Hamburger Shelf Life: How Long Does Hamburger Last?

What is the average shelf life of hamburger? How long does hamburger last in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer? What is the best way to store hamburger to increase its  shelf life? Find out the answers to these questions and more below:

Shelf Life of Hamburger

Ground Beef1-2 Days6-9 Months
Ground Pork1-2 Days6-9 Months
Ground Turkey1 Day6-9 Months
Prepared5-7 Days5-6 Months

When buying hamburger or ground meat, there are several things to be on the look-out for.  For one thing, manufacturers are permitted to include up to 30% fat into either product.  However, beef fat is not allowed into hamburger. Another item to consider when purchasing hamburger is the packaging and information stamped onto the package.


As recommended, raw hamburger should be put away immediately, either in the refrigerator or freezer.  If in the refrigerator, it should be prepared within a couple of days for optimum flavor and freshness. If you need to store it, the meat can be rewrapped and saved in the freezer for approximately 4 months.  

Remember to wash your hands and all surface with warm, soapy water.



Since hamburger, i.e., ground meat, goes through several processes to become the final product, it is subject to a greater chance of bacteria and pathogens.  Pay close attention to the “use by” and sell by” dates and use or freeze the meat within 2 days of purchasing for quality, safety, and freshness.  Of course, it is highly recommended:

  • when shopping, you visit the meat section last.
  • to make sure all packages you select are cold to the touch.
  • to make sure there are no rips or tears in the packaging.
  • to place in plastic bags to keep separate from your other foodstuffs.
  • to go straight to the register to check-out.
  • to use freezer transportable bags, if you have them.
  • to go straight home and put items away immediately.
  • to wash your hands and all surfaces and utensils with warm, soapy water.

It is important to remember than anytime the meat is left out in the open especially for more than 2 or 3 hours, it will be more apt for the bacteria levels to increase.  This is why it is so important to keep the meat between the temperature range of 40 and 140 degrees F at all times.  


By using a food thermometer and cooking the food to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F, you can be assured the meat will be bacteria free.  However, the same cannot be said if the meat is left out in the open for over 2 hours.  Bacteria will begin to grow if leftovers are not refrigerated or frozen when the meal is finished.  When cooking, the meat should be kept hot by placing in an oven-safe dish or pan in the oven at 200 degrees F or, if cooking on the grill, place the meat to one side away from the flames so it can remain hot but no longer cooking.