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How Long Does Cooked Beef Stay Good? [Shelf Life Guide]

The meat of beef is one of the most popular sources of protein in America.

There are several ways to cook beef.

One popular way is to grill the meat in an outdoor or indoor grill.

Another option is to place it into a slow cooker and cook it for several hours on low heat until tender, which can also be done with an oven.

Storing cooked beef is a common practice when people do not have the time to eat it all at once.

The cooked meat can be stored in an airtight container or resealable bag and placed inside of freezer; make sure that there’s enough room inside so that the food will remain frozen.

In this article, we will cover how long-cooked beef lasts, how to store it and how to plan for what you need.

Different Ways to Cook Beef

different ways to cook beef

It all depends on the cut of beef.

Some cuts are better suited to certain cooking methods, while others can be used for various techniques.

Let’s take a brief break down for some additional details:

Steak is best served medium rare (130 degrees Fahrenheit) and will only need approximately five minutes per side time on an open grill.

Depending on your preference, the steak may also taste great when cooked to a well-done, medium temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

Large Roasts: This type of beef is best served at an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit and will need time on the stovetop or in the oven for about two hours before being taken out.

Be sure not to cook this cut any longer than your desired finishing point, as it can dry out quickly if overcooked.

Ground Beef: Ground beef should be formed into patties and cooked over high heat with a little bit of oil added for flavor; cook each side until they are browned but still slightly pink inside (approximately three minutes per side).

If you like your meat more thoroughly done, continue cooking one minute after turning each patty onto its other side.

Braising: Braising is an excellent cooking method for tougher cuts of beef, as it’s a combination of simmering and frying.

You can use broth or wine in the pot with some vegetables to braise the meat without any additional liquid.

Let your cut cook on low heat covered (around 160 degrees Fahrenheit) anywhere from one hour up to six hours; this will allow time for nutritive value extraction from the food into surrounding liquids, making it taste richer than you could achieve using other culinary methods.

Shish Kebabs: These traditional dishes are known for their long skewers that act as handles and provide perfect grips while eating kebab-style over direct flame grills like charcoal or gas.

The best type of shish kebabs is made with cubes of beef, pieces of onion, and chunks of bell pepper.

Use various spices to add flavor before cooking the meat over direct heat for about five minutes on each side – or until they’re cooked through completely.

Roasting: Roasts can be cooked in either the oven or an open grill; remember that it will need time to rest once done (about 15-20 minutes) so that all those juicy flavors stay inside your cut.

This is usually best for more tender cuts like rib-eye steak because it’s not tough enough to withstand high heats without becoming dry while still being firm enough to hold its shape well when seared by flame.

You may find some other recipes that you enjoy using for your beef, but this should give you a good starting point.

Once you know what cut of meat will work best for the cooking method you’re most comfortable with – it’s time to get ready.

How to Store Leftover Cooked Beef?

how to store leftover cooked beef

Spending a good chunk of time in the kitchen is well worth it when you’ve got a home-cooked meal in front of you.

But if that means your refrigerator has to handle an excessive amount of raw meats and poultry, here are some tips on how to store cooked beef before they go bad:

  • Keep cooked beef in a container with an airtight lid. This will keep away the oxygen that can cause oxidation and rancid smells, and any bacteria that might be present on your hands or other surfaces while preparing the food.
  • You shouldn’t leave the cooked beef at room temperature for more than two hours, and it’s a good idea to pop them into the fridge as soon as you can.
  • Don’t store them with other raw meat, and don’t leave them in the fridge for too long-cooked beef can only stay fresh at around 40 degrees F or less.
  • No matter what you’re using your cooked beef for, it’s a good idea to keep some extra on hand so that when you need it later in the week or month, there will still be some available. That way, if disaster strikes and all of your stored food goes bad (like with a power outage), then you’ll have something pre-cooked without having spent hours cooking again.
  • If still unsure about whether or not cooked beef has gone bad, the smell is usually a good indicator; if there’s no noticeable odor and it looks fine, chances are you’re safe to consume it without risk of getting ill.

How Long Does Cooked Beef Last?

how long does cooked beef last

Cooked beef should be cooked until its internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit – any lower, and you might not kill off all the bacteria present on the raw meat product.

One of the most commonly asked questions in food safety is how long-cooked beef lasts.

According to the USDA, cooked meat should last about three days before it starts to go bad if stored correctly.

If not refrigerated immediately – within two hours of cooking – then only eat leftovers for one day after they are prepared.

The longer the cooked meat sits out, the more opportunity it has to go bad.

If you expect to store your cooked beef for a long period, you may want to freeze it.

To avoid freezer burn and other food safety hazards that can occur while frozen meat is stored, the USDA recommends wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before placing it into the freezer.

Properly stored, frozen cooked meat can last from 2 to 3 months in the freezer.

How to Tell if Cooked Beef is Bad?

how to tell if cooked beef is bad

It can be difficult to tell when the beef you have cooked is bad.

Some people will say that it doesn’t matter if your food tastes good and they’ll eat it anyway, or others might throw away any leftovers because they don’t want to risk cooking something spoiled.

The best thing for a person who wants to cook their beef safely would be to purchase meat from a reliable source like Walmart or Kroger, where the employees work with integrity and are required by law not to sell anything expired.

If you’re already at home, then there are some other things you should look out for before deciding whether or not the beef cooked in your kitchen is safe enough to consume:

– Texture & Appearance.

The texture of raw hamburgers is soft, but cooked ground beef is firmer and tougher.

If it’s been in the fridge for too long, your meat may have changed texture from what you’re used to.

The raw hamburger has a pinkish color in appearance, while cooked ground beef will be brown or gray.

– Smell.

If any strange smells are coming off of the food, then that means it could be spoiled, so avoid handling if at all possible.

– Color.

If the color of your cooked beef is off, or if it has a pinkish hue, then that’s another sign.

A good way to check for this would be with red meat and see how much water has been lost when cooking.

If there’s too much liquid in comparison to the amount of protein, fat, and other nutrients, then you should pass on eating it.

– Density.

This one can be tough since we’re all used to different textures, but as long as you don’t feel like there are any overly soft spots, chances are safe.

how long does cooked beef last

How Long Does Cooked Beef Last? Does Cooked Beef Go Bad?

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Shelf Life
Servings 1 Serving


  • Cooked beef
  • Air-tight containers or Ziplock bags
  • Labels and markers


  • Read the guide thoroughly to learn how long it lasts.
  • Label your container with the content and date and keep track of how much you’re using!
  • Make sure to store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (pantry or fridge).
  • If frozen, thaw in the fridge before use. Always check for signs of spoilage before using.
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