After you prepare a meal, you may have cooked minced meat left over. If the minced meat was previously frozen and you plan to use it again, you may refreeze the cooked meat. Refreezing the minced meat proves to be economical because you can reuse it to create another dish instead of throwing it away. Before you can use the cooked minced meat, it needs handled properly before and afterward to ensure that it remains safe to consume.
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Before you use the cooked minced meat, ensure that it is safe and desirable to consume. Minced meat that was frozen partially cooked can contain harmful bacteria. Minced meat stored for longer than three to four months in the freezer may suffer from a loss in quality. Freezer burn may also form on the minced meat if it was not stored properly. Freezer burn causes leather-like dark discolourations to form on the beef and it affects the flavour and texture of the meat. If the meat appears questionable, discard it.
Minced meat needs to be thawed properly in the refrigerator if you plan to refreeze the cooked beef. Freezing minced meat defrosted in the microwave or in cold water can allow bacteria to form in the meat. When you plan to freeze leftover ground meat again, place it in the refrigerator overnight. If any juices leak from the container or freezer bag, they can contaminate other foods in your refrigerator. Place the minced meat in a container and thaw it away from fruits and vegetables.
Refreezing Cooked Ground Beef
Once the minced meat thaws, remove the portion that you need. Freeze the minced meat in the same container or transfer it to a new freezer-safe container. Freeze the leftover minced meat within one to two days to help prevent a loss in quality. Write the date that you placed the meat back into the freezer so that you know it was previously defrosted. Repeatedly defrosting and freezing cooked minced meat can cause a serious loss in quality, which will affect how the beef tastes.
Tips and Warnings
Never let cooked minced meat sit out at room temperature for longer than two hours because harmful bacteria may form. Always cook minced meat to a safe internal temperature of 71.1 to 73.9 degrees Celsius. Discard the minced meat if it has an odd colour, strange odour or mould growing on the surface. Always wash your hands with an antibacterial soap and hot water before handling the minced meat to prevent contaminating it.
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- United States Department of Agriculture: Common Food Safety Questions
- Food Safety and Inspection Service; Focus on Minced Meat; Bessie Berry; October 1997
- Clemson University Extension; Safe Handling of Beef; P.H. Schmutz; November 2006
- United States Department of Agriculture: Beef from Farm to Table
- Michigan State University Extension; When Your Freezer Stops Working; June 2003