How long does cooked meat last in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “How long does cooked meat last in the fridge?”, and tell you how to properly store cooked meat. We will also tell you how to spot spoiled meat and what happens if you eat spoiled meat.

How long does cooked meat last in the fridge?

The amount of time cooked meat lasts in the fridge depends on the type of meat. The following shelf lives are of cooked meat.

Chicken

Chicken can last for about 3-4 days in the fridge and for 2 to 6 months in the freezer.

Red meat

Red meat can last for up to 3-4 days in the fridge and 2 to 6 months in the freezer.

Pork 

Pork will also last for about 3-4 days in the fridge and for 2-6 months in the freezer.

Ground meat

Ground meat, whether it is beed, pork or chicken, should be refrigerated for only 1 to 2 days. It can be frozen, however, for three to four months.

Bacon

Bacon can be refrigerated for upto a week.

Hot dogs

Hot dogs will remain safe to eat for 3-5 days after being refrigerated.

How to safely store meat?

Meat is a highly perishable food item that can not be left out at room temperature whether it is cooked or uncooked. This is because bacteria rapidly starts to grow on it and spoils it. Follow these steps while storing meat.

  • Let the cooked meat come back to room temperature after cooking it.
  • Never let the cooked meat sit out for more than 2 hours.
  • After it has been cooled, place it in an airtight container or a sealable ziplock bag.
  • Place it in the fridge.

If you wish to store it in the freezer, it is better to separate it into serving sizes then place it in a ziplock bag. Remove all the air from the bag and then place it in the freezer.

This way it is easier to take out only one serving at a time for thawing and reheating.

How to spot spoiled meat?

You can tell if the cooked chicken is spoiled by looking at its texture, color, smell, or any mold growth. No matter which cooking technique you choose to cook the chicken, it will spoil in a few days. 

Cooked chicken is firm, opaque, and white from the inside. Cooked chicken is usually white on the inside and brown on the outside. Spoiled chicken may turn gray, or even greenish-blue in color. If you see a perfectly seared brown chicken on the outside, make cuts on it to see if the insides are white in color or not. 

Spoiled cooked meat  may have a slimy or gooey texture. It may even feel softer on touch than it was when it was cooked. 

Spoiled meat will almost always give off a very bad odor. You can smell it as soon as you open the container that it was stored in. This smell is a very apparent sign that the meat has spoiled.

One of the many reasons for color change may be the growth of mold. Mold growth on meat is not uncommon because it is relatively wet with all the meat juices. It is easily spotted and such cooked meat should be thrown out. 

Learn about the shelf life of raw meat here.

What happens if you eat spoiled meat?

Spoiled meat can lead to food poisoning. There are a lot of bacteria that can grow on meat such as Salmonella and E.coli.

Salmonella, usually found in poultry, can cause typhoid.

The symptoms of typhoid fever are headache, weakness, diarrhea or constipation, loss of appetite, and stomach pain. It requires a strong antibiotic regimen and in severe cases, even hospitalization. The anti-typhoid regimen can even lead to hair loss. The severe type of typhoid takes a long time to resolve.

E.coli can cause food poisoning, symptoms of which are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting. Severe vomiting can even lead to dehydration which might require hospitalization. 

Mold is easy to spot but if you overlook some spots and consume the spoiled meat anyway, it can cause toxicity. If your immune system is strong enough, your body may be able to fight small amounts of mold that you may have ingested. 

If it is not, mold toxicity can produce symptoms similar to food poisoning. Older people usually tend to have a weak immune system so they are at risk.

Other FAQs about Meat that you may be interested in.

How to tell if meat is bad after cooking?

Other FAQs about Meat that you may be interested in.

How to cook frozen meatballs in the Instant Pot electric cooker? 

What is the shelf life of home canned meat?

What happens if you eat old cooked meat?

Conclusion 

In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long does cooked meat last in the fridge?”, and told you how to properly store cooked meat. We also told you how to spot spoiled meat and what happens if you eat spoiled meat.

Citations

https://www.foodandwine.com/cooking-techniques/how-to-safely-store-meat-refrigerator-freezer#:~:text=For%20cooked%20meat%2C%20let%20it,in%20the%20fridge%20as%20directed.