How Long Will the Food in Your Refrigerator Last?

by in Food Safety, June 25, 2013

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)


  • 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)


  • 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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Comments (22)

  1. […] if (!window.OX_ads) { OX_ads = []; } OX_ads.push({ "auid" : "423083" }); document.write(''); See full article at Food Network Other stories:Sausage Spinach SaladShrimp Corn Cakes with Soy MayoCozumel Red Snapper Vera […]

  2. Cindy says:

    I am disgusted with FN handling of Paula Deen. No longer a fan of the network and will share my feelings with all I can. I hope millions boycott the network.

  3. The Advocate says:

    Alot of these are wrong wrong wrong.

  4. Pattie says:

    I strongly object to the removal of Paula Deen from this network! She used a word, years ago, that many people in the old South used, she was truthful to begin with, she didn't have to admit it, she apologized, pulled herself up by the bootstraps & made a living for herself & her two sons, THE HARD WAY! Do you know what forgiveness is? Have YOU ever needed forgiveness? What goes around, comes around!
    I think you are being totally unfair! I am also sick & tired of everyone wearing their feelings on their shoulders just waiting for someone to "offend" them & knock it off! Get some backbone people & get a grip!
    Put Paula back on are my last words…….except for…….I WON'T BE WATCHING ANYMORE UNLESS YOU PUT HER BACK ON!!

  5. LINDA SIDES says:

    I am appalled at such ididotic move as Foodnetwork HAS displayed over Paula DEEN……I HAVE BEEN TO HER RESTAURANT TWICE IN MY LIFETIME, NEVER EVER SAW ANY RACISM , EVER… (foodnetwork) have created a mess for yourselfs…..I WILL NOT WATCH ANOTHER SHOW OF YOURS….

  6. gail says:

    Coming from a network who mistreats several of their "stars"such as Irvine and the Neelys's

  7. MYTMYZ says:

    Bring back Paula Deen….we will forgive you, FN, for your over reaction to her words used 30 years ago! So ridiculous.

  8. Glen A. Gill says:

    There was not a lot that attracted me to your network; especially since most recipes could not be duplicated at home. But, this Paula Deen issue is a real fiasco. Frankly, there is not a lot that will continue to attract me to your network. Shame on you and YOUR racist attitude.

  9. Unrelated Comments says:

    What do these comments have to do with food safety — the article's purpose?

    • Shannon says:

      The comments don't have anything to do with food safety, however Food Network did not give viewers a formal blog platform to voice their opinions on this particular issue. It is freedom of speech and we should respect the opinions of others. So go ahead folks ….keep voicing your opinion. Just remember to keep your comments tasteful. No harm no foul.

  10. Lisa says:

    You fire Paula Deen, but continue to feature her recipes on your website. I would say that's a bit hypocritical. In fact, you profit from her talents, but can't forgive her for something she said 30 years ago and apologized for profusely. In my book, I call that marginalizing a person. How does this differ from using a racial slur?

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