How Long Does Taco Meat Last in the Fridge?

How Long Does Taco Meat Last in the Fridge?

Are you considering making some dinner tacos but hesitating because the meat has been in your fridge for a little longer than you intended?

If so, it’s essential to check whether it is still safe to eat because moldy taco meat could cause stomach upsets and worse if anyone eats it.

How long does taco meat last in the fridge? Cooked taco meat can be kept in the refrigerator for three to four days, particularly if stored in the coldest part of the fridge.

After this point, the meat should be thrown away because bacteria may have spread through it, making it unsafe to consume. Raw taco meat should be used up within a couple of days.

Can You Store Taco Meat in the Fridge?

Yes, you can store taco meat in the fridge; it must be kept chilled to be safe to eat. It would help to place it in your fridge or freezer when you get home from the store.

Please don’t leave it on the counter or in a hot car.

The rate at which bacteria can breed dramatically increases when food is kept at over 40 degrees F, so keeping taco meat below this temperature is essential.

Eating after two hours, or even an hour, if the room is above 90 degrees F, will become unsafe in a warm or hot room.

If your taco meat is still raw, use it up within two days, even if it is always refrigerated.

Taco meat is usually ground beef, and the USDA recommendation states that you should use this within one to two days of purchase.

Once the meat has been cooked, you can store it for up to four more days, although you should not push this further, especially if the meat has already been around for a couple of days.

If you don’t use it up within this time, throw it away.

Can You Freeze Taco Meat?

It’s OK to freeze both raw and cooked taco meat.

Freezing will ensure that the beef lasts significantly longer, possibly indefinitely, but using it up within three or four months is still recommended.

When freezing meat, do so as soon as possible. If you are freezing cooked meat, allow it to cool, and then tip it into an airtight container, seal it, and put it straight in your freezer.

It doesn’t need to be refrigerated first.

If you are freezing raw meat, leave it in its original packaging and put it directly in the freezer.

You can transfer raw beef to a sealed bag or container if you have opened it.

To defrost either raw or cooked taco meat, use your fridge. Take the meat out the night before you want it and place it in the refrigerator.

It will slowly defrost without ever reaching the “danger zone” for bacteria and should be ready to eat the following night.

Do not defrost taco meat at room temperature. The outside of the meat will get dangerously warm before the inside has thawed, so this isn’t considered safe.

If you need to defrost taco meat more quickly, put it in the microwave or use cold water.

Cool It in the Fridge

You need to cool cooked taco meat down before you can refrigerate or freeze it; you should not use your fridge to do this.

Doing so could compromise any other food in your fridge because it will raise the overall temperature of the refrigerator to dangerous levels.

Instead, put the taco meat in a shallow container on your counter and spread it out so that it can cool. Heat will rise from the beef and disperse, gradually cooling it to room temperature.

Put a lid on it and place it in your fridge or freezer as soon as it is cool enough.

Cooking Meat That Has Spoiled

No, do not cook meat that has spoiled. Although cooking does kill some bacteria, it will not make moldy beef safe to eat again.

Toxins may remain in the food, and it is still likely to give you food poisoning.

Cooking meat does help to kill the bacteria, but it will not get rid of any toxins left by the bacteria, and you can still get food poisoning from moldy meat that has been cooked well.

Throw away lousy beef rather than try to cook it.

Does Moldy Taco Meat Smell Bad?

In general, moldy meat will produce an unpleasant aroma.

It smells wrong because the meat could make us sick, so the body has developed an internal “do not eat” signal in response to the smell created by bacteria.

If you get meat out of your fridge and find it unpleasant, it is no longer safe to eat, even if it is still in date. Other signs that meat has gone wrong include specks of mold on its surface, a slimy texture, and discoloration.

Raw taco meat should be light pink, while cooked taco meat should be golden brown.

Spoiled meat will often taste bad, too, although you shouldn’t eat it to test whether it is safe. A foul smell and discoloration should be enough to warn you that the meat is dangerous and not fit for consumption.

Never taste raw meat to check whether it is okay to eat. Raw meat is unsafe even when fresh, moldy raw meat could make you sick. Food poisoning can cause hospitalization in severe cases, so don’t take the risk.

When in doubt, remove meat that may have gone bad and stick to conservative food safety guidelines.

Final Thoughts

Raw taco meat will only last for a few days in the fridge before it needs to be discarded, whereas cooked taco meat should last longer.

If you do not use the beef up quickly, consider putting it straight in your freezer to reduce the risk of food waste.