One of the most popular choices for take-out cuisine in the United States is Chinese. Between the eggrolls, wonton soup, and other specialties, ordering from the local Chinese restaurant is a must for most families, especially when there isn’t time to cook.
It’s easy to order too much Chinese food, which is why you want to know how long it lasts.
Generally speaking, you can keep Chinese food in the fridge safely for three or four days. Refrigerator temperatures should be 40˚F or below, or you risk bacterial infection. You can freeze Chinese food for three months, and it shouldn’t sit out at average room temperature for longer than two hours, and no more than one hour in temperatures above 90˚ F.
- How Long Can Chinese Food Sit Out Before It Goes Bad?
- How Long Does Chinese Food Last In The Fridge?
- How To Store Leftover Chinese Takeout
- How Long Does Chinese Food Last In The Freezer?
- How To Freeze Chinese Food
- How To Reheat Chinese Food?
- When You Should Throw Out Chinese Takeout Leftovers?
- Why You Should Throw Out Your Leftover Chinese Food?
- Will Heating Leftover Chinese Food In The Microwave Kill Bacteria?
- Final Words
How Long Can Chinese Food Sit Out Before It Goes Bad?
When food is allowed to sit out too long, it begins to enter an area called the “Danger Zone” between 40˚F and 140˚F, which is why refrigerators need to be kept below 40˚F at all times.
If food, cooked or raw, reaches that “Danger Zone,” you run the risk of harmful bacterial growth, which leads to food poisoning.
Food poisoning can be quite severe, and the symptoms can leave you laid up for some time, so you and the people in your home must know that food cannot be left out for longer than two hours at average room temperature (68˚F) and only one hour if the climate is 90˚F or above.
How Long Does Chinese Food Last In The Fridge?
Leftovers, in general, are only good in the refrigerator for two to three days; otherwise, you should throw them away.
While we all hate wasting food, every day that leftover Chinese takeout sits in your fridge, you run the risk of bacterial growth that can cause food poisoning.
You may be asking yourself, “But earlier, I read that foodborne illnesses are caused by bacteria that grow in the “Danger Zone.”
While that is true, certain bacteria can grow on food left too long in the fridge. One of them is Listeria monocytogenes (Lm), which can flourish in cold environments like a fridge.
The longer you leave it in there, the more danger you expose to your digestive tract.
How To Store Leftover Chinese Takeout
There are several ways you can prolong the shelf life of your Kung pao chicken. You can put it into an airtight container and keep it in the fridge or freeze it.
Freezing your leftovers will enable you to eat them weeks later, but in the fridge, they are only edible for a few days.
Leftover S&S chicken that is left in the fridge for long periods also runs the risk of contamination.
It’s always best to throw it out and be on the safe side. When you question the quality of your leftovers, just get rid of them and don’t take the chance with your health.
How Long Does Chinese Food Last In The Freezer?
The freezer is a great way to lengthen the life of any food, even Chinese takeout. You can freeze Chinese food for three months without turning it into something you don’t want to eat.
This is particularly true for things like egg rolls, fried rice dish, and soups. Saucy dishes always freeze well, so it’s no surprise Chinese food is a good freezer choice.
Remember to seal your food well because otherwise, it could get freezer burn, altering the over the taste of any food, be it leftovers, meat, poultry, vegetables, or seafood.
How To Freeze Chinese Food
As we’ve mentioned earlier, it’s not difficult to order too much Chinese food because the selections are all so wonderful.
But, when your feast is over, maybe you aren’t in the mood for Chinese the next day or the next.
Freezing your leftovers will allow you to order what you want and have some for the next week, month, or longer.
But you have to freeze it well. Otherwise, ice crystals can grow and ruin the food with freezer burn.
Food is made of many things. One of them is water. When you freeze food, the water is naturally drawn to the coldest areas of your freezer, which are the sides.
When the food loses moisture, freezer burn is what develops.
- Use bags or a container that seals in the food tight. Water molecules are smaller than you think and can escape through some tiny openings.
- Date your food, so you know when your three-month deadline has come. Hopefully, you will have eaten it by then.
- If you have more than you can eat in one serving, freeze them in smaller portions and create your frozen meal.
How To Reheat Chinese Food?
The best way to reheat leftover Chinese food is in the microwave. Put in a microwave-safe dish and let it cook on high heat for a few minutes.
Make sure to stir the contents and cook it a second time until it’s evenly heated. You can also reheat your General Tso’s chicken in a frying pan on the stove or slow cooker for the best quality.
Leftover rice reheats well in the microwave, but you can refry it to give it slight crispiness.
Tip: When reheating your food, add a little water to it, so it remoisturizes. This is especially true for rice dishes.
Tip: Use a little sesame oil when reheating Chinese food in a frying pan because it adds to the overall flavor.
When You Should Throw Out Chinese Takeout Leftovers?
The most precise answer we can give you is to get rid of all leftovers in two or three days. You should try to eat leftover food the next day, or the day after that.
This will cut down on waste. Otherwise, you have a good chance of contracting a foodborne illness.
Data sources that speak on the subject all say the same thing as this link. Food that is out longer than two hours rapidly moves into that danger zone, and you will be putting your household at risk, to a large extent.
If your frozen egg foo young has been in there for a few months, it’s a good idea to get rid of it too.
We realize it’s difficult to throw away food when so many starving people in the world.
But the food in your fridge will never feed hungry people, and risking your health isn’t going to help anyone at all.
Leftovers need to be eating right away or sent to the freezer for more extended periods.
But, you should never eat anything past its expiration date, even if you’re the one who put it on there.
One bought of food poisoning will quickly teach you that it’s not worth the risk.
Why You Should Throw Out Your Leftover Chinese Food?
Leftovers are susceptible to contamination after a few days because the food is getting old.
That can be a breeding ground for bacteria, especially if it’s left out at room temperature for more than two hours.
At that point, the food reaches that danger zone area between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees.
Moving your food to cold temperatures will help it last longer but pay attention to the details in this article.
Like all other foods, Chinese food begins to turn bad when they reach the danger zone of room temperature and after a few days in the fridge.
This is also why you should never let frozen food of any kind thaw on the counter. The outside of the food reaches that danger zone area while the inside is still frozen.
Allow your frozen foods the time they need to defrost in the refrigerator. This is also a great way to contaminate the surface area of your kitchen.
Tip: You can submerge your container in cold water in the fridge to speed up the defrosting process.
Will Heating Leftover Chinese Food In The Microwave Kill Bacteria?
Some bacteria can be killed in the microwave, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get sick if that food has bacteria on it.
First, microwaves don’t heat food evenly, so to kill the bacteria; you need to make sure it’s hot all the way through.
Second, if your leftover Chinese food has been sitting in the fridge for ten days or you left it out overnight, you are taking a significant risk by hoping the microwave will kill any that has multiplied.
Some bacterias thrive in extreme heat, just as they do in the cold.
The golden rule of leftovers is, “when in doubt, throw it out.” While wasting food is difficult in this day and age, your health is much more precious, and it’s not a good idea to risk it.
Ordering takeout is one of life’s many pleasures, especially when you don’t feel like cooking.
Chinese is a popular choice because they do wonders with beef, peppers, chicken, and spices.
If you learn how to use chopsticks, your Chinese food experience will feel more authentic, and you’ll be the hit of the takeout party.
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a stay-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. Prior to becoming a mom, I had a successful career in the accounting field, steps away from becoming a CPA. I decided to give up on my career in order to raise my own kids (as opposed to letting a nanny do it, no judgment here :)) I learned a lot and I love sharing it with other moms. Along the way, I also became a Certified Food Handler.