How Long Is Chinese Food Good For

How Long Is Chinese Food Good For

Most of us are guilty of ordering more Chinese takeaway than we probably need. And hey, I don’t blame you. But then what do you do with the leftovers? How long is Chinese food good for?

So Then How Long Is Chinese Food Good For?

In short, usually for 2-3 days. But you need to know when your food was cooked to be able to store your leftovers for later. You also need to be able to identify if and when your food has gone stale.

If you choose to read further, I will answer all your questions below.

How To Properly Store Chinese Food

I have already stated how you can store your Chinese leftovers for up to 3-4 days. But did you know you can also freeze them to increase their shelf life? More on that later, but let’s first look at the proper way to store Chinese food.

Like any other item of food, if you don’t store Chinese food right it might spoil faster than it normally would. 

To get the best out of your leftover food, follow these steps:

  1. Always store your food in airtight containers.
  2. Remember to refrigerate your food within two hours of making it. 
  3. Avoid storing it in the takeout container you got it in. They’re not fit for long term storage.
  4. You can also wrap your food with cling wrap. The more air you remove from the packaging, the better.

How Long Is Chinese Food Good For In The Refrigerator?

Chinese food can last up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator. However, people often only store it for a maximum of 2-3 days. 

After this time period, you risk getting food poisoning from spoiled food. The bacterias found in foodborne illnesses do not typically affect the appearance, taste, or smell of the food. There is therefore no way of telling if your Chinese takeout from last week is still safe to eat.

To err on the side of caution, you shouldn’t keep your takeaway in the fridge for more than this time period. 

How Long Is Chinese Food Good For In The Freezer?

Here’s an interesting fact, and I bet you didn’t know it before. You can freeze your leftover Chinese food for greater shelf life! And get this, it can stay in the freezer for up to 3 months!

Foods like fried rice, chow mein, and other main course recipes can stay safe for a long period of time in the freezer. If done right, freezing them won’t affect their quality and taste at all! 

At this point, I would like to mention that home-cooked Chinese food will freeze better than takeaway food. Don’t worry, you can still freeze your leftover takeaway. You will simply need to consume it within 1-2 months instead of more.

But to enjoy your frozen Chinese food, you need to know how to freeze it and then in turn reheat it right. 

How To Freeze Chinese Food

There are two ways you could go about it. 

  • Plastic/aluminum resealable containers– Plastic containers that are airtight and freezer-friendly are your best bet when it comes to freezing most leftover food. But you can also opt for aluminum ones that offer sealability.
  • Freezer friendly plastic bags– I would recommend you to not try this one, mostly because it would require more effort and caution on your part. But if you do, make sure your bags are completely airtight and do not have any leakage. Once frozen, place it in the freezer in a way that other food items won’t overlap with your Chinese food.

Now that you know what to freeze your Chinese food in, you should also probably know what not to do when freezing your Chinese food.

  • Do not freeze fried items or items that contain a lot of oil. They won’t pass the quality check when you thaw it.
  • Let your Chinese food come to room temperature before you freeze it. Hot food can lead to freezer burns when frozen right away.
  • Freeze your food within two hours of cooking it. When freezing takeaway food, freeze it right away instead of freezing it after you’re done eating part of it. You can never tell how long it was sitting out at the restaurant, always be careful.
  • If freezing home-cooked food for later use, try to cook your chow mein or rice slightly halfway through being fully done. This way you won’t overcook it when you reheat your food.

So now that you know how to successfully freeze your Chinese food. What next?

How To Thaw Frozen Chinese Food?

As with most frozen food items, the best way to thaw/defrost Chinese food is to approach the process slowly and gradually. You do not want to find a quick way to defrost your food as it could lead to bacteria growth.

Related Article: How Long is Deli Meat Good For?

Leave your food overnight in the refrigerator to thaw it gently and evenly. Food thawed in the microwave or oven could risk bacteria growth, and also degrade the texture of your food. We certainly don’t want that!

How To Reheat Chinese Food?

Let’s say you froze your leftover Chinese food a month ago. You remembered it last night and left it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. But now that you have perfectly good Chinese food at your disposal, how do you reheat it to get the best out of it?

You can go two ways about this.

  1. Your first (and your best!) option is to reheat your food in a pan or a skillet. Simply add some oil to your pan, let it get warm, and then toss your rice in there. This will not only ensure even heating of your food, but it will also improve its texture and save your leftover Chinese from getting mushy.
  2. You can also microwave your leftover food. For this, you might wanna let your food come to room temperature first. Then go ahead and place your food in a microwave-friendly bowl and add some water to keep it from drying out. If your rice is spilling out of your container, place a ceramic place upside-down on your bowl.

You may also like: How to Reheat a Burrito

So you have perfectly delicious Chinese food at your fingertips. All that’s left to do is eat it, right? Well, you might wanna do just one more thing first. Check if it’s safe!

How To Tell If Your Leftover Chinese Has Gone Bad?

As I said, there is no way to tell if your Chinese food has developed harmful bacteria. There is one way, however. 

Once you have thawed and heated your Chinese leftovers, you need to do a smell check. If your food has gone bad and is unsafe to consume, it will definitely develop a foul, oily sort of smell. If it doesn’t feel any different than when you froze it, you can go ahead and do a taste test.

The best way to go about this is to rely on your gut instinct. If your food doesn’t smell weird, but you have a feeling it tastes slightly different, throw it out.


How long is fried rice good for?

If stored right, your fried rice can last in the fridge for up to 5 days. However, rice containing meat will last 2-3 days.

Is it okay to reheat Chinese takeaway food?

Yes, you can reheat it. But keep in mind that the more times you reheat it, the more it will lose its quality and taste. 

Is it safe to have frozen Chinese food?

Yes, it is completely safe to have frozen Chines food. Keep an eye on how long you freeze it for and do a quality check before you eat it.

Final Thoughts

Chinese takeaway can last a good amount of time, both in the refrigerator and in the freezer. But it is also true that freezing your Chinese food can be a bit of a gamble. You can never really guarantee that your food won’t go bad when frozen. 

For most people, it’s a question of whether it is worth the hassle. But for some of you Chinese lovers who will hate to see your food go to waste at all, it is perhaps worth a try. If it is, I hope this blog helps you.

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