How long do cooked meatballs last in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How long do cooked meatballs last in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of cooked meatballs in different mediums. Moreover, we are going to discuss the way to freeze meatballs and the tips to keep the cooked meatballs fresh for a long time in the fridge.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long do cooked meatballs last in the fridge?

Cooked meatballs last for about 3-4 days when kept under appropriate conditions in the fridge at or below 40°F. It should be kept in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag. 

As meatballs are made from ground meat, the meat itself is a highly perishable commodity, and when it is ground its surface area increases, thereby giving more room for bacteria to grow. Therefore special care should be taken while handling, cooking, and storing meatballs.

Moreover, the shelf life of the cooked meatballs also depends on the particular meat from which they are made like beef, turkey, chicken, etc.

What is the optimum temperature to store cooked meatballs?

You should always store your cooked meatballs at 40°F or below. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40°F and 140°F, therefore it is always advised to store your cooked meatballs at a lower temperature.

How long can cooked meatballs last at room temperature?

The cooked meatballs last at room temperature for about 2 hours. 40°F to 140°F is the most suitable temperature for bacteria to grow. Moreover, cooked meatballs have a high potential for bacterial contamination, therefore if it has been left at room temperature for more than 2 hours, it is recommended to discard it.

How long do cooked meatballs last in the freezer?

Cooked meatballs last for about 3-4 months in the freezer. You can easily store the cooked meatballs in the freezer in air-tight containers or plastic zipper-bags. Freezing halts the bacterial growth owing to the extremely low temperature, thus preserves the quality of the food for a long time.

How to freeze meatballs?

To prepare the meat mixture for meatballs by taking the meat of your choice, onions, spices, and herbs in it. Once you have your meatball mixture ready, make small balls of it. You can also use a cookie scoop or ice cream scoop to take out an even amount of meat mixture to make even-sized meatballs.

Now bake the meatballs and afterward let them cool on a plate or cutting board. Once the meatballs cool down thoroughly, put the plate/ cutting board along with meatballs in the freezer. After 2 hours transfer the now frozen meatballs into plastic zipper bags and store them on one of the shelves of the freezer.

How long do cooked meatballs last after being frozen and thawed?

Frozen cooked meatballs if thawed in the refrigerator can stay there for 3-4 days before reheating and consuming them. But if you thaw your cooked meatballs in a bowl of cold water or the microwave, it is advised to reheat/ cook it immediately till its internal temperature reaches 165 °F.

How to tell if meatballs have gone bad?

If you see some mold, or if there is a discoloration (dull color), then it is an indication that your meatballs have gone bad. Off-smell like some sour or ammonia-like putrid smell is also the indication that it is time to get rid of the meatballs.

Moreover, if you feel something slimy or gooey while touching the meatballs, it means that your meatballs have gone bad.

What will happen if you eat meatballs that have gone bad?

Eating meatballs that have gone bad can put you at the risk of many food-borne illnesses especially food poisoning. Eating bad meatballs can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain.

Ground meat in the meatballs can have bacteria like Salmonella, Campylobacter, E.coli, and Listeria on it, which can cause serious health implications if consumed.

How to keep your cooked meatballs fresh in the fridge?

  1. You should let your cooked meatballs cool down thoroughly before storing them in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag. If you keep the hot cooked meatballs in air-tight container moisture will build up inside the container and it will provide a suitable environment for bacteria to grow on it. 
  2. It is the best practice to store your cooked meatballs within 2 hours to ensure their safety.
  3. It is better to store your cooked meatballs container on the shelves of the refrigerator rather than the door. The reason behind this is that the temperature fluctuates a lot at the doors of the refrigerator while it is rather stable and cooler on the shelves of the refrigerator. 

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long do cooked meatballs last in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of cooked meatballs in different mediums. Moreover, we discussed the way to freeze meatballs and the tips to keep the cooked meatballs fresh for a long time in the fridge.

Citations

https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/17670

https://www.willcookforsmiles.com/how-to-freezing-meatballs/

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Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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