Here’s How Long Food Lasts After You Pull It out of the Freezer

Welcome to Thawing 101.

Stocked up on groceries, but not sure where to store ’em? Try the freezer. Not only does freezing your food free up in-demand real estate in your refrigerator and pantry, but it can also keep food fresh for longer. But, as the old saying goes, nothing lasts forever—and your freezer food is no exception. (See how long food lasts in the freezer.)

You’ll eventually want to remove your groceries from that icebox and, you know, use ’em!

How long does your food last in the fridge once it’s out of the freezer? Well, it’s complicated. Every type of food has a different shelf life, plus those expiration dates are no longer valid. Note that it’s safe to eat food with freezer burn, but it will have a dry and unpleasant texture.

Here’s How Long Thawed Food Lasts

Here's How Long Food Lasts After You Pull It Out of the FreezerSydney Watson/Taste of Home

Protein

  • Bacon, Cooked: 4 to 5 days
  • Bacon, Uncooked: 7 days
  • Beef Roast, Steaks or Ribs, Uncooked: 3 to 5 days
  • Chicken, Cooked: 3 to 4 days
  • Chicken, Uncooked: 1 to 2 days
  • Fish, Uncooked: 1 to 2 days
  • Ground Beef, Cooked: 3 to 4 days
  • Ground Beef, Uncooked: 1 to 2 days
  • Hot Dogs, Opened: 1 week
  • Hot Dogs, Unopened: 2 weeks
  • Lunch Meat, Opened: 3 to 5 days
  • Lunch Meat, Unopened: 2 weeks
  • Pork Roast, Chops or Ribs, Uncooked: 3 to 5 days
  • Shrimp, Uncooked: 1 to 2 days
  • Tofu: 1 week

Fruits & Vegetables

  • Berries: 4 to 5 days
  • Broccoli: 3 to 5 days
  • Corn: 3 to 4 days
  • Green Beans: 3 to 4 days
  • Tomatoes: 2 to 3 days

Dairy

  • Butter: 1 to 3 months
  • Shredded Cheese, Unopened: 1 month
  • Whipped Topping: 1 to 2 weeks
  • Yogurt: 1 to 3 weeks

Prepared Foods

  • Bagels: 1 to 2 weeks
  • Bread: 1 to 2 weeks
  • Cakes: 1 to 2 days
  • Leftovers: 3 to 4 days
  • Pies: 3 to 4 days
  • Rolls: 1 week

No matter what the food is—or how long it’s been out of the freezer—it’s best to go with your gut. While we’re big proponents of making the most out of your groceries, it’s a good idea to discard anything that looks (or worse, smells) strange.

To make your groceries stretch, check out these genius recipes that give a second life to last night’s leftovers.

Source: USDA

Use up Your Leftovers with a Casserole!
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Kelsey Mulvey
Kelsey Mulvey is a freelance writer and editor based in New York. Her hobbies include wine, nachos and the occasional hibachi dinner.