Steak is a delicious meal that everyone can enjoy. It pairs well with veggies, fries, rich sauces, or can even be used in stir fry and fajitas. It’s so versatile and instantly adds flavor to any dish.
The beauty of steak is that you can cook it just how you want it, and throw it into various recipes to give yourself that tender, tasty flavor that so many of us enjoy. The only issue is that when not stored properly, steak can go bad, so you’ll need to know how long it lasts if you want to use up your leftovers in time.
So, how long does raw and cooked steak last in the fridge or freezer? Read on to find out.
How Long Does Raw Steak Last In The Refrigerator?
Let’s face it, many steaks don’t come that cheap, especially if you love filet mignon like we do. If you want to make the most of the raw steak that you bought from the store, then you’ll have to keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook it.
But, how long can you keep raw steak, and how long will it last in the refrigerator? Well, according to the USDA, it is best to keep raw steaks in the refrigerator for only up to three to five days.
Any longer than that, and you could decrease the texture and overall quality of the steak. If you do not cook and eat your steak during this timeframe, then it could also go bad before you get a chance to.
For the best results, keep raw steak in the refrigerator in the packaging you bought them in so that they are tightly sealed to remain fresher for longer. If you do not have the packaging, then it is better to keep the meat in a ziplock bag or sealed container until ready to cook.
How Long Does Raw Steak Last In The Freezer?
When stored correctly, you can also keep raw steak in the freezer and store them there for later use. When kept sealed, you can store raw steak in the freezer for up to 4 to 12 months.
However, for the best results, we recommend using the steak within six months of freezing, as it can be prone to freezer burn, and the longer it stays frozen, the more it loses its texture, quality and juiciness when cooked.
How Long Does Cooked Steak Last In The Refrigerator?
If you’re anything like us, then portion control is not your strong point. We always end up with too much leftover, and never quite know what to do with it. So, what about your cooked steak leftovers? Can they go in the refrigerator?
Well, yes, they can. According to the USDA, it is best to keep cooked beef steaks in the refrigerator, but only for 3-4 days. After that, the steaks could deteriorate, there may be some bacterial growth, and the steaks may go bad or become unsafe to eat.
Again, if storing cooked steak in the refrigerator, then it is advisable to store in a sealed bag, such as a Ziploc bag: are airtight and reduce the risk of bacteria.
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How Long Does Cooked Steak Last In The Freezer?
If you know that you will not eat the cooked steak within 3-4 days, then it is not worth placing them in the refrigerator, instead, you may want to freeze them. However, you cannot keep cooked steak in the freezer as long as you keep raw steak in the refrigerator.
To freeze steak leftovers, you can only really keep them for up to three months without losing the quality, safety and texture of the meat. Any longer than that, and it will likely dry out or go bad over time.
How To Store Steak In The Freezer
In order to store steaks in the freezer, you will need to ensure that they are tightly wrapped and sealed, so no air can get in, and bacteria is less likely to grow.
For the best results, you should wrap each steak individually in plastic wrap, as tightly as you can, and place the steaks in a resealable freezer bag such as a ziploc bag. If you do not have a resealable bag such as a ziploc, then you can use an airtight container instead.
How To Defrost Steak
To defrost raw steak, it is best to leave it in the refrigerator overnight. This is the safest, albeit slowest method of defrosting steak and will prevent any harmful bacteria from getting into your steak and ruining it. However, particularly thick pieces of steak may take much longer to thaw and could take anywhere from 18 hours to 30 hours to defrost.
To thaw your steak, it is best to place it on a plate so that no juices flow all over your refrigerator or surfaces whilst defrosting. To see if it is done thawing, you should simply touch the steak.
It should be firm, but not hard and without any ice on the top, and you’ll know it’s ready.
For a quicker method, you can place the steaks in a resealable plastic bag and submerge them in a large bowl of cold water. If the steaks are already in a plastic bag, then just submerge in the water.
Then, keep checking every 30 minutes to see if the water has warmed or become tepid. If it has, then replace it with cold water. Keep doing this until the steak has thawed, which can take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours.
To summarize, steak is one of those meats that goes with just about anything. It’s delicious, flavorful and when cooked properly, can be oh so tender. You just have to remember to store it properly if you want to enjoy those leftovers in the days to come.
With our guide, you’ll know exactly how long to keep raw and cooked steaks in the refrigerator and in the freezer, to ensure the quality and integrity of the meat.
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