How Long Does Cooked Ground Beef Last in the Fridge?

Spoiled food can ruin your dinner at best and end up in the hospital at worst. So, how long does ground beef keep in the fridge? And how can we extend its duration? Here’s what you should know.

How Long Does Cooked Ground Beef Last in the Fridge?

The USDA recommends that cooked beef be consumed within 3 to 4 days of being refrigerated (40°F or less). Bacterial growth is slowed but not stopped by refrigeration. The USDA advises using cooked leftovers within 3 to 4 days.

How Long Does Cooked Ground Beef Last in the Fridge?

Is Ground Beef Good After 7 Days in the Fridge?

According to the FDA Food Code, all perishable items that have been opened or cooked should be discarded after seven days. Throw out any leftovers that have been in your fridge for more than a week. Some foods should even be discarded before the seven-day period is up.

How to Freeze Ground Beef?

Refrigerate cooked ground beef in shallow airtight containers or wrap tightly in heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap to extend its shelf life for safety and quality.

Cooked ground beef will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days if properly stored.

Cooked ground beef can be frozen to extend its shelf life; freeze in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, or wrap tightly in heavy-duty aluminum foil or freezer wrap.

Place the packaged ground beef in a large bowl of cool water when ready to use. To keep the meat submerged, use a heavy weight. Allow 5 to 10 minutes for it to thaw. Ground beef that has been previously frozen should be used immediately and should not be refrozen.

How Long Does Cooked Ground Beef Last at Room Temperature?

Bacteria grow quickly at temperatures ranging from 40°F to 140°F; cooked ground beef should be discarded if left at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

So Why Does Ground Beef Spoil So Much Quicker?

It’s all about the meat’s surface area. When livestock is slaughtered, it goes through several stages of processing before arriving at your local grocery store.

It is exposed to a variety of germs and bacteria during this process, but these remain on the surface of the meat. Steaks and other larger cuts have small surface areas, which are all directly exposed to heat during cooking.

This kills the microorganisms and renders the meat palatable; because the germs cannot penetrate the inner portion of the meat, rare steaks are safe to eat.

Ground beef, on the other hand, has a significantly larger surface area. It is also subjected to additional processing steps, such as grinding, which exposes it to even more microorganisms and mixes them into the meat.

As a result, ground beef has the most bacteria when compared to other types of meat. This makes it far more prone to spoilage.

How to Know if Ground Beef Is Spoiled?

The only way to be sure is to open it up, stick your nose inside, and sniff it. If it smells off or sour in any way, discard it. You do not want to risk getting food poisoning.

If it smells good, try a small amount. Put it in your mouth and take a bite. Spit it out immediately and rinse your mouth with water if it tastes off, sour, or nasty in any way. That’s more for effect than anything else.

Unlike raw ground beef, it’s much more difficult to tell if cooked meat has gone bad based solely on appearance. However, you can check the meat for molds, fuzzy growths, or dark spots to see if it’s still edible. If there is any evidence of fungi on the surface, discard the meat.