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How Long Can Meat Stay Frozen?

A woman holds a package of red meat at a grocery store.
Aleksandar Karanov/Shutterstock.com

You’re in the grocery store and realize there’s a sale on chicken or beef or pork, but it’s not on your menu for this week. But that’s a sales item you don’t want to pass up. You can always freeze the meat, but if you do, how long does frozen meat last?

You can store frozen meat for between four and nine months depending on the type you’re planning to save for later.

Technically speaking, frozen food is good indefinitely. Below zero degrees Fahrenheit storage can inactivate bacterial, yeast, and mold growth. You won’t need to worry about the food spoiling. That’s why the whole “indefinitely good” thing is true, but when it comes to flavor, meat stored for over a year will likely not be very appetizing. Taste and texture can be compromised over time. Plus, it can get freezer burn. 

NutriChef Sealer

Vacuum sealing is one of the best ways to keep meat fresh while frozen.

Instead, there are general storage timelines. Ground meats (think turkey, beef, and chicken) and uncooked sausage are good for up to four months and have the shortest freezer shelf life. Chicken breast, bacon, and chops can be stored for six months, and steaks, hot dogs, fully cooked sausage (like Andouille), and chicken parts (like wings) are good for eight. Finally, whole chickens can be frozen for up to a year.

If you notice a sale on meat during your next grocery shopping trip, go ahead and grab it. Just be sure to thaw it correctly when it’s time to chow down.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is the Assignments Editor at LifeSavvy. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer with a focus on beauty and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Allure, and Hello Giggles. Read Full Bio »
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