Can You Refreeze Ground Beef? (5 Safety Tips to Consider)

Jayden Lawson
Published by Jayden Lawson
Last Updated On: December 4, 2023

Ground beef is a popular ingredient in most people’s diet. Knowing how to properly store the meat will preserve the quality and ensure safety.

As a seasoned chef and a carnivore diet enthusiast, I have encountered many questions about food safety and storage. One of the most common queries is whether refreezing ground beef is safe.

With over a decade of experience in the carnivore lifestyle, I will provide you with the proper storage, thawing and refreezing methods of ground beef.

Quick Summary

  • You can refreeze ground beef under specific circumstances.
  • Thawing in the refrigerator is the safest method for defrosting ground beef.
  • The taste, quality and consistency may deteriorate when refreezing ground beef.

Is It Safe to Refreeze Ground Beef?

A person refreezes ground beef in the fridge

It is safe to refreeze ground beef if the meat was thawed in the fridge at a temperature of 40°F or below and has not been left there for more than two days.

However, meat warmed with cold water or microwave methods should not be refrozen under any circumstances [1]. You need to cook that meat immediately.

To refreeze cooked ground beef safely, I recommend repacking the meat in a new freezer-safe container or wrapping it tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Remove any excess air to prevent freezer burn.

When refreezing hamburger or other cooked meat, label the package with the date to track how long it has been in the freezer.

Ensure the meat is cooked completely to 160°F before starting the refreezing process.

Refreezing meat can be safe although it is not recommended since the quality of the beef may decline.

Refreezing can result in a different consistency and taste of the meat and may leave you with a less-than-ideal culinary experience.

Food Safety and Ground Beef

Close up shot of a meat grinder grinding beef meat

The preparation of ground meat may leave it susceptible to bacteria, especially if the beef is not cooked thoroughly.

If you eat undercooked meat, you're at risk of developing food poisoning from organisms like E. coli and salmonella [2].

That is why the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends cooking ground beef to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit [3].

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Freezing and Thawing Ground Beef

Ground beef on an air-sealed bag with date on it

Freezing ground beef in freezer-safe containers is an excellent way to extend its shelf life.

Label the package with the date, so you know how long it has been frozen. In the freezer, raw ground beef can last up to four months before you risk degradation of taste and texture.

When meat is thawed, bacteria multiply quickly, leading to foodborne illnesses.

The best way to safely thaw ground beef is at a cold refrigerator temperature, however, this method can take 24 hours or longer.

"Ground beef is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many dishes, but it's important to handle it safely to prevent foodborne illnesses."
- Ina Garten, American Author & Chef

You can thaw ground beef quicker by using cold water or a microwave.

Place the frozen meat in a leak-proof bag and submerge it in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes to an hour to ensure that it stays cold.

Place the ground beef in a microwave-safe dish and use the defrost setting to thaw the meat. Be sure to rotate the beef every few minutes in the microwave to ensure it thaws evenly.

Also Read: How Long Will Chili Stay Fresh in the Fridge?

Tips For Ground Beef Safety

A person getting frozen ground beef from the fridge
  • Freeze ground beef at 0°F or lower to prevent bacteria growth.
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure that cooked meat reaches a safe internal temp of 160°F before freezing.
  • Discard any thawed meat that has been in the fridge for more than two days or in the freezer for more than four months.
  • Do not leave ground beef at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water to prevent cross-contamination.

FAQs

How Many Times Can You Refreeze Thawed Ground Beef?

You can refreeze thawed ground beef as often as you want if it has never been exposed to temperatures greater than 40°F. However, each time raw meat is refrozen, it will lose flavor, and the consistency will degrade.

How Long Can You Refreeze Ground Beef?

You can refreeze ground beef for up to four months if you thaw it in the refrigerator at 40°F or below, however, raw meat is likely to degrade during that period.

Can You Freeze Cooked Ground Beef Twice?

You can freeze cooked ground beef twice as long as it is thawed in the fridge. However, the quality and taste are likely to be affected, so I do not recommend doing this.


References:

  1. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/meat/ground-beef-and-food-safety
  2. https://nap.nationalacademies.org/resource/13069/Ground-Beef-Fact-Sheet.pdf
  3. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2022/10/03/cooking-meat-it-done-yet
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About the author

Jayden Lawson
Reviewer/Editor
Jayden is a CPW certified lifestyle writer, father of two, and a self-taught culinary artist with a passion for Southern cooking. His readers enjoy the expert interviews, success stories, and tips he shares about anything delicious, meaty, and thriving.
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