How Long Can You Keep Cooked Foods in the Refrigerator?

(Image credit: Henry Chen)

Leftovers are great and convenient to have in the fridge, but how long can they be stored in there and still be safe to eat?

Kitchen Fact: Cooked food stored in the refrigerator should be eaten in 3 to 4 days.

After food is cooked, it should sit out at room temperature no more than two hours before being refrigerated to slow down bacteria growth. But once stored in the fridge, leftovers should be eaten up within three to four days because bacteria can still grow even at refrigerator temperatures.

To help you remember how long something has been in the fridge, we recommend labeling it with the date it was cooked to help you keep track! If you think you won’t eat the food in three to four days, throw it into the freezer to eat at a later date.