Let's say you buy all the ingredients for your meal. You choose a recipe which is using meat.
From the shop, you get raw grinded meat that is still good for a week. (label says so.)

Which will last longer?
A) The raw meat in the fridge (and prepare it when you want it.)
B) Prepare the meal, cool it down properly and put it in the fridge.
C) Freeze the meat and unthaw when you need it the next few days.

(C is an extra option, as I doubt it's a handy option if you just want to prepare the meal the next day or the day after that. But again, I couldn't find any evidence back anything up.)

3 Answers 3


As for the cooked meal, it also depends on what else is in there aside from the meat. Because a meal could go bad even though the meat is still safe, because another ingridient goes bad earlier. It also depends on how you store the meal (aside from storing in the fridge) like wrapping it up in foil, putting it in a closed box, etc.

Overall I trust option B) the prepared meal in the fridge will last longer.

This being because the former raw meat has been cooked or more basically heated above a certain critical temperature for a certain amount of time. This helps to kill bacteria which will otherwise make the meat go bad.

As for option C) Basically frozen food lasts longer than only cooled. But I wouldn't find this practical as in "coming handy".


Option C lasts longest, then option A, with option B being the shortest.

When you have no other information, the official fridge life of any cooked meal is 3-5 days, starting from the day you cooked it, and no matter how old or fresh the ingredients were.

When you have information from the producer, as in the case of your label, then this information supplants any standard assumptions. So your raw meat will last for a full week, assuming you cook it all at once. This is longer than the 3-5 days.

The information on the label assumes that the package stays closed. The moment you open it, the date on the label becomes irrelevant, and you are left with the typical fridge life of ground meat, which is 1-2 days. So you cannot cook small portions every day for a week.

Freezing "stops the clock" on shelf life, so it lasts as long as you want it to.

The answer about "This helps to kill bacteria which will otherwise make the meat go bad." is based on oversimplified reasoning which is not in line with food safety standars. For more info on this and other typical myths, see https://cooking.stackexchange.com/tags/food-safety/info.


Prepared meat will last longer, if ...

you grind in naturally preserving condiments like oregano, sesame oil, vinegar.

As wells as natural anti-bacterials like salt, sugar, honey.

Sugar oxidation, at low temperatures that do not encourage fermentation, discourages bacterial activity.

However, if you grind in rapidly spoiling food like vegetables and fruits, (e.g. some people like to grind cilantro and scallions into their meat) .... I have no idea what would happen.

But don't you think that grinding the meat in naturally preserving condiments and natural anti-bacterials and then cooking it to kill all the bacteria would make it last longer? OTOH, cooking it changes the mechanisms of food degradation. Any self-respecting chef would recommend against freezing cooked food for storage. Not even for a day.

I think it is best to freeze it after preservative grinding without cooking it would be the best.

  • 3
    I don't think the OP is grinding their own meat. I'm not sure that small amounts of "condiments" have any significant effect (this isn't picking or salt curing or anything). And your comment about freezing is a little snobby, honestly. Freezing isn't the end of the world, and our home kitchens don't have to be the pinnacle of the culinary world.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Jan 27, 2013 at 2:46
  • 1
    Thanks for the long list of information. Sorry about the downvotes, wasn't me. :)
    – Apache
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 22:40
  • Out of experience, sesame oil and oregano mixed into food has had significant impact on the preservation of the food. Unless you've had experience doing that, please do not downvote or comment on the efficacy.
    – Cynthia
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 2:07
  • Freezing cooked food is the end of the world - because you want a happy family enjoying freshly cooked food every time.
    – Cynthia
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 2:09

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