Storing meat properly in the fridge is crucial for preventing spoilage, reducing food waste, and protecting your health from foodborne illnesses.

As a passionate home cook, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way, having to throw away expensive grass-fed beef due to improper storage.

Since then, I’ve made it my mission to master the art of meat storage.

By the end of this article, you’ll be a meat storage pro, armed with all the knowledge you need to keep your favorite cuts in tip-top shape.

Let’s dive in and explore the world of proper meat storage together!

Understanding Your Fridge


To store meat properly, it’s essential to understand the different sections of your fridge and their ideal temperature ranges.

The door, or anywhere near the door, is a poor place to store meat.

Think about it…

Not only is the door closest to the outside of the fridge, it’s also constantly being opened and closed—letting in warm air.

The main innermost shelves maintain a consistent temperature and are perfect for storing most meats.

The bottom drawer, often labeled as the “crisper,” is designed to maintain higher humidity levels and is best suited for fruits and vegetables. The back of the fridge is typically the coldest spot, making it ideal for storing raw meats to prevent drips from contaminating other foods.

Aim to keep your fridge temperature between 34°F and 40°F (1°C and 4°C) to ensure optimal food safety and freshness. I like to keep mine right in the middle and 37°F.

Regularly monitoring your fridge’s temperature with a thermometer can help you avoid the “danger zone” between 40°F and 140°F (4°C and 60°C), where harmful bacteria can multiply rapidly.

I actually picked up this wireless temperature sensor to put in my fridge that will send my phone a notification if the temperature goes above 40°F.

Preparing Meat For Storage

My Food Sealer
My Food Sealer

Before you even think about storing your meat in the fridge, there are a few crucial steps you need to take to ensure it stays fresh and safe to eat.

First and foremost, always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling any meat. This simple step can go a long way in preventing the spread of harmful bacteria. It’s also important to clean any surfaces or utensils that will come into contact with the meat, such as cutting boards and knives.

When it comes to packaging, your goal is to prevent air and moisture from reaching the meat, which can lead to spoilage and freezer burn. Plastic wrap and aluminum foil are popular choices, but I’ve found that using a food sealer machine is a game-changer.

I have to admit, I was very skeptical about getting a vacuum sealer at first. For years, I resisted buying one because I didn’t want another bulky appliance cluttering up my kitchen.

But then, during a white elephant gift exchange at Christmas, I ended up with a food sealer machine. Begrudgingly, I took the gift. Little did I know, it would turn out to be one of the best gifts I’ve received in a long time!

If you’re interested, this is the food sealer I ended up getting. It’s surprisingly inexpensive.

If you don’t already know, these handy devices remove all the air from the packaging, creating an airtight seal that keeps your meat fresher for longer. Plus, they’re great for portioning out meat into individual servings, making meal prep a breeze.

If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, you can still achieve a tight seal by wrapping the meat in plastic wrap or foil and then placing it in a heavy-duty freezer bag, pressing out as much air as possible before sealing.

One important step that many people overlook is labeling. Trust me, there’s nothing more frustrating than digging through your fridge or freezer, trying to remember when you bought that package of chicken breasts.

To save yourself the headache, always label your packaged meat with the date of storage and the type of meat. A simple sticky label, quick sharpie note, or even piece of masking tape will do the trick.

Storing Different Types of Meat in The Fridge

Different Meats
Different Meats

Not all meats are created equal when it comes to storage requirements. Here’s a breakdown of how to store beef, pork, poultry, and seafood for optimal freshness and safety.

Beef & Pork

When it comes to storing beef and pork, the key is to keep them cold and dry. The ideal storage temperature for these meats is between 33°F and 36°F, which is the standard temperature range for most refrigerators.

I like to store my beef and pork on the bottom shelf of the fridge, where it’s coldest. This also prevents any juices from dripping onto other foods and causing cross-contamination. If you have a meat drawer in your fridge, that’s even better!

As for shelf life, raw beef and pork can be refrigerated for 3-5 days, while cooked beef and pork will last 3-4 days in the fridge. If you’re not planning on using the meat within that time frame, it’s best to freeze it.


Chicken, turkey, and other poultry are notorious for spreading bacteria, so it’s crucial to store them properly. Always keep raw poultry in a sealed container or plastic bag on the bottom shelf of the fridge to prevent any juices from dripping onto other foods.

I once had a nasty case of food poisoning from some contaminated chicken, and let me tell you, it was not a fun experience. I ended up in the hospital! Since then, I’ve been extra cautious about storing poultry safely.

Raw poultry can be refrigerated for 1-2 days, while cooked poultry will last 3-4 days in the fridge. If you need to store it longer, it’s best to freeze it.


When it comes to seafood, freshness is key. Raw fish and shellfish should be stored in the coldest part of the fridge, typically the back of the bottom shelf or in a special seafood drawer if your fridge has one.

If you’re storing fresh seafood, it’s best to use it within 1-2 days. If you need to store it longer, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in the freezer.

Frozen seafood, on the other hand, can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. Just make sure to thaw it safely in the fridge overnight before cooking.

One tip I learned from my wife (she’s Portuguese and loves fish) is to store fish on top of a bed of ice in a shallow dish or tray. This helps keep it cold and prevents any fishy odors from permeating your fridge.

Keeping Your Fridge Safe & Efficient

Now that you know how to store meat properly, let’s talk about keeping your fridge clean, safe, and running efficiently.

First and foremost, regular cleaning is a must to prevent the spread of bacteria. I like to do a deep clean of my fridge every few months, but I also make sure to wipe up any spills or drips as soon as they happen.

To clean your fridge, start by removing all the food and storing it in a cooler or a second fridge if you have one. Then, remove all the shelves and drawers and wash them thoroughly with hot, soapy water. Don’t forget to clean the walls and ceiling of the fridge too!

I like to use a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water to clean my fridge. Not only does it disinfect, but it also helps to eliminate any odors. Just spray it on, let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe it away with a clean cloth.

In between deep cleans, make sure to regularly wipe down the shelves and drawers with a disinfectant wipe or spray. This will help to keep any bacteria or mold at bay.

Finally, let’s talk about organization. A well-organized fridge not only makes it easier to find what you need, but it also helps to maximize airflow and efficiency.

I like to use clear, stackable containers to store my leftovers and pre-prepped ingredients. I personally like to use transparent containers (specifically, these ones). This way, I can easily see what I have on hand and nothing gets lost in the back of the fridge.

When it comes to meat, I always store it on the bottom shelf or in a designated meat drawer to prevent any juices from dripping onto other foods. I also make sure to leave plenty of space around each item to allow for proper airflow.

Another tip is to avoid overfilling your fridge. A stuffed fridge not only makes it harder to find what you need, but it also restricts airflow and can cause your fridge to work harder than it needs to.

Final Thoughts

Storing meat properly is essential for maintaining its quality, flavor, and safety. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you’ll be well-equipped to handle any type of meat, from beef and pork to poultry and seafood.

Remember to always keep your fridge at the proper temperature, store meat in the appropriate sections, and use airtight packaging to prevent spoilage and cross-contamination. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to err on the side of caution and throw out any meat that looks or smells questionable.

By taking the time to properly store and handle your meat, you’ll not only be protecting your health but also ensuring that every meal you prepare is as delicious as it can be.

Happy cooking!