How Long Is It Safe to Keep Raw Meat and Poultry in the Refrigerator?
While the refrigerator is a modern-day miracle that lets us store perishable food safely for longer periods of time than room temperature allows, there is a limit to how long raw proteins can be refrigerated before they should be cooked. Here’s a guide to help you know how long you can keep cuts of meat around!
Kitchen Fact: Raw ground meats and poultry should be cooked in 2 days, and roasts, steaks, and chops should be cooked in five days.
For raw poultry, ground meats, and other chopped-up cuts of meat, cook them within two days. Larger cuts — like roasts, steaks, and chops — can be stored a bit longer, but should be used within five days. If you don’t have time to cook the meat at the end of these time periods, just freeze it, as freezing will halt any bacteria growth.
If the meat was previously frozen, these timelines go into effect after the meat is fully defrosted, so if a whole turkey needs three days to thaw, you should cook it within the two days after it has completely thawed.
Kitchen Fact Source: Meat in the Refrigerator: How Long Does It Last? at USDA.gov