How long do meatballs last in the fridge – how to properly store them, freeze them and how long they’re safe to eat.
I love a good juicy meatball and the fact is I make some mean meatballs with all sorts of flavors.
If you made a batch meatballs, have leftovers and aren’t whether to eat, toss, refrigerate or freeze, this one’s for you.
Meatballs are incredibly versatile – both as an appetizer or entree.
Tender, juicy ground meat in 2-bite size balls loaded with delicious flavor – but sometimes they don’t go all in one sitting.
Read on for how long meatballs last in the fridge, whether the sniff test is accurate, the best way to store meatballs and how and when to freeze them for later.
BEST MEATBALL RECIPES:
What kind of friend would I be if I kept all these great meatball recipes to myself?
Scroll down for recipes of my favorite homemade meatballs – each one from simple, grocery store ingredients.
The perfect Sunday Supper – Italian meatballs from ground beef, turkey or chicken with parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and fresh herbs.
First they’re seared to golden brown then simmered to finish cooking in rich homemade tomato marinara sauce.
You can also use your favorite brand of pasta sauce instead of homemade for a quick weeknight meal.
Air fry or bake meatballs – these ground chicken Buffalo Meatballs are a delicious healthy option to chicken wings.
Boldly loaded with delicious spicy flavor for a quick and easy weeknight meal or appetizer with fresh veggies, blue cheese crumbles and ranch for dipping.
Let’s crush the myth that ground turkey is flavorless!
Turkey meatballs are incredibly juicy, have tons of flavor and cook from raw meatballs completely in the air fryer in under 10 minutes! (cooking time will vary with air fryers and the size of the meatballs).
Classic comfort in meatball form and every bite as delicious as the ones from IKEA.
Make with ground beef or ground turkey – simmered in creamy fresh mushroom sauce.
This simple stovetop method makes a great appetizer or entree served over egg noodles or creamy mashed potatoes.
Old school 3-ingredient Grape Jelly BBQ Meatballs with just 5 minutes prep and the help of your slow cooker.
Tender meatballs blanketed in a sweet and spicy grape jelly bbq sauce – an easy way to entertain – perfect for your next party.
Chcken Parm lovers this one’s for you!
Ground chicken meatballs baked in marinara and topped with plenty of gooey, melty mozzarella cheese.
Quick, easy, prep ahead recipe perfect for a busy weeknight meal (add some pasta!) or a great party appetizer.
HOW LONG DO MEATBALLS LAST IN THE FRIDGE?
Okay, how that we have all our favorite recipes in the weekly menu rotation, let’s find out how long they’re safe to eat.
- Stored properly in an airtight container, meatballs will be safe to eat after 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
- Start checking for signs they’re gone bad at day 3.
- Chicken or turkey meatballs won’t last as long as beef. Refrigerate and store for only two days.
HOW TO STORE MEATBALLS:
After cooling cooked meatballs to room temperature, refrigerate them in shallow airtight containers or freezer bags in a single layer.
HOW TO REHEAT MEATBALLS:
For meatballs in marinara, arrange meatballs in baking dish in a single layer. Add sauce, cover with aluminum foil and warm in a 325° oven for 30-35 minutes.
You can also warm meatballs in marinara in a skillet. Add sauce, cover with a lid and simmer 15-20 minutes or until warmed through stirring frequently.
To warm plain, thawed meatballs, place them in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with aluminum foil and warm in 325° oven for 20-30 minutes.
Warm meatballs slowly in the microwave at half power so they don’t overcook.
CAN YOU FREEZE MEATBALLS?
Yes! Freezing extra meatballs is a great way to extend their life for a tasty weeknight meal.
- You can freeze both cooked and uncooked meatballs.
- Be sure to write a date on the freezer container.
- Cool cooked meatballs to room temperature before freezing.
- Place raw meatballs without sauce on a tray in a single layer leaving a little space between them so they don’t stick together. Place in the freezer and once they’re solid, transfer to a freezer bag and store for 1-3 months.
- For meatballs in sauce, just transfer both the (cooled) meatballs and sauce to a freezer bag, write a date on the bag then store flat in the freezer for 1-3 months.
how to know Meatballs HAVE GONE BAD:
- If meatballs have a slimy texture, are wet or have mold growing on them, toss immediately!
- Do the sniff test! If meatballs have a sour smell or smell unpleasant in any way – throw them away!
- Discolored meatballs should be immediately thrown away.
- After 3-4 days, toss the meatballs even if they pass the sniff test!
- If there’s any doubt in your mind, toss them!
WHAT’S THE BEST MEAT FOR MEATBALLS?
There’s no one meat that’s best for meatballs
Depending on what flavor I’m looking for I use different kinds of ground meat: ground beef, ground beef – ground pork blend, chicken and turkey and all are delicious!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH MEATBALLS:
Any of my meatball recipes make a great appetizer but if you want to enjoy, try any of the ones below.
Of course for meatballs in marinara, you only need to add your favorite pasta!
Gouda Mashed Potatoes – creamy, buttery mashed potatoes with Gouda cheese! The ultimate holiday side dish that’s easy enough for weeknights.
Creamy Parmesan Rice – quick and easy rice side dish – perfect with steak, chicken, seafood and meatballs!
6 Minute Green Beans – perfectly cooked tender-crisp green beans in just 6 minutes without blanching or draining. Easy one pan recipe.
Cauliflower Casserole – roasted cauliflower in a cheesy 3-cheese casserole.
Best Homemade Macaroni and Cheese – easy homemade super creamy mac and cheese for the ultimate in comfort.
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If you tried any of the recipes in this post or want more info on how long meatballs last in the fridge, leave a COMMENT and STAR RATING!