How long do meatballs last in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How long do meatballs last in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of meatballs. Moreover, we are going to discuss the different ways to spot spoiled meatballs.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long do meatballs last in the fridge?

Cooked meatballs last in the fridge for 3-4 days if kept at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. They should be kept in plastic zipper bags on one of the refrigerator’s shelves.

It’s worth noting that the values given above are for meatballs’ expected shelf life.

What is the best temperature to keep meatballs at?

Meatballs should be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower at all times. Bacterial development is more rapid between the temperatures of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore it’s best to keep your meatballs at a lower temperature to keep them fresh for longer.

How long do meatballs last at room temperature?

When kept at room temperature, meatballs last for around 2 hours.

Because bacterial growth occurs at a quicker rate between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, meatballs left out for more than 2 hours should be discarded.

Furthermore, if the surrounding temperature is around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the rotting process is accelerated, and meatballs left out in the open for more than an hour at such temperature should be discarded.

How long do meatballs last in the freezer?

Cooked meatballs last for 3-4 months in the freezer if stored wrapped in aluminum foil in an airtight plastic freezer bag.

As a result, freezing the meatballs extends their shelf life significantly due to the freezer’s low temperature, which inhibits bacterial growth on the meatballs.

How to defrost frozen meatballs?

You can quickly defrost frozen meatballs by placing them in the refrigerator overnight, and thawed meatballs can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days before reheating and consuming them.

If you’re defrosting frozen meatballs in a bowl of cold water, the microwave, or on the counter, you should utilize them right away after reheating them till their internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to vacuum seal meatballs? 

You may even vacuum seal your meatballs at home to extend their shelf life. It involves placing the meatballs in a plastic zipper bag, eliminating the air, then nearly sealing the bag with a small amount of space remaining while lowering it into water.

After that, start pressing out the bubbles starting from the bag’s bottom and work your way up to the sealed end, closing the bag’s seal. 

A vacuum sealer pump can also be used to easily vacuum seal meatballs at home.

Is it possible to refrigerate the reheated meatballs?

Once the previously cooked refrigerated/frozen meatballs have been reheated, they should never be refrigerated again. Because the temperature of the meatballs goes above 40 degrees Fahrenheit when reheated and we know that bacteria develops rapidly between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. 

As a result, bacteria will make their way into your meatballs, and reheated meatballs should never be refrigerated, rather it is better to consume them completely or otherwise discard the reheated leftovers properly.

What are different ways to spot spoiled meatballs?

There are a few clear indicators that indicate if your meatballs have gone bad. To determine if meatballs have gone bad, look at their appearance, texture, and smell.


If you see mold or other organic growth on your meatballs or if they have discolored (brown, green, or gray), it’s time to throw them out.

It’s worth noting that you should avoid smelling moldy meatballs since molds can produce mycotoxins, which can disturb your gut microflora and damage your immune system if they enter your body by inhalation.


If you touch the meatballs and it feels sticky, slimy, or gooey, it’s time to throw them out.


If you smell something sour or ammonia-like while sniffing your meatballs, it’s time to throw them out.

Lastly, I do not recommend tasting cooked meatballs with a foul odor, but if you are brave (and silly) enough, you will notice a significant change in the texture and mouthfeel of the spoiled meatballs. It will have an off-flavor.

Thus, if the microbes have somehow gotten into your meatballs and spoiled them, the best thing you can do is throw them out.

How to properly store meatballs?

  1. Because microscopic organisms grow quickly at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, it is best to refrigerate the meatballs within 2 hours they are cooked in airtight containers to extend their shelf life while keeping their quality.
  1. If you wish to extend the shelf life of prepared meatballs, keep them in an airtight container in the freezer. Cooked meatballs that have been frozen at 0°C are safe to use for extremely long periods.
  1. Meatballs should be stored in shallow compact containers to allow them to cool quickly.

You can read how to make meatballs here.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long do meatballs last in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of meatballs. Moreover, we discussed the different ways to spot spoiled meatballs.


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