In this article, we will answer the question “How long does cooked pasta last?”, and how to safely store pasta?
How long does cooked pasta last?
On average, cooked or leftover pasta will only be good in the fridge for less than a week. Cooked pasta will last 3-5 days depending on the type of pasta and how It was stored.
On the other hand, uncooked pasta lasts indefinitely in the pantry if stored correctly.
|Type of pasta||Shelf-life in the fridge|
|Fresh homemade wheat pasta||4-5 days|
|Fresh store-bought wheat pasta||1-3 days|
|Cooked wheat pasta||3-5 days|
|Lentil-, bean-, or pea-based pasta||3-5 days|
|Gluten-free pasta||3-5 days|
|Tortellini or other stuffed pasta||3-5 days|
|Lasagna or other cooked pasta with sauce||5 days|
Pasta will keep longer in the fridge if the sauce and the pasta are stored separately. The estimated shelf-life of different types of pasta sauces is given below.
|Type of sauce||Shelf-life in the fridge|
|Tomato red sauce||4-5 days|
|Alfredo white sauce||4-5 days|
|Vinegar and oil||3-5 days|
|Meat sauce||4-5 days|
|Fish sauce||1-2 days|
How to tell if the pasta is bad?
Grey patches and slimy texture are obvious signs of spoiled pasta. If the pasta gives an off-odor, throw it away.
Discolored patches or grey/white spots are an indication of mold growth and the pasta should be discarded.
Uncooked pasta stored in the pantry might develop bugs if stored for longer periods of time. It is recommended to check the pasta before boiling.
How to store pasta?
In the fridge
Pasta should be stored within 2 hours of preparation. Do not store warm pasta. The moisture trapped inside in the form of steam will favor the growth of harmful bacteria and molds.
Let the pasta come to room temperature after cooking. Toss it with some oil like vegetable or olive oil to prevent it from clumping and sticking.
Store it in an air-tight container at 4°F or below. If the pasta has already been tossed with the sauce, you do not need to add any extra oil. The uncooked pasta should be stored in a dry place away from moisture and heat.
In the freezer
Freezing saucy pasta is not recommended. The sauce will damage the texture of pasta making it soggy. However freeze-storing cooked pasta without sauce provides a quick-fix for meals.
To freeze store pasta, follow the instructions below:
- Do not cook the pasta completely. Instead, boil it al dente. This parboiling technique is used by restaurants. Reheating parboiled pasta freshens it up.
- Toss the pasta in some olive oil to avoid clumping. The pasta will break if it sticks too much.
- Spread the pasta on a baking tray and form nests using a fork. Each nest should equal about ½ cup of pasta. Put the tray in the freezer for pre-freezing.
- Toss the frozen nests in a freezer bag. Squeeze out all the air and label the bag. Keep the bag in the freezer for up to 8 months.
How to reheat leftover pasta?
Cooked pasta without sauce can be reheated by keeping it in the hot boiling water for about a minute. Drain the water and serve warm.
Pasta with sauce can be reheated in 3 following ways:
- Grease a pan and put the refrigerated pasta in it. Cook the pasta on the stovetop on low-medium heat. Stir gently for even cooking. This cooking step might reduce the liquid content of the pasta, add a bit more sauce, milk, or water to adjust the consistency and texture.
- Transfer the pasta to a casserole dish. Put the dish in a preheated oven. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350°F or 176°C.
- Transfer the pasta to a microwave-friendly dish or plate. Cover the dish halfway through with a microwave-safe plastic wrap. Leave some space for steam to eject. Toss the pasta occasionally to distribute heat evenly throughout the pasta. Remove when heated completely.
What happens if I eat spoiled pasta?
Eating spoiled pasta can lead to food poisoning. The most common bacteria that contaminates pasta and pasta products is B. cereus.
Signs of food poisoning caused by this bacteria are reflected in an upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. If the poisoning is severe and is left untreated, it may even lead to death.
If the stored leftover pasta has poultry and meat products like fish, chicken, and eggs in it, it is highly susceptible to contamination by Salmonella, Listeria, Clostridium, and Campylobacter.
In this article, we answered the question “How long is pasta good in the fridge?”, and how to safely store pasta?