Skip to main content

Ground Beef

Ground Beef Basics
Ground Beef page 2

Ground Beef Basics

3 ounces of lean beef supplies nearly half the protein most people need in a day.

Shop and Save

  • Ground beef is often red on the outside because of exposure to oxygen. A darker color on the inside is normal and not a sign of spoilage.
  • Watch for ground beef on sale. Stock up if you can cook or freeze within a couple of days.
  • Large packages of ground beef may cost less per pound than small packages.
  • Try ground beef that is 15% fat or less. Lower fat meat may cost more per pound but you are buying less saturated fat.

Never leave ground beef at room temperature for more than 2 hours

Store Well Waste Less

  • Refrigerate raw ground beef and use within 2 days for best quality.
  • Freeze raw ground beef for longer storage:
    • Divide into recipe-sized amounts.
    • Flatten into 1-inch thick pieces for quick freezing and thawing.
    • Package in airtight wrap or containers. Remove as much air as possible, label and date. Use within 4 months for best quality.
  • Refrigerate cooked ground beef for 3 or 4 days. Freeze for longer storage; use within 4 months for best quality.

Keep it Safe!

  • Cook, refrigerate or freeze ground beef soon after buying.
  • Thaw frozen meat in the refrigerator. Allow 12 hours for 1 pound and use a container to catch liquids. Cook or re-freeze within 1 or 2 days.
  • For faster thawing (1 pound in 1 hour), cover leakproof package with cold water; weigh it down to keep under water. Add new cold water every 30 minutes. Cook right away.
  • Microwave thawing is safe if the meat is cooked right away.
  • Keep raw meat away from fruits and vegetables.
  • Wash hands with soap and water before and after touching raw meat.
  • Use hot soapy water to wash all surfaces and utensils that touch raw meat.
  • Meatloaf, meatballs and hamburgers are safely cooked when the inside temperature reaches 160 degrees F. Check the middle with a food thermometer.

Enjoy Ground Beef


Garlic Ginger Ramen with Beef
Quick Chili

Kids Can!

When kids help make healthy food, they are more likely to try it. Show kids how to:

  • safely handle the sharp lids when opening cans.
  • measure ingredients.
  • use a spatula to break up ground beef as it browns.


Was this page helpful to you?