Can You Freeze Dry Raw Hamburger Meat? A Comprehensive Guide

Hamburger meat can be freeze dried and it might turn out better than you expect. There are some limitations to keep in mind:

  1. If you plan to grill the hamburger meat as a patty, be sure to freeze dry the hamburger as a patty. The #1 rule of grilling hamburgers still applies here: The less you handle the raw hamburger, the better your cooked hamburgers will turn out.
  2. Freeze dried hamburger meat is a great addition crumbled into casseroles, on pizza, etc.
  3. You’ll lose some fat during the freeze drying process and likewise, the fat can make a mess. Start with lean meat like 90/10 or 93/7 for a better result all around.

Preparation of Hamburger Meat for Freeze Drying

Freeze-drying hamburger meat is a great way to preserve it for long-term storage. However, proper preparation of the meat is crucial to ensure that it freeze-dries correctly and remains safe to eat.

First, it is important to use fresh, high-quality hamburger meat. Ground beef that has been previously frozen and thawed likely will not freeze-dry as well as fresh meat.

To prepare the hamburger meat for freeze-drying, it can be formed into patties, cut into chunks, or left as a large loaf. Your freeze dryer won’t need to run as long if you cut the loaf into chunks or patties due to increased surface area.

Another tip to reduce the load on your freeze dryer (and reduce the time it runs), freeze the beef before it goes in the freeze dryer. The cycle will complete much faster.

The Freeze Drying Process

Freeze drying beef has a big advantage over dehydration because it’ll preserve most of the flavor and texture of the meat without any cooking of the beef taking place. Dehydrating beef will change its texture and partially cook it, freeze drying beef will maintain the texture and flavor and none of the beef will be cooked.

If you have any beef patties in your freezer and need some extra space, just grab the patties, throw them in the freeze dryer, seal them up, and you can use them in your cooking just the same as you otherwise would have.

Storing Freeze Dried Hamburger Meat

Once you’ve freeze dried your hamburger meat, you have a few options for storage.

1. Mylar Bags

As the undisputed champ of freeze-dried-food storage, Mylar bags don’t even have a close second. While they can be more expensive than something truly reusable, there are a few things about them to keep in mind:

  1. Use Oxygen Absorbers
    • Oxygen absorbers will mop up any extra oxygen in the package and allow for max shelf life. It’s worth the added cost. A good rule of thumb is to use about 500cc for a 1 gallon Mylar Bag.
    • As of the time of writing, this package of 500cc absorbers was about $0.15/absorber. Well worth the cost in my opinion. Some packs of Mylar bags come with Absorbers too.
  2. Buy Reusable Mylar Bags
    • You can buy single use (not really single use) and reusable Mylar bags. I prefer reusable bags like these but the single use bags can be re-sealed too. For context, when I say reusable bags, I just mean I like to use the bags with the little Ziplock on them. I would still recommend that you heat seal the Ziplock type bags for long term storage.
  3. Think About Size
    • Don’t go too big or too small. The combo pack I recommended above will give you options. You’ll want to think about what you’re sealing, how much you’ll reasonable eat once you unseal the bag, and the volume of the bag. More air in the bag means more air that needs absorbed once it’s sealed.
  4. Don’t Buy Windowed Bags For Long Term Storage
    • Windowed bags (bags with a clear side) are fun to show off what’s inside and will be great if you’re planning to sell your freeze dried hamburger meat, but if you don’t store the bags somewhere dark then the light will break down the hamburger meat over time and the shelf life can be greatly reduced.
    • If you go this route of non-windowed bags, or even if you do use windowed bags, I recommend that you always clearly label the bag with the contents and the date that the contents were freeze dried.
  5. No Plastic or Glass
    • We love Mylar bags because there’s no plastic whatsoever (we hate plastic that touches our food and avoid it as much as we can, even if it’s BPA free). It’s also nice to avoid glass for long term storage because glass is heavy and breaks easy. Neither is the case with a Mylar bag.

2. Pantry

If you don’t have extra freezer space and don’t want to use Mylar bags, storing freeze-dried hamburger meat in your pantry is an option. Make sure to store them in an airtight container and keep them away from direct sunlight and moisture. You won’t get a long storage time out this way but we usually throw part of a batch into a tightly sealed Rubbermaid Brilliance container for use within a short period of time.

Rehydrating and Cooking Freeze Dried Hamburger

When it comes to rehydrating freeze dried hamburger meat, there are a few options available. The most common methods are reconstituting the meat with room temperature water or cold water. It is important to note that the amount of water used will depend on the amount of meat being rehydrated.

Once the hamburger meat has been rehydrated, it can be used in a variety of dishes. For example, it can be added to a casserole or used as a topping for a pizza. If the meat is being used in a dish that requires broth, it is recommended to use the water used to rehydrate the meat as the broth.

If the meat is being used for grilling or frying, it is recommended to drain any excess water before cooking. This will help prevent the meat from becoming too soggy. If the meat is being cooked in a casserole or other dish, it is not necessary to drain any excess water.

When cooking freeze dried hamburger meat, it is important to keep in mind that it will cook faster than fresh meat. As a result, it is recommended to use a lower heat setting when cooking the meat. It is also recommended to use a non-stick pan or to lightly oil the pan to prevent the meat from sticking.

Safety Considerations for Freeze Drying Hamburger

When freeze-drying hamburger meat, safety should be a top priority. There are several factors to consider to ensure the meat is safe to eat.

One of the main concerns is the risk of bacterial growth. Raw hamburger meat can contain harmful bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella. These bacteria can cause foodborne illness if not properly cooked or handled.

Freeze drying does not kill bacteria. If you freeze dry the hamburger meat raw, you MUST rehydrate it and cook it if you plan to consume it at a later time.

Cross-contamination is another concern when freeze-drying hamburger meat. It is important to keep the raw meat separate from other foods and surfaces to prevent the spread of bacteria. Use separate cutting boards, utensils, and containers for the raw meat.

Overall, it is important to follow safe food handling practices when freeze-drying hamburger meat. If you’re not comfortable freeze drying raw meat for any reason, cook the meat to a safe temperature first before you freeze dry it.

Comparing Freeze Drying with Other Preservation Methods

When it comes to preserving raw hamburger meat, there are several methods available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here, we will compare freeze drying with other popular preservation methods.


Refrigeration is a common method of preserving raw hamburger meat. When stored in a refrigerator, the meat stays fresh for a few days. However, it is not a long-term preservation method. If the meat is not cooked or frozen within a few days, it will spoil and become unsafe to eat.


Freezing is another popular method of preserving raw hamburger meat. When stored in a freezer, the meat can stay fresh for several months. However, freezing can cause freezer burn, which can affect the quality and taste of the meat. Additionally, defrosting frozen hamburger meat can be time-consuming and it’s likely that thawed hamburger will lost flavor and texture compared to fresh meat.


Dehydrating is a method of removing moisture from food to extend its shelf life. While dehydrating can be effective for preserving fruits and vegetables, it is not recommended for raw hamburger meat. Dehydrating raw meat can be dangerous because it can create an environment that promotes the growth of harmful bacteria. It will also partially cook the meat. Dehydrated hamburger meat is the same thing as a pressed and formed beef jerky.

Freeze Drying

Freeze dried hamburger meat can last for several years without spoiling or losing its nutritional value. Additionally, freeze drying does not cause freezer burn or affect the taste or texture of the meat.

Nutritional Impact of Freeze Drying

Freeze drying can cause up to a 50% loss of fat content in hamburger meat. This loss of fat can impact the flavor and texture of the meat.

Despite the loss of fat freeze drying preserves the nutritional value of other nutrients present in the meat. The table below shows the nutritional information per 100g of raw hamburger meat before and after freeze-drying. Freeze drying doesn’t add protein to the meat as the table may seem to suggest, it just changes the ratios of nutrients per 100g.

NutrientRaw Hamburger MeatFreeze-Dried Hamburger Meat

As seen in the table, freeze-drying does not significantly impact the protein and sodium content of hamburger meat. In fact, freeze-drying can increase the protein content of the meat relative to the total weight. However, it is important to note that freeze-drying will likely impact the flavor and texture of the meat.


As with many other foods, raw beef can be effectively freeze dried and eaten later.

Don’t forget, if you freeze dry beef raw, it’s not the same as cooking or dehydrating it. Freeze dried raw beef must be rehydrated and cooked to a safe temperature before it is consumed.

Freeze dried raw beef is an ideal ingredient for things like casseroles because the flavor and texture will likely be altered by the freeze drying process.

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