All you need to know about beef mince

Mince is magic! Lasagne, meatloaf, bolognaise sauce, beef rissoles – mince is the starting point for most family faves. Choosing, buying and storing mince is a little different to other cuts. For the greatest result, check out our ultimate how-to guide.

Beef mince how-to guide

Choosing mince

Not all mince is created equal

Aussie retailers use different names and category terms for beef mince such as Premium, Gourmet, Lean, Star Ratings, Heart Smart, Best and Choice. Because these categories have such varying degrees of fat, we recommend you check the fat content on the label – or just ask your butcher.

Which mince to choose?

The leanest grades of mince are the healthiest. However, mince with a slightly higher fat content is a tasty choice for some recipes.

Which mince to choose for your recipe?

Mince grade
Best for

Leanest (little or no fat in the pan)

Minced-meat sauces e.g. bolognaise

Mid-range (a little more fat to keep the recipe moist)

Burgers, meatballs, kofta, meatloaf

Regular grade (spoon off the fat as you brown the mince)

All-purpose choice


Buying mince

  • Feel pre-packaged mince to ensure it's well chilled. 
  • Only buy mince in undamaged packaging.
  • Check packaging is properly sealed and meat juices cannot leak.

Safety Matters!

Minced meat exposes more surface area to bacteria than bigger, single cuts. Make sure you maintain good food safety habits when handling your mince to eliminate contamination.


Storing mince

How to store mince in the fridge or freezer

  • Cook well within the use-by date. 
  • Cook leftover raw mince within 1-2 days of purchase or freeze.
  • Refrigerate leftovers immediately and use within 1 day.
  • Freeze mince you don’t intend to use for 2-3 months. 
  • Flatten butcher-bought mince so it freezes and thaws evenly.
  • Cook mince as soon as possible after defrosting.
  • Only thaw mince in the microwave if you're cooking it immediately.
  • Always cook thawed mince before refreezing.
  • Thaw frozen mince on your fridge's lowest shelf, away from ready-to-eat food.
  • Don’t refreeze any defrosted leftovers.

Kitchen Science

Why is mince sometimes a brownish colour inside the pack?

Ever noticed how packaged mince can be bright red on the outside, but brownish in the middle? Stay calm – it's normal! Oxygen from the air reacts with exposed meat pigments to form the reddish colour. The pigment responsible for beef's red colour is oxymyoglobin. 

The centre of your mince can be brownish due to lack of contact with air. Once exposed, the red colour or 'bloom' returns to the meat. Of course, if all your mince looks a bit grey, it’s a sign the meat is past its use-by time. Bin it!

Need more help?

How to freeze, thaw and reheat beef

How to brown mince like a pro

Top 3 tips for binding mince

WATCH: How to grind your own beef mince

WATCH: Marbling in meat

Find mince beef recipes