How Long Should I Keep My Leftovers?


Leftovers are always nice to have. The already made meals make an easy, quick lunch or snack. Is there a correct period that the leftovers are okay to remain in the fridge and okay to eat? Yes, different foods have different leftover life expectancies. 

For most leftovers, it is safe to say they can be kept for three to four days in the refrigerator (it does depend on what kind of leftover it is, this is just a general rule). Generally, if they are in the refrigerator longer than that period of time, you should toss them. This is because after those three to four days the risk of food poisoning increases. There are some foods that are safe up to five days. If you don’t think you’ll be able to eat leftovers within that time, freeze them or get rid of them.

Leftovers from cooked foods should be placed in the fridge no longer than two hours after cooking. Leaving the food at room temperature more than two hours increases the chances of food illness. Also, do not put the food in the fridge when it is still hot, wait until it is at room temperature. Putting hot foods in the cold fridge also increased the bacteria growth rate.

Leftovers should not be reheated more than once. Repeatedly reheating and cooling leftovers increases the time that the food spends growing bacteria. If you are not that hungry and do not think you are going to eat the entire serving only hear up portions at a time.

Here is a guide to how long different foods can typically stay in the refrigerator and are safe to eat:

 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator:

  • Fresh (raw) ground meats
  • Gravy
  • Fresh poultry and fresh fish
  • Most seafood
  • Salads

3 to 4 days in the refrigerator:

  • Cooked meat
  • Cooked chicken
  • Pizza
  • Cooked fish

Up to 5 days in the refrigerator:

  • Opened packages of lunch meats
  • Fully cooked ham portions
  • Fresh meat steaks, chops, and roasts
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Hardboiled eggs (about a week)


We hope this blog is helpful with your leftover questions!  If it was, be sure to like & share it with a friend. We hope you had a wonderful Holiday with your friends and family. For more information please visit our main website.

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