The most challenging decision that every fry-lover has to make is whether to eat the leftover french fries or throw them in the trash. Several things come into consideration when making this decision.
Were they cooked? Were they uncooked? Were they frozen? Were they sitting at room temperature? Did you put them in the fridge or the freezer?
Today, we’ll talk about how long french fries last, while considering all the possible scenarios and some ways you can extend their life. Let’s “chip” in!
How long do cooked french fries last in the fridge ?
As a general rule of thumb, a pack of cooked french fries will stay fresh and edible for 3 to 5 days if it is in the refrigerator.
However, this time duration does depend on some factors. For example, if you have personally set your fridge’s temperature, it has a significant impact on how long or short this time duration can be.
Moreover, if you leave your fries uncovered in the fridge they will dry out faster and they really won’t be any good.
How long do frozen, uncooked fries last in the fridge ?
If you decide to remove frozen fries from the freezer and put thawed and defrosted french fries in the refrigerator, you can keep them there for 2 to 5 days. After that, you must cook them immediately.
Keep in mind that when they thaw they release a lot of moisture. This ca significantly impact the final texture of your fries, so do your best to avoid this scenario.
Also, remember that if you defrosted and thawed the french fries in cold water or a microwave, you should cook them and eat them immediately as their shelf life is significantly smaller.
How long do frozen, uncooked fries last in the freezer ?
All frozen, uncooked french fries can last in your freezer for up to 12 months but it’s best to use them within 3 months of buying. However, this time duration also depends on your freezer’s temperature and how often you open the freezer and the fries bag itself.
If you frequently take out the bag from the freezer to remove a portion of those fries and then return the bag to the freezer, you are frequently exposing it to the room temperature. Thus, doing this may result in a few fluctuations in the fries’ overall lifespan in the freezer.
If you know you only need a few fries at a time, not the whole bag, you can portion the whole bag into smaller containers. This way you only take out a single serving at a time.
How long do cooked fries last at room temp ?
If your room temperature varies between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, the maximum safe time duration to leave your fries out on the counter is 2 hours.
The reason behind this rule is that bacteria tend to proliferate between this temperature range, and leaving cooked fries out in the open can attract bacterial growth very quickly.
However, this time duration can vary depending on how you have placed or stored the fries. For example, if you kept them in a sealed container, the temperature will accelerate reasonably quickly and humidity.
These increasing factors can lead to faster bacterial growth and decrease the safe time window even further.
It’s best to not leave fries at room temperature, at all since they will lose all structure and texture.
How long do frozen, uncooked fries last at room temp ?
When you remove frozen, uncooked french fries from the freezer and place them on the counter at room temperature, they are safe and edible for a maximum of 6 hours. After that, you must discard these french fries as they are no longer good enough to eat.
Remember that this time duration is applicable for room temperature is between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The logical explanation behind this is that, as mentioned before, bacteria start to proliferate within this temperature range.
Can you store cooked fries in the fridge ?
Given that cooked french fries do not survive long on the counter at room temperature, it is best if you refrigerate them immediately. To store and refrigerate cooked french fries, here’s what you can do:
- Store the french fries in an airtight container. Make sure it’s a shallow box.
- You can also wrap the container tightly using plastic wrap or heavy-duty aluminum foil.
- Place the french fries into the refrigerator where the temperature would not easily fluctuate when you open the door. This spot is usually the far end of the fridge and not near the door.
How to tell french fries have gone bad
The first thing you need to do is to smell and the french fries. If they give off any offensive or unusual odor, discard them right away.
Another way to confirm that your french fries have gone bad is by checking the appearance. If you see severe discoloration or mold, throw the french fries away.
Remember never to taste the fries to check if they are edible. If the fries have gone bad or have caught a bacterial infection, tasting the food is the last thing you want to do.
How to make french fries last longer
You can make your french fries last longer by storing them the right way. The correct way to refrigerate or store your uncooked french fries is to cook them first. Here’s what we mean:
Precook your cut potatoes in boiling water for up to 5 minutes. Doing this helps reduce the effects of the enzymes that cause discoloration and cause your fries to go bad. Once you have slowed or deactivated these enzymes, your fries will automatically last longer.
Then, remove them from the pot and drop them directly into a bowl of ice-cold water. Doing this will halt the cooking process.
Now, spread them on a sheet pan and freeze them. Make sure no slice of potato touches the other and that there is sufficient distance between each fry.
If the fries’ quantity is way too much to store in a sheet pan, you can pile the potato slices on top of each other by using parchment paper in between the layers. Now, place them in the freezer.
If you want to store these fries for longer, take them out of the freezer in about an hour and separate them into sealed packages. Then, put the cut and stored fries back in the freezer to store for up to three months.
Every food enthusiast loves french fries and wants to know how long they can keep them safe and edible. As delicious as these potato masterpieces are, everyone knows how fast they can go bad. Hopefully, now you know how long do french fries last and how you can store them correctly!
If you’ve got any other food curiosities be sure to check the related articles below, we’re always adding more food facts to make your life that much easier.