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So you just cooked a giant portion of spaghetti or fettucine alfredo or macaroni and cheese noodles, and you’re wondering how long pasta lasts in the fridge!
Firstly, I’m glad you’re even asking about the fridge because you should never store cooked pasta at room temperature for food safety reasons.
Keep the mold away and keep that spaghetti fresh and store it in the refrigerator.
Secondly, it’s fantastic that you’re thinking of keeping your pasta as leftovers, as it’s basically an unwritten rule that most of us cannot figure out how to portion out pasta without accidentally making it for an entire army, and a nice hot bowl of reheated leftover pasta can taste almost as good as fresh.
You do want to keep these tips in mind, though, when it comes to meal planning and figuring out how long you can keep the spaghetti noodles in the fridge until they may start going bad.
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How Long is Pasta Good for in the Fridge
With proper food safety procedures followed, the answer to how long can pasta stay in the fridge is up to 5 days, with 3-4 days being the sweet spot.
This refers to pasta that was cooked from dry.
You went into your pantry, pulled out a box of dried spaghetti, and boiled it.
This pasta will usually last the longest in the fridge, though it won’t last forever.
You’ll know it’s going bad if you see any discoloration (possibly mold), if the spaghetti has hardened (gross to eat and means it has been stored improperly and left to long), or if it has a slimy texture to it (ditch it).
How Long is Fresh Pasta Good for in the Fridge
If you boiled fresh pasta at home, congratulations!
You’re basically Emeril.
You also might be wondering how long is fresh spaghetti good for in the fridge after cooking.
Because of the freshness of this pasta and the ingredients (ie, the egg), it’s really only good to store fresh pasta in the fridge for 1 day.
That being said, that should be okay for most cooks because it’s harder to make more fresh pasta than needed than it is dry pasta, and you can eat it the next day for leftovers and make sure you don’t leave it too long.
How Long is Store Bought Pasta Good for in the Fridge
Store bought pasta (that comes pre-cooked), should always have an expiration date on it.
Follow this expiration date.
If you need to try and decide on your own if it’s okay to use, stick to 2-3 days and remember to check for any discoloration, mold, or a slimey, gooey feeling that means you shouldn’t eat it (check out our guide on how to tell if pasta is bad).
Other Things to Keep in Mind
If you’re thinking about learning how long cooked pasta stays good in the fridge, you have to keep in mind what you’re storing with that pasta.
If you’re storing plain noodles, then it can be easier for this to keep for 5+ days if stored using the tips below.
However, what about the sauce?
If you are putting a cooked pasta dish in the fridge with sauce already on it, whether it’s a red sauce, alfredo sauce, or butter sauce, you’re going to want to also take into account the number of days that the sauce itself will stay good.
Things like a basic tomato sauce will be okay for longer than a sauce based in eggs and cheese, for example.
How to Store Spaghetti in the Fridge
When it comes to storing your cooked pasta in the fridge, it’s super important to store it properly.
Not only will this help with food safety and being able to make sure you keep its freshness, but it also has to do with the physical feel of the pasta.
You should always store pasta in the fridge in an airtight container with a lid.
Without a lid, the pasta will be much more susceptible to bacteria and mold, and the noodles will go dry and brittle with all of the air exposure within the fridge.
Try it yourself and leave a bowl of pasta in a fridge overnight without a lid. You will see, literally the next day, how some of the noodles have gone hard.
If you don’t have a lid, use something like saran wrap to cover it up.