze it because it can last for three to four months in the freezer set at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower without losing its quality, according to the USDA. 

Storing ground beef in the fridge and freezer

When storing ground beef in the fridge, the best storage option is to keep it in the original sealed container that it came in from the market. If you need to open the package to use part of the ground beef, use plastic wrap and tightly cover the remainder, or store it in an airtight container. Just remember that it should still be used within two days of being purchased at the store regardless of whether it's placed in a new container.

To properly freeze ground beef and retain its freshness, it should be stored in a freezer-safe airtight container, sealed a freezer bag that's fully closed, or wrapped tightly with aluminum foil or freezer paper. To extend its shelf life and prevent any potential freezer burn, use a vacuum sealer. And when you're ready to thaw the frozen ground beef, the safest options are to place it in the fridge overnight, place it in cold water, or use the defrost setting on the microwave — but don't forget to use the meat within one to two days after it is defrosted.