Cooking a delicious steak at home is definitely a treat, but if you have eaten your fill and have some steak left over, you definitely will not want any steak to go to waste!
If you have some leftover cooked steak, but you won’t be able to eat it in a few days, your best option is to freeze it.
Can you freeze cooked steak?
You can freeze cooked steak, and still enjoy a delicious steak, but it is important to note that it is best to freeze raw steak. Cooked steak will become drier as it is frozen, so it is a good idea to pair it with a sauce or cook it in a saucy meal, such as stroganoff, once it has defrosted.
We have covered all you need to know about freezing cooked steak, the best way to do so, and how to enjoy frozen cooked steak at a later stage!
Is It Okay to Freeze Cooked Steak?
It is fine to freeze cooked steak, and it is much better to freeze cooked steak than to let it go to waste!
You do need to know that there will be a difference in taste and texture with steak that was frozen raw and then cooked, and steak that was cooked and then frozen.
However, freezing cooked steak is a great way to ensure that it keeps for longer and that you get to enjoy it later on without it going to waste.
Cooked steak will dry out more when frozen, and it will likely not be as tender and juicy as a freshly cooked steak would be.
You might not get steak with the best texture and taste once it has been cooked and frozen, but you are able to use it to make certain meals, such as beef stroganoff, or a beef casserole. If you still want just a piece of steak, you could always add a sauce to it, to make up for the drier texture.
So, while freezing cooked steak isn’t ideal, it is a good way to ensure that your steak does not go to waste!
Is It Better to Freeze Cooked Steak or Raw Steak?
It is definitely better to freeze raw steak, rather than cooked steak, as raw steak does not dry out as much in the freezer as cooked steak does.
If possible, you should definitely try to freeze steak before cooking it, especially if you know that you are going to have leftovers, but this is obviously not always possible.
Steak which is frozen raw will retain most of its juices and nutrients, whereas cooked steak which is frozen loses quite a bit. However, you can still freeze cooked steak and enjoy it later on.
How to Freeze Cooked Steak
It is important to freeze cooked steak properly, to ensure that it retains as much of its taste and texture as possible so that it is still delicious once frozen, thawed, and reheated.
Here is how to freeze cooked steak to keep it protected in the freezer:
Step 1 – Leave to Cool
First, you need to leave the steak to cool once it has been cooked. It has to reach room temperature before you can freeze it, as placing a hot steak in the freezer can increase the internal temperature of the freezer and put other frozen food at risk.
However, you need to make sure that the steak is not left out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
Step 2 – Wrap the Steak
Once the steak has cooled, you can wrap it in plastic wrap. Depending on the quality of the plastic wrap, you can either wrap it in one or two layers. You can then add an additional layer of aluminum foil if you think it needs added protection.
Step 3 – Place in Freezer Bag
After wrapping the steak up and making sure it is well protected, you can then place it into a resealable freezer-safe bag. Make sure to remove as much air as possible from the plastic freezer bag before sealing it.
Step 4 – Label the Freezer Bag
Lastly, you need to label the freezer bag with the date of freezing, so that you can be sure to eat it before it needs to be used.
Place the steak into the freezer to freeze!
How Long Can Cooked Steak Be Frozen For?
Cooked steak cannot be frozen for as long as raw steak can, as it does turn drier quicker, and it loses its moisture sooner than raw steak.
Cooked steak should only be frozen for up to 3 months, which is why it is important to label the packaging with the date of freezing. The steak will not go off, and it will still be safe to eat after 3 months, but the quality will decline and the taste and texture will not be the same.
Uncooked steak is able to be frozen for up to 6 months. This is because it has more moisture, so it does not dry out as much in the freezer as cooked steak does. However, it is best to use it as soon as possible, so that it does not lose too much moisture or taste.
Always label your foods in the freezer with the date of freezing, as well as the date of when they should be used by, to keep things simple!
How to Defrost Frozen Steak
When it comes time to defrost and enjoy the cooked steak you have in the freezer, you need to ensure that you thaw it properly to retain its quality, and to ensure that it is safe to eat.
The best way to defrost frozen cooked steak is to remove it from the freezer and place it directly into the fridge, where it will need to be left to defrost overnight or for a few hours. This will obviously take some time, and you will need to plan for this, but it is the safest way to do so.
Allowing the cooked steak to defrost slowly in the fridge helps it keep its moisture, taste, and texture, and ensures that it does not experience extreme temperature fluctuations, which keeps it safe to eat.
How to Reheat Frozen Cooked Steak
Once you have left the steak in the fridge to thaw overnight, you would want to reheat it to be able to eat it!
The best way to reheat frozen cooked steak which has been defrosted, is to sear it in a frying pan. Set the stove on medium-high heat, and place a pan with some oil onto the burner. Once hot, add the steak to the pan, and cook it for 2 minutes on either side.
Make sure that the steak is piping hot before eating it, and ensure that it is hot throughout.
Another option is to reheat a steak in the microwave, but this will not give it a seared outside, and it could overcook the steak, or cause it to be chewy and lose moisture – however, it is a quick and easy way to reheat steak.
Tips for Freezing Cooked Steak
Freezing cooked steak isn’t ideal, but it is doable, and there are some tips that can help you successfully freeze cooked steak.
Undercook the Steak
If you know that you are going to be freezing the cooked steak before cooking it, then it is a good idea to undercook it. For example, if you like your steak medium-rare, then it is best to cook the steak rare. Or if you like your steak medium, cook it to medium-rare.
This is so that when you reheat and cook the steak after it has been frozen, the steak will not be overcooked, and it will be cooked to your preference.
Freeze the Steak Once
You need to avoid refreezing cooked steak. Steak, like most other food, should only be frozen once. Freezing cooked steak more than once not only decreases the quality of the steak, but it increases the chance of the steak going off.
If you are freezing quite a large amount of cooked steak, it might be a good idea to portion out the steak before freezing, so you can defrost only as much as you will eat in one go, not letting any go to waste.
Can You Freeze Cooked Steak?
It is possible to freeze cooked steak, but it is important to note that frozen cooked steak will not be as tender and moist as frozen raw steak, which is then cooked.
However, freezing cooked steak is a great way to prevent it from going to waste, and if the steak is dry when defrosted, you could always use it to make beef stroganoff or pair it with a juicy sauce.
How Long Does Cooked Steak Last in the Fridge?
Cooked steak can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days if it is packaged and stored properly, and if kept at a constant low temperature.
How Long Can Raw Steak Be Kept in the Fridge?
Raw steak can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days, but it is important to check the expiry date or best-by date and make sure to follow this as a guideline of when the steak should be eaten.