How Long Does Meat Last in the Freezer?

Photo of author

By: Christian Chereau


Do you ever get to the grocery store and just buy a little bit too much meat? You don’t want it to go bad, so you stick it in the freezer. But how long can it stay there before it goes bad? With different cuts of meat having varying expiration dates, this question is surprisingly tricky. 

To help set your mind at ease, let’s dive into the specifics of how long various types of freeze-friendly meats last! Read on for helpful tips and tricks that will leave you fully informed about the longevity of your frozen proteins like beef, chicken and more.


What Affects Freezer Life of Meat?

What Affects Freezer Life of Meat

In general, raw meat lasts about one to two months in the freezer before its quality deteriorates. However, there are several variables to consider when determining how long your frozen meats will stay fresh. 

Type of Meat

Different types of meat will last different amounts of time in the freezer. 

For example, poultry and other lean meats are best consumed within one to two months, while ground meats can stay good for up to four months. Fattier cuts of meat like hamburger patties and bacon can last up to six months in the freezer. 

Storage Container

The type of container you store your meat in will also affect how long it lasts. When freezing meats, use air-tight plastic bags or vacuum-sealed packaging for the best results. This helps to minimize freezer burn and extend the shelf life of your protein. 

Temperature of Freezer

The temperature of your freezer is also an important factor. The ideal temperature for storing meat in the freezer is 0°F (or lower). If the temperature of your freezer rises above this, it can affect how long your meats will remain fresh. 

Quality of Meat

The quality of your meat is also important. Meats that have been packaged correctly and stored properly at the store will last longer in the freezer than those that are not. 

When buying any type of meat, make sure to check for signs of spoilage like discoloration or an odor before purchasing. If you do encounter a bad piece of meat, throw it away immediately.

What is the Duration that Different Types of Meat Can Last When Stored in the Freezer?

What is the Duration that Different Types of Meat Can Last When Stored in the Freezer

Are you wondering how long your meat will last in the freezer? Well, the answer can vary depending on the type of meat you have. 

Longevity of chicken in the freezer: 

Raw chicken can typically last in the freezer for up to 9 months if it is stored at 0°F (-18°C) or below in an airtight container or freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. However, it’s important to note that the quality of the chicken may deteriorate over time, affecting its texture and flavor. 

Cooked chicken, on the other hand, has a shorter freezer life of up to 4 months, as it has already undergone some changes during the cooking process that can affect its quality when frozen

Longevity of beef in the freezer: 

When properly stored, raw beef can last for up to 12 months in the freezer without losing its quality. Cooked beef, on the other hand, has a shorter freezer life of around 6 months.

Longevity of pork in the freezer: 

On average, raw pork can last in the freezer for up to 6 months, while cooked pork can last for up to 3 months

However, the freezer life of pork can vary depending on the cut, preparation method, and storage conditions. For example, ground pork typically has a shorter freezer life compared to whole cuts of pork such as roasts or chops

Keep in mind that these durations are based on the meat being properly sealed and stored in a freezer with a constant temperature of 0°F (-18°C). So, next time you’re unsure about how long your frozen meat will last, refer to this guide to ensure its freshness for as long as possible.

How to Freeze the Meat Correctly?

Properly freezing meat is essential to ensure its freshness and quality when thawed. 

Start by preparing the meat by trimming off any excess fat or connective tissue. Portion the meat into smaller sizes for easy thawing and storage. 

Wrap the meat tightly in freezer-safe wrap or vacuum-sealed bags, being sure to remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. 

Label each package with the type of meat, cut, and date of freezing to ensure you can easily identify it later. 

Store the meat in the coldest part of the freezer, and ensure it is not overcrowded to allow proper airflow. 

Should you follow our instructions, you can ensure that your meat is preserved properly and will remain delicious when thawed

Tips for Using Frozen Meat

Frozen meat is a time saver in the kitchen. It allows for bulk purchasing, meal prep and cuts down on food waste. But using frozen meat also means dealing with the defrosting process. Here are some tips to make the most of your frozen meat. 

  • Always defrost meat safely. It can be done in the fridge overnight. Otherwise, either use a microwave or submerge it in cold water while it is placed in a sealed plastic bag. 
  • Avoid refreezing meat that has already been defrosted. This can result in harmful bacteria growth.
  • Know which cuts of meat are the most freezer friendly. Individually wrapped chicken breasts or steaks work great, while freezing meatballs or ground meats might result in texture changes. 
  • Remember that seasonings and marinades can help infuse flavors into frozen meat. There’s no need to sacrifice taste just because it’s been frozen! 
  • Slow cookers are an ideal way to cook frozen meat. The moisture and temperature of the crock pot will help lock in flavor and ensure even cooking throughout. 

Click here to read more about cooking frozen chicken in a slow cooker. 


Is it safe to eat meat that has been frozen for a long time?

Yes, it is safe to eat meat that has been frozen for a long time. However, the quality of the meat may have degraded and its flavor and texture may not be as good as when it was fresh. 

Therefore, you should always check the label for expiration date and try to use up any stored frozen meat before that date.

How can I tell if meat has gone bad in the freezer?

If the meat has an off odor or appears slimy, it has gone bad and should be discarded. Additionally, if the packaging of the meat is torn or broken, this could also indicate that the meat has gone bad. 

It is important to keep a close eye on any frozen food stored in your freezer to ensure that it is still safe to eat. 

How long can raw ground meat be stored in the freezer?

Raw ground meat can be stored in the freezer for up to 4 months. After that time, the quality of the meat may start to decline and it should be used or discarded. 

Can meat be refrozen after it has been thawed?

Yes, you can refreeze meat after it has been thawed. However, it is important to make sure that the meat was properly thawed in the refrigerator and has not been left out at room temperature for an extended period of time. 

If the raw or cooked meat has been sitting at room temperature for more than two hours, it should not be refrozen and instead should be discarded. 

What is the best way to thaw frozen meat?

The best way to thaw frozen meat is in the refrigerator. This method will keep the meat at a safe temperature and will also help preserve its quality and texture. You should allow for several hours of thawing time, depending on the size of the cut or package of meat. 

How should I package meat for freezing to prolong its shelf life?

When packaging meat for freezing, it is important to use air-tight containers or freezer bags. You should also make sure that you label the package with the date it was placed in the freezer and allow some space in the container to account for any expansion during freezing. 

Take Home Message

Ultimately, the amount of time that frozen meat can last is highly dependent on the type of meat, how it was stored, and how often it is used. Therefore, careful measures should be taken when storing and consuming meat products in order to remain safe and deterr any loss of quality. 

So next time you’re considering how long should you keep something frozen simply ask yourself: How Long Does Meat Last in The Freezer? And stick to the guidelines set forth by our article to make sure your meal isn’t spoiled!

Photo of author

Christian Chereau

Christian Chéreau is a fourth generation French Pastry Chef born in France on December 20th, 1951. Chéreau cultivated his passion for the art of Pastry as a child in his grandfather’s acclaimed pastry shop, “Chéreau” in Sandillon, France

Leave a Comment