How Long Can Vacuum Sealed Meat Last in the Refrigerator?

Last Updated on May 28, 2023 by Lauren Beck

As someone who values the importance of properly storing and preserving food, I’ve often wondered about the shelf life of vacuum-sealed meat in the refrigerator. 

Join me as we delve into the world of vacuum-sealed packaging and explore how long you can safely keep your meat fresh and flavorful. 

Get ready to uncover the secrets of maximizing the longevity of your refrigerated meat and enjoying it at its best. Let’s dive in!

How Long Does Meat Usually Last in the Refrigerator?

  • Fresh meat: Fresh, unpackaged meat typically lasts 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator.
  • Packaged meat: If properly packaged in airtight wrapping, store-bought meat can last up to 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
  • Vacuum-sealed meat: Vacuum-sealed meat has a significantly extended shelf life and can last 1 to 2 weeks or even longer in the refrigerator.

How Do You Vacuum Seal Meat Properly?

  1. Prepare the meat: Ensure the meat is fresh, trimmed, and properly portioned for sealing.
  2. Use a vacuum sealer: Place the meat in a vacuum-sealer bag or roll and use a vacuum sealer machine to remove the air and seal the package.
  3. Check for tight seals: Ensure no leaks or loose seals are in the vacuum-sealed package.

Tips for Storing Vacuum-Sealed Meat

  • Refrigerate promptly: Place the meat in the refrigerator once vacuum-sealed to maintain its freshness.
  • Keep a consistent temperature: Set your refrigerator to a temperature below 40°F (4°C) to prevent bacterial growth and extend the shelf life of the vacuum-sealed meat.
  • Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator: Place the vacuum-sealed meat in the coldest section of the refrigerator, such as the back or bottom shelf.

3 Factors That Determine Vacuum-Sealed Meat Shelf Life

  • Quality of the meat: The freshness and quality before vacuum sealing significantly determines its shelf life. It is crucial to start with fresh and properly handled meat.
  • Proper vacuum sealing: The effectiveness of the vacuum sealing process is essential. Make sure there are no air leaks or loose seals in the package to maintain optimal freshness.
  • Storage conditions: The temperature and environment in which the vacuum-sealed meat is stored greatly impact its shelf life. Keeping it in a consistently cold refrigerator is vital to preserving its quality.

How Can You Tell if Vacuum-Sealed Food Has Gone Bad?

vacuum sealed meat

To determine if vacuum-sealed food, including meat, is spoiled, pay attention to the following signs:

  • Unpleasant odor: If the vacuum-sealed meat has a strong, foul odor, it is likely spoiled and should not be consumed.
  • Off-color or texture: If the meat appears discolored, slimy, or unusual, it is best to discard it.
  • Mold or unusual growth: If you notice any mold or unusual growth on the meat, it is a clear sign of spoilage and should be discarded.

Can You Eat Steak That Has Turned Gray?

A grayish color on steak doesn’t necessarily indicate spoilage [1]. Oxygen exposure during storage can cause oxidation, resulting in a color change. 

However, if the steak exhibits other spoilage, such as a foul odor or sliminess, it is best to avoid caution and discard it.

Advantages of Vacuum Sealing Meat

  • Extended shelf life: Vacuum-sealing meat significantly extends its freshness and shelf life compared to traditional packaging methods.
  • Protection from freezer burn: Vacuum-sealed meat is protected from freezer burn, ensuring better quality when stored in the freezer.
  • Enhanced flavor and tenderness: Vacuum sealing helps marinate the meat, enhancing its flavor and tenderness.


In conclusion, vacuum-sealed meat can significantly extend its shelf life in the refrigerator compared to other storage methods. By properly vacuum sealing your meat and following the recommended storage guidelines, you can enjoy the benefits of freshness and flavor for an extended period. 

Remember to consider factors such as the type of meat, its quality before sealing, and the storage temperature. Regularly inspect the packaging for any signs of spoilage and use your judgment to determine if the meat is still safe to consume. 

With the advantages of vacuum sealing, you can confidently stock up on meat and savor delicious meals whenever you desire. Happy cooking, and enjoy the benefits of long-lasting, flavorful meat!


Lauren Beck
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