What size freezer for a whole cow? - Kitchen seer (2023)

Buying a whole cow and processing it at a local processing plant is a great way to avoid many of the preservatives found in grocery store meat. It's also a way to save money while supporting farmers and boosting the local economy. However, you will need a way to store the meat until you are ready to use it. The best option is a freezer, but you may be wondering what size is needed to hold a whole cow. We did some research and found the answer.

The size of the freezer for a whole cow depends on the size of the cow, the cuts of meat, and the packaging. However, you can expect a whole cow that weighs around 1,200 pounds before slaughter to produce around 500 pounds of meat. This amount of meat requires a large freezer of about 20 cubic feet.

Read on to learn more about processing your meat. We take a look at the size of freezer needed for different amounts of meat and share tips and tricks to keep your meat tasting great when you're ready to cook it.

What size freezer for a whole cow? - Kitchen seer (1)

freezer storage

A generalGolden Rulestates that one cubic foot of freezer space contains 25 pounds of meat processed and packaged for frozen storage. We answer questions about the different amounts of beef and the freezer capacity required to store the different amounts using this calculation.

What size freezer do I need for 300 pounds of meat?

By the aforementioned rule of thumb, 300 pounds of meat would require a freezer of at least 12 cubic feet. This amount of frozen meat would require a medium size freezer for adequate storage space.

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What size freezer do I need for 250 pounds of meat?

For 250 pounds of meat, expect to need a freezer with at least a ten cubic foot capacity. That amount of meat would require a medium size freezer which leaves plenty of room for other frozen items.

How big a freezer do I need for 150lbs of meat?

For 150 pounds of meat, the freezer space needed would be at least six cubic feet. A small freezer would suffice for this amount of frozen meat, leaving you room for other frozen items.

Freezer Styles and Sizes

Freezers generally come in two types, chest and upright. To determine which one is right for you, consider the space you need to set up and the capacity required. While the total capacity in cubic feet may be the same, the dimensions of each are very different. This difference comes into play when you consider the size and shape of your frozen foods.

Freezers come in a range of sizes including compact, small, medium, and large. Freezer capacity descriptions are in cubic feet. below are allCategorycon la capacidad en pies cúbicos y dimensiones para cada variedad.

  • Compact (3-5 cu ft), Upright = 20-24″W x 31-37″H x 20-25″D and Chest = 21-28″W x 32-34″H x 19-22″D
  • Small (5-9 cu ft), Upright = 21-25″W x 55-60″H x 22-26″D and Chest = 29-38″W x 32-34″H x 22-27″D
  • Medium (10-16 cu ft), Upright = 23-30″W x 60-73″H x 27-30″D and Chest = 54-65″W x 33-36″H x 24-28″D
  • Large (17+ cu.ft.), Upright = 27-33″W x 64-76″H x 29-30″D & Chest = 72-84″W x 31-34″H x 27-32″D

Things to Consider When Buying a Whole Cow

As already mentioned, a cow weighing approximately1200 poundsgives a hanging weight of about 750 lbs. From this carcass, the butcher can pack around 500 pounds of meat. You can look forward to taking home with you60%of the hanging weight of a cow in processed meat. then for oneaverage cow, between 440 and 500 pounds of beef is a reasonable expectation when buying a whole cow.

Pieces of meat and quantity

Using the example of 500 pounds of packaged beefcortesWhat you can expect from the processing facility would be very similar to the approximate amounts below, unless you indicate that you prefer some of the standard cuts to be ground.

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  • 200 pounds of ground beef
  • 80-90 pound round roasts and steaks
  • 90 lbs chuck roasts and steaks
  • 80-pound rib and sirloin steaks
  • 50 pounds of other cuts (breast, flank, short rib, flank steak)

In addition to their cuts of meat, there's an additional 250 pounds of trimmed fat and bones, which some people prefer to use for beef stock and seasonings. If you intend to store and freeze those extra parts of your whole cow, you can assume that it will require an additional ten cubic feet of freezer space.


If you're considering buying a whole, half, or quarter beef, expect a significant up-front cost. But in the long run, you should see cost savings. The farmer incurs the costs of acquiring the cow. Then he pays the processor to slaughter, pack, and dispose of his meat. The total cost depends on your location. Therefore, call your local processing facility for the price per pound and any additional charges.

How much meat is in a quarter cow?

What size freezer for a whole cow? - Kitchen seer (2)

When purchasing a quarter cow or a split half, you can expect to receive approximately100 poundsBeef, depending on the starting weight of the cow. This amount is great for two people and takes up about 3.5 cubic feet of freezer space.

wait thedefault selectionof the meatcortesto include: roast beef, rib eye steaks, rump steak, round steaks, sirloin steaks, top sirloin steaks, rump steaks, rump steaks, T-bone steaks, a small brisket, a few pounds of soup bones, Stir-fry steak/fajita, beef stew without liver, short ribs, and about half the weight of ground beef. A customer will have the option of receiving the tongue, heart, or oxtail if those are the parts they are interested in.

How long does beef keep in the freezer?

What size freezer for a whole cow? - Kitchen seer (3)

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How long meat will last in the freezer depends on how the meat is packaged before it goes into the freezer. If you don't wrap food properly, air can get inside. Air is the enemy of frozen meat. Exposure to air degrades the quality of meat.

According to thatUSDA, foods that are continuously frozen remain safe indefinitely. However, meat loses its flavor over time.frostbiteit's a problem when meat isn't packaged properly, significantly affecting flavor and texture. While meat can't hurt you, it doesn't taste good and is considered inedible by most. To get the best results from your frozen beef, you should do your best to use it.within a year.

The long-term quality of your frozen beef depends largely on the packaging you choose. You want to pack your beef in a way that provides the most protection for the meat. From a processor you can expect shrink wrap, kraft paper or vacuum sealed options.

Vacuum sealing is a method that has gained popularity in recent years and offers the best long-term results. Shrinwrap is fine if the meat is fast. Butcher paper is freezer safe, but is really only good for short-term freezing.

If you need a vacuum sealer, consider the Premium Food Saver Starter Kit.

What size freezer for a whole cow? - Kitchen seer (4)What size freezer for a whole cow? - Kitchen seer (5)

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Click here to find this vacuum sealer on Amazon.

Is it better to freeze raw or cooked meat?

Both methods work for freezing meat. However, if you are buying a cow that produces a lot of meat, it would not be practical to cook it before freezing. You would freeze meat that you don't use immediately in the packs from the processing plant.

Suppose you have leftover meat after cooking. There is no need to throw it away. You can freeze it and then thaw it when you want to use it again. There are somemitoabout freezing meat that might discourage people from using this method of food preservation. Freezing meat shouldn't be a problem. just follow theUSDA Guidelinesfor freezing and food safety.


What size freezer for a whole cow? - Kitchen seer (6)

Buying a cow from a local source helps your local economy and allows you to get an organic product for your meat needs. Just be prepared to store a large amount of meat, which requires adequate freezer space. Based on the information in this article, you should have an idea of ​​the freezer capacity needed for the amount of meat you intend to purchase.

For more information on how to have a freezer, seeWhere should I put my freezer? 10 places to consider

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Also considerHow big is the typical freezer? 4 sizes explained


What size freezer for 200 lbs of meat? ›

You'll receive approximately 200 pounds of beef when you oder a half share. Your medium freezer will require 8-10 cubic feet of freezer space.

How much meat will a 10 cubic foot freezer hold? ›

How Many Pounds of Meat will my Freezer Hold? A rule of thumb is one cubic foot of freezer space for each 35-40 pounds of cut and wrapped meat. Allow slightly more space when the meat is packaged in odd shapes.

What size upright freezer do I need for half a cow? ›

You'll need a deep freezer if you don't already have one to purchase a half, whole, or quarter. The rule of thumb is one cubic foot of freezer space for every 35 – 40 pounds of packaged meat. A quarter of beef will easily fit into a 5 -7 cubic foot chest freezer. A half beef needs about 8 cubic feet.

How much meat can a 7 cubic foot freezer hold? ›

As a general rule of thumb you should plan for 35 lbs of meat per cubic foot of freezer space. A standard kitchen fridge/freezer combo is around 7 cubic feet meaning that if it were totally empty (Not likely) then you could fit 245 lbs. of beef in there (a half cow plus some).

What size freezer for a whole cow? ›

How much freezer space will my beef take? For a quarter share (85 pounds of meat), you'll want to have 4 cubic feet. And for a Side (half), around 8 cubic feet. A whole cow will need 16 cubic feet.

What is the longest you can keep meat in the freezer? ›

Cold Food Storage Chart
FoodTypeFreezer (0 °F or below)
Hamburger, ground meats and ground poultryHamburger, ground beef, turkey, chicken, other poultry, veal, pork, lamb, and mixtures of them3 to 4 months
Fresh beef, veal, lamb, and porkSteaks4 to 12 months
Chops4 to 12 months
Roasts4 to 12 months
49 more rows
Sep 20, 2021

How much freezer space do I need for 300 lbs of beef? ›

Based on the previously stated rule of thumb, 300 lbs of meat would require a freezer of at least 12 cubic feet. This amount of frozen meat would need a medium freezer to have adequate storage space.

How much food will a 14 cubic foot freezer hold? ›

To store up to 350 lbs of food, a 14 cubic foot freezer may fit your needs. Although weight and volume are not the same, you can estimate that 1 cubic foot of freezer space may hold approximately 25 lbs. Medium freezers are usually 10 to 16 cubic feet and could hold up to around 400 lbs of food.

How much freezer space do you need for 500 pounds of meat? ›

However, you can expect that a whole cow that weighs approximately 1200 pounds before butchering yields around 500 pounds of meat. This amount of meat needs a large freezer of around 20 cubic feet.

How long does a half cow last in the freezer? ›

Frozen beef will be safe indefinitely. However, for best quality, use uncooked steaks, roasts, or chops within four to 12 months, uncooked ground beef within four months, and cooked beef within two to three months.

What size freezer do I need for a whole hog? ›

A general rule is you need 1 cubic foot of freezer space for every 15-20lbs of meat. For reference, the interior of a milk crates is slightly more than a cubic foot. For a half hog you need 3.5 cubic feet and for a whole hog you will need 7 cubic feet.

Is a deep freezer worth it? ›

A deep freezer keeps larger amounts of food frozen for longer periods of time and offers more space and capacity than a typical fridge freezer. If you're wondering whether a deep freezer is right for your home, consider these points: A deep freezer benefits a big family that enjoys many meals per month.

What is the difference between freezer and deep freezer? ›

Deep freezers and regular freezers share their defining feature: keeping foods frozen at a temperature of about 0 degrees Fahrenheit or -18 degrees Celsius. The most obvious difference between the two is that fridge freezers are always part of a multi-purpose appliance, while deep freezers exclusively freeze foods.

How big freezer do I need? ›

1 cubic foot of freezer space accommodates approximately 35 pounds of food. To help determine what size freezer you'll need for your family, we suggest multiplying the number of people in your family by 2.5 cubic feet.

What type of freezer is best for meat? ›

Upright Pros - Easy to organize, easy access to different products/meat cuts, and uses less floor space. Upright Cons - Less useable freezer space compared to a chest, cold air escapes more quickly, and risk of door being left open.

How do you organize a whole beef freezer? ›

Plastic crates are my go-to for the very bottom of our chest freezers. Use them to store cuts with large quantities or cuts that can stack well - like ground beef or steaks. Two crates fit side-by-side into the bottom of a medium chest freezer; three fit across the bottom of a large chest freezer.

How big is a 12 cubic foot freezer? ›

Depth (Excluding Handles)26.36 in28.86 in
Depth (Less Door)25.5950
Height to Top of Door Hinge (in.)59.8 in59.25 in
Product Depth (in.)28.7 in59.5 in
Product Width (in.)23.7 in23.7 in

Can you eat beef that's been frozen for 2 years? ›

But we're here to finally put the question to rest, as the USDA states that as long as all foods are stored at 0 °F or lower in your freezer, they are safe to eat indefinitely.

Is 2 year old frozen hamburger still good? ›

Ground beef is safe indefinitely if kept frozen, but it is best if used within 4 months. Refrigerate or freeze ground beef as soon as possible after purchase. This preserves freshness and slows the growth of bacteria.

Can you eat meat that's been frozen for 5 years? ›

Food can remain frozen indefinitely and technically be safe to eat, as bacteria will not grow. However, over time all frozen food will deteriorate in quality and become unappetising to eat when defrosted.

How many pounds of meat will a 18 cubic foot freezer hold? ›

An 18 cu. ft. top freezer refrigerator has a freezer of 4 cubic feet. That means you can hold at least 140 pounds of frozen food.

How many coolers do I need for a full beef? ›

You'll need 2 large plastic coolers for every ¼ cow purchased so plan accordingly. The beef will come fully frozen so if necessary, you can pack it into plastic totes with a lid (the ones used for storage and organizing) and then put it straight into a freezer once you get home.

How much does a whole cow cost? ›

A typical hanging weight is between 400 and 500 lbs, and the butchering costs average out to about $1.00/lb HW. You also have the option of picking up at the farm or having it delivered (with an additional delivery fee). So you can expect a total cost between $2,300 – $2,900.

How much meat will a 14.8 cu ft freezer hold? ›

Rule is 35 lbs. to 40 lbs. meat per cu. ft. This deep freeze is 14.8 @ 35 lbs.

How do I calculate my freezer? ›

Grab a tape measure and measure the width, depth and height of the inside of your refrigerator. Multiply the numbers together (W x D x H) and divide the total by 1728 to get the cubic feet. For example, if you have a refrigerator that measures 30" wide by 30" deep by 48" high, you multiply 30 X 30 X 48.

How much does it cost to run a full size freezer? ›

An ENERGY STAR certified chest freezer uses about 215 kWh of electricity and costs about $30 per year to run, while an ENERGY STAR certified upright freezer uses about 395 kWh of electricity and costs about $50 per year to run.

How many pounds of meat is half a cow? ›

What cuts of meat do you get when buying half a cow? When you buy half a cow, you'll get approximately 75 -100 lbs of ground beef, and the rest will be roasts, steaks, and other cuts like brisket, ribs, stew meat, soup bones, and organ meats (liver, heart and tongue.)

Is buying a 1 4 cow worth it? ›

A quarter cow is more of a crapshoot, and in most cases, you'll get less choice when you go that route. So a quarter-cow purchase is not for you if you want guaranteed cuts of meat.

What does it mean when it says a freezer is garage ready? ›

The ability to handle hot or cold temperatures outside while maintaining an optimal temperature inside makes a freezer garage ready. That means you can store your freezer in a cold or hot garage without worrying about the change in temperatures from 0°F to 110°F.

Can beef rot in the freezer? ›

Does Frozen Meat “Go Bad?” According to the USDA, frozen meat kept at 0°F or lower will always technically be safe to eat. This low temperature prevents the growth of microorganisms and microbes like bacteria and mold.

Does beef get tough in the freezer? ›

Does Freezing Steak Make It Tough? Nope! Freezing steak shouldn't change the texture of steak. The cut of beef has the most bearing on tenderness: tender cuts, like filet, will remain tender, while fattier cuts, like flank, will remain chewier; here's a guide to all the types of steak and how to cook each.

Is an upright or deep freezer better? ›

According to Consumer Reports, chest freezers have around 20 percent more usable space than upright freezers. When it comes to upright freezer vs chest freezer energy usage, chest freezers use up less energy than upright freezers, providing some relief to both the planet and your wallet.

Is upright or chest freezer better? ›

Compared to their upright counterparts, chest freezers are more energy-efficient, have a longer life expectancy, are less expensive to purchase and maintain, have more usable storage space, and keep food fresher for longer in the event of a power outage.

How long do upright freezers last? ›

On average, the life expectancy of a refrigerator-freezer or chest freezer is 16 years. Freezers typically last anywhere from 12 to 20 years. Along with gas and electric ranges, freezers tend to be the longest-lasting kitchen appliances. But that's not a guarantee!

What temp should Whole Hog be? ›

A thermometer! Temperature makes a big difference when you're cooking pork. Whole hog needs to be cooked to at least 180 degrees to make it fall off the bone. Cuts of pork from the grocery store are leaner and can be cooked to 145 degrees.

Can you freeze a whole hog? ›

Even if you could remove the organs, there's no place to freeze a large volume of whole pigs.

How many pounds of meat do you get from a whole hog? ›

On average about 57% of a hog make it from the pen to the pan. A 250 lb. hog will yield approximately 144 lbs of retail cuts.

How much meat can a 14.8 cubic foot freezer hold? ›

1-1 of 1 Answer

Rule is 35 lbs. to 40 lbs. meat per cu. ft. This deep freeze is 14.8 @ 35 lbs.

How many pounds of food can a 7 cubic foot freezer hold? ›

How much does a 7 cubic foot freezer hold? Consider that 1 cubic foot of freezer space will hold approximately 25 lbs of food, depending on the item. A 7 cubic foot freezer may accommodate around 175 lbs of food.

How much meat can a 3.5 cubic foot freezer hold? ›

It can hold about 40 to 45 lbs.


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