As an avid carnivore dietitian, steak is a staple in my weekly menu.
In my pursuit of promoting the enjoyment and safety of this protein source, I've delved deep into wanting to know how long steak lasts in the fridge.
This inquiry led me to consult with the USDA, analyze reputable sources, and collaborate with other food experts to ensure accurate and up-to-date facts.
For longer shelf life and premium quality steaks, consider reputable suppliers like ButcherBox.
Their commitment to quality and careful packaging can aid in preserving your steaks for an extended duration.
In this article, I’ll discuss the shelf life of a steak in the fridge and provide an expert guide to steak storage.
- Raw steak in the fridge lasts 3-5 days at or below 40°F; vacuum-packed steak lasts longer.
- Cooked steak can stay in the fridge for up to 4 days, but it may become drier.
- To check steak safety, inspect appearance, smell, texture, and follow storage guidelines.
How Long Does Steak Remain In The Fridge
Steak can remain in the fridge for 3 to 5 days if properly stored .
Steak can go bad if it is improperly stored or if it’s stored for too long.
To ensure freshness, store it in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag to prevent moisture loss and freezer burn.
For longer-term storage, freezing the steak is a legitimate option. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminium foil, or use a vacuum-sealed bag to maintain quality for 6-12 months.
Also Read: How Long Does Pizza Last in the Fridge
How Long Does Raw Steak Last In The Fridge?
Raw steak can last 3-5 days in the fridge when adequately stored at or below 40°F .
When the steak is stored at the appropriate temperature, it inhibits bacterial growth. This simplifies the process to reheat leftover steak at a later time.
However, this duration can vary based on the steak cut, packaging method, and overall quality.
If the raw meat was kept on the butcher's counter, it might only remain in the fridge for around two days until it becomes spoiled steak.
This is because, without oxygen, the steak's freshness is preserved for a far longer period.
Vacuum sealing, in particular, is an effective way to store raw steak and extend the storage time of raw steak. This will preserve its quality and retain its deep red or purple color .
Also Read: How Long Can Ham Be Left Out
How Long Does Cooked Steak Last In the Fridge
Cooked steak can safely reside in your fridge for up to four days.
Ensure proper storage by covering it tightly with a lid, foil, or plastic wrap to maintain its quality. This safeguard prevents bacterial growth and minimizes moisture loss.
Additionally, store the cooked meat on the lower shelves of your fridge to prevent juices from dripping onto other foods and causing cross-contamination.
It's worth noting that cooked steak may become drier as time passes. While no safety concerns are associated with consuming steak in the fridge for four days, you might notice slight changes in texture and taste.
To savor that perfect steak experience, it's recommended to enjoy it within two days of cooking.
Proper food safety practices are essential. For example, a cooked steak can technically last up to seven days. But it's best to adhere to a maximum of five days in the fridge.
If you notice a sour smell after five days, discard the leftovers.
Even with no apparent odor, extended storage may lead to foodborne illnesses, making it unwise to leave the steak in the fridge for too long.
How To Determine Your Steak’s Safety
Determining your steak's safety, whether raw or cooked steak, is crucial to avoid foodborne illnesses. Here are some steps to help you assess the condition of your steak:
- 1. Check the Appearance
Examine the color of the meat. Fresh steak should have a deep red hue. If it appears brown or gray, it's likely gone bad. Discoloration is a sign that the meat may have started spoiling.
2. Smell Test
Give the steak a sniff. If it emits a sour or rancid odor, it strongly indicates that it has deteriorated and should be discarded. Fresh steak should not have any off-putting smells.
3. Texture Examination
Touch the steak's surface. If it feels slimy or sticky, this is another sign of spoiled meat. Fresh steak should be smooth to the touch and not have any unusual coatings .
4. Check the Date
If your steak comes with a use-by date or sell-by date on the packaging, pay attention to it. If the use-by date has passed, it's safer not to consume the steak, as it may have already started spoiling.
For sell-by dates, you can typically cook the steak safely 3–5 days after the listed date.
5. Inspect for Discoloration
While slight discoloration around the edges of the meat can be normal due to exposure to oxygen, consistent gray color throughout the steak is a sign of spoilage.
Fresh steak should maintain its red color.
6. Consider the Odor
Dry-aged steak may have a different smell due to the aging process, but it should not have a sour or rancid odor. If the steak smells off, it's best to discard it.
7. Evaluate Moisture Content
If the steak looks shriveled or feels dry when broken apart, it's a sign that the meat is old and may have harmful bacteria. In such cases, it's safer to dispose of it.
8. For Frozen Steak
When dealing with frozen steak, check for tough, grayish spots known as freezer burn .
While freezer burn is generally safe to eat, it can affect the taste and texture of the steak, making it less enjoyable. Consider discarding steak with extensive freezer burn.
Frozen cooked steak may experience a decline in quality more rapidly than it would undergo spoilage.
Ensuring the safety of your steak is essential to enjoy a delicious and risk-free meal. When in doubt, it's better to err on caution and discard any steak that raises concerns to avoid food poisoning.
How to Properly Store Your Steak in the Fridge
When properly storing your steak in the freezer, there are a few key strategies to keep in mind to maintain its quality and flavor over time.
First, consider freezing your steak if you don't plan to use it within a few days.
Freezing is an excellent way to extend the shelf life of your steak while preserving its freshness.
To do this effectively, follow these steps:
Remove the steak from its original supermarket packaging, as it may not be suitable for long-term freezer storage. Instead, rewrap it using freezer paper or waxed butcher paper.
This extra layer of protection helps prevent moisture loss and freezer burn.
2. Air Elimination
Ensure the wrapped steak is tightly sealed to eliminate as much air as possible from the packaging.
This is crucial to maintaining the steak's quality and preventing ice crystals from forming on the meat's surface.
Labelling the packaging with the date of freezing is essential. This way, you'll have a clear record of the steak's length in the freezer, helping you determine its freshness when you're ready to use it.
4. Storage Location
Place the wrapped steak on the lowest freezer shelf. This area tends to have the most consistent and coldest temperature, which is ideal for preserving the meat.
By following these steps, you can safely store your steak in the freezer for an extended period, typically up to 2-4 months, while maintaining its quality.
If you prefer a more convenient method that doesn't require repackaging, you can take advantage of your steak's packaging.
Can Raw Steak Last a Week?
Raw steak can last a week when stored properly.
Can I Eat Cooked Beef After 7 Days?
You cannot eat beef after 7 days as it may pose health risks due to potential bacterial growth. To ensure safety, consume within 3-4 days or freeze promptly.
How Long Can Steak Stay in the Fridge After Thawing?
After thawing, steak can stay in the fridge and be consumed within 3 to 4 days for optimal safety and taste.