How long can cooked food stay in the fridge? (Complete Food List 2022)

Meal prep and leftovers are the best ways to save time as well as money. However, do you know that almost 17% of people in the USA suffer from food poisoning and foodborne illness? Hence, don’t put your health under a deadly threat by eating a spoiled meal. Instead, always try to know either the food is safe to eat or it is rotten. In this context, many ask a question, how long can cooked food stay in the fridge?

So, we will try to find out the life of different cooked food items in the fridge. If the meal is stored for more days than recommended, throw away the meal; otherwise, you might suffer from foodborne illness. Without any delay, let’s get started;

What causes the food in the refrigerator to spoil?

If you think placing the food in a refrigerator will keep the meal safe forever, it will be only a whim. It is an admitted fact that the refrigerator enhances the life of food, but it cannot preserve meals for months. The reason is obvious, at room temperature, microorganisms multiply in no time; on the other hand, at low temperature, bacterial growth slows down but never stops. That’s why a refrigerator can store the food longer than the room.

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Nonetheless, food spoils too fast in the refrigerator also. Here, try to dig out several reasons for the quick spoilage of a meal in the refrigerator.

1- Overstuff Food Storing in the Fridge:

Generally, we buy tons of food at weekends; thereby, we don’t have to go to the market time and again for groceries. However, this action may cost you an arm and a leg. When you buy and store tons of food in your refrigerator, it makes it difficult to flow the refrigerator’s air. Resultantly, your stored meal starts spoiling fast.

So, always try to avoid overstuffing the refrigerator.

2- Refrigerator isn’t managed well:

Another common reason for fast food spoilage is not managing the refrigerator well. Typically, we mix fruits and veggies in a single drawer that results in fast food spoilage. Fruits release enzymes that may deteriorate the vegetable fast.

Aside from vegetables and fruits, there are several other items which have been stored wrongly. For instance, eggs and dairy products are stored in the fridge door, which may cause fast spoilage.

3- Late storage of food after purchasing:

Sometimes, we buy grocery items and leave them at room temperature for a long time. At room temperature, the bacterial growth multiplies, and the meal spoils fast.

For example, you should store the meat within 2 hours of purchasing if you want to enhance the life of the meat.

4- Moist food:

Another common practice that has been regularly repeated at home is washing all the food items and then storing them in the fridge. Because of washing, the food items get moistened. A moistened environment boosts the pathogenic bacteria growth, which results in foodborne illness.

5- Hot Food Storage in the fridge:

Often, we store the hot meals in the refrigerator. Hot food gets the temperature higher. Owing to the high temperature in the refrigerator, various reserved meal items start spoiling. So, it is always advised to cool down the hot cooked food, then store it.

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How long can cooked food stay in the fridge?

After knowing the main reasons for fast food spoilage in a refrigerator, now let’s check the total life of different cooked food in a refrigerator. Let’s get started.

On average, cooked meal can stay for three to four days in the fridge. However, let us discuss the average life of different cooked food.

Cooked eggs can stay for seven days. Moreover, rice, vegetables, quinoa, and different cooked lentils can also survive for a week in the refrigerator.

On the other hand, pasta, turkey, chicken, minced beef, and fish have less life; it might be three to four days on average.

Please check the following list and find the correct age of any cooked food;


Egg, chicken, macaroni Salads= 4 to 5 days average

Pasta= 5 to 6 days

Smoothies= 1 to 2 days

Bacon= 7 days

Rice= 6 to 7 days

Beef and pork Steak= 4 to 5 days

Hard-Cooked eggs= one week

Chick and beef sausage= 4 to 5 days

Beef and chicken burger= 2 to 3 days

Vegetable soup= 2 to 3 days

Lentils= one week

Cooke vegetables= One week

Chicken and turkey= two days

Cooked meat and poultry leftovers= 3 to 4 days

Pizza leftover= 2 to 3 days (depends upon the ingredients used in the pizza)

How do you increase the shelf life of cooked food?

By following the below-mentioned steps, you can extend the shelf life of cooked as well as raw food. So, read all the points carefully and apply them; thereby, you can enjoy the meal longer for longer.

1- Check Temperature:

The first point is quite simple yet the most important one of all. The refrigerator temperature should be less than or equal to 40 °F. For freezing, the temperature of the fridge must be less than or equal to 0 °F.

If the refrigerator temperature is more than 40 °F, it means the food will spoil quickly.

2- First, come in, First Come out:

Manage your fridge drawers so that food items that are stored first should be consumed first. You can do it by placing the older food items at the front, while the newer items must be kept at the rear position.

3- Cook and cool:

Before storing the food, cook it appropriately. And then let the cooked food cool down at room temperature. After that, store it in the refrigerator.

If you place the hot cooked food, it will negatively impact the temperature of the food. The refrigerator temperature rises because of hot food.

Therefore, it is advised never to put hot food items in a refrigerator. Instead, let them cool down at room temperature.

4- Store the food quickly:

It’s right to cool down the cooked items at room temperature. However, never let them stay out for longer. At room temperature, bacterial growth multiplies. Hence, if you want to extend the shelf life of food items, be quick in storing them.


Knowing the causes of food spoilage fast, shelf age of different food items, and tips to increase shelf age, it’s time to say goodbye. We have tried to answer the question, “how long can cooked food stay in the fridge?” If you have any other queries in mind, please ask in the comment section. Our experts will try to answer the question. Thank you. Stay Blessed