Ground beef can stay out on the counter for several hours, but it’s not recommended. As with any food that’s left out, it’s best to put cooked ground beef in the fridge as soon as possible.
The USDA recommends that you refrigerate cooked meat within two hours of cooking. According to the USDA, if you’re going to serve it within two hours, you can leave it on the counter until then; however, if it’s being refrigerated, it should be taken out immediately after cooking and put into a refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
Refrigeration will keep cooked ground beef fresh for up to four days — but only if the meat remains cold and is consumed within this time frame. It will also help prevent growth of bacteria, which could cause illness if eaten raw or undercooked.
Last modified: October 31, 2022