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How Long Can Pasta Stay in The Fridge

There is always a time when you have leftover pasta and now you have to keep it in the refrigerator. For people who hate to throw away any food, storing food is the only option. However, if you have picky children, that leftover food will languish in the fridge for a couple of weeks or more.

No one wants to see their food going bad while it’s in the fridge as it means you have to throw it away or compost it. The question is - how long can you keep pasta in the fridge? Let’s explore the details on how you can keep pasta without going bad.

How long does pasta stay in the refrigerator?

Several factors are responsible for pasta going bad. The major ones include how you store it, the type of sauce you have used, the time it stayed on the table, and the reliability of your fridge.

This makes it difficult to determine if it’s safe to eat pasta that was stored in the refrigerator. As a general rule, you can keep pasta in the fridge for less than 5 days. If it was stored for more than five days, consider taking it to the compost. Don’t taste the pasta if it looks bad, it has an odd texture, or it smells bad.

This is because you stand a chance of getting food poisoning, which can be a comfortable experience. No matter how delicious that pasta was a few days ago, when it looks and smells odd, get rid of it.

Like so many other foods, cooked pasta also has a specific shelf life. It will usually stay in perfect condition between three and five days, only if you have stored it in a fridge at 40 degrees or less F. If it’s in a frozen state, then it will be okay for one month to two months. It’s important to note that this doesn’t apply to all cases.

How to store cooked pasta in a fridge

When you cook pasta, drain off some water and run it under cold water to minimize stickiness. Take a bowl and add 3 teaspoons of oil, preferably vegetable oil and shake it around. Make sure that there is an even coating to minimize the clamping together.

Then pack the pasta in a sealable plastic bag or an airtight container. Label the container before keeping it in the refrigerator, showing the date so that you can remember its expiry date.

While some people think that pasta will spoil and no longer taste great after you freeze it, this is not the case. It’s not only easy to freeze pasta as any food that absorbs water while cooking can be frozen and still maintain its appealing taste. Consider doing the following things when freezing pasta:

  • Cook the pasta before you decide to freeze it but avoid overcooking it. This is because when you reheat it, the pasta might get spoiled.

  • Use only plastic bags or airtight containers to store pasta. It should be split into portions to ensure you only remove the pasta that you want to use until its finished. Defrosting and freezing might spoil the pasta.

  • When warming the pasta, choose the steaming option rather than using a microwave. Microwaving will always dry up your pasta while a steamer retains the food moisture.

If you decide to use a microwave, use a container and put the pasta flat inside it. Make sure the container is about half full of pasta to make sure the heat can reach all the pasta.

Specific factors that affect cooked pasta

Bacteria will not grow on uncooked pasta because it doesn’t have moisture to attract bacterial growth. On the other hand, once it’s cooked, it contains moisture, creating an ideal condition for bacteria. The most common bacteria that usually grow on aged pasta include salmonella, staphylococcus, and micrococcus. Here is what you need to do to prevent microorganisms away from your pasta:

  • Most of the time, you have about 2 hours for the pasta to be safe. This is the time you have to drain it and keep it in the fridge. The longer you keep it on the table, the less likely it’s going to be safe even if you refrigerate it.

  • The topping you use also affects the state of your pasta. Some toppings such as mayonnaise tend to spoil faster than others.

  • It’s recommended to reheat your pasta only once because reheating it doesn’t kill all microorganisms.

  • Keep your kitchen to about 40 degrees F. because a warmer kitchen that is above 70 degrees will not give you enough time to protect the pasta from going bad.

  • Use a steam table that will prolong the life of your pasta, an ideal table keeps your pasta at 140 degrees F.

Sauce to use with pasta

The sauce applied to your pasta will determine how long it can stay in the fridge without spoiling. Each sauce has its characteristics, and some will last longer in the refrigerator than others.

Cooked tomato red sauce usually stays in good condition between four and five days. This means it has a longer shelf life than that of pasta, making it suitable to use with your pasta if you want to keep it in the fridge. For pasta containing meat sauce, it will be in perfect condition in the refrigerator for about four to five days.

Fish sauce has a pretty short shelf life compared to the meat sauce and should be eaten in a day or two days to avoid it going bad. It’s essential to use it in pasta in small amounts and see if you can get it all eaten for the meal you have prepared it for.

Freezing is always a great option if you have enough sauce that you can use at a particular time. Pasta freezes better when it has sauce in it.


There is no denying that pasta is probably one of the most favorite foods because you can use various recipes to make your pasta dish. Even better, most of the dishes are easy to make.

If you find out that you have cooked more pasta than you could eat, the best option is to keep it in the fridge. To be on the safe side, keep it for a limited number of days and before eating it confirm that it’s still in good condition.

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