How Long Does Dried Beef Last in the Refrigerator?

Dried beef, also known as chipped beef, is a handy pantry staple thanks to its intensely savory umami flavor and long shelf life. But if you’ve opened a package of dried beef, you may be wondering – how long does it last in the fridge after opening?

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about storing dried beef in the refrigerator and recognizing when it’s time to toss it.

We’ll look at:

  • The shelf life of unopened dried beef
  • How long dried beef lasts after opening
  • How to tell if dried beef has gone bad
  • Proper storage methods for maximum freshness
  • Safe uses for dried beef past its prime

Knowing the refrigerator shelf life of dried beef can help you enjoy this intensely beefy ingredient while reducing food waste Let’s get started!

Unopened Shelf Life of Dried Beef

When still in a sealed package, dried beef can last at long time in your pantry due to its low moisture content.

Properly processed commercially packaged dried beef has a shelf life of:

  • 6 to 12 months at room temperature

  • 1 to 2 years in the refrigerator.

  • 2 to 3 years in the freezer.

The fridge or freezer are the best options for long term storage. But an unopened pack of dried beef can stay fresh in your cupboard for up to a year.

Check the “best by” or “use by” date on the packaging and store it in a cool, dark place until you’re ready to use it.

Refrigerator Shelf Life After Opening

Once opened, dried beef needs to be refrigerated. Exposure to oxygen and humidity dramatically shortens its shelf life.

Here’s how long dried beef lasts in the fridge after the package is opened:

  • 2 to 3 weeks in the fridge after opening.

  • 3 to 4 months in the freezer after opening.

Always transfer opened dried beef into an airtight container or zip top bag before refrigerating. Try to use it within 3 weeks for best flavor and texture.

How to Tell If Dried Beef Has Gone Bad

Dried meat doesn’t “go bad” in the same way as raw meat, but it can still deteriorate in quality and become unsuitable for consumption. Here are signs dried beef has spoiled:

  • Sliminess – Dry cured meats should be dry to the touch. Slime, stickiness, or tackiness indicates spoilage.

  • Discoloration – Grayish, brown, or greenish tinges mean it’s gone off. Properly dried beef is deep red.

  • Off odors – Smells like ammonia, vinegar, yeast, or rotten eggs. Good dried beef has a slight salty aroma.

  • Mold – Any fuzzy spots mean it must be thrown out immediately.

  • Rancid taste – If it tastes unpleasantly bitter or sour, it has likely spoiled.

When in doubt, remember the old adage: “When in doubt, throw it out!” Don’t risk getting sick.

Storing Dried Beef Correctly

To get the most out of your dried beef, store it properly:

  • Keep unopened packages in a cool, dark pantry away from heat and sunlight.

  • Once opened, immediately store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

  • If you don’t plan to use it within a few weeks, consider freezing for longer shelf life.

  • Ensure it hasn’t exceeded the expiration or “use by date”.

  • When reheating, use within 3-4 days and don’t reheat more than once.

Proper storage gives you the best shot at prolonging the shelf life of your dried beef after opening.

Safe Uses for Dried Beef Past Its Prime

If your opened dried beef is nearing the end of its recommended 3 week refrigerated shelf life, there are still some safe ways you can use it:

  • Cook it in soups, stews, casseroles, or pasta sauce for flavor. The moisture and cooking will make it tender.

  • Use it to season cooked dried beans. The soft beans will rehydrate the dried beef.

  • Saute some diced past-prime dried beef with vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery.

  • Make a flavorful homemade beef stock by simmering the dried beef in water for an hour or two.

While I don’t recommend eating dried beef that is obviously spoiled, these cooking methods can safely extend the life of dried beef that’s slightly past its prime.

The intense umami flavors will still add a nutritional boost to your dish even if the beef itself is no longer top quality. It’s a good way to use up scraps and reduce waste.

The Bottom Line

  • Unopened, it lasts 6-12 months in the pantry.

  • Sealed packs last 1-2 years in the fridge or 2-3 years in the freezer.

  • Once opened, dried beef lasts 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

  • Look for changes in color, smell, sliminess, or mold to identify spoiled beef.

  • Store opened packages in airtight containers in the fridge.

  • Freeze for longer storage or use in cooked dishes past its prime.

With proper storage methods, you can enjoy dried beef long after opening the package. But remember to rely on your senses to determine if your dried beef has gone past its prime.

When inspected carefully and stored correctly, dried beef can be a flavorful and long-lasting addition to soups, salads, sandwiches, and more!

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How long does dried beef jerky last?

Shelf Life of Beef Jerky
Unopened Manufacturer Sealed Bag
Vacuum Sealed at Home
Zip Lock Bag
1-2 years
3-6 months
1 week to four months

How long can you keep beef in the fridge?

We’re here to help you find what you’re looking for. What are suggested storage times for beef? At home, immediately place beef in a refrigerator set at 40 °F (4.4 °C); use within 3 to 5 days (1 or 2 days for ground beef and variety meats such as liver, kidneys, tripe, sweetbreads, or tongue) or freeze at 0 °F (-17.8 °C).

How long does canned beef last in the fridge?

Opened canned beef is an exception, offering a shorter refrigerator shelf life of 7 to 10 days. The precise time frame may vary based on storage conditions; consistent refrigeration is critical in slowing bacterial growth without halting it entirely.

How long should beef be stored?

To prevent spoilage: Store beef at 0°F (-18°C) or lower to inhibit bacterial growth. Consume beef within recommended storage times: Steaks (6-12 months), Roasts (4-12 months), Chops (4-6 months), and Ground beef (3-4 months).

How long can you keep beef ribs in the fridge?

At home, immediately place beef in a refrigerator set at 40 °F (4.4 °C); use within 3 to 5 days (1 or 2 days for ground beef and variety meats such as liver, kidneys, tripe, sweetbreads, or tongue) or freeze at 0 °F (-17.8 °C). For best quality, use steaks and roasts within 9 to 12 months and ground beef within 3 to 4 months.

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