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FOOD STORAGE — HOW LONG CAN YOU KEEP...

BEEF, GROUND (HAMBURGER) — FRESH, RAW

RefrigeratorRefrigerator
Blue Arrow Blue Arrow 1-2 days
Freezer Freezer
Blue Arrow Blue Arrow 3-4 months
Tips
  • The exact answer to the question “How long does raw ground beef last?” depends to a large extent on storage conditions — keep ground beef refrigerated at all times.
  • How long does raw ground beef last after the sell-by date? After ground beef is purchased, it may be refrigerated for 1 to 2 days — the "sell-by" date on the package may expire during that storage period, but the ground beef will remain safe to use after the sell by date if it has been properly stored.
  • Unopened ground beef may be kept in its original store packaging when refrigerating; to maximize the shelf life of ground beef, do not open the package until ready to use.
  • How long does raw ground beef last at room temperature? Bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F; ground beef should be discarded if left for more than 2 hours at room temperature.
  • To further extend the shelf life of ground beef, freeze; when freezing, place ground beef in the freezer before the number of days shown for refrigerator storage has elapsed.
  • You can maximize the shelf life of ground beef in the freezer by overwrapping the original store packaging with airtight heavy-duty aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper or place the package inside a heavy-duty freezer bag in order to prevent freezer burn.
  • How long does ground beef last in the freezer for safety purposes? The freezer time shown is for best quality only — foods kept constantly frozen at 0° F will keep safe indefinitely.
  • How long does ground beef last after being frozen and thawed? Ground beef that has been defrosted in the fridge can be kept for an additional 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator before cooking; ground beef that was thawed in the microwave or in cold water should be cooked immediately.
  • How long does ground beef last in the fridge once it is cooked? Cooked ground beef will usually stay good for 3 to 4 days in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer.
  • How to tell if ground beef is bad? The best way is to smell and look at the ground beef: signs of bad ground beef are a sour smell, dull color and slimy texture; discard any ground beef with an off smell or appearance.

Sources: For details about data sources used for food storage information, please click here.

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