How Long Can Steak Stay In The Fridge?

When it comes to storing steak, a common question among culinary enthusiasts is how long can steak stay in the fridge?

Specifically, steaks should be stored on the lower shelves of the refrigerator, wrapped properly in plastic wrap or foil, or kept in an airtight container.

It is crucial to ensure the integrity of the meat by avoiding cross-contamination with other food items. 

In this blog, we will learn about mistakes and methods for keeping steak in the fridge.

For prolonged storage, freezing the steak is advisable, allowing it to be kept for several months while retaining quality.

How Long Can Steak Be Stayed Left Out?

Steaks that have been left out for an extended period can pose a significant risk of foodborne illness.

According to the USDA, meat should not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours, or more than one hour if the temperature is above 90°F. 

Bacteria grow rapidly between 40°F and 140°F, which is known as the “danger zone.”

To ensure safety, steaks should be refrigerated if they won’t be cooked immediately and any meat left out longer than the recommended time should be discarded to prevent the risk of bacterial infections such as salmonella or E. coli.

How Long Can Steak Stay In The Fridge?

For keeping steak fresh in the refrigerator for an extended period, we also need to apply some methods below, which will be a few ways for you to follow.

1. Raw Steak In A Butcher Case

When purchasing raw steak from a butcher, it’s important to understand the proper storage practices to ensure it remains safe and of high quality until you’re ready to cook it.

Freshly cut raw steak has a limited window of freshness when stored in a refrigerator, typically ranging from 3 to 5 days

Butchers often display their meat in refrigerated cases, where a consistent temperature below 40°F is maintained to slow bacterial growth.

At home, the same level of careful temperature control should be applied. 

To properly store steak, place it in the coldest part of the refrigerator as soon as possible after purchase – ideally on the bottom shelf to prevent any potential drippings from contaminating other foods.

It’s also wise to transfer the steak from the butcher paper or tray to a sealed airtight container or securely wrap it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

Remember, the key to keeping steak safe and delicious is prompt and correct refrigeration until it’s time to cook.

2. Vacuum-Sealed Raw Steak 

Vacuum-sealing raw steak is an effective method for extending its refrigerator shelf life without sacrificing quality.

By removing air from the packaging, vacuum-sealing prevents oxidation and significantly slows the growth of aerobic bacteria and fungi. 

As a result, vacuum-sealed steaks can safely remain in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

This technique also helps preserve the meat’s natural flavor and moisture content, essential for maintaining its juiciness and tenderness when cooked. 

Furthermore, the tight seal safeguards against cross-contamination with other foods and odors in the fridge.

Always inspect the seal and packaging before purchase and once again before use, to guarantee the meat has remained uncompromised during its refrigerated storage.

3. Keep It Cool Properly

This method will help keep your steak fresh, safe to eat, and ready for that delicious meal you’re planning.

When kept cool properly, a steak can maintain its freshness in the fridge for approximately 3 to 5 days.

Maintaining the appropriate cool temperature in your refrigerator is crucial for the longevity and safety of steak storage.

“Keep it cool properly” means that the refrigerator should consistently stay at or below the recommended 40°F to inhibit bacterial growth. 

To achieve this, avoid overfilling the fridge to allow for proper air circulation, and use a refrigerator thermometer to monitor the temperature.

It’s also important to frequently check and maintain the seals of your refrigerator door to ensure there are no leaks that can cause temperature fluctuations.

4. Freeze Raw Steak Properly

When frozen properly, a raw steak can maintain its quality in the freezer for up to 12 months.

However, once thawed, the steak should be used within 3 to 5 days if kept in the refrigerator.

How long can steak stay in the fridge if you freeze raw steak properly?

Freezing raw steak properly is an essential technique for preserving its qualities over an extended period.

When done correctly, the steak can be kept for several months while minimizing the risk of freezer burn and bacterial growth.

To freeze steak, start by patting it dry with paper towels, as excess moisture can lead to ice crystallization which affects texture.

Wrap the steak tightly in plastic wrap, pressing out as much air as possible, then add a layer of aluminum foil or place it inside a freezer-safe zip-top bag for extra protection against air and moisture.

Label the package with the date to keep track of how long the steak has been stored.

Steaks should be placed in the coldest part of the freezer, ideally at 0°F or lower, to ensure a rapid decrease in temperature which helps in preserving the meat’s cellular structure. 

Thawing should then be done in the refrigerator or using a cold-water method to keep the steak safe for consumption.

By following these steps, you can maintain the steak’s quality and enjoy a flavorful, tender meal whenever you’re ready to cook it. 

5. Cook Steak Properly

Cooking meat properly is not only essential for safety but also for ensuring the best flavor and texture.

If you follow these methods, how long can steak stay in the fridge

The proper technique for cooking steak entails bringing the meat to room temperature before cooking, which promotes even heat distribution. 

Season the steak as desired and then sear it on a preheated pan to lock in flavors and juices.

For food safety, the USDA recommends cooking steak to an internal temperature of at least 145°F, followed by a 3-minute rest time, which allows the meat to continue cooking slightly off the heat.

Using a meat thermometer will ensure accuracy in reaching the desired doneness.

Avoid repeatedly flipping the steak or pressing down on it, as this can release the precious juices and result in dry meat.

Remember that different cuts of steak may require different cooking times and methods, so adjust accordingly.

If cooked properly, steak can remain in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.

Reasons Why Should You Stay Your Steak In The Fridge

Before referring to methods, you can keep steak in the fridge for a long time.

We need to refer to reasons why you should do it.

Storing your steak in the refrigerator is pivotal for several reasons, with food safety being of paramount importance.

The suitable environment of a fridge slows down the growth of harmful bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella, which can develop rapidly at room temperature, potentially leading to foodborne illnesses. 

Moreover, refrigeration preserves the steak’s quality by maintaining its freshness, texture, and flavor for a few days, giving you the flexibility to plan your meals without cooking the steak immediately after purchase.

It also ensures that the meat retains its nutritional value, including essential proteins and vitamins that are important for a healthy diet.

Additionally, appropriate refrigeration can assist in the marination process, allowing the steak to absorb flavors fully and evenly while being safely stored.

Contrarily, leaving steak at room temperature for an extended period can result in a loss of taste and texture, rendering it unappetizing and unsafe.

The refrigerator acts as a middle ground; it keeps the steak cold enough to delay spoilage but not as extreme as freezing, which can alter the meat’s cellular structure and potentially affect its tenderness once cooked.

Thus, the fridge is the optimal choice for short-term steak preservation.

Some Mistakes Meeting When You Stay Steak In The Fridge

When you implement meat preservation methods, there are a few common mistakes to be aware of.

Pay attention to the following tips.

Storing steak in the refrigerator may seem straightforward, but there are common pitfalls to avoid to ensure the meat’s freshness and safety.

One mistake is leaving steak in its original packaging, which might not be fully airtight and can increase the risk of bacterial contamination.

Another error is placing the steak on the top shelf, where it could potentially drip onto other foods, leading to cross-contamination.

Additionally, not all parts of the fridge maintain the same temperature, and storing steak in a warmer section can accelerate spoilage.

Another significant oversight is ignoring the expiration date; even if the meat looks and smells fine.

It’s imperative to adhere to the “use by” or “sell by” dates for safety. 

Lastly, failing to properly seal or wrap steak after opening can result in exposure to air, causing it to oxidize and develop off-flavors.

To guarantee enjoyment and safety, be mindful of these common storage mistakes.


In summary, proper refrigeration is key to how long can steak stay in the fridge.

The optimal storage temperature is at or below 40°F, which helps slow down bacterial growth and maintain the meat’s quality. 

A refrigerator thermometer can be used to accurately monitor this.

Steaks should be kept in their coolest section and should be properly sealed to prevent air exposure and moisture loss.

If appropriately refrigerated, steak can stay fresh for 3 to 5 days.

It’s crucial to be vigilant about the “use by” dates and ensure the steak is consumed or frozen by this time to avoid food safety risks.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can safely enjoy your steaks with their best quality preserved.

Chef Chip Roman is one of the most exciting and talented chefs in Philadelphia. He has his own catering business, Charles Roman Catering, as well as Roman Restaurant Group which includes Blackfish, Mica, and Ela. He graduated from Drexel University in 2002 with a degree in business and culinary arts. Chip Roman is a classically trained chef who has worked in some of the most prestigious kitchens and chefs in Philadelphia, including Le Bec Fin’s George Perrier and Marc Vetri’s Vetri.

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