Welcome to our article on the shelf life of hamburgers after the sell by date. Have you ever wondered how long your burgers are safe to eat after the sell by date? In this article, we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about the expiration date of hamburgers, including how to determine if they’re still safe to consume and tips for proper storage. So, if you’re someone who loves a good burger but wants to make sure you’re not risking your health, keep reading to find out more.

How Long is Hamburger Good After Sell By Date?

Hamburgers are a popular choice for grilling and quick meals. However, with busy schedules and varying quantities, it’s not uncommon to have hamburgers sit in the fridge for a while. But how long can you actually keep them? And are they still safe to eat after the sell by date has passed? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the shelf life of hamburgers after the sell by date and give you tips on how to tell if they’re still good to eat.

The Sell By Date vs. Expiration Date

Before diving into the shelf life of hamburgers, it’s important to understand the difference between “sell by” and “expiration” dates. The sell by date is intended for retailers and indicates the last day that the product should be sold. This is not the same as an expiration date, which is the date until which the product will be at its peak quality. For hamburgers, the sell by date is usually 2-3 days after the packaging date, while the expiration date can vary depending on storage conditions and other factors.

Shelf Life of Hamburgers

Generally speaking, raw hamburger meat can last for 1-2 days in the fridge after the sell by date, while cooked hamburgers can last for 3-4 days. However, these estimates can vary depending on the quality of the meat, how it was stored, and other factors. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and use your own judgement when it comes to the freshness of the meat.

If you’re planning on keeping raw hamburger meat for longer than 2 days, it’s best to freeze it. Frozen hamburger meat can last for 3-4 months without any significant loss of quality. To do this, remove the meat from its original packaging and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. You can also use freezer-safe storage bags or containers. Label the package with the date and make sure to use the oldest ones first.

Signs That Your Hamburger is No Longer Good

While the sell by date and expiration date can give you a general idea of when your hamburger will go bad, there are certain signs that you can look for to determine if it’s still safe to eat. The first thing to check is the color of the meat. If it has turned gray or brown, it’s likely past its prime and shouldn’t be consumed. In addition, if there is any noticeable foul odor or slimy texture, it’s best to toss it out.

If you have already cooked your hamburger and are unsure if it’s still good, there are a few things you can do to check. Firstly, make sure to properly store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. If it has been left at room temperature for more than 2 hours, it’s best to discard it. When reheating, make sure to heat it up to an internal temperature of at least 165°F to kill any potential bacteria.

Tips for Proper Hamburger Storage

To ensure that your hamburgers stay fresh for as long as possible, it’s important to store them properly. When purchasing hamburger meat, make sure to buy it from a reputable source and check the sell by and expiration dates before buying. If possible, opt for fresh meat rather than pre-packaged ones that have been sitting in the fridge for longer periods of time.

When storing raw hamburger meat, make sure to keep it in its original packaging until ready to use. If you’re not planning on using it within 2 days, transfer it to the freezer. When storing cooked hamburgers, let them cool down to room temperature before placing them in an airtight container and storing in the fridge.


In conclusion, the shelf life of hamburgers after the sell by date is quite short, with raw meat lasting for 1-2 days and cooked meat lasting for 3-4 days. Remember to always check for signs of spoilage before consuming and to properly store your hamburgers to ensure they stay fresh for as long as possible. By following these tips, you can enjoy delicious hamburgers without worrying about their safety.


  • FoodSafety.gov. (2019). Safe Minimum Cooking Temperature. Retrieved from https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/safe-minimum-cooking-temperature
  • USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. (2020). Food Product Dating: Sell by, Use by, & Best Before Explained. Retrieved from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/food-labeling/food-product-dating/food-product-dating
  • United States Department of Agriculture. (n.d.). Freezing and Food Safety. Retrieved from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/freezing-and-food-safety/CT_Index

In conclusion, understanding the shelf life of hamburgers after the sell by date is important for ensuring the safety of your food. By following proper storage techniques and paying attention to expiration dates, you can prolong the freshness of your burgers and avoid any potential risks. Remember to always use your best judgment and look for signs of spoilage before consuming any food past its sell by date. With these tips, you can confidently enjoy your hamburgers without worrying about their safety. Stay informed and stay safe!

By Kitty Smith

I am a Ohio living blogger with a penchant for all things pretty. You can typically find me roaming around my neighborhood of Long Island with latte in my hand and with an iPhone raised above my head to capture the majesty of it all. I mostly post fashion content to Kitty's Lifestyle and I also post recipes on my cooking blog Kitty's Kitchen Recipes.

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