How long is lasagna good for in the fridge? (5 factors affecting shelf life)
In this article, we will answer the question “How long is lasagna good for in the fridge?” and discuss what affects the shelf life of lasagna in the fridge, how to properly store lasagna and what are the risks of eating spoiled lasagna.
How long is lasagna good for in the fridge?
If stored correctly, lasagna may be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week. A typical lasagna dish is composed of tomato sauce, ground beef, lasagna noodles (or spaghetti), and ricotta cheese.
On the other hand, the cooking process and the cooling procedure, that is, the time needed to decrease the temperature of the food may affect how long lasagna may be preserved (2).
Correct food storage practices are crucial for maintaining health. The storage of food products above refrigeration temperature accelerates the proliferation of bacterial cells, germination of spores and possible production of toxins, which can be hazardous (2, 5).
What affects the shelf life of the lasagna in the fridge?
The shelf life of the lasagna in the fridge depends on the following (1, 2, 3, 5):
- The ingredients. Meat, cheese, tomato sauce and other ingredients have different physicochemical characteristics (pH, water activity), and are differently susceptible to spoil;
- Similarly, the addition of natural and chemical preservatives can eventually improve the shelf life of cooked lasagna due to antioxidant effects. An example of a natural preservative is garlic extract.
- The cooling process. The temperature of the dish must be decreased to 4°C (40°F) within 2 hours to prevent microbial growth;
- The storage temperature. The door opening of the refrigerator leads to temperature fluctuations which may decrease the shelf life of the food.
- Cooking/ hygiene practices of preparing the dish. According to studies, the domestic environment is an important source of food-borne infections and improved hygiene behaviour may reduce contamination and ensure shelf life.
What is the shelf life of lasagna in the freezer?
In the freezer, lasagna may be stored for up to three months. The frozen storage temperature is -18 °C or 0°F. Freezing is one of the most effective ways to preserve food since it decreases the rate at which enzymatic and microbial reactions occur (6).
You’re wasting your time and money if you toss out any leftovers. For this reason, it is important to freeze the parts of lasagna that you are not going to consume. It is a recipe that freezes well, so prepare an extra pan of lasagna and store it for later use.
It must chilled right after cooking so that it spends only a short period in the temperature danger zone, which is between 5 and 60 °C (40 and 140°F) (2).
How to store lasagna?
You may securely keep your lasagna in the refrigerator or freezer. Lasagne that isn’t stored in airtight containers runs the risk of getting freezer-burned or spoiling more quickly (2, 4, 6).
- Always use airtight containers for your lasagna.
- For containers without lids, use aluminium foil or transparent wrap.
- Single portions of lasagna may also be stored in plastic bags.
- If you want to freeze lasagna, make sure it’s covered with sauce before doing so.
- Lasagna that has been left out at room temperature for an extended period (over 2 hours) should not be stored, as it represents a health risk.
What is the shelf life of different types of lasagna?
According to the USDA, any leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or frozen for 3 to 4 months. Although safe indefinitely, frozen leftovers can lose moisture and flavour when stored for longer times in the freezer (4).
A vegetarian or meat lasagna will keep for the same length of time as either. Meat and vegetables have the same shelf life, a fact that is often overlooked.
While the contamination of microorganisms is the main cause of the deterioration of vegetables, oxidation processes are the major cause of the deterioration of meat quality and shelf life of meat products, leading to negative changes in nutritive value and the sensory and physicochemical properties of meat (3).
How To Reheat Lasagna?
Once you’ve mastered the art of storing and reheating lasagna in the oven, microwave, or even a pan, you’ll be able to enjoy it just as much as the first time.
When reheating leftovers, be sure they reach 165° F as measured with a food thermometer. The moist heat that is created during reheating will help destroy harmful bacteria and will ensure uniform cooking (4).
Reheat in the oven
To begin, heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the lasagna is covered with aluminium foil before placing it in the oven on the middle shelf.
The fillings should begin to sizzle after being reheated. Then, using a kitchen thermometer, determine whether the temperature inside the house is more than or equal to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the size and number of layers, this might take up to an hour.
Reheat in the microwave
- Put the lasagna in a microwave-safe dish and cook it for a few minutes. Use microwave-safe plastic wrap to keep your food from becoming messy.
- Thaw the frozen lasagna in the oven using the defrost setting. 5 to 10 minutes may be required, depending on the size of the item.
- Once the lasagna has thawed, turn the oven’s heat up to its highest setting. For medium-sized dishes, cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Five to ten minutes is the ideal time for larger animals. Make sure the lasagna reaches a temperature of 165 degrees F before serving.
Reheat in a skillet
- Pour out the thawed lasagna from the fridge onto the skillet.
- From medium to high, heat the stove.
- Remove the lasagna from the pan and stir in some water, stock, or pasta sauce until it’s a little looser.
- As soon as the pasta is done cooking, cover it with the lid and lower the heat.
- Cook for around 15 to 20 minutes by stirring often.
Make sure to defrost the lasagna overnight in the refrigerator if you want the best results and the fastest reheating. Thaw it in the microwave, then bake it in the oven for rapid warming from frozen.
How to Tell If Your Lasagna Is Spoiled?
To know if lasagna is spoiled, the best way is to inspect the sensory properties of the lasagna, especially the odour and the overall appearance. There are many possible indications of spoilage in the lasagna, such as dryness on the edges, hardening of the pasta and formation of a slimy or ropy texture (7).
Reactions caused by microorganisms or enzymes are responsible for undesirable changes, such as off-flavours, and off-odours, characterised as sour, rancid, putrid and fermented. Changes in the colour are also possible.
The development of mould on the surface is possible after long times of storage and is perceivable by the formation of hyphae, discolouration and off-odours (6, 7).
What are the risks of eating spoiled lasagna?
The risks of eating spoiled lasagna are having a foodborne illness. Many bacteria can grow in the lasagna that has been contaminated due to poor storage and handling practices and after long times of storage, including pathogenic microorganisms.
Consuming contaminated food can lead to infections and poisoning. Common symptoms related to foodborne illnesses are stomach cramps, fever, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea (2, 8).
In this article, we answered the question “How long is lasagna good for in the fridge?” and discussed the factors affecting the shelf life of lasagna in the fridge, the methods to safely reheat lasagna, how to know if lasagna is spoiled and the risks of eating spoiled lasagna.
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