How To Wrap Meat Like A Pro

This tutorial is perfect timing if you’re bulk buying and stocking up the freezer this fall, here’s how to wrap meat nice & air tight for freezing. It’s important to wrap properly to preserve the quality of the meat and protect it from freezer burn or your grocery investment is shot. Lotsa pictures!


To make a good, air tight package that will protect the meat, make sure to use good quality freezer paper.

Place Meat On Paper

1. Place meat on paper. Tear off enough paper to go about one and a half times around meat, put shiny side next to meat (if using wax coated paper). Lay meat on center of paper and allow ample paper at sides.

Bring Ends Together

2. Bring ends together. Start folding ends of paper together over center of meat. Turn edges over to make a fold about an inch deep. Run your fingers along fold to make a good crease.

Fold To Meat

3. Fold to meat. Keep turning paper over and crease each fold. The last fold should pull paper tight around meat. You want to get all the air out of package to prevent “freezer burn”.

Fold Ends

4. Fold ends. Press paper down close to sides of meat. Press out all the air you can to make a tight package. Fold in each of the four corners of paper. This will make a point at each end.

Turn Under Ends

5. Turn under ends. Turn pointed ends of paper under package. Then fold under about an inch at each end of package. You have made a tight package that will keep air out and moisture in . . . moisture-vapor-proof.

Seal And Label

6. Seal and label. Seal with tape (you can use masking tape or freezer tape). Label each package with kind and amount of meat and date you put into your freezer. Now it’s ready to go into freezer.

This method of meat wrapping is also known as “The Drug Store Wrap“.

Tips: Store wrapped items seam side down to protect seal. You can double wrap meat if the freezer paper you’re using isn’t the best quality (or use one layer aluminum foil or plastic wrap then cover with freezer paper).

Better Food From Your Freezer

Foods of highest quality, properly prepared for freezing, can lose color, flavor, texture and nutritive value if packaged improperly.

Proper packaging methods mean:

  • Using moisture-vapor-proof paper or containers
  • Removing as much air as possible from package
  • Carefully sealing tightly wrapped package
  • Labeling package for usage within recommended storage time.

Source: Graphics & Instructions Adapted from “How To Prepare Foods For Freezing“; 1961, Sears, Roebuck & Co.

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What Readers Are Saying: 25 Comments
  1. Beverly says:

    I wrap the kids’ lunch sandwiches in waxed paper using this exact same folding method. Waxed paper is cheaper and can be put in the compost bin.

  2. Sent says:

    Where can I buy freezer paper?

  3. ryan says:

    Just curious, but how is this better than ziplock freezer bags?

  4. Jay says:

    Ryan’s right – with the added qualification that you remove extra air first. Close the ZipLoc almost all the way, stick in a straw, and suck out the air; quickly remove the straw while simultaneously closing the ZipLoc. When you’re done it’ll look like it’s vacuum packed. Much better than buying one of those silly machines that does the same thing and that requires you to purchase not only the machine, but also the replacement bags (I can only imagine what they charge). More effective than using paper – although I am a firm believer in the drug store wrap when using foil, etc., for leftovers. Drives me nuts when people loosely wrap food in foil, leaving openings, and think that anything is being accomplished…

  5. TipNut says:

    If you can get all the air out of ziploc bags, both methods are equally good IMO. The key is to wrap the meat air tight (for both packaging options). Some people also try to cut back on plastic, this would be a good alternative for them.

    • Morwalk says:

      The problem with Ziplocs is that they are plastic and most people don’t recycle them. With plastic, also, there is a chance of bad stuff leeching into your kids’ food. No one wants that.

  6. Diane says:

    Ever try to get ALL the air out of a plastic freezer bag ?? You can’t -unless you’ve got a vacuum pump in your kitchen.

  7. Jay says:

    Diane – Sorry, but I disagree entirely, unless you mean literally every single molecule, which I doubt you do since clearly one doesn’t accomplish that using paper, either. If you’re not able to remove “all” the air, you’re not doing it correctly. Been doing it for years and years.

  8. Andrew says:

    The advantage to freezer paper over plastic bags is that it is more tear resistant. If something rips your freezer bag, it’s not sealed any more and can lose moisture.

  9. Ann says:

    Well, freezer paper is better for the environment and less expensive than good freezer bags.

  10. faye bancroft says:

    In regards to wrapping meat to freeze, you should check the new hand pumps and vacuum from Ziploc. I use them for everything from bulk meats that I separate and individually freeze, to brown sugar(no more hard sugar!) and you don’t to get an expensive electric one – the hand pump is only 3 bucks. I keep it in my cooking utensil drawer so it’s always handy. Greta idea!!

  11. Ed says:

    How to get air outof a zip lock bag. Fill your bag with it`s contentes. get the smallest straw you can possibly find.. I like the ones used in mixed drinks. Insert the straw into one corner of the bag. close the zipper all the way across to the straw. Now push as much air as you possibly can out of the bag by hand. Now put yourmouth over the straw and suck the rest of the air out. When the bag collapses flat pinch off the area around the straw and finish zipping the lock shut. I do this all the time. It takes a few times practice but it works. If you are filling with liquids, use a funnel just large enough that the fluid will flow freely when filling the bag. Cock the bag so that the corner the funnel is in is the highest part of the bag. Fill the bagf all the way up and the air is forced out as it fills as there is no room left for the air if the bag is completely full of the liquid. If you don`t have a full bag, then go back to the straw trick. It works for me.

    • Tonto says:

      “How to get air out of ZipLock”…..Get a large pot of water, big enough to submerge ziplock bag in upright position. Fill ziplock, submerge bag in water bath up to bottom of zipper, do not allow water to enter bag, and zip. The water will force the air out of the bag “Poor Man’s Vaccume Pack”. Wipe dry/allow to air dry before freezing.

  12. Hazel says:

    We buy meat in bulk and I freeze them in packages wrapped in stretchable saran wrap. I then put them in freezer bags, squeeze out the air, seal and freeze. We have never had any freezer burn.

  13. Emma says:

    For the ‘straw trick’ people: while this might be effective at removing air, isn’t it also unsafe when you’re freezing meat? Sucking air from around raw meat doesn’t seem much different than actually touching it and licking your fingers.

  14. Ryan says:

    Emma, the bacteria that may or may not be present on the meat is not airborne. Sucking the air from the bag through a straw may taste funny, but should be harmless.

  15. harry says:

    Fill sink half way with water

    Add whatever you want to freeze in ziplock bag

    Place bag into water right before the seal. This will remove all the air out of bag by using water pressure to push air out.

    Zip it and there you go 🙂

  16. sky says:

    For those arguing against using paper to wrap your meat when freezing, I’ve used plastic bags and I’ve used paper. Paper wrapping is a time consuming event for us because we buy our meat in bulk and put it in our chest freezer. I got lazy one night and decided to just put it in plastic freezer bags and be done with it. I’ll say that that will be the last time I don’t spend the extra time wrapping in paper. Not because my food freezer burned but because my plastic bags froze to each other or ripped and I was left with exposed food. Not good. I had to either use that exposed food the next day or throw it into another plastic bag. I still have bags of food frozen to the bottom of my freezer because of that. Never again. I’ve also wrapped meet in just the freezer paper. If you don’t mind your meat bleeding everywhere while it thaws out, that’s fine, but I don’t so now I place the meat in plastic bags and then wrap it up in paper.

    I also saw someone ask where to get freezer paper. It is in the same isle as the wax papers and tin foil and such.

  17. Carolyn says:

    I have used Ziploc and other name brands for meat and have found they are not good for long term storage, anything longer than a month is likely to get freezer burn.
    The bags are not reusable either. They are good for stopping odors from leaking into your freezer, which will be noticeable in your ice.
    Even though using the paper is a little more time consuming, and defrosting should be done in a plastic container or on a plate. I find storing meat purchased in bulk, which can be in your freezer for a longer period, comes out fresher.
    it is also less expensive than using foil.
    I will also add, for freezing meat in single servings, i do find a foodsaver machine does do the best job, mine has paid for itself many times over and you should purchase when its on sale and the same for the plastic rolls.

  18. bigfatrat says:

    I have been getting good results by wrapping meat in plastic wrap then stacking them (usually 2 steaks) ina a cardboard boxwith paper towels between each layer. no sticking no freezer burn. works for me

  19. JP says:

    “Tip: or use one layer aluminum foil or plastic wrap then cover with freezer paper”
    Really? I learned a long time ago to never wrap raw meat in aluminum foil. Maybe if you wrap the outside of the package with it, it will be alright.

  20. Greg says:

    Does it matter what kind of tape you use with freezer paper?

  21. Joe says:

    A true vacuum sealed which pulls down to 10 mbars or less extends the freshness of food 14 days under refrigeration and up to 9 months in a freezer. A suction vacuum machine ( as seen in Costco) merely removes a certain level of atmosphere from the bag ( a ziplock bag and a straw have a similar effect). A dry pump vacuum chamber sealer removes the atmosphere from the chamber and the bag at a higher level but not with a wet product. An oil pump vacuum chamber removes the atmosphere from the bag, chamber and the food item, this greatly extends the freshness of the food item. Also with a true vacuum machine you can perform many other techniques such as, instant marination, infusion of flavors, pickling, aeration and sous vide cooking. I do realize these machines are expensive, big and heavy but smaller and better ones are coming out each year.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I’ve found that masking tape works well.

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