Is it Safe to Refreeze Beef?

The Laws of Freezing (And Refreezing) Beef

Beef Roast Close Up
skhoward/E+/Getty Images

There is always something that comes up, especially to wreck your dinner plans. For instance, let's say you had thawed some beef or steaks in the refrigerator in the morning to make sure it was ready to cook when you got home from work. However, your workday got derailed, you got pulled into meetings and ended up working late. You walk into your front door hours behind schedule, and the last thing you want to do is broil and grill your beef.

Instead, you make a quick sandwich or nibble on some fruit and forget all about the steaks sitting in the fridge. 

While that scenario can be all too common and understandable, it can also be a major waste of money. Good cuts of beef and steak can be costly, and if not consumed and stored appropriately, you can throw your hard-earned dollars into the trash.

However, there is no need to just throw out the beef, as long as it's been stored safely in the refrigerator the entirely time. You can save the beef and keep it for another occasion. 

Refreezing Beef

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, once food has been thawed in the refrigerator, it is safe to freeze it again without cooking it. You may end up losing some of the meat's flavor due to decreased moisture, but it will be perfectly safe to consume and a good marinade can often make up for lost juices and flavoring. Whether you are dealing with steaks, sirloins or ground hamburger meat, all of these products can be safely refrozen as long as they are returned to the freezer within 48 hours of thawing.

 

What About Refreezing Cooked Beef?

If you let the beef or steaks thaw and cooked them, but have some left over, they can be safely frozen too. Just like the raw steaks, make sure they are back in the freezer within 48 hours of their original cooking time. 

The only time food cannot be safely refrozen is if you left the steaks or beef cuts out at room temperature for more than two hours, or just one hour if it's more than 90 degrees, such as during an outdoor barbecue.

The heightened temperatures make the beef susceptible to different kinds of harmful bacteria and cannot be consumed safely, even if frozen.  

Never thaw meat at room temperature, such as on the kitchen counter or next to the grill outside. Only meet that has been thoroughly thawed in a controlled refrigerator is safe for consumption. 

If you are on a budget, wasting food can mean throwing money away and ruining perfectly good future meals. With some care in beef storage and thawing, steaks can be refrozen after thawing and after cooking and reused for future meals. Whether you have a lot of leftovers or simply never got around to cooking as you planned, freezing beef can be a great way to extend your food budget.