Buying your steak in bulk and stocking up the refrigerator or freezer will help you minimize trips to the grocery store and save some money. However, for this to work for you, you need to understand the basics of food storage and safety. You don’t want to suffer food poisoning by eating spoiled meat.
To avoid such problems, it’s best to abide by safe meat refrigeration and freezing rules. So, how long does raw steak last in the fridge or freezer? Read on to find out.
Table Of Contents
- How Long Can You Keep Raw Steak in the Refrigerator?
- How Long Can You Keep Raw Steak in the Freezer?
Raw steak can last at least 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator. However, the duration depends mainly on how you package your meat. Consider keeping unopened steak its original store packaging when refrigerating.
This practice will help maximize the steak’s shelf life. While the “sell-by” date on the package may expire during the storage period, your steak will still be safe for consumption if you’ve stored it properly.
Steaks usually come wrapped in plastic wrap and butcher paper from the butcher counter. These steaks often have been exposed to oxygen all day long.
The exposure to oxygen makes beef have a bright red color rather than a deep red or purple. In the grocery store, you might also find vacuum-sealed meat. This kind of sealing involves the removal of oxygen, so the meat will be deep red or purple instead of a bright red.
A vacuum seal prevents oxygen from reaching your meat, extending its shelf life.
Different meats have different shelf lives when frozen. Generally, the less the meat is processed, the longer it will last in the freezer. You can expect the raw steak to last 4 to 12 months.
Below are a few tips on how to freeze steak to ensure it stays longer and tasty in the freezer.
It is always advisable to store raw meat purchased from a grocery store in its original package. Make sure the package has no holes or breaks. An airtight package will ensure your meat stays safe at the recommended temperature.
If you buy your steak from a butcher, ensure you wrap it in an airtight package first. If you plan to freeze your meat for more than two months, you might want to overwrap the packaging with plastic wrap or airtight foil.
Freezing temperature is a critical consideration when storing raw meat. To get the best from your frozen meat, keep the temperatures below 0°F (-18°C). According to the USDA, this temperature limits bacteria growth and neutralizes other microbes in the food, including molds and yeasts.
You shouldn’t leave steak at room temperature for more than two hours. Otherwise, the steak won’t be safe to use. Bacteria grow fast at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F.
For an in-depth look, checkout our comprehensive guide on How Long To Leave Steak Out Before Cooking It.
You can expect the cooked steak to last 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator and about three months in the freezer. For details, checkout our article: How Long can Cooked Steak Stay in the Fridge.
There are a few effective ways if you want to know how to defrost steak from the freezer. One of the safest techniques is to thaw the sealed packaging in the fridge. Smaller cuts of meat usually defrost in a few hours. However, you may need to wait a few days for larger cuts to defrost.
Once you defrost your frozen steak, you can keep it for 3 to 5 additional days in the refrigerator before cooking. This tip only applies to steaks thawed in the fridge. If you defrost your steak in cold water or the microwave, you should cook it immediately.
The most accurate way to tell whether a steak is bad is to smell it and visually examine it. The common signs of bad steak include dull color, sour smell, and slimy texture. Don’t use any steak with an unusual smell or appearance.
The refrigerator and freezer come in handy to safely store perishable foods for longer periods than room temperature can sustain. However, there is a limit to how long raw meat and other proteins can last in the fridge or freezer.
Raw steak can last at least 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator, and it cannot stay good in the freezer for more than 6 months. It’s also important to understand the rules of safe freezing and refrigeration to ensure the best results.