If you just made a delicious meal for your family with pork and are wondering how long does cooked pork last in the fridge, I've got all the details you need to know. Follow these food safety guidelines to air on the side of caution.
When cooking meat it is extremely important to ask: how long will it last in the refrigerator? It's vital to know the shelf life of any perishable food when handling it to avoid consuming harmful bacteria.
FDA and USDA Guidelines
The U.S. Department of Agriculture or USDA recommends cooked pork be consumed within 3-4 days when stored in the refrigerator at 40 degrees F or less.
The FDA recommends the 2-hour rule. You should throw out all perishable foods that have been left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Only one hour if the room temperature is above 90 degrees F.
It's imperative to follow these guidelines in order to avoid foodborne illness. Refrigeration slows down, but does not stop, bacterial growth.
It's a good idea to follow these guidelines regardless of the quality of the meat or type of meat.
How long can cooked pork last in the fridge?
The general rule for cooked pork is to store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consume it within 3-4 days. If the pork has not been consumed in that time frame, you must discard it.
How long does cooked pork last in the freezer?
Cooked leftovers of pork can be stored properly in freezer safe containers or bags for up to 2-3 months.
How to reheat refrigerated or frozen cooked pork
For the safest and best results it's important to follow safe reheating techniques. Though, these methods can differ depending on the cut of meat and your preparation method. Cooked meat is still susceptible to bacteria growth and has a danger of causing foodborne illnesses.
When thawing frozen cooked pork, do so in the refrigerator, microwave, or under cold running water. Never thaw at room temperature to avoid bacterial growth.
Reheat cooked pork to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure it is safe to eat. Use a food thermometer for accuracy.
- Oven: Preheat your oven to around 325°F (163°C). Place the pulled pork in an oven-safe dish, cover it with foil to retain moisture, and heat until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Microwave: Microwave on high in short intervals, stirring in between, until the pulled pork is evenly heated. Check the internal temperature with a thermometer.
- Oven: Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Place pork chops in an oven-safe dish, cover with foil, and heat until they reach 165°F.
- Pan: Reheat on the stovetop in a pan over medium heat. Add a bit of liquid (broth or gravy) to prevent drying out.
- Oven: Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Place the pork tenderloin in a baking dish, cover with foil, and heat until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Stovetop: Reheat ground pork in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Stir frequently to ensure even heating. Add a little oil or liquid if it appears dry.
- Oven: Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Place the pork butt in an oven-safe dish, cover with foil, and heat until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Slow Cooker: Reheat on low in a slow cooker, adding a bit of liquid to maintain moisture. This method takes longer but can be very effective.
- Oven: Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Place the pork loin in a baking dish, cover with foil, and heat until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Slicing and Searing: Slice the pork loin and sear the slices in a hot pan with a bit of oil. This method is suitable for reheating smaller portions.
- When storing pork leftovers, you do NOT need to allow them to cool. You should follow food safety guidelines and cook pork to a safe internal temperature of 145 degrees F and then store immediately in the refrigerator or freezer. Avoid letting pork sit out and avoid the temperature danger zone.
- The temperature danger zone is between the temperature range of 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F. Bacteria grow rapidly between these temperatures and can double in as little as 20 minutes!
- The best way to store pork is in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, max.
- To freeze, leftover pork should be stored in heavy-duty freezer bags or freezer wrap. You can store cooked pork in the freezer for up to 3-4 months.
Signs of spoiled cooked pork include an off smell, changes in color, slimy texture, or the presence of mold. If any of these are observed, it's best to discard the pork.
Reheating cooked pork to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) can kill bacteria and make it safe to eat. However, it's essential to follow proper reheating guidelines.
It is not recommended to refreeze previously thawed cooked pork, as it may affect the quality and safety of the meat.
- Don't risk it! To avoid health risks it's better to follow the recommended guidelines and not risk anything. If in doubt, throw it out!
- Look out for signs of spoilage. Always check for color changes, a sour smell, or freezer burn on your food items. Growth of bacteria can be invisible BUT there are signs.
- Prompt refrigeration. Refrigerate cooked pork within two hours of preparation. If the ambient temperature is above 90°F (32°C), refrigerate within one hour.
- Use airtight containers. Store cooked pork in airtight containers or resealable bags to prevent exposure to air and odors, maintaining its quality.
- Label, label, label. Clearly label containers or bags with the date of preparation to help you keep track of freshness and avoid consuming it past its recommended storage time.