How Long Does Cooked Hamburger Last in the Fridge


Perhaps you’ve prepared some cooked hamburger for a large group of people, and you have leftovers.  A good question to consider is, how long does cooked hamburger last in the fridge. We’ll give you our step-by-step instructions for how to store beef.

cooked ground hamburger
cooked ground hamburger

Can I Refrigerate or Freeze Leftover Cooked Hamburgers?

Yes, leftover cooked hamburgers can be refrigerated for up to 3 or 4 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

How Long Does Cooked Beef Last in the Fridge?

Not only is it helpful to know how long does cooked hamburger last in the fridge, and cooked beef can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. See our step-by-step instructions below for how to store cooked beef. 

How to Store Cooked Beef

Storing cooked beef whether it be ground beef, roast beef, steak, hamburger patties, beef ribs, or beef brisket can be the key to enjoying its quality beyond when it’s initially cooked.  Here’s how to store cooked beef.

Cool.  Allow the beef to cool enough so that it’s easy to handle.

Wrap. If storing in the refrigerator, use an airtight container for storing cooked hamburger. If, storing in the freezer, wrap it in a zipped freezer bag and date and label it with the contents. 

Refrigerate. For short-term storage, store at 40F degrees or less, and eat within 3-4 days or put it in the freezer.

Freeze. Cooked beef can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months for best quality.

How to Defrost Cooked Beef

If you choose to freeze cooked ground beef, chances are you’ll want to know how to safely thaw it. Here are our recommendations that take food safety into consideration.

Refrigerator overnight. When thawing frozen cooked beef, transfer directly from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow it to sit in the refrigerator overnight so that it can thaw.

It could take anywhere from 12-24 hours for your ground beef to thaw in the refrigerator, depending on the quantity and the temperature.

Cold water. If you need a more rapid defrosting method for thawing cooked beef, you can transfer your beef directly from the freezer to a bowl of cold water.

The cold water should be changed every 30 minutes, to keep it cold until the meat thaws.

How to Heat Leftover Cooked Beef

The three most popular ways to reheat leftover cooked ground beef are in the oven, on the stovetop, or in the microwave.

Oven. To reheat leftover beef that’s already been cooked, you can use the oven. We recommend wrapping the beef in a sealed foil packet and adding a teaspoon of water for moisture. Heat at 350F degrees until warmed through.

Stovetop. To reheat ground beef on the stovetop, place the beef in a frying pan, with a bit of water and then cover with a lid. Heat over medium heat until warmed through.

Microwave. We recommend saving the microwave for reheating beef as a last resort because it can change the texture of the beef and can make it tough.

When reheating ground beef in the microwave, place it in a microwave safe container and cover with a paper towel. And heat until warmed through.  

cooked hamburger
cooked hamburger

How to Tell if Cooked Beef Has Gone Bad

If your ground beef has gone bad, you don’t want to risk eating it as it has the potential of causing food poisoning. Following are the key indicators for knowing if your ground beef has gone bad.

Green tint. If your cooked ground beef has a green tint or appears slightly off color in any way, it should be thrown away.

Slimy or mushy feel. If you notice a slimy or mushy feeling, your cooked ground beef has likely spoiled and should not be consumed.

Sour smell. A sour or off smell will also indicate that your ground beef has gone bad.  If this is the case, throw it away.

Warm storage. If your ground beef is kept above 40F for more than 2 hours, bacteria has had the opportunity to grow, and your cooked ground beef should be discarded.

How Long Does Raw Ground Beef Last in the Fridge?

Ground beef that’s still raw will last in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days and then it needs to be cooked or frozen for food safety reasons.

See our step-by-step instructions below for how to freeze ground beef.

How to Freeze Ground Beef

Following are our step-by-step instructions for how to freeze ground beef.

Leave in original packaging. You can choose to leave it in its original packaging if you anticipate the portion size to be appropriate when you’re ready to use it.

Make sure it’s wrapped and sealed well to prevent freezer burn.

Transfer to freezer bag. If you’ve purchased a large quantity of ground beef and want to portion it out for best use after it’s frozen, you can transfer the desired portion sizes to a zipped freezer bag.

Remove excess air.  Remove any excess air from the zipped freezer bag to help prevent freezer burn.

Date and label it. Date and label the packaging with the date it’s frozen as well as the contents.

ground hamburger
ground hamburger

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions that relate to how long does cooked hamburger last in the fridge. If you have a question that’s not answered here, feel free to drop it in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to answer it.

Is cooked hamburger good after 5 days?

Generally, no, after 5 days cooked hamburger is considered spoiled and should be thrown away. This is true even if it has been kept in the refrigerator.

Can I freeze cooked burgers?

Yes, freezing cooked burgers is a good way to prolong their shelf life. Just place them in a freezer safe airtight container or seal them in a zipped freezer bag. Be sure to label them with today’s date before freezing them.

How can you tell if a cooked hamburger is bad?

The best way to know if a cooked hamburger is bad is by its smell. If it smells off or is soured in any way, then it should be thrown away. Also, if the hamburger seems slimy or is discolored, it should not be eaten.

How long is leftover cooked ground beef good for?

Leftover cooked ground beef, if stored properly in a 40F degree or less refrigerator can be kept for up to 3-4 days.

Can I keep cooked ground beef in fridge for 7 days?

No, we don’t recommend it. Seven days is too long and allows for bacteria to grow. Ground beef that’s kept in the refrigerator for 7 days should be thrown away. 

Delicious Burger Recipes:

Amazing Avocado Bacon Burger
Amazing Mushroom Bacon Swiss Burger
Smoked Burgers
Trader Joe Turkey Burgers
The Best Ground Turkey Sliders

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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