Last Updated on March 15, 2022
Oatmeal has always been one of the richest sources of vitamins, fiber, and proteins. One of the best things about this food is that you can include it in a lot of recipes, adding an extra touch to any of your meals.
Eating oatmeal is good for you! Whether it’s steel cut oats, quick oats, rolled oats, or just plain oatmeal, this humble grain is a healthy addition to your regular diet and nutrition.
However, not many people know how long you can wait until your prepared oatmeal goes bad. If you wait too long, your meal could get exposed to bacteria and other harmful agents that can render it inedible and ultimately food borne illness could result. We don’t want that.
If you have some cooked oatmeal you want to store in the fridge, this guide is for you. How long can you keep cooked oatmeal in the frig? Read on for the answer, my friend.
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Why Include Oatmeal in Your Diet?
Not only is our humble breakfast grain comforting to us, it is also healthy for us!
If you’re counting calories, a half cup serving (which is the typical serving of oatmeal) of dry oatmeal has about 150 calories. Packed into that are vitamins and minerals, 5 grams of protein, and 27 grams of carbs, with 4 of those grams being fiber.
When you enjoy a bowl of oatmeal, your body will appreciate the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties within it. Why is that important? These properties can help protect against heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and also help with the aging process.
Whichever type of oatmeal you choose to eat, as long as it is the unsweetened variety, the nutrients will be comparable.
So go ahead and eat oatmeal often!
How Long Can You Keep Cooked Oatmeal in the Frig?
How Long Does Oatmeal Last?
How can you store and extend the shelf life of cooked oatmeal?
The shelf life of raw oatmeal, for example, can last up to 10 years if it’s stored properly. Some people store uncooked oatmeal in a clean, dry, and dark environment. However, it’s rare for your store-bought oatmeal bag to last that long.
Typically, these bags or containers come with a “Best by” tag that tells you how much you can keep the uncooked oats in the bag stored away. As long as moisture doesn’t get to the bag, you can expect it to last a few months even after the “Best by” date has passed.
The case of prepared oatmeal is much different since it’s known for having a relatively low storage life. In general, leftover cooked oatmeal can last inside your fridge from four to six days. There may be some rare cases in which the oatmeal lasts a bit longer, but we still recommend you to consume it within four days, and six days at the most.
Whether it’s cooked or uncooked oatmeal, keep in mind that oats can change in flavor, nutritional value, or even color as the days pass. While you may still consume these oats, they may not keep the same quality.
Oats that come with extra flavoring tend to go bad more quickly than traditional varieties.
How Can You Tell If Your Oatmeal Is Bad?
Leftover prepared oatmeal goes bad much faster than uncooked oatmeal, so you must be careful with the meals you store in your fridge. Thankfully, there are many ways to know if your oatmeal went bad, so you don’t have to taste it to know.
Of course, you’ll refrigerate cooked oatmeal of any variety when you have leftovers. Whether it’s been two or four days since you stored placed your leftover oatmeal in the fridge, you may check for any of the following factors to see if you’re dealing with spoiled oatmeal:
Checking for Mold
While mold is more common to develop in uncooked oats, it may also appear in containers with leftover cooked oatmeal. If you’ve left your oatmeal in the fridge for several days, check for any mold signs before consuming it.
Checking the Color
A change of color is one of the primary indicators that your oatmeal went bad. Typically, fresh oatmeal has a pale, yellow color or light gray color. However, as the food starts getting moisture, and therefore, contaminated, you may notice some dark spots in your food that weren’t there before.
Logically, if you notice your oatmeal has any of these dark spots, it may be best to throw it away if you don’t want it to affect your health.
Checking the Texture
Touching your oatmeal can sometimes tell you if it has gone bad. This may be easier with uncooked oatmeal since it looks and feels like rice, whereas bad oatmeal has clumped grains.
In the case of cooked oatmeal, you may notice that your meal has a runny or watery texture, which is a clear sign that it’s going bad.
Sometimes, you can check the texture just by watching the oats, but if you want to be 100% sure, you may try feeling them and make your conclusions.
Checking the Smell and Taste
Logically, smelling and tasting your oats is going to be the easiest way to tell if your oatmeal went bad. If you can’t tell if your oatmeal went bad just by looking at it, you may first try smelling it.
Whether it’s cooked or uncooked oatmeal, it can leave a bad smell if it spoils. If that’s not enough, you can take a small portion of your meal and taste it, although we recommend you to go over the rest of the methods on this list first.
Still, if your cooked oatmeal has stayed in your fridge for more time than what it’s supposed to, you may throw it away right away instead of inspecting it; the chances are that it went bad.
What Is the Best Container to Use for Cooked Oatmeal?
There are different containers you can use to maximize the life of your cooked oatmeal. However, you must be careful since each of those comes with its pros and cons.
If you want to know more about which container is best for you, keep reading!
Resealable Freezer Bag: This isn’t a common container for prepared oatmeal, so we don’t recommend you use it. While it’s durable and stackable, it can retain bad odors.
Plastic Containers: Plastic is what most people use to store leftover cooked oatmeal since it’s durable, reusable, and airtight. However, these containers can retain bad odors.
Glass Containers: Glass is the best option to store your cooked oatmeal. It’s an airtight container, reusable, and most importantly, doesn’t retain bad odors. If there is any down side, these containers are heavier and can break.
How to Store Cooked Oatmeal in the Fridge
In essence, all you have to do is choose the correct storage container for your oatmeal. In this case, we recommend glass containers since they’re airtight and will minimize the opportunity for unwanted bacteria to develop. Once you separate your oatmeal into individual portions, you may place them inside your fridge as you would with any other food or item.
Remember that prepared leftover oatmeal may not last more than six days in the refrigerator, so pay attention to how long you’re storing your food there!
Can You Freeze Oatmeal? Yes!
Maybe the freezer will be a better option for you, as leftover oatmeal can be stored in the freezer! Or you might want to prepare your oatmeal ahead and freeze it until you’re ready to enjoy it.
Here is what to do to freeze cooked oatmeal:
Using freezer bags or plastic containers with lids, fill them with your prepared oatmeal. If using freezer bags, push as much air out as you can before placing into the freezer.
Here is another creative way to freeze and store individual portions of cooked oatmeal:
If you want to freeze individual portions of prepared oatmeal, you can use a muffin tin. First, spray with a nonstick spray or use a non stick pan. Fill the pan with your leftover oatmeal and cover it with plastic wrap. Place in the freezer until the oatmeal is frozen, usually several hours.
Then, remove from the freezer and let the oatmeal thaw just enough for you to be able to pop the servings out of the muffin tin. You might need a thin knife to help them out of the pan. Place the individual servings in small freezer bags and they’re read to be stored in the freezer until you’re ready to thaw and enjoy.
If you were wondering how long can you keep cooked oatmeal in the fridge? we hope you have a clear answer now!
We hope this guide gave you a few options on how you can properly store oatmeal in the safest way possible and avoid any health problems.