How Long Do Different Meats Last in the Fridge?

Food storage brings up a lot of questions and concerns, especially when it involves meat products. Here are the guidelines for deciding what's safe to eat.

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Raw organic uncooked whole chicken with salt and pepper on backing paper in old oven tray with white kitchen towel and meat fork over black burnt wooden background. Top view with space.

Raw Poultry

Raw poultry lasts just a day or two in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40 degrees F or colder, but up to a year in the freezer at 0 F or colder. Cooked poultry can be refrigerated a few days longer and should be frozen no longer than two to six months. Watch out for these other food storage guidelines you didn’t know about.

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Close up Wooden Chopping Board with Raw Beef Meat on a Rustic Table with Herbs and Spices

Red Meat and Pork

Red meat and pork can remain in the refrigerator for up to five days and can be frozen for four to 12 months. Leftover cooked meat will last three to four days in the refrigerator and two to six months in the freezer. Here are food storage tricks to make your food last longer.

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meat in shop

Ground Meat

Ground meats such as beef, veal, pork or poultry can be refrigerated for one to two days and frozen for three to four months. Plus: Are you storing these foods all wrong?

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Several cooking hot dogs on a grill

Lunch Meats and Hot Dogs

Hot dogs and lunch meats will last two weeks in the refrigerator unopened and should be eaten within three to five days of opening (hot dogs can go a couple of days longer). In the freezer, they’ll last one to two months. Check out some genius ideas for organizing your pantry here.

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Salted pork meat

Bacon and Sausage

Bacon is safe to eat for up to a week in the fridge, but raw sausage should be eaten within two days. Both can be frozen for a month, and some sausage can be frozen for twice as long. Plus, extend the life of everything from produce to meat to wine with these 10 highly rated products.

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Organic eggs in a box, overhead view

What About Eggs?

Odds are you’re planning on whipping up some eggs with your bacon, so here’s the lowdown on how to store them properly.

Eggs can be refrigerated for up to a month raw, but no more than a week if they’re hard-boiled. Only egg whites or beaten eggs (yolks and whites) should be frozen and will last for up to a year. Do not freeze whole eggs. Egg substitute and separated egg whites or yolks should be eaten within two to four days of refrigeration.

Plus: We know you have a collection of condiments in your fridge or pantry. Here’s how long you can safely use them.

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… And Deli Salads?

Deli salads such as chicken, tuna, egg or pasta salad will last three to five days in the fridge and should not be frozen. Next, read about the 16 pantry items you’re probably keeping for too long.


Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest