How Long Does Chinese Food Last In The Fridge

How long can Chinese food in fridge

Wondering how long you can store your Chinese leftovers? The general rule of thumb is 24 to 48 hours. However, it depends on what type of dish they are! 

In general, Chinese food will stay fresh for between 1 and 2 days in a standard refrigerator — but if kept frozen they could last up to two weeks (or longer!). Of course, every meal is different so this article covers all of the details on making sure your delicious meal stays fresh as long as possible.

Leftover Rice Causes Stomach Disease

Rice is the staple food of Chinese cuisine, and at its core lies starch. But what happens when we eat it? Our mouths are full of enzymes that help break down this carbohydrate into two smaller sugars: dextrin and maltose. From there these substances move to our small intestines where they’re broken up even further till only glucose remains. This is then absorbed by the intestinal mucosa.

When freshly cooked, rice is delightfully easy on our stomachs to absorb. But as soon as it cools down, its starch hardens and makes digestion more challenging. Even reheating won’t restore them back to their original state.

This is especially true for the elderly, children, and people with gastrointestinal diseases. If you consistently eat leftovers, your stomach may suffer the consequences. Old rice contains starch which attracts and multiplies staphylococcus bacteria, leading to food poisoning.

How To Deal With Leftover Rice?

To deal with leftover rice, make sure that they reach room temperature first. Then seal them and keep them in the fridge. To get maximum nutrition from leftover rice dishes, it is recommended not to heat them more than once. You should eat this as soon as it is reheated too. If you can eat within 5-6 hours of cooking even better!

Another important note when eating pickled rice: don’t forget to chew as this helps digestion and absorption into the body. Double heating unfortunately reduces essential vitamins so try your best not to repeat too often.

The “Shelf Life” Of Leftovers

Got a ton of leftovers after dinner? Make sure you don’t let them go bad! All food has its own unique expiration timeline, so pay attention to the “shelf life”.


This versatile food can easily be reheated for a delicious second meal, provided you practice safe storage. Cool leftovers at room temperature for an hour (no more than 1.5 hours) before transferring them into your refrigerator. Leaving it out at room temperature will breed Bacillus! Make sure to eat all that’s been heated up once to get the most nutrition out of it.


Make sure to cover the chicken with a layer of plastic wrap and give it some time to cool off at room temperature. Then place it in the fridge for up to 3 days before heating. Make sure you only heat your chicken dish once, all the way through until its temperature reaches at least 75℃. No one wants an undercooked Salmonella right?

Beef and Mutton

Red meat such as beef and mutton can be stored in the refrigerator for several days. They can be prepared in cold dishes and served.

If you’re looking to heat it up, simply take out the red meat from the refrigerator beforehand to room temperature. Don’t get tempted by those short-cuts though; microwaving will reduce that steak’s succulent texture and taste. The best way to heat up red meat is definitely frying over low heat on each side (for about 60 seconds).


A whole uncut potato can be refrigerated for 3 days after being cooked. Reheat these cooked potatoes at low heat or give them a fry. Heating potatoes with a microwave or water is a no-no. It not only compromises their flavor but also kills the overall taste.

Green vegetables

After cooking spinach, small rape or any other green leafy vegetable, allow it to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate. When you are ready for a delicious meal, reheat in the microwave before eating!

Dairy products

Dairy products like milk and yogurt should always be stored in their original containers inside the refrigerator. If you’ve already transferred them into another container, make sure to cover them tightly with plastic wrap before putting them back in the fridge for chilling.

Canned food

After opening a can of beans or soup, it is not recommended to store the leftovers in the same tin due to their metallic taste. To keep your food fresh and free from any off-putting flavors, transfer them into another container and cover them with plastic wrap before refrigerating.

Meat gravy or meat sauce

For those that make their own gravy, these should not be left out for more than two hours. To ensure flavor and safety are kept in check, cover with fresh-keeping film and store it away in your refrigerator – where it can be safely held for 1 to 2 days.

Alternatively, you may freeze them away so they can remain shelf stable for up to 3 months. Careful not to freeze for too long as this can alter their taste! Always double check to make sure your food is heated thoroughly prior to consumption!


You can store your unfrosted cakes for up to two days in room temperature, or a full week if you pop it in the refrigerator. If you need even longer storage, freeze them and they will stay fresh for four whole months. To get maximum shelf life – slice and wrap those pieces tight to avoid repeated thawing and bacterial contamination.

How To Avoid Chinese Food Wasting?

Meat or fish dishes

  • Among meat dishes, seafood should be eaten first. With protein that’s easier to break down, research shows seafood can also be contaminated with cold-resistant microorganisms.
  • To enjoy the freshness and tender goodness of shrimp, crab or shellfish without worries- make sure they are cooked until hot enough to kill all lurking pathogens. Even if they were refrigerated before, don’t take any chances against potentially dangerous microbial growth.
  • Pack fish, meat, and eggs into individual portions suitable for one meal each. These can last in a cold room for 2 days, and in the chiller for up to a week! When ready to eat them, remove one portion at a time then heat it until fully sterilized before digging right in.
  • When you reheat meat dishes, some B vitamins are lost, but the protein and minerals stay intact. Yet, the taste of reheated meat does not change much.

Vegetable dishes

  • On the other hand, vegetables tend to create nitrite during storage and also drastically diminish antioxidant components such as vitamin C and folic acid.
  • Not only will repeatedly heating these vegetables darken their color but it could possibly compromise its texture too. For this reason, we suggest not having any leftover veges if possible!

Staple food: Frozen rice and pastry

  • Feast on leftover rice by turning it into two delicious meals! First, create healthy porridge with wholesome ingredients like black sesame and red dates.
  • Or get creative in the kitchen and whip up some scrumptious fried rice loaded with veggies, eggs, mushrooms – whatever tickles your taste buds. Not only do you use up leftovers but double down on nutrition too!
  • Pastries like cakes, steamed buns, and dumplings can harden and dry quickly. Set aside a portion that’s just right for one meal and store it in an airtight container. Freeze the rest then simply reheat when you’re ready – they’ll taste as good as new every time!


  • The answer to keeping broth is to boil, cover tight, cool, and refrigerate.
  • Got too much chicken soup or broth left to keep in the fridge? Boil the pot of chicken soup on low heat until sterilized then turn off heat. But leave the lid closed the whole time until you have it the next day.
  • If there’s less in your bowl after boiling- just put it into the box, and cover it tight after cooling at room temperature with the lid ajar. Then pop it in the fridge, and boil it the next morning!

Pro Tip:

Do you have loads and loads of leftovers? No need to cram your fridge! Invest in some square and rectangular containers with limited capacities that will easily fit into the depths of your fridge. Plus, you can portion out each box for individual meals so reheating is only necessary once.


Are you always tempted to enjoy delicious leftovers from last night’s dinner? While it may seem like a good idea, eating food that has been sitting out for too long is not recommended. After all, no one wants gastroenteritis or pancreatitis!

So when possible, stick with freshly prepared meals, and if there are any leftover dishes in the fridge make sure they are heated again before consuming them. If they look stale, it’s probably infested with bacteria – throw them out! Trust us – your stomach will thank you later.

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