How Long Can Marinated Beef Stay in the Fridge? A to Z Guide


This is a detailed guide answering how long you can keep marinated beef in the fridge.

Let’s dive in.

How Long Can Marinated Beef Stay in the Fridge?

According to USDA, the most recommended time frame to keep beef marinated in the refrigerator is 6 – 24 hours. While the marinated beef can stay safely in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. But if you are using strong marinades, after 2 days, it may start disintegrating the meat fibers, making them soft and mushy.

Thus, the choice of time depends upon the recipe you plan to make, the marinade you are using and how strong flavors you may want,

Tips for Refrigerating Marinated Beef

Always marinate beef in the refrigerator. Marinating at room temperature is not recommended. This is because it can cause bacteria to grow to spoil the beef.

Here are some quick tips for refrigerating marinated beef –

  • Do not marinate for too long. The best is to stick to 6-24 hours max or just follow what the recipe recommends.
  • After you have taken the marinated beef, don’t reuse any leftover marinade that has touched raw meat. It could contain harmful bacteria.
  • Discard any unused marinade after it has been sitting at room temperature for more than two hours. This can cause health issues.
  • Don’t refreeze any beef that has been thawed. It could contain harmful bacteria. This is especially true if you have thawed the beef in the microwave or in the water.

What Happens When Meat Marinates Too Long in the fridge?

When the meat is left to marinate for too long, it will start to break down and become mushy. The enzymes in the meat will also start to work, which will cause it to change color and become more tender.

To understand this in detail, we need to understand what marination is.

The reaction of meat with acids, such as vinegar or lemon juice, is called marination. what we apply to meat (like lemon, vinegar, etc.) are called marinades.

Why marinate? Marinating meat is a way to add flavor and moisture to it before cooking. The marinade can be as simple as olive oil, salt, and pepper, or it can be more complex with herbs, spices, and other ingredients.

Marinating meat helps make it more tender and flavorful when cooked.

But, if the meat is left in acid for too long, it will also start to spoil and develop a bad odor.

Here are some awesome tips to marinate beef with some interesting marinades –

Can you Freeze Marinated Beef?

Yes, you can freeze marinated beef. However, the quality and flavor of the beef may be affected. When freezing marinated beef, make sure to place it in an airtight container or freezer bag so that it does not absorb any other flavors.

It is recommended that you DO NOT freeze the marinated beef along with its marinade.

The acid in the marinades along with ice crystals (formed due to freezing) damages the fibers of the beef, this can make beef mushy thus changing its texture and flavor.

Storing Marinated Meat in the Refrigerator

There are a few things to keep in mind when storing marinated meat in the refrigerator.

  • Always make sure that the meat is completely covered by the marinade. If there is any exposed meat, it will quickly spoil and contaminate the rest of the batch.
  • Try not to overcrowd the refrigerator shelves; this will help ensure that the meat stays cold and fresh.
  • Do not use metal containers to marinate, these react with the acidic component of the marinades. Prefer plastic bags, glass or air-tight food-grade containers.

Be sure to use up the marinated meat within a few days or else it may start to spoil.

How Can You Tell if the Marinated Beef is Bad?

If the marinated beef has been stored in a fridge for longer than 5 days, it is likely that it will start to spoil and develop bacteria. If there are any signs of discoloration or sliminess on the meat, this is also a sign that it has gone bad. Additionally, if the beef smells rank or sour, then it is likely that it has spoiled and should not be eaten.

Marinated beef when frozen can last for much longer, but as mentioned above, you should ensure that the marinade is removed when you freeze it.

Does Meat Need Extra Time to Marinade if Kept Outside?

No, meat does not need extra time to marinade if kept outside. But you should not do it as leaving meat out at room temperature can actually lead to bacteria growth, which can cause food poisoning. It is best to keep the meat in the fridge until it is ready to be cooked.

Ensure that you do not keep it for too long (more than 2 days, preferably 6-24 hours).

Final Words

I hope this guide helped you decide how long you can marinate beef in the fridge safely.

If you have any queries or suggestions, please feel free to comment below.

Do share this with others who love beef recipes!

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About Karen Wilson

Karen is a foodie to the core. She loves any variety of food - spicy or junk! Her slender body and height are deceiving, as she enjoys eating hearty meals that would leave most people gasping for air. She has an appetite for life, and wants everyone around her to share in it too.