How long can defrosted ground beef stay in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long can defrosted ground beef stay in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of defrosted ground beef. Moreover, we are going to discuss the different ways to spot spoiled ground beef.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long can defrosted ground beef stay in the fridge?

Ground beef defrosted in the fridge lasts for an additional 1-2 days when stored in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag.

On the other hand, if you have defrosted ground beef in a bowl of cold water or the microwave, it is best to cook it right away.

Furthermore, cooked frozen ground beef can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-4 days after being thawed. On the other hand, cooked ground beef that has been thawed in a bowl of cold water or the microwave should be reheated and eaten right away.

How to defrost frozen ground beef?

When it comes to thawing ground beef, there are a few options available, and you can choose any of them based on your preferences.

  1. The best approach to thaw frozen ground beef is to put it in the refrigerator overnight and let it thaw. 
  1. You can thaw the frozen ground beef in a dish of cold water, but it must be cooked right away.
  1. Furthermore, if you’re thawing the ground beef in the oven or microwave, it’s best to cook it right away.

Why is it necessary to cook the ground beef right away if defrosted in a microwave?

The reason for cooking the ground beef right after thawing it in a cold water bowl or microwave is that when you do so, the temperature at the surface of the ground beef rises above 40 degrees Fahrenheit before the core temperature rises to 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the ground beef gets thawed completely, which is when bacteria can start to grow on the surface quickly.

As a result, such thawed ground beef should be cooked as soon as possible until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Because the bacteria can only be entirely eliminated by thoroughly cooking the ground beef.

It’s worth noting that once the frozen ground beef has thawed, it should not be refrozen.

Is it possible to refrigerate the reheated ground beef?

Once the previously cooked refrigerated/frozen ground beef has been reheated, it should never be refrigerated again. Because the temperature of the ground beef goes above 40 degrees Fahrenheit when reheated and we know that bacteria develops rapidly between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. 

As a result, bacteria will make their way into your ground beef, and reheated ground beef should never be refrigerated, rather it is better to consume it completely or otherwise discard the reheated leftovers properly.

How long does fresh ground beef stay in the fridge?

Fresh raw ground beef lasts in the fridge for 1-2 days if kept at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It should be kept in plastic zipper bags on one of the refrigerator’s shelves. On the other hand, cooked ground beef lasts for about 3-4 days if refrigerated properly. Ground beef should be stored in shallow compact containers to allow it to cool quickly.

It’s worth noting that the values given above are for ground beef’s expected shelf life.

How long does ground beef last in the freezer?

Ground beef lasts for up to 4 months in the freezer if wrapped in cling film and stored in an airtight plastic freezer bag, although it is best consumed within 1-2 months for the best quality and taste.

As a result, freezing the ground beef extends its shelf life significantly due to the freezer’s low temperature, which inhibits bacterial growth on the ground beef.

What is the best temperature to keep ground beef at?

Ground beef should be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower at all times. Bacterial development is more rapid between the temperatures of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore it’s best to keep your ground beef at a lower temperature to keep it fresh for longer.

How long does ground beef last at room temperature?

When kept at room temperature, ground beef lasts for around 2 hours.

Because bacterial growth occurs at a quicker rate between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, ground beef left out for more than 2 hours should be discarded.

Furthermore, if the surrounding temperature is around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the rotting process is accelerated, and ground beef left out in the open for more than an hour at such temperature should be discarded.

How to vacuum seal ground beef? 

You may vacuum seal your ground beef at home to extend its shelf life. It involves placing the ground beef in a plastic zipper bag, eliminating the air, then nearly sealing the bag with a small amount of space remaining while lowering it into water.

After that, start pressing out the bubbles starting from the bag’s bottom and work your way up to the sealed end, closing the bag’s seal. 

A vacuum sealer pump can also be used to easily vacuum seal ground beef at home.

What are different ways to spot spoiled ground beef?

There are a few clear indicators that indicate if your ground beef has gone bad. To determine if ground beef has gone bad, look at its appearance, texture, and smell.

Appearance

If you see mold or other organic growth on your ground beef or it has discoloration, it’s time to throw it out.

It’s worth noting that you should avoid smelling moldy ground beef since molds can produce mycotoxins, which can disturb your gut microflora and damage your immune system if they enter your body by inhalation.

Texture

If you touch the ground beef and it feels sticky, slimy, or gooey, it’s time to throw it out.

Smell

If you smell something sour or ammonia-like while sniffing your ground beef, it’s time to throw it out.

Lastly, I do not recommend tasting cooked ground beef with a foul odor, but if you are brave (and silly) enough, you will notice a significant change in the texture and mouthfeel of the spoiled ground beef. It will have an off-flavor.

Thus, if the microbes have somehow gotten into your ground beef and spoiled it, the best thing you can do is throw it out.

You can read about different types of meat here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long can defrosted ground beef stay in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of defrosted ground beef. Moreover, we discussed the different ways to spot spoiled ground beef.

Citations

https://www.stilltasty.com/questions/index/151#:~:text=Ground%20beef%20that’s%20been%20defrosted,same%20timeframe%2C%20says%20the%20USDA.
https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/How-long-can-meat-and-poultry-remain-in-the-refrigerator-once-thawed
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-tell-if-ground-beef-is-bad

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