Can You Freeze Italian Beef? A Guide to Freezing and Thawing This Delicious Meat

Italian beef is a totally irresistible sandwich filling. The thin slices of seasoned, juicy beef and peppers dripping with jus…it’s pure heaven!

Of course, a whole roast can yield quite a bit of leftover meat. Which begs the question – can you freeze italian beef?

The answer is a resounding yes! Freezing is a great way to save that delicious italian beef so you can enjoy it later on. With a few tips freezing and thawing italian beef is easy.

In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know From proper storage methods to perfect thawing techniques, consider this your guide to handling those italian beef leftovers

Let’s dive in!

A Quick Overview of Italian Beef

Before we get freezing, let’s do a quick primer on italian beef. This thin-sliced roast beef is a Italian-American specialty, hugely popular in Chicago and the Midwest.

To make it, a beef round or rump roast is seasoned generously with a blend of dried Italian herbs and spices. The roast is then slow-cooked until fall-apart tender. Finally, the cooked beef is sliced paper thin against the grain.

The sliced italian beef is served piled high on a bun and dipped in the cooking juices (called jus). Peppers and provolone cheese are classic toppings. The result is a deliciously messy and flavorful sandwich.

Leftover italian beef is amazing in pasta, eggs, hash, and more. Freezing preserves the seasoning and tender texture.

How to Freeze Italian Beef

Freezing italian beef is simple when you follow these steps:

  • Allow cooked italian beef to cool fully, then refrigerate until chilled.
  • Cut or slice the italian beef if needed. Keep thicker pieces whole.
  • Place beef in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze until firm.
  • Transfer frozen beef pieces to a freezer bag or airtight container, removing excess air.
  • Label with contents and freeze for up to 2-3 months.

I like portioning into 4-6 oz. servings for easy use straight from the freezer. Make sure to seal tightly to prevent freezer burn.

Keep your freezer set to 0°F or below for preserving freshness and quality over time.

Tips for Freezing Success

Follow these tips for the best frozen italian beef every time:

  • Freeze ASAP: For best texture, freeze beef within 1-2 days of purchasing or cooking.

  • Wrap tightly: Use plastic wrap or foil to wrap beef, eliminating air exposure.

  • Portion properly: Freeze beef in usable amounts according to recipe needs.

  • Use freezer-safe packaging: Choose materials designed specifically for freezing.

  • Organize your freezer: Arrange similar items together and keep an inventory list.

  • Maximize freshness: Use frozen italian beef within 2-3 months for optimal quality.

Following proper freezing procedures will keep your italian beef tasting great.

Thawing Italian Beef for later Use

When ready to eat, thaw your frozen italian beef carefully using one of these methods:

  • Refrigerator thawing: Place frozen beef in the fridge in a bowl or sealed bag. Allow 24-48 hours to thaw.

  • Cold water thawing: Submerge sealed beef in cold water, changing water every 30 minutes. Takes about 2 hours.

  • Microwave thawing: Defrost frozen beef on the microwave “defrost” setting, flipping occasionally. Takes 5 minutes per 4 oz.

  • Cook without thawing: Add frozen italian beef directly to dishes like soups, chilis, and stews to thaw as it simmers.

For best texture and flavor, thaw frozen beef overnight in the fridge. Never thaw at room temperature.

Once thawed, use within 3-5 days. Do not refreeze italian beef after thawing.

Creative Ways to Use Thawed Italian Beef

Beyond sandwiches, thawed italian beef makes an amazing addition to:

  • Eggs scrambles, omelets, frittatas, and quiche
  • Skillet hash with potatoes, onions, peppers, and eggs
  • Pasta sauce for lasagna, spaghetti, ziti and more
  • Mexican dishes like burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and nachos
  • Soups, stews, and chilis as a protein boost
  • Casseroles and baked pasta dishes like ziti and manicotti
  • Stir fries with noodles or rice and vegetables
  • Pizza, flatbreads, and calzones

The italian seasoning pairs so well with eggs, cheese, pasta, and veggies. Get creative with the leftovers!

Answering Common Questions

Freezing and thawing meat often raises questions for beginners. Here are some frequently asked queries:

How long does italian beef last fresh? Properly stored, fresh italian beef lasts 3-5 days refrigerated.

Is thawed italian beef safe to eat? Yes, as long as it’s thawed properly in the fridge and used within 3-5 days.

Can you freeze cooked italian beef? Absolutely. Allow cooked italian beef to fully cool before freezing for best results.

How long does frozen italian beef last? Frozen italian beef keeps its best quality for 2-3 months in the freezer before drying out.

Can you refreeze thawed italian beef? It is not recommended to refreeze thawed italian beef. Use within 3-5 days.

Feel free to reach out with any other italian beef freezing questions! Proper handling is key.

Enjoy Italian Beef Anytime with Freezer Storage

As you can see, freezing is an easy way to save leftover italian beef for future enjoyment. With proper wrapping, freezing, thawing, and storage, it will keep beautifully for 2-3 months.

Be sure to freeze cooked italian beef within 1-2 days of preparing or purchasing. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using in all your favorite recipes.

From sandwiches to stir fries, chili, casseroles, and more, thawed italian beef is endlessly versatile. Freezing lets you savor those crave-worthy italian flavors anytime!

Italian Beef Sandwich *Instapot Pressure Cooker Recipe*


Can you freeze Portillo’s Italian beef?

Italian Beef & gravy can be stored in the fridge for 5-7 days, or frozen up to 3 months for best quality. Did you have an issue with your order?

Can you freeze sliced Italian beef?

Yes, you can freeze deli meat. “Deli meat can be frozen indefinitely if stored at the proper temperature,” says Edwards. “For best quality, it’s ideal to eat frozen deli meats within one to two months of freezing.” The USDA agrees, stating that frozen deli meat should be kept at a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to store leftover Italian beef?

Storage: Store leftover Italian beef with some of the remaining au jus in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Make ahead: To get ahead, follow the recipe as directed through Step 6. Freezer: Pack cooled Italian Beef into a freezer-safe container (with any remaining au jus).

Can you freeze Italian beef?

To freeze Italian Beef: Let beef cool completely. Transfer beef to an air-tight container or a heavy-duty freezer bag along with some of the juices (to keep it juicy). Squeeze out any excess air to prevent freezer burn. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw Italian Beef in the refrigerator overnight.

How long does Italian beef last in the fridge?

Once cooked, most roasts will last for 3 to 4 days stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Can You Freeze Italian Beef? You certainly can freeze it. Simply package it up in freezer bags, making sure to squeeze as much air as possible out of them, and freeze for up to 2 months. To thaw, simply transfer it to the refrigerator.

Can you cook Italian beef in a slow cooker?

Cook Italian Beef until tender but don’t shred. Remove ceramic insert from slow cooker and let cool to room temperature (for food safety and because it can crack if placed directly in the refrigerator). Refrigerate the beef in the juices up to 24 hours. When ready to heat, skim off all the hardened fat.

Can You reheat Italian beef in a crock pot?

Italian Beef reheats beautifully, just don’t forget to save some of the slow cooker liquid so you can add it to your leftover beef when reheating to prevent it from drying out. Crockpot: add some of the jus and heat on low for 1-2 hours.

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