Can You Thaw And Refreeze Ground Beef

Can You Thaw And Refreeze Ground Beef?

You can refreeze the ground beef within two hours if it has been thawed at the counter at normal room temperature. However, if the ground beef has been thawed in the refrigerator, you can safely refreeze it within 2 to 3 days of being thawed.

If you thawed the ground beef leaving it in the refrigerator, you may re-freeze it, but if you thawed it in a cold water bath, microwave, or left it on the counter, it is not recommended that you refreeze that refrozen ground beef due to safety concerns. Ground beef that has been thawed in the refrigerator can be refrozen in its uncooked state, but ground beef that has been thawed in the microwave or in cold water should be cooked before returning it to the freezer.

Just like when refreezed raw meat, cooked leftover ground beef may have different textures once thawed, so use in soups and stews. Cooked meat that has been frozen will have a slightly rubbery texture, so plan to use it accordingly. The issue is, every time you freeze and thaw meat, it loses its quality, becoming a bit of mushy mess.

If the meat is cooked, you will lose much of its texture and flavor if you thaw it and refreeze again, which is why we recommend that you never thaw cooked meat. If you really do thaw the meat in the refrigerator, you can refreeze it if it has not been sitting in the refrigerator too long since thawing (the longer a meat has been in the freezer, the more time germs need to build up on it).

Watch this video to learn about the ideas to refreeze meat

In that case, you are fine refreezing meat to a later date, provided that meat was thawed and stored correctly in the refrigerator when you removed it from the freezer the first time. Depending on the way you thaw and how long you keep the food outside the fridge, refreezed meat that has been thawed may be safe. While refrigerated thawing is not the only way to thaw meat, it is the safest way to do so if you think that you may wish to refreeze part or all of your meat.

If you do want to have the option to refreeze the beef, then the only safe way is to thaw it in the fridge. There are three basic ways you can safely thaw your meat, including cold water, the microwave, and the fridge. Cold Water The Microwave The Refrigerator. Even if you are using one of the other two safe ways of thawing, either cold water or in the microwave, refreezed hamburgers may not be the smartest move. Never refreeze raw ground meat that has been thawed in cold water or in a microwave oven, unless you have cooked it beforehand.

By the way if you are interested in Can Ground Beef Be Refrozen, then check out my another article.

If you left hamburger in cold water or used the microwave to thaw burger meat, you must cook it first before you can refreeze it safely. If you thawed the hamburger in the fridge, and only left it there for a short period of time (three days or less), refreezed is totally fine, according to the U.S. Department of Agricultures Food Safety and Inspection Service. You can also prepare your raw burger meat in advance, then store it for several days in the fridge, or refreeze it for several months. You can also freeze cooked foods containing completely cooked hamburger, like a casserole, so long as you refrigerate it within two hours of cooking.

Ways To Thaw Ground BeefAdditional Information
Thawing frozen ground beef in the refrigerator.It is important to keep the ground meat cool when defrosting in order to keep bacteria from growing.
To defrost frozen meats in cold water, place meat into a plastic watertight bag and immerse, changing water every 30 minutes.Do not immerse it in hot or warm water because this will encourage bacterial growth, and may also begin cooking parts of a zippered bag.
Ways to thaw ground beef

You can re-freeze cooked meats and fish if they were chilled prior to being put into the freezer. You can re-freeze meat that has been frozen before and cooked, provided that you cooked it at a safe temperature and handled leftovers safely, according to the Food Safety site at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. From a safety standpoint, refreeze frozen meat or chicken, or any frozen food, is okay, provided that it was refrozen in a refrigerator running at 5degC or lower. While technically it is possible to refreeze ground beef that has been frozen in a refrigerator (we can show you how to refreeze meat safely), this will impact the taste and texture of the meat.

To learn about Does Cooking Meat Make It Last Longer, then check out this article where I cover things in detail.

While the previous two methods are safe and acceptable, the USDA recommends thawing ground beef in the refrigerator, since it is important to keep the ground meat cool when defrosting in order to keep bacteria from growing. The reasoning for cooking the ground beef right after it is defrosted, either by using a cool-water bath or microwave, is because as you heat up ground beef using these methods, the surface temperature of the ground beef gets hotter than 40 degrees F. before the core temperature can reach 40 degrees F. and it can fully thaw, and this is when bacteria may begin to rapidly grow on the surface. Bacterial growth happens rapidly in between the temperatures of 40degF and 140degF, so it is always recommended that ground beef is stored at low temperatures in order to maintain its freshness and quality over an extended period.

Do not try to speed up the process using hot or warm water; this will encourage bacterial growth, and may also begin cooking parts of a zippered bag. Let beef defrost for about one hour, making sure you replace cold water as soon as it gets hot, about 30 minutes. To defrost frozen meats in cold water, place meat into a plastic watertight bag and immerse, changing water every 30 minutes.

Keep in mind that as you thaw, thaw, thaw again, and then thaw, the meat loses moisture with each pass, and you may find the texture changes. If the food is thawed in the fridge, either uncooked or cooked, refreeze safely, though you might experience some quality loss from the loss of moisture during the thawing process. Thawed food will contain a few bacteria which may be multiplying at room temperature, meaning if food is refrozen, there will be a rise in bacteria counts when re-thawed.

Circulation may provide potentially harmful bacteria with a significant head start, but this does not mean that you cannot thaw and refreeze meat. If you allow beef to thaw in the fridge overnight, it will never get to dangerous temperatures, and can be refrozen as needed.

What foods can be refrozen after thawing?

Fruit juice extracts can be stored if they taste and odor well. Rather than refreezing the thawed fruits, one might create a jam with them. This will preserve their look, flavor, and texture. Cookies and other bakery items such as bread may all be safely re-frozen.

Why is it bad to thaw and refreeze meat?

If one freezes, thaw, and refreeze a product, the second thaw starts to break down much more cells, allowing moisture to escape and affecting the product’s integrity. Bacteria are the other threat. Food that has been frozen or thawed will produce dangerous germs faster than fresh food.

Scroll to Top
Skip to content