How Long Will the Food in Your Refrigerator Last?

by in Food Safety, June 25, 2013

refrigerator
Go ahead, open your fridge. How long have most of the items been in there? You’re probably thinking to yourself, when should they be tossed? Since the sniff test or a quick eyeball over isn’t the best way to make that determination, take a look at the guidelines and then get ready to keep or toss ‘em.

The Guidelines
Your refrigerator and freezer are temporary storage facilities that can extend the shelf life of food. However, the food stored in your fridge and freezer can definitely spoil within a specific time frame. Here are guidelines for common foods but if you’re ever in doubt, toss the food out.

Baby Food

  • Leftover baby food (jarred or canned): 2 to 3 days (refrigerator)

Beverages

  • Opened canned juices: 5 to 7 days (refrigerator)
  • Fresh orange juice: 6 days (refrigerator) or 6 months (freezer)
  • Opened sodas or carbonated beverages: 2 to 3 days (refrigerator)
  • Soy or rice milk: 7 to 10 days (refrigerator); don’t freeze

Breads and Grains

  • Store-bought bagels: 1 to 2 weeks (refrigerator) or 2 months (freezer)
  • Commercial breads: 1 to 2 weeks (refrigerator) or 3 months (freezer)
  • Unopened flavored rice: 6 months (pantry)
  • Unopened white flour: 6 to 12 months (pantry)
  • Muffins: 1 week (refrigerator) or 2 months (freezer)
  • Uncooked brown or white rice: 6 months (refrigerator) or 2 years (pantry)
  • Leftover pasta dishes: 1 to 2 days (refrigerator) or 2 months (freezer)
  • Homemade cake: 3 months (freezer)
  • Frozen waffles or pancakes: 3 to 4 days (refrigerator) or 2 months (freezer)

Condiments

  • Opened barbecue sauce: 4 months (refrigerator)
  • Opened canned tomato sauce: 5 days (refrigerator)
  • Opened jar of commercial mayonnaise: 2 months (refrigerator); don’t freeze
  • Opened bottle of ketchup or chili sauce: 6 months (refrigerator)
  • Opened jar of mustard: 1 year (refrigerator)
  • Opened bottle of olive or vegetable oil: 4 months
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese: 1 month (refrigerator) or 3-4 months (freezer)
  • Opened jar of natural peanut butter: 4 to 6 months (refrigerator) or 2-3 months (freezer)
  • Opened jar of pasta sauce: 4 days (refrigerator)
  • Unopened coffee jar: 2 years (pantry)
  • Olives: 2 weeks (refrigerator); don’t freeze

Meats and Poultry

  • Raw sausage (pork, beef, or turkey): 1 to 2 days (refrigerator) or 1 to 2 months (freezer)
  • Cooked chicken or turkey dishes: 3 to 4 days (refrigerator) or 4 to 6 months (freezer)
  • Fried chicken: 3 to 4 days (refrigerator) or 4 months (freezer)
  • Cooked ground chicken or turkey: 3 to 4 days (refrigerator) or 2 to 3 months (freezer)
  • Cooked chicken nuggets: 1 to 2 days (refrigerator) or 1 to 2 months (freezer)
  • Meats with gravy or sauces: 1 to 2 days refrigerator or 6 months (freezer)
  • Rotisserie chicken: 3 to 4 days (refrigerator) or 2 to 3 months (freezer)
  • Opened package of hot dogs: 1 week (refrigerator) or 1 to 2 months (freezer)
  • Opened package of deli meat: 3 to 4 days (refrigerator) or 1 to 2 months (freezer)
  • Cooked meat dishes: 3 to 4 days (refrigerator) or 2 to 6 months (freezer)

Dairy Foods

  • Ice cream: 2 to 4 months (freezer)
  • Butter: 1 to 3 months (refrigerator) or 6-9 months (freezer)
  • Margarine: 4 to 5 months (refrigerator) or 1 year (freezer)
  • Milk: 1 week (refrigerator) or 3 months (freezer)
  • Sour cream: 1 to 3 weeks (refrigerator); don’t freeze
  • Yogurt: 1 to 2 week (refrigerator) or 1 to 2 months (freezer)

Prepared Foods

  • Cut-up fruit: 4 days after cut; don’t freeze
  • Tuna or egg salad: 3 days (refrigerator); don’t freeze
  • Hard cooked eggs: 1 week (refrigerator); don’t freeze

Freezer-Aisle Items

  • Frozen fruit: 1 year (freezer)
  • Frozen shrimp: 1 year (freezer)
  • Frozen veggies: 8 months (freezer)

Other Common Leftovers

  • Pizza: 3 to 4 days (refrigerator) or 1 month (freezer)
  • Takeout: 3 to 5 days (refrigerator); don’t freeze

To find out the shelf life of additional foods, download the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Is My Food Safe app.

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