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Question - How many times can you freeze and thaw ground meat?

tigerd Mar 27, 2008 04:12 PM

I have some frozen turkey breast, and I've frozen it, thawed it, frozen and thawed it again yesterday. Do you think it's still good? How many times can I freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw-freeze? Help!?!

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  1. h
    Harters RE: tigerd Mar 27, 2008 04:14 PM

    "Do you think it's still good?"


    3 Replies
    1. re: Harters
      tigerd RE: Harters Mar 27, 2008 04:17 PM

      Then what is the rule?

      1. re: tigerd
        andytee RE: tigerd Mar 27, 2008 04:20 PM

        it's probably not good. not necessarily bed for you, but def. bad tasting. the rule is, that it once, then eat it. if you bend the rule, expect a more watery taste, rubbery texture, potential freezer burn, and cook it well and in a sauce to cover the off taste.

        1. re: andytee
          tigerd RE: andytee Mar 27, 2008 04:22 PM

          Ok, it's going in the garbage then. I guess it's take out tonight.

    2. kpzoo RE: tigerd Mar 27, 2008 04:25 PM

      According to the USDA:

      "After thawing in the refrigerator, ground meat and poultry should remain useable for an additional day or two before cooking; red meat, 3 to 5 days. Foods defrosted in the refrigerator can be refrozen without cooking, although there may be some loss of quality."


      It does not say anything about how often poultry can be refrozen, but personally I would toss it. Really, really not worth the risk of salmonella or other food poisoning, IMO. Or if you really want to try to save it, you could contact them directly:

      USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline
      The Hotline answers consumer food safety questions and provides support for food safety educators / communicators.
      1-888-MPHotline / 1-888-674-6854
      1-800-256-7072 - TTY

      1. geminigirl RE: tigerd Mar 27, 2008 04:26 PM

        i've always been told freeze/thaw once. So if I but it fresh at the store, I can freeze raw, then thaw to cook.

        But my question is this, after I cook, can I freeze again, say in the case of raw ground meat that i freeze, then thaw and make in to meatballs and cook, can I freeze the extra cooked meatballs safetly??

        3 Replies
        1. re: geminigirl
          kpzoo RE: geminigirl Mar 27, 2008 04:27 PM

          I'd say of course you can freeze your cooked meat products, why not?

          1. re: geminigirl
            ipsedixit RE: geminigirl Mar 27, 2008 04:28 PM

            "But my question is this, after I cook, can I freeze again, say in the case of raw ground meat that i freeze, then thaw and make in to meatballs and cook, can I freeze the extra cooked meatballs safetly??"


            1. re: ipsedixit
              sarah galvin RE: ipsedixit Mar 27, 2008 05:36 PM

              Yes, you can! The important thing is to do it quickly. Don't take leftovers from the table and let them sit on the counter. If you make a recipe and know it's too much for dinner, freeze right away. It's all about time in the 'danger zone'.

          2. Food4Thought RE: tigerd Mar 27, 2008 06:40 PM

            I recall reading a few months ago in Cooks Illustrated with each freeze/ thaw cycle (of a raw meat) X percentage of moisture is lost from the product during the process, and on each cycle, the quality diminishes significantly. I have found this to be true myself through less than scientific testing.

            1. h
              Harters RE: tigerd Mar 28, 2008 03:18 AM

              The definitive answer from our Food Standards Agency is that raw meat can never be safely refrozen once defrosted. It is fine to cook and then freeze the cooked product, But the same rule then applies - only defrost it once. It's a good idea, therefore, to freeze both raw and cooked stuff in portions that you can easily eat.

              1. t
                thecountryrose RE: tigerd Mar 28, 2008 04:29 AM

                You can always always unfreeze meat, cook it and then refreeze it. In my opinion tho, I would never unthaw anything and then refreeze it without cooking it first. NEVER

                1. Aimi RE: tigerd Mar 28, 2008 12:37 PM

                  It isn't a safety issue - it's a quality issue. The twice-frozen product will not have the same taste or texture as a once-frozen product. It will be fine as long as it was only thawed for a day or two. Cook it in a way that will cover up the off taste/texture, like in a casserole or sauce.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Aimi
                    thecountryrose RE: Aimi Mar 29, 2008 06:35 AM

                    to be on the safe side, maybe ask your butcher what his thoughts are. Cause I sure would hate to get sick off doing that and then finding out not the best thing to do.

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