How Long Is Chinese Food Good For? Tips For Storing Chinese Food

Tuesday night after a long day at work you are craving tasty food. You open the fridge and suspiciously look at Sunday’s leftovers of your favorite Chinese food. Could it be your dinner for the night? Or are there any chances to meet pathogens and bacteria and end up in the hospital with food poisoning? Let’s find out how long you can keep Chinese food for!

How long is Chinese food good for? Chinese food is good for up to 3-4 days if stored in a fridge and it lasts up to 3 months in a freezer provided that Chinese food was stored fresh and in a proper way. 

How Long Does Chinese Food Last?

Chinese cuisine has become quite international. Beijing roasted duck, sweet and sour pork, dumplings, fried rice – all of this you can find even in small towns let alone big cities.

Chinese food will last for up to 4 days if left in the fridge. However, if you want the food to taste its best then make sure you finish it within 2 days of ordering it.

You can extend the shelf life of your Chinese takeout by freezing it. Frozen Chinese food can last for up to 3 months but be warned it won’t taste nearly as good as fresh!

How Long Is Chinese Food Good For In The Refrigerator?

If you want to store Chinese food for a couple of days, do it in the refrigerator. Chinese food lasts for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. In this way, it is safe and preserves the taste and flavors.

The reason for the storage limit is simple – food safety. After a certain time any food starts developing bacteria which at first do not affect the taste, smell, or appearance, however, can cause food poisoning. Bacteria is mostly likely to develop when the air is 40-140 F or 4.4 – 60 C. Therefore, it is essential to keep your Chinese food in the fridge or freezer. Remember that keeping food in the fridge or freezer does not kill bacteria but only slows down its development

There are several rules on how to store Chinese food in the fridge:

  • If you take Chinese food from a restaurant, do not put it in the fridge in the same package. Take away package lets the air inside and creates the environment for bacteria to grow;
  • If you cooked the food at home, do not leave it on the kitchen countertop for more than 2 hours;
  • Avoid places in your fridge with changing temperatures – for example, the door. The best temperature is around 32 F or 0 C;
  • It is essential to keep food in airtight containers. Glass containers would be perfect. Aluminum or plastic airtight containers will also fit. If you do not have containers, you can wrap leftovers in plastic or aluminum wrap. Just make sure that it does not have a lot of air inside;
  • Store food in small quantities. Small quantities cool down faster and prevent the development of bacteria.

How Long Is Chinese Food Good For In The Freezer?

If you want to prolong the life of your Chinese food, store it in the freezer. In the freezer, your food stays safe for up to 3 months. But there is a bad thing about storing food in the freezer – the quality of food and its taste suffer the longer you keep food in the freezer.

It may sound strange to freeze already-made food, but it is a common way to prolong the shelf life of food. Homemade Chinese food is better to freeze than leftovers from a takeaway Chinese food. A home-roasted duck will be good for 3 months, while a duck from the restaurant will be good only for 1-2 months.

There are some dos and don’ts you should remember before freezing your Chinese leftovers:

Do Don’t
Store your food in an airtight container. Plastic-freezer-friendly containers can also do. Do not store food with an excess of oil.
Freeze Chinese food within two hours after cooking. If those are taken away, leave the part you will eat and put leftovers into the freezer immediately. You cannot be sure that in the restaurant the food was prepared exactly 2 hours ago. Do not freeze hot food. Let it cool down to room temperature before putting it into the freezer.
When cooking food at home, leave it slightly undercooked. It will preserve food better and prevent it from overcooking while reheating. Do not reheat frozen food more than once.

How to Store Chinese Food? Useful Tips

There are several ways to store Chinese food leftovers – in a fridge or a freezer. If you plan to keep your food for a couple of days, you can store it in the fridge. However, if you want to keep your food fresh and safe for longer, use the freezer instead.

Regardless of how you store your leftovers, there are some general rules you’d better follow:

  1.   Put the leftovers in the fridge or freezer immediately;
  2.   Do not put hot food into the fridge or freezer – condensation can ruin food;
  3.   Store food in airtight containers – air is the worst friend of your Chinese food;
  4.   In the alternative, wrap the food in plastic wrap;
  5.   Do not store dishes with different ingredients together. Since different ingredients have a different shelf life, try to separate your rice and pork and store them in separate containers;
  6.   And the most crucial – do not store food after the “expiration date”. Remember that for the fridge it is around 3 days and for the freezer – around 3-4 months.

Storing Chinese Food In The Fridge

The time for the storage of Chinese food in the fridge is 3-4 days. However, some ingredients might have a different shelf life, so it is better to check the safety and freshness of your food from time to time.

As was mentioned above, some ingredients might last longer and some – shorter. If it is impossible to separate ingredients, always use the shortest shelf life of an ingredient. Because if one ingredient has gone bad, there is no way of preserving the whole dish.

Storing Chinese Food In The Freezer

The freezer provides a longer life for your Chinese food. If stored correctly, the food will be good for 3-4 months. However, it is better to consume food within 3 months of storage.

Although there is no requirement of which food you should put in the fridge and which one – in the freezer, some food is better in the fridge or freezer. Thus, noodles and rice are usually frozen. Vegetables and meat are also good for freezing. But, for instance, different sauces are recommended to store in the fridge.

Reheating Chinese Food

After the Chinese food was stored for some time in the fridge or freezer, before eating you should reheat the food. There are several ways of doing so – in a pan or a microwave.

When your Chinese leftovers were in the fridge for a couple of days, the only thing you need to do is to reheat the food. There are some useful tips on how to reheat your food:

  • Always check if the food is not spoiled before reheating;
  • If food clumps together, break it with the spoon or fork;
  • The best way to reheat the food is to heat it in the wok with some oil over medium heat;
  • You can also use the microwave if need be. Useful tip – add some water to the bowl to prevent food from drying;
  • Never reheat the food twice. With each reheating, food loses its taste and flavor.

Thawing Chinese Food

If you choose to leave your Chinese food in the freezer, before using it you will need to defrost it or, in other words, thaw it. For this, the best way is to leave the food in the fridge overnight, and then it will be ready to be reheated.

Avoid thawing the food by leaving it on the countertop or putting it in the microwave. In the first case, the bacteria will develop, and in the second, the food will become tasteless. And remember – never freeze your Chinese food again.


Do not force yourself to finish your Chinese takeout at one time if you do not want to. There is always an option to store the food in the fridge or the freezer. If you want to keep the food fresh longer, use the freezer, if you want to finish that tasty dish in a couple of days – the fridge is at your disposal.

How Long Does Chinese Food Last FAQ

How Long Can You Eat Chinese Food Leftovers?

If stored properly in the fridge, Chinese leftovers are good for consumption for 3-4 days. If, however, you want to give your food longer life – store it in the freezer. Your food will last for around 3-4 months.

Can You Eat 3 Day Old Chinese Food?

Sure you can! If Chinese food leftovers were correctly stored in the fridge, meaning that you put them immediately after preparing or taking them out and you put them in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap, the food will be perfectly fine to eat after 3 days of storage.

Is It Safe to Eat Leftover Chinese Food?

All food is safe if stored in the right way, including Chinese food leftovers. For that you need to remember several easy rules and follow them – let it cool down, put the food in an airtight container, and store it in the fridge for 3-4 days or 3-4 months in the freezer.

How Can You Tell if Chinese Food Is Spoiled?

It is hard to detect if Chinese food developed bacteria inside. However, if your food is spoiled, after the thawing and reheating you can do a smell check. If food has a bad, foul smell distinctive from fresh food, it has gone bad.

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