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How Long Does Corned Beef Last? [Shelf Life Guide]

Corned beef is a type of meat that comes from the brisket, and it’s typically made with salt and other spices.

It is one of those foods that, at first glance, can seem a little intimidating. It’s not your average lunch meat.

Yet it has been around for centuries, and we’re still eating it today.

There are many ways to enjoy this tasty dish, but how long does it last? This article will help answer that question and talk about how to store it as well.

What is Corned Beef?

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Corned beef is a type of meat that has been cured in salt and spices then cooked.

It was initially made with the meat from beef brisket but can now be made with different meats. It is traditionally served in sandwiches and rolls or as part of the Reuben sandwich.

The corned beef was first described by the English word for “salted,” which gave its name.

The corned beef processing industry changed over time to accommodate new products such as canned corn beef hash and loaves (a type of pressed cooked).

However, the most popular cut today for corned beef is the brisket.

The corned beef was popular in Ireland and became a staple when Irish immigrants came to America later during the 1800s.

Corned beef continues to be an essential part of American cuisine today, with many Americans eating it on St Patrick’s Day each year.

It’s usually served as a cold cut on rye bread with mustard and pickles.

Corned beef is usually served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner; this type of sandwich is called Reuben Sandwich.

How to Store Corned Beef?

how to store corned beef

Corned beef is a beautiful dish to serve at any time of year. But, what is the best way to store this dish?

If you have a large piece of corned beef for your family’s needs, then it can be stored in its original packaging in the refrigerator.

If not, try freezing the meat and re-thawing before cooking when needed.

You could also slice or chop up your corned beef into smaller portions and put them in air-tight containers with some broth (or water) so that they are ready to reheat anytime you need quickly.

Corned beef will last about three months if kept on ice at 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Refrigerator storage will work, but the Corned Beef should be cooked within one week from being purchased uncooked.

Can You Eat Out of Date Corned Beef?

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As long as canned vegetables have some acidity, like tomatoes and pineapple, they can last for more than one year.

Canned meat items like corned beef and SPAM can last up to two years or five years; the time variation depends on the quality of the canning process.

If you are in doubt, throw it out. For example, if you find that your canned meat is expired and smells bad or tastes weird (not to mention these cans have the telltale bulge at the top), then get rid of them for good.

You don’t want to risk getting sick from eating something with bacteria growing inside.

To be safe, always check the “best by” date before buying any food item-whether frozen, refrigerated or canned – even if they’re packaged differently under different brands.

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

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As we know, corned beef is a type of preserved and canned meat. It’s usually made from beef and salt, but sometimes other spices are added.

It’s usually cooked before it is eaten as a sandwich filling or served cold with vegetables.

Corned beef can be refrigerated for up to four days or unrefrigerated for up to two hours.

It should be eaten as soon as possible, but it will still taste good after three or four days in the fridge.

If you open a can of corned beef and don’t eat it within a couple of hours, throw it out.

You always want to store canned meat in your refrigerator because bacteria start growing rapidly when warm outside.

Unopened canned corned beef has a shelf life of about 3 to 5 years, but it’ll usually stay safe for use even after that.

And lastly, if the corned beef has been vacuum-sealed, it will last up to five or seven days in the fridge.

Can You Freeze Corned Beef?

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The answer is yes. You can freeze corned beef to preserve it, and enjoy some of that delicately seasoned meat all year long.

However, it should not stay in the freezer for more than three months. The meat will shrink and become tough if stored longer.

The key is freezing the meat soon after cooking.

Otherwise, you risk food poisoning from bacteria growth on your meat’s surface before it’s frozen or cooked again.

Freezing doesn’t spoil anything, but it changes some characteristics like flavor or texture when thawed.

It’s best to have a vacuum sealer at hand because even though air-tight containers work well, there are risks with foods exposed to oxygen in them for longer periods while not being used (food can get freezer burn). 

How to Tell if Corned Beef is Bad?

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As mentioned, corned beef can go bad if not properly stored. It can also go bad if it is not stored at the right temperature.

Corned beef that has gone bad will emit a sour smell and might even have mold on its surface (which should be discarded).

The meat will also likely appear to look slimy or wet with fluid, in some cases turning black and developing white fuzzy mold patches around the outside of the package.

If you are uncertain whether your corned beef is still acceptable for consumption, check out these warning signs:

  • The odor becomes very strong or unpleasant
  • The color changes such as an altogether red-brown surface becoming yellowish-brown
  • Mold appears all over the packaging
  • Discoloring begins near one end of the product’s surface
  • The package is bulging or swells in size and has visible liquid within it

If any of the warning signs listed above apply, then you should discard your corned beef immediately.

Unfortunately, there is no way of telling how long food will be safe for consumption once it becomes bad.

Therefore, always err on the side of caution by disposing of unwanted packages as soon as possible.


If you have any questions about whether or not your corned beef is still safe to eat, don’t be afraid to ask.

The experts at the USDA say that corned meat can last up to 4 days in a fridge as long as it’s wrapped and stored correctly.

Do not consume any beef that is leaking, has a bad odor, or slimy appearance.

In the event of spoilage, discard immediately and contact your local health department.

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How Long Does Corned Beef last? Does Corned 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


  • Corned 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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