We planned to eat hamburgers tonight, so I bought 1.5 Kg of fresh ground beef at my store, at 3 PM.
But then, we decided to postpone that to tomorrow night.

Ground beef can be kept for at most 24 hours in a fridge right ? It is not vacuum sealed, the butcher packed it in front of me.

So what should I do ? (it is 5:30 PM now)

  • Leave in the fridge and cook the meat before 3 PM tomorrow (and reheat at dinner time)
  • Freeze the meat as-is (in the store-sealed package)
  • Prepare the patties and freeze them now
  • Other ?

I don't have a microwave, I would defrost it in the fridge (I heard room temperature isn't appropriate, especially for ground meat in which micro-organisms develop quickly).

If I choose to freeze the meat as-is, I guess I would have to defrost it at least a bit to form patties. But if I freeze the patties, can I pan-fry them right away ?

Freezing should be safe, even though a friend of mine once tried to cook ground meat he had put in the freezer a few days before (right after buying it, he said) ; and it seemed not to be good anymore (rotten or something) ; so I'm not sure.

Thanks in advance, I'd rather not poison everyone tomorrow :)

EDIT : The hamburgers were fine — I lowered a bit my fridge temperature overnight, just to be sure, and cooked it well before serving.

  • Just a quick comment: you should never freeze something if it's loosely packaged. You could freeze your ground beef, but do it in something as airtight as possible.
    – Mien
    Feb 21, 2013 at 17:28
  • Thanks for the advice. It was kind of airtight actually, I said it was not "vacuum sealed" because there was still some air in ; but now that I think about it, there's no way he could have really removed all the air inside.
    – hugo
    Mar 5, 2013 at 6:48

1 Answer 1


Per the FDA, you can hold the ground beef, refrigerated, for one to two days.

Assuming you have:

  • Bought the meat from a reputable source (you seem to have if you watched them wrap it)
  • Have kept it well refrigerated since buying it, and will do so until cooking it

I would just cook and eat it as normal at dinner time tomorrow, since it has been refrigerated the entire time. 24 hours is not a magic number. 26 or 28 hours is not that different.

Now, several days extra time before cooking would be a big difference compared to several hours.

  • I realize from your use of kg you probably don't live in the US, but the US FDA is still a reputable source for food safety information :-)
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Feb 20, 2013 at 23:10
  • Thank you, I will keep it in the fridge then. I know the meat doesn't have an internal 24h-counter that makes it suddenly unhealthy, but microbes develop fast and I tend to eat late... And even though if I live in Canada (I am from France actually, that's why I use Kg), I would trust FDA's advice :)
    – hugo
    Feb 20, 2013 at 23:48

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