How Long Can Meat Stay in Refrigerator after Thawing?

When thawing meat, it is important to be aware of the timeline for how long it can stay in the refrigerator. Depending on the type of meat, as well as its size and shape, there are different guidelines for how long it can remain safe in a refrigerator after thawing.

The length of time meat can stay in the refrigerator after thawing depends on several factors, including the type of meat and how it was thawed. Generally speaking, most meats should be cooked within one to two days of thawing if stored in the refrigerator at a temperature below 40°F. It is important to store raw or partially cooked meats separately from other foods to prevent the spread of foodborne illness-causing bacteria. Additionally, once the meat is cooked, leftovers should not be stored for more than three or four days. To extend shelf life and ensure safe consumption, it is best to freeze any unused portions immediately after cooking. Properly frozen and stored meat can remain edible for up to six months or longer depending on the cut of meat.

How Long Can Meat Stay in Refrigerator after Thawing?

Types of Meat and Thawing Times – Overview:

When it comes to thawing meat, different types of meat require different times for safe thawing. The specific type, cut and size of the meat also affects how long it can stay in the refrigerator after thawing. In general, larger cuts take longer to thaw than smaller ones.

Ground Meat: Ground meats such as ground beef and pork must be cooked immediately after thawing and should not be stored in the fridge for more than 1-2 days.

Steaks/Chops: Steaks and chops can usually remain in the refrigerator up to 3-5 days after they have been thawed out.

Roasts: A roast can typically last up to 5 days in the refrigerator after it has been thawed.

It’s important to remember that the safest way to thaw meat is in the refrigerator, as this will help prevent any potential bacteria growth. If you plan to cook your meat within 1-2 days of thawing, it may be safe to leave your meat on the countertop at room temperature for a few hours before cooking. However, larger cuts should still be left to thaw in the fridge and cooked immediately after they have finished thawing out.

Safety Tips for Refrigerator Storage After Thawing:

To keep your food safe while thawed in the refrigerator:

  • Make sure you are using shallow containers so that the food cools quickly and evenly
  • Keep raw meats separate from other foods during storage and preparation
  • Cook food at a safe internal temperature
  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of cooking
  • Stick to the recommended storage times for any thawed meats. After that, discard it.

By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that your meat stays safe while thawing in the refrigerator. Doing so not only helps prevent foodborne illnesses but also reduces waste and helps promote better health and safety practices in your home.

How Long Can Meat Stay in Refrigerator after Thawing?

How long can deer meat stay in the fridge?

Deer meat can be stored in the refrigerator after thawing for up to four days. It is important to keep the meat covered or wrapped tightly when storing in the fridge. If you plan to consume the meat within one or two days, it is best to cook it immediately and store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days. After that, discard any leftover deer meat as it may have gone bad.

For safety purposes, always follow food safety guidelines and make sure you cook your deer meat thoroughly before eating. Furthermore, freezing your venison cuts down on bacteria growth and will extend its shelf-life for up to 8 months if frozen properly. Therefore, freezing your venison will help preserve it longer than refrigerator storage.

Four Tips to Keep Your Food Safe and Reduce Waste:

1. Properly thaw frozen meat: After you take your frozen meat out of the freezer, make sure to properly thaw it in the refrigerator before cooking. This should be done at least a day before planned use and will ensure that any bacteria present on the food are not able to grow and reproduce.

2. Cook within two days of thawing: It’s important to cook the meat within two days of having it defrosted. If left too long, bacteria may begin to grow that could cause illness if consumed.

3. Use cooked or marinated meats within 3-4 days: Any cooked or marinated meats should also be used as soon as possible after being stored in the refrigerator. Generally, cooked and marinated meats should be used up within 3-4 days for food safety.

4. Freeze after 4 days: If you’re unable to use the meat within this time frame, then it should be frozen again to ensure safety and quality. Freezing will stop any bacteria growth and put the meat into a safe state until ready to make use of again.

How Long Can Meat Stay in Refrigerator after Thawing?


Q1: How long can steak stay in the fridge after thawing?

A: It is best to use the steak within 2 days of thawing in the refrigerator. Any cooked steak can be stored and kept in an airtight container for up to four days, although it will lose some of its freshness and flavor. If you plan on storing your steak longer than that, freeze it as soon as possible.

Q2: How long can hamburger meat stay in fridge?

A: Raw hamburger meat can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. If you don’t plan on cooking it within that time, freeze it as soon as possible to maintain optimal safety and freshness. Cooked hamburgers can be kept safely in an airtight container for up to four days in the fridge.

Q3: How long can steak stay in the fridge after defrosting?

A: When it comes to the safe storage of steak after thawing, the general rule is that raw steaks should be cooked within two days of being defrosted. That means you should either cook or refreeze your steak within 48 hours of taking it out of the freezer for maximum safety and quality.

Q4: Can I put defrosted meat back in the fridge?

A: Yes, you can put defrosted meat back in the fridge. However, it is important to remember that once meat has been thawed it should be cooked and eaten within two days.


It is generally safe to keep raw steak in the refrigerator for up to two days after thawing. After this time, it should be cooked or refrozen for maximum safety and quality. Defrosted meat should also be cooked within two days of being defrosted and can be stored in the fridge in the meantime.

Keeping track of the date and time of defrosting is important, to ensure that the meat is cooked and eaten within the allotted time frames. Doing this will help maintain food safety, taste, and texture. It is also advisable to use separate cutting boards for raw meat to avoid cross-contamination. By following these guidelines you can enjoy your steak safely!

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