If Steak Turns Brown In The Fridge Is It Bad

If Steak Turns Brown In The Fridge Is It Bad? Explained

Last Updated on May 18, 2024 by Shari Mason

A lot of individuals relish consuming steak, however, it can be perplexing to ascertain whether it’s fit for consumption when it turns brown in the refrigerator.

Chatting with a professional chef friend shed light on why steak can turn brown in the refrigerator and whether or not it is still safe to consume.

By understanding the science behind this common issue, you can make informed decisions about the safety of your food and avoid wasting money on spoiled meat.

Is It Bad If Steak Turned Brown In Fridge?

steak meat

No, it is not bad if the raw steak turns brown in the fridge. While the color change in raw steaks can be off-putting, it’s not necessarily a sign of spoilage. 

Brown steak can result from oxidation, a natural process that doesn’t always indicate a loss of quality or taste.

“And eating well – as in, really good food, like steak or pasta or fresh vegetables or an amazing dessert.”

– Phillipa Soo, American Actress

If you want to determine if your raw meat in the fridge that turned brown is still safe to eat, check for the expiration date, smell, and texture. Before consumption of exposed-to-oxygen meat, look for signs of spoilage first.

Is It Safe To Eat A Steak That Turns Brown In The Fridge?

Yes, it could be safe to eat steak that has turned brown (with brown patches) due to refrigerator storage. But such is not always the case.

While the brown color may be due to the natural oxidation [1] process, it is essential to consider other factors, such as the meat’s odor, texture, and overall appearance. 

If the steak or raw beef smells sour or off, has a slimy texture, has freezer burn, or appears discolored, it is likely that it has gone bad and should not be consumed.

On the other hand, if the steak still has a fresh smell and a firm texture, it may still be safe to eat, even if it has turned brown. 

To minimize the risk of spoilage, store raw steaks in an airtight container or wrapping them tightly in plastic and butcher paper is essential.


Why Steak Turns Brown In The Fridge

Raw steak turning brown results from oxidation, which occurs when the fresh steaks are exposed to air. The oxygen in the air reacts with the iron in the steak, causing it to turn brown. 

This process is a natural part of meat aging and occurs as the meat begins to break down over time. 

Oxidation or chemical changes can also occur when the steak is not stored correctly, such as if it is left in an open container or if the plastic wrap needs to be tight enough to prevent air from reaching the meat. 

Another factor contributing to steak turning brown in the fridge is the presence of pathogenic bacteria [2], which can cause the meat to spoil and turn brown. 

How Long Can Steak Last In The Fridge?

hand holding a steak

Steak can last in the fridge for up to five days if properly stored.

However, it is essential to remember that the exact shelf life of steak may vary based on several factors, such as the cut of meat, the temperature of the fridge, and the presence of bacteria. 

To extend the shelf life of steak, it is essential to store it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic to prevent oxidation and minimize the risk of spoilage. 

“Browned steak? Not always bad; oxidation’s natural taste might remain.”

–Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Advice

Additionally, consuming steak as soon as possible after purchase is recommended to ensure it is the freshest and safest to eat.

Signs That Your Steak Might Have Gone Bad

  1. Off odor: If the steak has a sour or pungent smell, it is likely that it has gone bad and should not be consumed.
  2. Slimy texture: If the steak is slippery or has a slimy film, it may be a sign of spoilage and should not be eaten.
  3. Discoloration: Fresh meat is cherry red, so if the steak appears discolored (green patches) or has darkened significantly compared to freezing meat on supermarket shelves, it may be a sign that it has gone bad and should be discarded.
  4. Mold growth: If you can see mold growing on the steak, it is unsafe to eat and should be discarded immediately.
  5. Off-taste: If the steak has a metallic or bitter taste, it may be a sign of spoilage and should not be consumed.


u003cstrongu003eWhy is your steak brown after thawing?u003c/strongu003e

Steak can turn brown after thawing due to oxidation, bacterial growth, or repeated freeze-thaw cycles. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eOxidation occurs when the iron in the steak reacts with the oxygen in the air, causing it to turn brown. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eBacterial growth can also cause the steak to turn brown if it is not stored correctly or thawed, as the bacteria can cause the meat to spoil. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eRepeat freeze-thaw cycles can also cause the steak to degrade and turn brown, as repeated exposure to air and temperature changes can lead to spoilage. 

u003cstrongu003eHow long does cooked steak last?u003c/strongu003e

Cooked steak can last in the fridge for up to four days if stored correctly in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic.

u003cstrongu003eIs it OK to thaw steak on the counter?u003c/strongu003e

No, it is not recommended to thaw steak on the counter. Thawing steak on the counter at room temperature can cause bacteria to grow on the meat, increasing the risk of food poisoning. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eIt is recommended to thaw steak in the refrigerator, in the microwave, or by using the cold water method to ensure that it remains safe to eat.

In Conclusion 

Steak can turn brown in the fridge for several reasons, including oxidation and bacterial growth.

While the brown color and brown patches may not necessarily indicate that the steak is unsafe to eat, it is essential to inspect it carefully.

Look for any signs of spoilage, such as an off-odor, and other signs like slimy texture (feels sticky), mold growth, or off flavor.

To keep steak red in color and avoid brown patches, ensure correct vacuum packaging. Also, store raw steak and ground beef at the correct temperature to prevent spoilage bacteria.

To ensure that steak remains fresh and safe to eat, it is essential to store it in a vacuum-sealed container and consume it within five days of purchase.


Shari Mason

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