Is It OK If Ground Beef Is A Little Pink? (Quick Facts)

Indeed, ground beef with a little pinkness inside should not be a problem. According to the USDA, the color cannot tell the food’s doneness or safety. Instead, the factor that determines its edibility is its temperature.

Only when the temperature has reached 160°F degrees is it safe to say that the meat has been thoroughly cooked. Hence, as long as a food thermometer reflects the food’s qualified internal temperature, you can enjoy your dish.

Unlike beef mince, which contains 100% beef, ground beef is the blended version of meat, soya, water, food additives, etc. Many people believe that this type of meat can be considered done only when they turn brown.

If you’re still confused, read until the end to get a full grasp of our explanation and tips.

Related: The most popular types of meat you should know about

Why Is Ground Beef Still Pink Even After Reaching 160°F?

Although the beef is cooked to 160°F, it may appear pink. This phenomenon happens due to the presence of other foods such as bacon, ham, or vegetables.

While bacon and ham contain nitrites, vegetables, for example, carrots, broccoli, or cabbage, can be converted to nitrites after the cooking process. This chemical compound normally restrains beef from getting brown color.

Besides, if you use gas grills or ovens, a small quantity of carbon monoxide may be emitted from the inefficient gas burning. Combined with the carbon monoxide, the meat’s myoglobin will cause the beef to retain its pinkness.

Can You Eat Hamburger Pink?

Yes. Since the color is not an adequate indicator of food edibleness, you definitely can eat a burger that is pinked inside. However, it is essential to remember that the burger is only edible when its internal temperature meets the standard of 160°F.

Therefore, don’t forget to check your hamburger’s temperature with the owner if you encounter a pink patty.

Safe Handling

It is vital to consider the safe handling of ground beef to avoid risking your health.

There are several kinds of harmful bacteria in this type of meat. Depending on the meat’s origins, it may contain invisible bacteria such as Salmonella or Staphylococcus aureus. They all can inflict illness.

Besides, during grinding, beef may also be exposed to bacteria on the surface of the meat grinder. Thus, you should check the manufacturers carefully before purchasing.

Moreover, it is recommended to pick this version of minced beef as the last item in your shopping cart when visiting the supermarket. Also, check the package carefully to ensure that the meat cover does not leak.

Finally, if your house is quite far from your home, a cooler with ice would be pretty valuable to maintain the meat’s low temperature.

At home, it would help if you put the meat right into the refrigerator or freezer. A safe food handling label is typically attached to meat packages. You should refer to those instructions for further details.


If you plan to use ground beef within 1 or 2 days, a refrigerator set at 40°F can help to store it. Nevertheless, you may want to wrap it carefully in plastic wrap, freezer paper, or aluminum foil, then put them into the freezer.

It is safe to consume frozen ground meat within four months from the purchased date. Unfortunately, its quality may not be preserved when you store the beef for a long time.

Best Ways To Thaw Ground Beef

USDA suggests thawing this type of meat in the refrigerator. This is the best way to defrost the meat since it can constrain the bacteria’s growth.

If you do not have much time, it is safe to utilize a microwave oven or cold water to defrost the beef. However, the heat from the microwave oven may cook some areas of it already. Thus, applying this method, you should start preparing the dish promptly after thawing beef.

When kitchen appliances are not a choice, cold water can support defrosting food. Submerge the plastic bag that contains frozen ground beef in the cold water. Remember to keep the water’s cooling temperature by changing the water every 30 minutes.

How To Tell If Ground Beef Is Bad

There are four ways you can detect if the meat has a few issues:

Check the color

Raw ground beef should be consumable if it is red or greyish brown. Nonetheless, if it turns brown or gray before cooking, it is pretty dangerous if you eat that patty.

Inspect the texture

When you touch the meat and feel stickiness or sliminess on its surface, you should throw it away immediately.

Conduct a smell test

Bad ground beef may smell putrid or tangy. If you feel those odors, never try to consume the meat.

However, it is essential to emphasize that several bacteria are not smell-able. Thus, even when you do not smell anything weird, your beef has probably gone wrong if you recognize some changes in the color or texture.

Check the expiration date

Same as all other food, this kind of beef also has an expiration date. So check it carefully before cooking to ensure that your health does not face any threat.

What Happens If You Eat Slightly Pink Ground Beef?

A slightly pink patty is safe to eat if you have carefully examined the temperature. However, if its temperature was not around 160°F, don’t put your life at risk.

What Color Should It Be When Cooked?

Beef usually turns brown when it is well done. Yet, as said in the opening, it can be a little pink inside under some particular circumstances.

How Long Does It Take To Cook?

You may need to wait for about 7 to 10 minutes until the meat becomes safe to eat. Overcooked beef can be too dry or tasteless. Hence, do not be distracted by any other things while cooking it.

What Happens If You Eat Raw Ground Beef?

Raw beef may bring Escherichia coli (E.Coli) to your stomach, resulting in unpleasant illness. In addition, you may also encounter food poisoning if you insist on eating undercooked beef.

Tamara Pierce

Tamara Pierce is a food writer at Elapasony, passionate about exploring diverse cuisines and sharing recipes and food experiences. From trendy restaurants to local hotspots, she's always on the lookout for new and exciting flavors.

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