Can You Freeze Pot Roast?

Everybody loves traditional old-fashioned pot roast, fall-of-the-bone beef, root vegetables, and glorious rich gravy. The pot roast is a dish in any good cook’s repertoire. It allows you to cook a cheaper cut of beef, rendering it down until tender and succulent. But can it be frozen?

If you are tired of seasoning your pot roast with tears of disappointment, you are possibly spending too much on beef. Prime cuts are perfect for juicy steaks but don’t fare so well in the pot roast, whereas cheaper cuts like chuck, round, and brisket do. The tough meat and connective tissues break down with long cooking adding flavor and succulence to the dish.

It is normal to have leftovers from pot roast, but what are you supposed to do with them? This article uncovers how pot roast can be stored long-term to reduce waste in the kitchen. After all, it should be one of the best meals for the weak with the least effort.

We answer many frequently asked questions, providing factual content to extend your culinary knowledge.

Let’s get into it.

Does pot roast expire?

Yes, it does, and maybe faster than you thought.

Pot roast can only sit out for two hours before the bacteria load makes it potentially dangerous to eat.

According to the USDA, you should consume pot roast with 3 to  4 days off cooking, it should be stored in a fridge, but even at 40℉, the bacteria is only subsidies and is still multiplying.

The USDA is consistent with cooked beef products, and theft will all have the same shelf life in the fridge.

However, there is more to a pot roast than just beef. How about the carrots and potatoes, onions, garlic, and other ingredients? Can they last longer if separated?

It’s a good idea to separate meats and veggies from meals, but with pot roasts, you may find that they form part of the gravy and are an essential part of the dish. It is impossible to segregate the dish’s components unless you separate the components meticulously.

Although the idea could have been feasible, there is one problem. According to our trusted scientists at the USDA, cooked veggies such as potatoes and carrots last for 3 to 4 days in the fridge.

The pot roast has got us in a bind whichever way we turn. But can pot roast be frozen? This will be discussed in the following paragraphs.

Does the pot roast need to be refrigerated?

Once the pot roast has reached room temperature and has been sitting out for less than two hours, it should be placed in the refrigerator.

Refrigeration is only going to slow bacteria growth and not eliminate it. For this reason, the USDA states the pot roast has a shelf life of 3 to 4 days in the fridge before it should be consumed or discarded. You can store it in its cooking pot if it’s covered with foil or cling wrap.

Does the pot roast need to be covered?

The answer will be yes if we are talking about cooked pot roast. Storing pot roast leftovers will benefit from being covered in the fridge.

Bacteria continue to grow on your food in the fridge, and it may not be the panacea to food preservation that you might have thought. Fridges are not overly efficient at removing heat fast, and as such, a fridge in a busy kitchen has the door open and frequently closed, never letting the fridge reach the recommended time of 40℉.

Covering the leftover pot roast will at least contain any bacterial growth to the cooked food; if it’s leftovers, you may want to transfer the pot roast to a Ziploc bag for better storage.

Or store the pot roast in an airtight container with a sealable lid.

Can you put a warm pot roast in the fridge?

Above 40℉-140℉ bacterial growth on perishable foods will accelerate exponentially. It should be discarded if the food remains at an elevated temperature above 40℉-140℉ 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 pot roast 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? Break the pot roast into portions. Store it in four airtight containers. This will let the heat dissipate, and the pot roast cools faster. Place the pot roast in an airtight container.

If you are out of time, wrap the pot roast container in a towel to act as insulation to prevent the fridge from heating dramatically.It is not advisable, but sometimes you may not have a choice.

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

Your fridge temperature will be 40℉ -18℃ or a little lower. Placing a warm pot roast 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 pot roast. It is the contents of the entire fridge.

How long can warm cooked pot roast 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.

Eating food sitting out for two hours or more could cause food poisoning.

How long does cooked pot roast last in the fridge?

If your fridge is at the correct temperature of 40℉-18℃ or below, the cooked pot roast stored in an airtight container will last for three to four days. However, if the pot roast 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 pot roast, making it dry and less appealing.

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

Does frozen pot roast go bad?

According to USDA scientists, technically, beef stirred at 0℉ or below will always be safe to eat. It may get freezer burn, but freezer burn is not rotting, or the beef goes bad. It’s a consequence of long-term storage in the freezer.

However, freezing a pot roast may need a little more thought than just throwing it in the freezer. Have you ever tried eating a thawed cooked potato? It’s not a pleasant experience. Its mushy and gritty carrots follow the same path of not freezing well.

To freeze your pot roast is a misnomer. You will freeze the beef from the pot roast and eat the other ingredients with another meal or discard them.

How to freeze pot roast

  • Ensure the pot roast is at room temperature; placing warm or hot food in the freezer could be disastrous.
  • Assuming the pot roast is leftovers, you must separate the vegetables from the dish. If it is not leftovers, just braze the beef until tender and let it cool to room temperature.
  • Portion the cooked pot roast beef and place it into freezer bags. Ziplocs are perfect for the job.
  • Fill the freezer bags until an inch or two from the top of the bag. 
  • Remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible by laying it flat and gently expelling it. It’s okay to compress the bag with the palm of your hand. Once the bag is devoid of air, seal it tightly and check for leaks.
  • Mark the freezer bags with the contents and the freezing date.
  • Place the bag in the freezer.

It is a simple process, but the veg will turn mushy and potentially spoil the beef if left in the freezer. However, You can leave them in if you want; the shelf life is comparable to frozen beef, so there are no issues with long-term storage.

In the freezer, your pot roast beef will last 12 months and still be fine when it’s time to thaw and heat it again.

How to thaw pot roast?

In the fridge slowly, the beef can be placed in the fridge overnight to thaw slowly. This will keep the texture. The pot roast will release liquid, so ensure its place on a platter. 

It can be thawed in the oven or in the microwave on an appropriate defrost setting.

Final thoughts

Pot roast is easy to freeze and has a great shelf life in the freezer. It depends on how you view things: freezing braised brisket is the same as pot roast, but the veggies will turn to mush and, for most people, will detract from the delicious meat.

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