How Long Do Leftovers Last? Myths & Facts You Should Know

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You will agree leftovers can taste great when cooked perfectly. It’s important to know how long leftovers last. Many over-hyped myths and facts are roaming around. Let’s bust these myths and learn some facts in the following article.

The majority of the foods stay for four days in the fridge. The leftovers don’t stand a chance after the 4th-day mark. It starts building up bacteria which can cause issues in your stomach. So, you better eat them off or put them in the deep fridge if you want to store them for long.

In-Depth Answer On: How Long Do Leftovers Last?

Regardless of the food, they can last for at least 3 to 4 days in the fridge. Right after the 4-day mark, the food starts to get poisonous. Hence, eating out foods left in the fridge is always recommended to avoid wastage.

Moreover, it’s crucial to know that the shelf life of the Leftovers will be determined based on your storage process and the food. For example, if your fridge is set to low settings, the leftover might expire sooner than expected. But, if every refrigerator setting is set correctly, most food will be edible for up to four days.

Myths On How Long Do Leftovers

You will agree there are plenty of myths going around when it comes to leftovers. More so, you will get to hear a lot of myths about their expiry date and other factors. Let’s bust these myths and know their reality.

  • Leftovers Are Safe To Eat As Long As It Smells Good

It’s one of the biggest myths that you can eat anything unless they smell bad. To be specific, it’s not true. Because your food might develop bad bacteria even in the fridge and smells or look good.

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The best way to deal with it is to eat up your food before the 4-day mark. Because no matter how good the food smells, it will get bad bacteria after the 4th day. Perhaps, in this situation, you need to get rid of the food and create or buy a new one. That’s how you get to avoid the food poisoning issue altogether.

  • Setting Up Fridge To 40F

Many of us set the fridge to around 40F and think it’s optimal. But in reality, it’s not what you want. Instead, you must set the temperature to close to 0F. That’s how you ensure your food doesn’t get bad bacteria.

To monitor the temperature of your fridge, make sure you have a look at the temperature dashboard. If your fridge temperature monitor is not working properly, buying a small thermometer is better. Place the thermometer into your fridge to get the real-time temperature of the inside area.

  • Is Eating Cold Food Bad For You

It is only sometimes a healthy choice when it comes to eating cold food. You must reheat your food to perfection to kill all the bacteria. Otherwise, you might face severe food poisoning. For example, when you ask how long can cooked pasta sit out? It’s 2 hours. Be sure to reheat the cooked pasta if it’s sitting for more than 2 hours.

Re-heating your food will make the bacteria kill instantly. Plus, heated food will be a great option for your body. When eaten cold, some foods might also give you a weird taste. Unless you are in a complete emergency, it’s better to heat your foods before you eat them. In the end, is it bad to eat cold food? No, better heat it.

  • Microwaving Kills Bacteria

Most believe microwaving food kills all of its bacteria. But, it doesn’t. Instead, it leaves some spots in the food. In these cold spots, bacteria can thrive easily. Plus, many users don’t set the microwave to the perfect temperature.

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To fight back on the problem of microwaving, you need to rotate and flip your food midway through microwaving. Doing so makes sure your  microwavable food gets proper heating in every session. Another proven method is to plastic wrap your food before you put it on the microwave dish. Either way, you go; set the settings to Medium (3-4) for re-heating purposes.

  • Freezing Kills Bacteria

No doubt, freezing is one of the popular ways to preserve food. But, even in freezing temperatures, some bacteria can thrive in food. While freezing can slow down their growth but doesn’t kill them off. This is why not all frozen foods are safe to eat right away. To make sure your frozen foods are edible, you need to follow proper storage guidelines.

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For example, make sure the food is wrapped in an airtight container. The fridge temperature should be 0°F (-18°C) or below all the time. Plus, Once the food is thawed, cook it with proper reheating techniques. With these Steps, you can safely freeze the food while minimizing the risk of food-related illness.


These are the most useful facts and myths you should know. Generally, leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days, while frozen leftovers can be stored for several months. You better freak out when you won’t be eating any particular food.


Here’s the question to look at.

Can I Eat 5-Day-Old Leftovers?

No, you can’t. After the 4-day mark, the chance of food poisoning goes a lot higher. So, you should not eat what has been left for five days in the fridge.

How Long Do Leftovers Last In The Fridge

Leftovers can last in the fridge for up to four days if stored properly. However, after the four days mark, these foods may be unsafe and should be discarded.

How Long To Keep Leftovers Chart

It’s recommended to use leftovers within 3-4 days or freeze them for longer storage. When you look at the chart, most of the food stays for around four days and expires after that.

Philip Okoye
the authorPhilip Okoye
Your favorite recipe author, faithful to every course. Mail me at

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