Can you freeze cooked steak? Freezing guide

Steak is considered the king of meats, and many chefs will tell you the best way to cook a steak is to place it on the grill and do nothing else. But of course, when you have a grill party in the back year, there is always too much steak leftover, but what the heck can be done with leftover steak to preserve it for more than a day or two?

Did you know that seasoning a frozen steak should be done after the sear? It goes against conventional wisdom to put salt and pepper on the frozen steak. Reverse searing also has advantages when grilling a steak. It creates a crunchy texture on the outside of the steak.

It’s an age-old problem. What can you do with leftover cooked steak? Prime cuts are not cheap, and discarding the steak may send shivers down your spine.

This article investigates how you can store your cooked steak and what steps you need to take to ensure it keeps its flavor and texture. We answer many frequently asked questions providing you with factual information.

Let’s get into it.

Does cooked steak expire?

It sure does, and the USDA is all over it, ensuring you stay safe. Cooked steak has a shelf life of just four days stored in the fridge; as fantastic steak is, there is only so much that can be eaten quickly.

If you have had friends or family over for the obligatory BBQ, you will know that the BBQ will not be a BBQ unless you have some prime cuts for the friend and family, but how many is enough? 

It is an age-old question that’s hard to answer, don’t you cook enough? You look like a cheapskate cook; too many you are faced with turning steak into cold sandwiches or worse.

At this point, add fuel to the flames so that the cooked steak can only sit out for two hours before it should be discarded.

So, there must be a balance between cooking too much steak and having leftovers and finding a storage method for the leftover steaks that does not ruin the steak.

However, if you have tried reheating a steak from the fridge, you know it’s not easy, and your streak can quickly turn into shoe leather. But that is a different story to deal with first. You need a solution to your leftover steak problem.

Does cooked steak need to be in the fridge?

Yes. It is a no-brainer. If cooked steak lasts for just two hours at room temperature, getting the leftover steaks in the fridge is a priority.

Then how the heck are you to store-cooked steak? If you just place the steak in the fridge, it’s clearly going to dry out and not in a good way. As the moisture content of steak diminishes, so will the flavor and the succulence of the steak.

Store cooked steak in the fridge will require a couple of things, a cold fridge and Ziploc-style bags that can be sealed. If you have a vacuum packaging matching in the kitchen, use it now, it will pay for itself.

Assuming you don’t have a vacuum packaging machine, place individual steaks into the Ziploc-style bags.

The next step is critical and should not be ignored, remove as much air from the Ziploc bags as possible and seal them tightly. Hopefully, this has gone a long way to sealing the moisture of the steak in the bag.

Place the steak toward the back of the fridge. This is the coolest part and is less affected by the door of the fridge opening.

If you can eat the steak within four days, it’s the perfect solution, but if not, don’t worry. You have already gone a long way in preparing the steak for long-term storage.

Does cooked steak have to be covered in the fridge?

Yes. If you don’t cook the steak, the dry air in the fridge will pull moisture from the streak. The colder the fridge, the more accelerated the moisture loss will be.

If you don’t have the correct bag for the job, it’s not a problem. Double-wrap the steak with cling wrap. Make sure your hands are spotlessly clean before and after this process. Or place it in any plastic bag and seal it.

Covering the steaks will also prevent bacteria growth, so it’s a double whammy for keeping steak in the fridge.

Can you put warm steak in the fridge?

It is not advisable.

If you read online that you can’t put a warm steak in the fridge because of condensation coalescing to water droplets that will drip and make your steak soggy and less appealing at best is why you can’t put the warm steak in the fridge, you are being misled.

Your fridge temperature will be 40℉ -18℃ or a little lower. Placing a warm steak in the fridge will elevate its temperature while it radiates heat.

Your fridge may not be as efficient as you might have thought at removing heat. Most fridges take hours to come to 40℉ after being switched on after cleaning.

So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that food sitting at a temperature of 40-140℉ is in the food danger zone. It’s not just your steak. It is the contents of the entire fridge.

Above 40℉-18℃ bacterial growth on perishable foods will accelerate exponentially. It should be discarded if the food remains at an elevated temperature above 40℉-18℃ for just two hours.

Seems harsh? According to the USDA, after two hours in the food danger zone, perishable foods contain enough bacteria to cause food poisoning.

Furthermore, the steak should be covered in the fridge so there will be no condensation!

What happens if you have no choice, you need to be out of your home for a few hours? Strip the meat from the bone or break the steak into portions. Chop it into four pieces. This will allow the heat to dissipate, and the steak cools faster. Place the steak in an airtight container.

If you are out of time, wrap the steak container in a towel to act as insulation to prevent the fridge from heating dramatically.

How long can warm-cooked steak sit out?

Two hours. Remember the food danger zone? According to the USDA, perishable goods sitting out for two hours should be discarded, and the bacteria growth on the food has multiplied rapidly, making the food unfit for consumption.

How long does cooked steak last in the fridge?

If your fridge is at the correct temperature of 40℉-18℃ or below, the cooked steak stored in an airtight container will last for four days. However, if the steak is sitting uncovered, it may not last as long, the bacteria growth should not be a problem, but the dry air of the fridge will draw moisture from the steak, making it dry and less appealing.

If you have strong odors in the fridge from onion, garlic, or cucumber, the steak will absorb them and become tainted with the flavor.

Does cooked steak in the freezer go bad?

In theory, food stored in the freezer at 0℉ and below has an indefinite shelf life. However, it doesn’t work that way for frozen cooked steak. The food will not go bad as you may expect, but it may become inedible due to freezer burn if frozen for extended periods.

Cooked steak seems like a robust piece of meat, but frozen, cooked, or uncooked will only last for three months maximum.

Due to the moisture content of steak, it can be ruined in the freezer if not packaged correctly. It can be susceptible to freezer burn, and if the ice crystals freeze in the meat, the meat will lose some of its texture, so proper storage is the key to preserving cooked steaks.

Freezing cooked steak?

  • The steak must be cool. Leave it to cool at room temperature for thirty minis and then place it in the fridge to become cold. Be careful not to elevate the fridge temperature when bringing the steak to a cold temperature. Placing warm steak in a Ziploc bag will cause excess moisture that could attract freeze burn.
  • Double wrap the cooked steak in cling wrap or aluminum foil, try to remove any air pockets surrounding the steak and don’t forget to seal the ends.
  • Place the cold-wrapped steak in an airtight container or freezer bag.
  • If in a freezer bag, remove as much air as possible.
  • Mark the freezer bag with the freezing date and the expiration date.
  • Place the bag in the freezer.

How to defrost cooked steak?

There are many methods to choose from, and the preferred way would be to defrost in the fridge. This should ensure the texture of the steak is perfect. But many people are saying the steak should be heated from frozen over a hot heat. This will work well for raw steak but not cooked.

Final thoughts

Having leftover steak is not a massive problem if you are a steak lover. The steak can be placed in the fridge for four days and will be fine.

Freezing cooked steak can be tricky, so pay attention to the way the steak is packaged. The more packaging, the better the steak will survive the rigors of freezing.

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