How Long Does Beef Last?

How long does beef last? Fresh beef will last 1-2 days beyond a "sell-by" date, but there is other information to consider. The shelf life of beef depends on a variety of factors, such as the sell by date, the preparation method and how the beef was stored.

Beef is the culinary name for meat from bovines, especially domestic cattle. Beef goes by many specific names derived from the cut, ranging from hamburg and other tough or chopped meats to tender juicy steaks like expensive filet mignon. All are rich in protein and iron but also fat and cholesterol.

So, how long does beef last? When properly stored, the shelf life of beef past its sell by date is approximately ...

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Beef Expiration Date

(Uncooked) Refrigerator Freezer
Past Printed Date Past Printed Date
Fresh Beef lasts for 1-2 Days 6-8 Months
Ground Beef lasts for 1-2 Days 6-8 Months
Corned Beef lasts for 1-2 Weeks 6-8 Months
Steak last for 1-2 Days 6-8 Months
(Cooked) Refrigerator Freezer
Beef or Steak lasts for 7 Days 6-8 Months
Ground Beef lasts for 7 Days 6-8 Months
Canned Beef (Opened) lasts for 7-10 Days --
Corned Beef lasts for 7-10 Days --

Of course, all foods last for a shorter period of time if they are not stored properly. But remember that beef, like a lot of other proteins, usually has a sell by date and not an expiration date. Because of this distinction, you may safely use beef to compliment your favorite meals even after the sell by date has lapsed.

How to tell if Beef is bad, rotten or spoiled?

Practicing proper hygiene and food safety techniques will help prevent foodborne illness.

Although not a perfect test, your senses are usually the most reliable instruments to tell if your beef has gone bad. Some common traits of bad meat are a dull, slimy flesh and a sour smell. The meat will change from a reddish color to a brown or gray color. Only purchase beef that is red in color, once the brown color reaches the exterior of the meat you will taste a difference.

The first sign that meat has been in your freezer too long is when you see freezer burn starting to appear. Freezer burn appears in dull white patches (slightly different looking than regular ice) which are in the actual meat. If you see a few of these spots, they can be cut off if you include about an inch of the surrounding area. But if you see more than a few spots, it is best to throw out the whole piece. Freezer spots usually happen if there was a cut in your plastic wrap, directly under the cut. So, always wrap your meats securely and try to make your packaging as air tight as possible before placing meats into the freezer.

There are, of course, certain health risks associated with spoiled foods so always remember to practice food safety and enjoy your foods before their shelf life has expired!

How to store Beef to extend its shelf life?

You can help beef keep fresh longer by storing it in your refrigerator immediately after use. Once prepared, beef should be stored in a tightly closed container to keep out moisture and other contaminants. For a long-term option, you can freeze your beef while preserving its taste if you use a freezer safe container.

Some benefits of proper food storage include eating healthier, cutting food costs and helping the environment by avoiding waste.

Interesting facts about Beef:

  • For help choosing the right beef for your recipe, see our beef cuts post.
  • If you purchased too much beef, don't let your steaks or roasts go bad. Simply cook it to extend it's shelf life by several days.
  • How long is Beef good for when prepared in a dish?

    How long does beef last? That depends. How long does wine last? In general, it lasts only as long as the quickest expiring ingredient in the recipe.

    What are our shelf life resources?

    In determining how long Beef lasts, our content incorporates research from multiple resources, including the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Food & Drug Administration. In addition, we scoured the web for informative articles and reports related to food safety, food storage and the shelf life of Beef.

    *An important note about expiration dates...

    Although the Beef shelf life information on Eat By Date is generally reliable, please remember that individual cases will vary and that our advice should only be taken as an opinion and not a replacement for your health care professional. Please eat responsibly!

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    With oven-safe glass and water-tight lids, these food storage containers are ready for action! Not a Prime Member? Try a 30-day free trial today!


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