How Long Will Dry Ice Keep Meat Frozen?

Dry ice is a substance that is commonly used for transporting and storing perishable items, including meat. It is made from carbon dioxide, which is frozen at a temperature of -78.5°C. Unlike regular ice, dry ice does not melt and leave behind a liquid, making it a popular choice for keeping items cold and frozen during transportation.

In this article, we will discuss how long dry ice will keep meat frozen and address some common questions related to its use.

Importance of Keeping Meat Frozen

Meat is a perishable item that can spoil quickly if it is not stored properly. Bacteria can grow rapidly on meat that is stored at room temperature or even slightly above, causing it to become unsafe for consumption. Proper storage of meat is crucial for food safety, and it is especially important during transportation.

When meat is being transported from one location to another, it can be exposed to various temperatures and conditions, making it even more susceptible to spoilage. Keeping meat frozen with the use of dry ice can help ensure that it stays fresh and safe for consumption.

How Long Will Dry Ice Keep Meat Frozen?

The duration of dry ice’s effectiveness in keeping meat frozen can vary depending on several factors. These factors include the quantity of dry ice used, the type of meat being stored, the ambient temperature, and the length of time the meat needs to be stored.

Guidelines for Determining How Much Dry Ice to Use

The amount of dry ice needed to keep meat frozen will depend on several factors, including the weight of the meat, the length of time it needs to be stored, and the ambient temperature. As a general rule of thumb, you will need 10-20 pounds of dry ice to keep 100 pounds of meat frozen for 24 hours. You can adjust the amount of dry ice needed based on the weight and duration of storage.

Table of Recommended Dry Ice Amounts Based on Weight and Duration

Weight of MeatAmount of Dry Ice (24 hours)Amount of Dry Ice (48 hours)
50 lbs or less5-10 lbs10-15 lbs
50-100 lbs10-20 lbs15-25 lbs
100-200 lbs20-30 lbs25-35 lbs
200-300 lbs30-40 lbs35-45 lbs

*Note: These are rough estimates and may need to be adjusted based on ambient temperature and other factors.


Can you put dry ice directly on meat?

No, you should not put dry ice directly on meat. Dry ice is extremely cold and can cause freezer burn or damage the meat. You should always place the dry ice in a separate container, such as a cooler or insulated box, and then put the meat in a plastic bag or other suitable container before placing it in the same cooler or insulated box.

Is it safe to handle dry ice?

Dry ice can be dangerous if not handled properly. You should always wear gloves and avoid touching dry ice with your bare skin. It is also important to store dry ice in a well-ventilated area, as it can release carbon dioxide gas that can displace oxygen and cause suffocation. If you need to transport dry ice, make sure to place it in a well-insulated container and keep it away from any children or pets.

How do you dispose of dry ice?

When disposing of dry ice, you should never throw it in the trash or down the drain. Instead, allow it to evaporate in a well-ventilated area, such as outdoors or in a garage with the door open. You can also contact your local waste management facility for guidance on how to properly dispose of dry ice.

Can you use dry ice for long-term meat storage?

While dry ice can effectively keep meat frozen for a short period of time, it is not recommended for long-term storage. Over time, the dry ice will sublimate and lose its effectiveness, causing the temperature to rise and potentially exposing the meat to harmful bacteria. For long-term meat storage, it is best to use a freezer or a commercial storage facility that is designed for that purpose.


In conclusion, dry ice is an effective way to keep meat frozen during transportation or short-term storage. By following the guidelines for determining how much dry ice to use and proper handling procedures, you can help ensure that your meat stays fresh and safe for consumption.

However, it is important to note that dry ice is not a long-term solution for meat storage and that proper food safety practices should always be followed. By taking the necessary precautions, you can enjoy delicious and safe meat for your meals.