How Long Chinese Food Lasts In The Fridge? A Detailed Guide

How long Chinese food lasts in the fridge? Chinese food has become a phenomenon across the globe. Almost everyone eats Chinese food or its renditions regardless of his country. Sometimes, however, you cannot finish the takeaway in one sitting and have to put the leftovers in the fridge. Maybe you are too exhausted to cook and can clean up. But – you cannot store it in the fridge for too long.

You may even forget the day you put the Chinese in the fridge. Things become even worse when you have an unexpected longing for Kung Pao or tuna salad but you cannot decide if it is safe to eat or not. Now, you are in the doldrums. Should you warm up the food or just throw it away?

How Long is Chinese Food Good for?

Chinese food can last in the fridge for 3 to 4 days just like any other food. Similarly, it will not go bad in the fridge immediately after five days. It will slowly develop harmful bacteria and other germs, putting you at a greater risk of food poisoning. It is better to freeze the food if you want to consume it after 4 days.

You should throw away the Chinese food after 4 days. But – why does it only have a 4-day life? It depends on the ingredients and way of making different types of Chinese recipes.

You can keep yourself away from any danger and even enjoy Chinese leftovers if you store them properly. The following are the deadlines within which you should put different types of Chinese dishes in the fridge.

  • You must store Kung pao, tuna fish, and pepperoni pizza in the fridge within 2 hours of cooking. It keeps the food burn food pathogens at arm’s length.
  • You should never leave Chinese leftovers in the open. Put them in the fridge as soon as possible. Low temperatures prevent the bacteria to accumulate in the food.
  • Don’t put large amounts of leftovers in a single container. Make batches of food and put them in small airtight containers. It will also make them cool down quickly.
  • Storing a huge amount of food results in uneven cooling. It will also expedite the growth of bacteria.

How Long Does Chinese Food Last Out of the Fridge?

Chinese food becomes unsafe to eat if you keep it in the open for more than 2 hours. Therefore, you should never leave it on the counter. Place the leftovers in the fridge as soon as you are done eating.

You should throw away even vegetarian Chinese food after 2 hours. Bacteria proliferate the food too quickly and it becomes poisonous to eat. Reheating may kill the bacteria but it will not remove the toxin produced by bacteria. Therefore, always refrigerate Chines if you want to keep it edible for the next few days.

For hotter rooms (99° Fahrenheit or more), it is better to put the food in the fridge within an hour.

Can You Freeze Your Chinese Food?

You can always freeze your Chinese food if you have no intention of eating it anytime soon. But – how long does Chinese food last in the freezer?

 Freezing will extend its life beyond 5 days. However, some ingredients do not freeze particularly well. You should avoid freezing foods containing eggs and dairy.

Always put the Chinese food in the freezer as early as you can after cooking or eating. It will increase its chances of lasting long and remain fresh when you decide to defrost it.

Put the food in the fridge and let it thaw overnight when you want to eat it. Only microwave the amount of food you want to eat and put the remaining back in the fridge. Never put the microwaved food back in the fridge otherwise it will become unsafe to eat.

Why Should You Throw Leftovers after the Storage Period?

Bacteria will thrive on Chinese food if you keep it after its storage period. The ideal temperature for pathogens to grow is from 40° to 140° Fahrenheit. Therefore, you should always store the food at lower than 40° F. leaving food in the open will result in the rapid growth of bacteria.

The optimal temperature for most refrigerators is 32° F. Bacterial growth slows down at this temperature. You should try to put your food in the fridge as quickly as possible to make it safer for eating.

Keeping leftovers for longer than 4 days requires you to freeze them. The growth of pathogens will halt completely at such low temperatures. However, the freezer cannot annihilate them as well. Instead, they will only stop multiplying.

Whether you need to refrigerate or freeze Chinese food depends on how long you want to keep it. Refrigerate it if you will consume it within 4 days. The freezer comes into the picture for anything longer than that.

Here is how long Chinese food lasts in a fridge, freezer, and in the open.

Kitchen Counter: the food will go bad after two hours if you leave it on the kitchen counter at room temperature.

Fridge: never keep Chinese food in the fridge for more than 96 hours. Throw it out after that period.

Freezer: frozen food will remain safe for consumption for a long time. However, the quality and flavor of the food will decline with time. It is better to eat frozen Chinese food within 4 to 6 months to fully enjoy it.

How to Store Leftover Chinese Food?

Most people store leftover Chinese food in the fridge in its original containers. This is not the best practice when it comes to storing Chinese. These are not airtight containers and thus allow the air to circulate inside them. As a result, bacteria settle on the food and spoil it earlier than you expected.

You can make Chinese food last in the fridge longer by following these tips.

Immediately Put the Leftovers in the Fridge

Put your leftovers immediately in the fridge. They will quickly spoil if you keep them on the counter. Place the leftovers in an airtight container and put them in the fridge without any delay.

Always Use Airtight Containers

Allowing the air to get in the containers will speed up the spoilage. Therefore, always use airtight plastic or glass container to store Chinese food.

Makes Small Batches of Food

Storing a large amount of food in one container will allow bacteria to accumulate quickly, especially in the center because it doesn’t cool as quickly as the rest of the food. Therefore, make smaller portions of Chinese food and store them in smaller jars. Make a larger surface area by flattening the food or spreading it out. It will help the leftovers to cook quickly.

Regularly Check the Fridge’s Temperature

You must regularly check the temperature of your fridge to increase the life of Chinese leftovers. Keep the temperature below 40° F, ideally at 32° F to provide a perfect cooling temperature for leftovers. It will put the food outside the danger zone.

How to Know if Your Chinese Food is Bad?

It is quite difficult to know if your Chinese food has gone bad. Prevention is better than cure and therefore, it is better not to eat any kind of Chinese after 3 to 4 days.

Some of the signs of spoiled Chinese food are changes in texture and appearance as well as a bad smell. However, they are not definite signs of bad food.

You should no longer eat food with a squishy or mushy texture. You will learn if it is the case by gently poking the food. Similarly, the food has spoiled if there is a visible change in its color. For example, blue or white flecks often appear on the meat’s surface. It can also change its color to grey. Vegetables can also become moldy or grey.

Perhaps the best test to carry out for bad food is the smell. Bad Chinese food often smells sour or irritable.

If your food has all or any of these signs, discard it immediately. Eating bad food can result in food poisoning which can even be fatal in some cases.

How to Defrost Chinese Food?

Leaving food overnight in the fridge is the best way to defrost it. Employing this technique means the food will not defrost very quickly. Similarly, a fridge offers the ideal temperature for the food to thaw besides inhibiting the growth of bacteria while it defrosts.

You can also defrost the food in a microwave if you are in a hurry. But – the food will become mushy besides facilitating the growth of bacteria.

Always defrost only the amount of Chinese you want to eat. It can be dangerous to put the reheated leftovers back in the fridge.

How to Reheat Chinese Food?

Some people don’t find it enticing to eat reheated Chinese leftovers and throw them out. Chinese leftovers may taste bland if you don’t reheat them properly.

You can preserve the original taste and flavor of Chinse by implementing the following reheating tips.

Wok Your Food

Most people cook their Chinese food in a wok. Therefore, you should only reheat your food with some oil in a wok. Heating the leftovers at low to medium heat for a few minutes will make them as tasty as they were on the day you cooked them. However, all the harmful bacteria will die only if the inner temperature of the food reaches above 140° F.

Microwave the Food only when Needed

Heating food in the microwave is easy and convenient. But – it is not the best option for some Chinese foods. Microwaving them will not bring back the original taste and texture. However, it will kill all the bacteria and inhibit their growth in a jiffy.

Break Leftover Rice with Your Fingers

Rice can become clumpy and dry up when you put it in the fridge. They will become even chunkier if you microwave them. What you can do is break them with your fingers. Also, put some water in the bowl before you place it in the microwave. This will enhance the taste of leftover Chinese rice.

Only Heat Leftovers Once

You can increase the life of your Chinese foods by heating them again and again at 165° F according to USDA. However, heating your food frequently will compromise its taste and quality. Each time you reheat the food, it will lose some of its taste and texture. Therefore, only heat the food once and only the amount you want to eat.

Don’t Slow Cook Chinese Food

Slow cookers cannot heat your food to 165° F. It kills the very purpose of reheating Chinese food and therefore, you should never use it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you eat Chinese leftovers after 5 days?

You can only store leftovers for 3 to 4 days in a fridge. You will be at greater risk of food poisoning beyond that. Freeze the food if you want to eat it after 4 days. You can freeze it for up to 6 months.

How long can you keep leftover fried rice in your fridge?

You can put leftover fried rice in the fridge for up to 5 days at most. It also depends on how long it remained at room temperature, the condition of the rice, and the ingredients you used.

Does Chinese food go bad in the fridge?

Yes, Chinese food can go bad in the fridge if you keep it in the fridge for more than 4 days. It can also spoil, even if refrigerated if you use loose containers that allow air to circulate inside them. Therefore, always use airtight containers to store Chinese food.

Can I eat week old Chinese food?

You should never eat a week old Chinese food. It is too deleterious for your health. The maximum storage period of Chinese food in a fridge is 4 days. It can spoil within 2 hours if left on the Kitchen counter.

Final Thoughts

Now, you know how long Chinese food lasts in the fridge. Chinese foods are delicious to eat but they tend to go bad quite quickly. They do not survive for more than two hours if you leave them on the kitchen counter. They can last for up to 4 days in the fridge and 6 months in the freezer.

However, you can increase the shelf life of your Chinese foods without compromising their flavor and texture by implementing our tips.

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