Can You Freeze Steak? (Here’s What to Keep In Mind)

Iva Carter
Published by Iva Carter
Last Updated On: December 4, 2023

I’ve been on a carnivore diet for more than a decade, and most of the time, I buy meat in bulk. But, one of the issues I have is how to freeze steaks.

I’ve been trying different methods of freezing meat for years, so today, I’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to freeze raw steak. I’ll also explain how to defrost meat and how long sirloin steak can stay frozen.

Quick Summary

  • Freezing steak is possible and can maintain its quality and flavor when done correctly.
  • Proper freezing involves wrapping the steak in two layers, pressing out air if using a freezer bag, and labeling for easy identification.
  • Once the steak has been defrosted, it can’t be frozen again.

The Right Way to Freeze the Steak

A stack of raw steak on a wooden board

Here’s how to freeze the steak step-by-step:

  • Wrap — You should wrap the steak in two layers to preserve it from the freezer environment. Use plastic wrap for the first layer and wrap the meat tightly. Make sure there’s no way for air to reach the steak or you risk the steak developing freezer burn.
  • Package — It’s time for the second wrap. Alternatively, you can use a bag such as a freezer bag or freezer paper. Or, just use the second layer of plastic wrap. This gives frozen meat an extra layer of protection.
  • Press — If you put the steak into a freezer bag, press out the air. You want to ensure there’s no air inside before you seal the steak.
  • Label — Freezing ribeye steak will keep it as it was before you placed it in the freezer. You should label it so it’s easy to find when you want to defrost, especially if you plan to keep it frozen for a long time. Many bags come with an area where you can label flank steak, cooked beef, skirt steak, and more.

Note: You can freeze cooked steak the same way as freezing steak. However, the storage time for cooked steak is much shorter — about three months, because of flavor taint [1]. Flavors of cooked frozen steak can oxidize in the freezer after some time, so you shouldn't keep frozen steak in the freezer for too long.

Read More: Can You Refreeze Chicken?

Tips for Freezing Steak

A chef holding steak in a kitchen

Here’s what to keep in mind when freezing steaks:

  • Use a vacuum sealer — This will especially come in handy if you freeze a lot of steaks or have many individual cuts. A vacuum sealer mechanically removes air from freezer bags so that you can avoid freezer burn. Plus, it makes the freezing process easier for you.
  • Store steaks properly — Lay the steaks flat in the freezer. This will ensure the steak is in its original form when it’s time to thaw it. It won’t be bent or lopsided.
  • Freeze the steak rapidly — If you slowly freeze the steak, the water inside will turn to ice crystals, which can rupture the muscle cell structure, which results in less moisture in the thawed steak. It’s crucial to freeze the steak properly and at a temperature below zero so there are smaller ice crystals and you don’t end up with a mushy steak texture.

Also Read: Can You Refreeze Meat?

Ways to Defrost Steak

Strategies on how to defrost steak:

  • In the fridge — Put the steak in the refrigerator for 24 hours, so it gradually defrosts. Make sure to place it on a plate to avoid dripping.
  • In cold water — If you can’t wait a day for the steak to thaw, place it in a large bowl with cold water. There’s no need to unwrap the steak; you can leave it wrapped or in a zip-top bag. The steak will need six to ten hours to defrost completely.
  • Microwaving is the fastest way to thaw steaks in the microwave, but it can leave the steak tough and dry out a juicy steak. Place the steak in the microwave until it thaws, and keep an eye on it.

How Long Can Steak Stay Frozen?

A person handling frozen meat

How long the steak can stay frozen depends on its cut and size.

But, if you properly wrap the skirt steak or keep it in an airtight container, it can remain frozen for at least six months to more than a year.

“Storage for a long period of time is not dangerous, but flavors and textures can deteriorate. For this reason, date packages before you put them in the freezer.”
- University of Illinois, Meat Safety for the Consumer

Here’s a guide on storing food in the freezer:

  • Uncooked steak — 6 to 12 months
  • Cooked steak — 3 months
  • Marinated steak — 3 months

Tightly wrapping the steak or placing it in a zip-top bag to prevent air from reaching the meat can make it last forever [2].

However, the flavor won’t be the same after 12 months. You should use appropriately stored steak for six months for the best taste. This will also prevent freezer burn.

Note: Once you thaw meat, you can’t defrost it. If it’s raw, your best bet is to cook it and then freeze it again.

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FAQs

Does Freezing Steak Ruin It?

No, freezing steak doesn’t ruin it, as long as you freeze the steak correctly and use it in due time.

Can You Freeze the Steak in the Package?

Yes, you can freeze the steak in the package, such as in supermarket wrapping, but ensure this package doesn’t let in the air when the steak freezes. However, if you plan to keep the steak frozen for a long, it’s better to freeze steaks in freezer bags and press them to remove air.

Does Freezing Steaks Change the Taste?

No, freezing steaks doesn’t change the taste, as long as the steak is wrapped in aluminum foil or placed in a freezer bag. You should also make sure to remove as much air as possible from the bag.


References:

  1. https://www.weber.com/US/en/grill-skills/mastering-red-meat/steak/freezing-steaks/weber
  2. https://web.extension.illinois.edu/meatsafety/freezer.cfm
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About the author

Iva Carter
Associate Editor
Iva Carter is a FBP certified foodie and influencer who loves to share delicious yet quick dinner recipes. When she's not in the kitchen concocting meaty delights, you'll find her playing with her dog, Sylvie.
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