I took a large pack of ground beef out of the freezer and it has been in the fridge for no more than 10 hours. There are still ice crystals on the meat. I'm on call and turns out I won't have the opportunity to cook it until next week (the works in another city). I guess I have two options

  1. put the meat back in the freezer and refreeze
  2. thaw out the meat, quickly cook it, and put the left overs in the fridge.

Any advice?


3 Answers 3


I'll offer a third option :

  • Cook the meat, then freeze it.

Holding it in the fridge for a week can be questionable, although there are some things that you can do to reduce the risk (eg, sterilizing the containers first, and pouring the fat on top to form a seal over the meat).

You can hold cooked meat in casseroles for quite some time longer than meat on its own; I suspect it's the other added moisture which helps to prevent freezer burn.

As such, I'd brown it, then moisten it with a can or two of crushed tomatoes (as it's something that I have on hand, and it leaves the meat so it could be turned into chili, a pasta sauce, or other things), then portion it out to reasonable sizes based on possible uses, and freeze those.

It's better if you can let it cool off before freezing, but if it's in smaller containers, you don't have as much of a problem with the center staying hot for too long. I've frozen chili and soups by laying them in gallon zip-top bags on a sheet pan, and putting that in the fridge. (2 bags per 1/2 sheet ... but I had a larger freezer back then)

  • +1 for cook and refreeze. It's the best option that will preserve both quality and safety.
    – Athanasius
    Aug 10, 2016 at 15:38

I would highly advise against re-freezing, for safety reasons. However, I cook and then refrigerate or freeze the cooked meat on a regular basis without any problems.

If you are refrigerating the meat, it is best to use it within two days.

If you are freezing the cooked meat, remember that it has a lower moisture content than fresh meat and will freezer burn more easily. I pack it firmly into snap-lid glass dishes, right to the top of the container so there is little to no air. Then it keeps in the freezer for six months without any damage.


To very quickly thaw any kind of meat place it in a bowl that is JUST high enough to cover it in water; ground beef will need a zip lock or something to keep it from doing bad things in the water. Place the bowl with your meat under your faucet, fill it with water, then reduce water flow to a a pencil thin stream. This will defrost your meat within a few minutes as the water is a much, much better conductor of heat.

Remember, if you put the meat in the water without any kind of protection the flavor and texture may change. However, the more you put between the water and meat the longer it will take to defrost.

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