Here’s How Long You Should Keep Cooked Pasta in the Fridge

You can refrigerate and freeze almost anything. But before you do any of these, it is important to know how long the food is good for in the refrigerator or freezer. Cooked pasta has a short shelf life, but the fridge and freezer can help you extend its shelf life.

Preserving leftover pasta helps to prevent waste. But it also allows you to have cooked meals stored up for future use, especially on days when all you need is a quick meal. Let’s take a quick look at how long you can keep a bowl of cooked pasta in the fridge.

How Long Can Cooked Pasta Stay in the Fridge?

Cooked pasta can stay refrigerated for three to five days for the best quality. If you’re lucky, it may keep up to seven days, and this rarely happens. The best temperature for the storage of cooked pasta is 40°F or less.

How Long Can Cooked Chicken Pasta Stay in the Fridge?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), you should not keep cooked chicken in the refrigerator longer than three to five days. This also applies to cooked pasta. Therefore, together, you should consume the meal within three to five days of refrigerating.

How Long Can Cooked Creamy Pasta Last in the Fridge?

Cooked creamy pasta can last up to seven days in the refrigerator. Cream-based sauces do well in the fridge, so refrigerating creamy pasta is not a bad idea. However, it should not go beyond seven days. If you can eat it earlier, it’ll be better for you.

How Long Can Cooked Tuna Pasta Last in the Fridge?

Under ideal storage conditions, you can have cooked tuna pasta stay fresh in the fridge for up to four days. After this period, it’ll no longer taste good. If you eat tuna pasta bake that has been in the refrigerator for more than four days, you may be eating contaminated food.

How Long Can Cooked Pasta Salad Last in the Fridge?

Most pasta salads will last three to four days in the fridge if you store them properly. How long your bowl of cooked pasta salad lasts depends on the ingredients it contains. If it contains fewer perishable ingredients, it can last up to seven days.

For instance, oil-based pasta salads will last longer than mayo-based or dairy-based pasta salads. Most importantly, you should store the bowl of salad at 40°F or less.

SEE: Fun and Creative Ways to Use Spaghetti Leftovers to Make New Meals

How Long Can Pasta Sauce Last in the Fridge?

Properly made pasta sauce can last four to ten days in the fridge. How long it lasts depends on the base ingredient in the sauce.

Tomato-based pasta sauce can last five to ten days in the refrigerator. Wine-based pasta sauce will keep for ten to fourteen days, cream-based pasta sauce will keep for seven days, and oil-based pasta sauce will keep for seven to ten days.

However, you will get the best of your pasta sauces the earlier you eat them. Also, keep them at 40°F or less.

SEE: Amazing Dishes to Make With Pasta Leftovers

How to Tell if Cooked Pasta Is Bad

How long have you refrigerated it?

If you have refrigerated cooked pasta beyond a week, it’s most likely no longer good; you should throw it away already.

What does it look like?

Visible mold growth and discoloration, such as grayish pasta, are signs that the bowl of cooked pasta is no longer good. If the pasta feels slimy or gooey when you scoop or touch it with your hands, it has expired and is meant for the trash.

SEE: Can You Freeze Crab Meat or Is It Only Good When Fresh?

What does it smell like?

Expired cooked pasta smells foul, rancid, or pungent. Sauced pasta will smell more foul than plain pasta. The bad odor is due to bacterial growth on the pasta. If you notice this when you take a whiff of it, do not eat it.

What does it taste like?

If you can’t get something concrete from smelling and touching the pasta, you can have a taste. You don’t need to eat a spoonful of pasta to know if it’s bad, just a little bit of it is enough.

If it tastes rubbery or sour, nothing like the delicious pasta you prepared, it has gone off.

How to Reheat Cooked Pasta From the Fridge

How you reheat cooked pasta from the refrigerator depends on whether you are reheating plain pasta or pasta with sauce.

To prevent the pasta from getting soggy, pour it into a colander or strainer and dip it into a pot of boiling water. Leave it in until you are sure the pasta is warm enough. Afterward, take it out and serve. If you’re reheating sauced pasta, do it over a stovetop or in an oven or microwave.

The sauce in the pasta will keep it from drying out as it warms. If you’re reheating the pasta in the oven or microwave, you can cover the bowl of pasta with an aluminum foil or plastic wrap.

SEE: How to Stand a Chance to Win a $100 Gift Card From Aldi Food Store

What Are the Risks of Eating Expired Cooked Pasta?

If you eat expired cooked pasta or pasta that has stayed too long in the refrigerator, you can get food poisoning. Expired pasta contains B. cereus, which may manifest as nausea, diarrhea, cramps, and vomiting. And it can get severe. You must assess old pasta before eating it.

How to Preserve Cooked Pasta

  • Do not allow the cooked pasta to sit out beyond two hours before you refrigerate it. Otherwise, it’ll go bad quickly.
  • Toss plain pasta with vegetable oil to prevent them from sticking together. Make sure the pasta is not soaked but lightly coated in oil.
  • Also, make sure the pasta cools completely before you close the container or seal the bag.
  • Store cooked pasta in an airtight container or a freezer bag before keeping it in the refrigerator.
  • In addition, if you want to refrigerate pasta and sauce, the best thing to do is to store them in separate containers or bags.
  • Most importantly, save yourself waste by eating the pasta early enough.


Can you get sick from eating old pasta?

You may experience slight inconveniences from eating old pasta if it is contaminated. You could have signs like nausea, diarrhea, or bloating. Therefore, before you eat old pasta, carefully examine it for signs of spoilage. If it doesn’t smell, look or taste too good, throw it away.

Can you reheat cooked pasta twice?

You may reheat cooked pasta, but most foods do not taste so good after reheating them the second time. If you have reheated pasta once, you should eat all of it. Also, heat only as much pasta as you can eat at a time.

SEE: If Pasta Is Bread: Differences, Uses & Similarities

Should you eat cold pasta straight from the fridge?

Yes, you can. If you don’t want to reheat it because you feel it will impact the taste. Moreover, some people believe that eating cold pasta can have less impact on blood sugar, especially if you’re trying to keep it steady.


Pasta is delicious but how every family dinner ends with leftovers is still quite a mystery. And it hurts to throw away a delicious bowl of pasta and sauce or lasagne. How then do you preserve it for the next day or the day after? How long can you keep cooked pasta in the fridge?

You can’t and should not keep cooked pasta in the refrigerator longer than five days. After this duration, you may lose your pasta and all the effort you put into preparing the delicious meal.

When you take out the pasta from the refrigerator, carefully inspect it for signs of spoilage. If you notice any, throw the pasta away.

Thanks for reading.

Visit Cheffist to read more articles on the shelf life of food, signs of spoilage, and preservation.