Safe Frozen Food Storage Temperatures and Time Limits

Frozen food storage can be done almost indefinitely without spoiling. The quality of the food does diminish over time. By storing at the optimal temperature, the food can be stored for the longest time and still be of good quality.

Meat is best stored for short term use at 28 degrees Fahrenheit. This is as opposed to storing it in a cooler. For long term storage it can be stored at -10 degrees.

Ice Cream keeps best at -15 degrees. General frozen food keeps best at -10 degrees and frozen juice at -5.

Large operations can have separate walk-ins at each temperature if needed. Small operations can have individual reach-ins at the different temperatures. The 28 degree box must be a freezer and not a cooler turned down low. In actual practice freezers are usually kept at 0 to -10 degrees and everything is mixed together.

Here is an article about the maximum freezer temperature. freezer temperature Here is an in depth article about cold food storage. cold food storage

Frozen Food Storage - How Long is too Long?

These are time limits for various frozen food storage time limits. These guidelines are an attempt to maintain the quality of the food. The food will remain safe if properly frozen for a very long time.

One Year

Raw egg yolks and whites Unopened liquid pasteurized eggs, egg substitutes, Chicken or turkey, whole Margarine

Nine Months

Chicken or turkey, pieces

Eight to Twelve Months

Juices in cartons, fruit drinks, punch

Six to Twelve Months

Fresh beef, lamb, veal, pork steaks

Six to Nine Months


Six Months

Cooked poultry pieces covered with gravy or broth Cheese, Hard (such as Cheddar, Swiss) Cheese Soft (such as Brie, Bel Paese) Commercial eggnog Lean fish (cod, flounder, haddock, sole, etc.)

Four to Twelve Months

Fresh beef, lamb, veal, pork roasts

Four to Six Months

Fresh beef, lamb, veal, pork chops Cooked poultry casseroles Cooked fish

Four Months

Fried chicken Cooked chicken pieces, plain Half and half , cream

Three to Six Months

Shrimp, scallops, crayfish, squid, shucked clams, mussels and oysters

Three to Four Months

Hamburger Stew meat Ground turkey, veal, pork, lamb & mixtures of them Fresh beef, lamb, veal, pork steaks variety meats Chicken or turkey giblets

Three Months

Buttermilk Milk Cooked shellfish

Two to Three Months

Soups and stews with vegetables or meat added Cooked meat and meat casseroles, leftovers Gravy and meat broth, leftovers Fatty fish (bluefish, mackerel, salmon, etc.) Live clams, mussels, crab, lobster and oysters

Two Months

Ready-to-bake pie crust Cookie dough Smoked fish it vacuum package

One to Three Months

Chicken nuggets, patties

One to Two Months

Pizza Sweetened whipped cream Yogurt Hot dogs Luncheon meats Raw sausage from chicken, turkey, pork, beef Smoked breakfast sausage links and patties Hard sausage - pepperoni, jerky sticks Summer sausage Opened canned ham Fully cooked ham, opened or sealed

One Month

Bacon Corned beef, in pouch with pickling juices Corned beef, drained Cooked stuffing

Frozen Food Storage Is Not Recommended for these Products

Fresh eggs in shells Hard boiled eggs Opened pasteurized eggs, egg substitutes Mayonnaise Egg, chicken, ham, tuna, macaroni salads Cottage cheese Ricotta cheese Cream cheese Whipped cream, ultra-pasteurized Canned whipped cream Pudding Sour cream Tube cans of various dough Pre-stuffed, uncooked pork chops, lamb chops, or chicken breast stuffed with dressing

That completes our discussion of frozen food storage. For information on safe food storage in a refrigerator go here. safe food storage