How Long Do Leftovers Last?
Have a surplus of tasty leftovers that you want to save for later? Perhaps you’ve cooked extra to maximise your time?
Storing food in the fridge or freezer correctly can extend the life of your leftovers — and it only takes a few simple steps.
Enjoy this guide from GLAD for tips on how long leftovers last and how to properly store food.
- If you’re planning to polish off your leftovers in the near future, you can store them in the fridge. Leftovers in the fridge can be eaten anytime within 3–4 days, as long as they were properly cooked and stored.
- When cooking and storing leftovers, you should always follow the 4 steps to food safety: clean, separate, cook and chill.
- Clean: Wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces often while cooking.
- Separate: Avoid cross-contamination by using separate cutting boards, plates/bowls, and utensils for cooked meat, raw meat, and produce.
- Cook: Use a food thermometer to ensure food is cooked to the proper temperature — and once hot food is cooked, make sure it stays above 60°C to prevent bacteria growth.
- Chill: Refrigerate perishable foods within 2 hours; if perishable food has been exposed to temperatures above 32°C, refrigerate within 1 hour. Your refrigerator should be set to 4°C or below to prevent bacteria growth.
- Freezing leftovers is a great way to extend the life of your food. But you might be wondering: how long can leftovers last in the freezer without losing quality? To maintain the quality of your food, the longest you should keep frozen leftovers is 3–4 months.
- Pro tip: Before freezing leftovers for storage, be sure to note the date when the food was prepared so you can properly label your leftovers and remind yourself when they need to be used by. GLAD Zip Seal Bags, have a white label on the bag where you can write the date.