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Extension > Food > Food Safety > Preserving and Preparing > Storage > Cold storage times

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Cold storage times

William Schafer

Product Refrigerator (40° F) Freezer (0° F)


Fresh, in shell 3 weeks Don't freeze
Raw yolks, whites 2–4 days 1 year
Hardcooked 1 weeks Don't freeze well
Liquid pasteurized eggs or egg substitute — opened 3 days Don't freeze
Liquid pasteurized eggs or egg substitute — unopened 10 days 1 year


Commercial, refrigerate after opening 2 months Don't freeze

TV dinners, frozen casseroles

Keep frozen until ready to serve 3–4 months

Deli & vacuum-packed products

Store-made or homemade egg, chicken, tuna, ham, macaroni salads 3–5 days These products don't freeze well
Pre-stuffed pork & lamb chops, chicken breasts stuffed with dressing 1 day
Store-cooked convenience meals 1–2 days
Commercial brand vacuum-packed dinners with USDA seal 2 weeks, unopened

Soups and stews

Vegetable or meat-added 3–4 days 2–3 months

Hamburger, ground, and stew meats

Hamburger and stew meats 1–2 days 3–4 months
Ground turkey, veal, pork, lamb, and mixtures of them 1–2 days 3–4 months

Hotdogs and lunch meats

Hotdogs — opened package 1 week In freezer wrap, 1–2 months
Hotdogs — unopened package 2 weeks
Lunch meats — opened 3–5 days
Lunch meats — unopened 2 weeks

Bacon and sausage

Bacon 7 days 1 month
Sausage, raw from pork, beef, turkey 1–2 days 1–2 months
Smoked breakfast links, patties 7 days 1–2 months
Hard sausage — pepperoni, jerky sticks 2–3 weeks 1–2 months

Ham, corned beef

Corned beef — in pouch with pickling juices 5–7 days Drained, wrapped: 1 month
Ham, canned — label says keep refrigerated 6–9 months Don't freeze
Ham, fully cooked — whole 7 days 1–2 months
Ham, fully cooked — half 3–5 days 1–2 months
Ham, fully cooked — slices 3–4 days 1–2 months

Fresh meat

Steaks, beef 3–5 days 6–12 months
Chops, pork 3–5 days 4–6 months
Chops, lamb 3–5 days 4–6 months
Roasts, beef 3–5 days 4–12 months
Roasts, lamb 3–5 days 4–12 months
Roasts, pork and veal 3–5 days 4–6 months
Variety meats — tongue, brain, kidneys, liver, heart, chitterlings 1–2 days 3–4 months

Meat leftovers

Cooked meat and meat dishes 3–4 days 2–3 months
Gravy and meat broth 1–2 days 2–3 months

Fresh poultry

Chicken or turkey, whole 1–2 days 1 year
Chicken or turkey pieces 1–2 days 9 months
Giblets 1–2 days 3–4 months

Cooked poultry, leftover

Fried chicken 3–4 days 4 months
Cooked poultry dishes 3–4 days 4–6 months
Pieces, plain 3–4 days 4 months
Pieces covered with broth, gravy 1–2 days 6 months
Chicken nuggets, patties 2 days 1–3 months


Kitchen Companion: Your Safe Food Handbook, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, 2013.

Other recommended resources

A Guide to Food Storage for EmergenciesUtah State University — Planning tips for short term and long term storage of water and food.

Related resources

Reviewed by Kathy Brandt 2017

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