Leftover Mexican food can make for quick and easy meals throughout the week. But it’s important to know how long it will stay fresh so you can enjoy it safely. Here are some guidelines on how long leftover Mexican dishes will last stored properly in the refrigerator.
Storing Leftovers Safely
First things first—make sure to store leftovers safely to maximize freshness:
- Refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking.
- Use shallow airtight containers to allow rapid cooling.
- Make sure food cools to below 40°F within 4 hours total.
- If reheating, reheat fully to 165°F.
Proper refrigeration and rapid cooling are key for preventing bacterial growth. Monitor temperatures with a refrigerator thermometer.
Shelf Life of Common Dishes
Here’s how long properly stored leftover Mexican dishes will last in the fridge:
Tacos, Burritos, Tostadas
3-4 days: Ground beef, chicken, steak and other fillings. Discard if dried out.
1 week: Bean and cheese fillings. Discard if dried out.
3-4 days: Cheese, chicken, beef or other fillings.
3-4 days: Cheese, chicken or veggie fillings.
3-4 days: Bean, beef or chicken nachos.
2-3 days: Nachos with sour cream, guacamole or salsa as toppings.
3-4 days: Chicken, steak or veggie fajitas.
Wet Dishes: Chili, Soup, Stews
Rice and Beans
Salsas and Guacamole
3-5 days: Refrigerate in airtight containers.
Chips and Dips
5-7 days: Refrigerate chips in resealable bags.
2-3 days: Refrigerate dips in airtight containers.
3-4 days: Custards, flans, tres leches cake. Cover tightly.
2-3 days: Churros, sopapillas and other fried doughs.
1 week: Cookies, pie. Cover tightly.
When in Doubt, Throw it Out
Always inspect leftovers before eating and throw out anything that looks or smells questionable. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to foodborne illness. Stick to the recommended storage times for the highest quality leftovers.
Following proper storage methods and guidelines allows you to safely enjoy leftover Mexican food for several days. Just make sure to refrigerate promptly, monitor temperatures, and discard if in doubt. ¡Buen provecho!