How Long Is Cooked Ground Beef Good For Before It Goes Bad?

I bring you good news. Those cooked ground beef leftovers will keep for four days and still smell and taste good if you store them properly.

It’s no news that beef is one of those food items with a short shelf life. When it comes to ground beef, almost everyone has ended up with more than they needed.

Rather than hurrying to make a dish with beef, find out how long you can keep it in this article. Also, I’ll be showing you helpful ways to preserve cooked ground beef.

Plus, if you need ideas on what to do with ground beef leftovers, the article has a list of delicious meals you can try.

How long is cooked ground beef good for at room temperature?

Cooked ground beef is good for only two hours at room temperature.

The USDA warns against leaving ground beef longer than two hours at room temperature. If you have any leftovers, refrigerate or freeze them immediately.

How long is cooked ground beef good for in the refrigerator?

Cooked ground beef will stay fresh and good for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.

If you want to keep the ground beef longer than this period, you should freeze it or store it in a vacuum-sealed container.

How long is cooked ground beef good for in the freezer?

Cooked ground beef can last three to four months in the freezer.

The beef may last longer, but that’s the least you should expect.

How long is vacuum-sealed cooked ground beef good for?

Vacuum-sealed cooked ground beef will remain good and fresh for 10 days in the refrigerator.

If you choose to freeze the meat instead, you can expect it to last many months.

How do you know cooked ground beef has gone bad?

When cooked beef has gone bad, it will be nothing like it was when it was fresh. Here are some signs to watch out for:

Slimy texture

When you cooked the beef, it certainly was not anything slimy. So, when you notice that your ground beef has become slimy and looks unpalatable, you should throw it out.

It is a sign of spoilage, and you risk food poisoning if you eat such meat.

An off-color

Cooked ground beef should look brownish or red, depending on how you cooked it. But when it develops a green tint or mold, that’s a red flag. You should not eat the meat; it belongs in the trash.

An off smell

When the beef smells nothing like the delicious beef you cooked, you should not eat it anymore. Instead, throw it away.

A sour taste

Tasting food to detect spoilage should be your last resolve. If the meat looks fine, but you still have doubts, you can taste a little bit of it.

If it tastes nothing like it was when you first made it, trash it. The beef has gone bad. When tasting beef or any other food item to detect spoilage, be careful not to swallow it. Otherwise, you risk food poisoning.

How to preserve cooked ground beef

  • Make sure you cook the beef completely. Undercooked ground beef is a breeding ground for bacteria
  • Keep it refrigerated
  • You can also freeze the meat to preserve it longer
  • Vacuum-sealing beef is also a good idea
  • Store beef in an airtight container or a freezer bag
  • Also, keep the beef in the coldest areas in the refrigerator or freezer
  • Refrigerate or freeze the beef in small portions. This way it is easier to thaw only as much meat as you need at a time. You will also be preventing bacterial growth, which is likely to happen when the temperature drops drastically
  • In addition, keep the beef from contaminants

How to use leftover cooked ground beef

If you do not want to refrigerate or freeze the ground beef, you can make any of these:

  • Use it to make a pot of chili
  • Turn it into tasty meatballs
  • Whip up a bowl of mac and cheese
  • Stuff ground beef into veggies
  • Use the ground beef to make meat pies
  • You can make tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, lasagna, nachos and burritos
  • Make stuffed peppers or cabbage rolls
  • Try a pasta dish like ground beef stroganoff
  • You can also make a delicious and spicy soup like beef and pepperoni soup
  • Make ground beef and mushroom burgers


Can you eat 5-day-old cooked ground beef?

You can eat 5-day-old ground beef if you have kept it frozen.

It is not advisable to eat refrigerated beef after 5 days. Trash it instead.

Can you eat cooked ground beef that has been in the refrigerator for 7 days?

No, you can’t.

The USDA advises you to use the beef within two to four days when it is still fresh. Freeze the beef to keep the beef for up to seven days or more.

How long is raw ground beef good for?

Raw ground beef remains good and fresh for 12 hours to two days. The shelf life of raw ground beef depends on how you bought it.

Freshly minced beef from the butcher’s shop can last up to two days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Pre-packaged ground beef from a supermarket and readymade ground beef from a refrigerated counter will last only a few hours in the refrigerator.


Since you can preserve cooked ground beef for up to four days, you don’t have to take the bait to hurriedly make a meal. With the proper preservation methods, you can keep the beef and use it for another recipe sometime in the week.

Make sure you are preserving well-cooked and fresh beef. It’ll be counterproductive to cook and preserve beef that is going bad. Store the beef in an airtight container and keep it in the cooler part of the refrigerator or freezer.

Also, remember to freeze the beef in small portions you can use at once. This way you won’t have to defrost a lot of meat and expose it to bacteria.

Thanks for reading.

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