If you’re anything like me, I make a large pot of red beans – or any style of beans for that matter – and end up with a lot of leftovers. As you probably know, leftover red beans taste just as good, if not better, on the second day, but what about day three, day four, or day five? Are beans still good after a week? It makes you wonder, how long do cooked beans last in the fridge?
Regardless of what style of beans I’m making, or if I’m making a batch of my Monday Red Beans and Rice (pictured above), I use the entire 16-oz package – I should adjust how much I cook with it just being my wife and I eating the beans but I like having them throughout the week for lunch, or for dinner on one of those crazy busy nights when the kids have an after school event.
Sundays are usually the best day for me to take it easy and slow cook some red beans on the stove. I try for Monday but with everything else going on, I don’t want to rush it. Beans need time for all of the flavors to come together. A slow cooker version works but I prefer the stovetop versions whenever I can. And if the beans are still in the fridge come Wednesday (or heaven forbid Thursday), I’m starting to panic – are they still good or are they going to get on up and walk out?!?
But no need to panic. Here’s everything you need to know in case you’re in the same situation I find myself in from time to time.
How Long Do Cooked Beans Last in the Fridge?
Typically, beans will last up to 5 days in the fridge. The best way to store them, to get them to last until the fifth day, is to make sure they are stored quickly after cooking so bacteria don’t have the time to grow.
After cooking a pot of beans, you’ll have about two hours’ time of them sitting out before you have to worry about bacteria – that’s the safe time outlined by the USDA in their “Danger Zone” range. Once the food temp drops, they may become too unhealthy to eat.
How do you know if cooked beans have gone bad?
The best way to tell if the beans have gone bad is to give them a good whiff. The odor will not be pleasant! You might even see a white liquid surrounding them, as well.
The best way to store beans in the fridge?
The best way to store them is to put them in an airtight container. If you’re out of containers – or can’t find the lid! – you can also place them in a bowl and wrap the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or foil. But with plastic wrap and foil, you’ll probably want to consume the beans faster as air can get in and quicken the onset of bacteria.
Another option to prolong the life of the meal is to freeze them.
Can you freeze cooked beans?
Yes, you can! Freezing is also a great way to save them longer. Again, make sure that you quickly pack them up and place them in the freezer after cooking so bacteria don’t grow.
One of the best ways to prepare the beans for freezing is to divide them up into portions as a way of meal prep. I’ll add the beans into a couple of different containers (or lock and seal bags like Ziploc) for later use – usually a couple of cups worth in each container so my wife and I can each have some.
How long will frozen beans last?
Frozen beans will need to be used up within 6 months as long as they were stored properly. When you’re ready to eat them, just let the beans thaw out in the fridge overnight and then cook them on the stovetop until they are heated through.
PRO TIP: When you reheat the beans, add a little stock to the pot. This will help to thin out the beans a little plus it adds a little extra flavor.
Here are my favorite recipes using beans:
PRO TIPS WITH BEANS?
How do you store your beans? Leave your tips in the comment section below!
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KEEP THE RED BEANS COOKIN’!
Eric Olsson is the food blogger of RedBeansAndEric.com. He publishes new recipes and interviews weekly. He has developed recipes and written articles for the famous Camellia brand in New Orleans, Louisiana. He has been mentioned in Louisiana Cookin‘ magazine and has had recipes featured in Taste of Home magazine – with his Creole Turkey recipe being runner up in their annual Thanksgiving recipe contest. He lives outside of Detroit, Michigan, with his wife and four children.