Cook to 160 degrees Farenheit Internal Temperature

Your go-to resource for all things ground beef.

Know how to handle and store ground beef to maximize food safety.

Handling and storing ground beef safely

Cooking with delicious, nutritious ground beef is easy — but knowing how to use it safely is key. Check out these great tips to help you select, handle and store your ground beef.

When shopping, always:

  • Check that the "Use or Freeze By" date has not passed to ensure it's safe to eat.
  • Make sure the package you choose feels cold to the touch, and is free of rips or tears.
  • Make sure frozen ground beef is frozen solid before purchasing.
  • Bring a cooler or insulated bag to transport ground beef during hot weather if it will take more than 30 minutes to get home.

When you get home, always:

  • Refrigerate or freeze ground beef as soon as possible.
  • Store ground beef in the coldest section of your refrigerator if you are not freezing it for later use.
  • Use the meat before the expiration date, and within 3 days of refrigeration. If you can't remember when ground beef was stored, throw it out.
  • If storing in the freezer for longer than two weeks, wrap the ground beef package in heavy-duty aluminum foil, freezer paper or plastic freezer bags. Remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Unopened chub packaging can be stored for up to 6 months without additional wrap.
  • Note the date of storage and weight of ground beef before storing.
  • Keep ground beef frozen until you're ready to use it, and be sure to wash your hands before and after handling it.
  • Follow the "first in, first out" rule and use the beef with the earliest expiration date first.

When defrosting, always:

  • Place the package on a tray or in a container to catch any drippings.
  • Place ground beef in the refrigerator the day before it's needed, allowing 24 hours thawing time for a one-pound package, and 12 hours for patties.
  • Use the microwave to thaw ground beef quickly or submerge the sealed, airtight package in cool water. Do not thaw at room temperature on the countertop.
  • Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat from touching other foods, ingredients and perishable items.
  • Wash countertops, cutting boards and utensils with hot, soapy water after raw meat preparation.
  • Once beef is thawed, cook immediately.
Share Page

Center of the Burger-verse

The Hamburger Festival is an annual event in Akron, Ohio that features hundreds of different varieties of burgers.