Beans are a staple food in almost every cuisine in the world and baked beans are both healthy and convenient. If you have leftover beans and wonder how long they’re going to last in the fridge, you’ve come to the right place.
Baked beans’ shelf-life differs based on whether the can is opened or unopened, whether they are in the refrigerator or outside, etc. Let’s take a detailed look at how long baked beans can last in different scenarios.
If you have already opened the can of beans, they will stay good for about 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. Consider this a rule of thumb for leftovers of baked beans, whether they come from a can or you made them at home.
If you want to prep a meal in advance or have too many leftovers, you can store baked beans in the freezer too. Make sure you keep them in an airtight container and don’t thaw or heat them unless you plan on eating them immediately.
The information on the can might mention a slightly shorter shelf life even in the refrigerator, like 2 or 3 days, but most opened cans will be okay for up to 4 days in the fridge.
4 days is the USDA recommended storage time for leftovers, so you can rest assured that the beans will be safe to eat.
Most people figure that 5 or even 6 days aren’t that different from 4 days, but it is really not safe to store leftovers in the fridge for that long. If you want that kind of longevity, just store them in the freezer; it is a lot safer.
Unopened cans have a very long shelf life, and they stay good for years on end. Most cans will have an expiry date between 1 to 3 years from the date of packaging. You still need to store them properly and the can shouldn’t be damaged in any way.
The baked beans will remain fresh for years if you take proper care of these products. The only drawback is that the baked beans’ quality will somewhat decline, but they will still be completely safe to consume.
About 3 to 6 months beyond their expiration date, unopened cans of baked beans that you carefully kept should still be safe to consume. If not much time has elapsed, you can still utilize these cans because it always seems wasteful to throw away food.
You can check the beans to see if they are still good if you are apprehensive. Most times, the date on the cans isn’t an expiry date, so it doesn’t affect food safety.
They are best-by dates and they only affect the taste and quality of the food. The same applies to most canned food products. You should always inspect the food in any case.
Related: Canned Food Expiration Dates Chart: How Long Does Canned Food Realy Last?
How Do You Know If Baked Beans Have Gone Bad?
There are 2 steps to check if baked beans have gone bad. You first inspect the can or container they are stored in. If everything seems okay, you inspect the beans.
If you have leftovers, you obviously just check the baked beans. Here’s how you’ll know if the baked beans have gone bad:
Inspect The Can
Look at the can of baked beans. If it is dented in places or so full that it is bulging, it is a sign that the beans have gone bad. Leaking or rusty cans are a surefire sign that the beans are definitely not safe to consume, so go ahead and dispose of the can.
These things usually happen if there was a mistake during the packaging or production process, so you can rest assured that it isn’t anything you did.
Inspect The Beans
Look for the following signs to check if the baked beans have gone bad:
- Mold: Look at the bean’s surface closely for mold or any other organic material that doesn’t belong there. If they are leftovers or homemade baked beans, the mold can even start showing up 2 or 3 days after storage.
- Bad Smell: A strange or bad smell indicates that the beans have spoiled and aren’t safe to consume anymore.
- Bad Taste: If the beans seem okay in every other way, do a small taste test to confirm they haven’t gone bad. If they taste off or bad in any way, stay on the safe side and toss them.
The storage time is a dead giveaway in most cases. If your baked beans have been sitting in the fridge for more than a week, you should throw them away, don’t bother checking them to see if they are okay.
There is a decline in the taste in unopened cans that have been in storage for more than a year. A slight change is to be expected in this case and doesn’t make any difference safety-wise.
Storing Baked Beans
Cans of baked beans can be stored in kitchen cabinets and pantries. Make sure they are well away from the stove or any other source of heat.
Leftovers should be cooled to room temperature and stored in air-tight containers in the refrigerator. Don’t put hot baked beans right into the refrigerator, as they will go bad a lot quicker.
However, don’t let them sit out for more than two hours. A little over two hours should probably be okay, but if your baked beans have been out for the entire night or for 5-6 hours, they aren’t safe to eat anymore.
Make sure you use a clean container for storing them and transfer them using a clean spoon. Small steps like these help maintain food hygiene and help the beans stay good for a longer time as they prevent microbial growth.
Can Baked Beans Be Frozen?
Baked beans can indeed be frozen. If you don’t plan on eating them within the next two days, it is best to freeze them. It doesn’t take more than 5 minutes and they store very well in the freezer.
Storing Baked Beans Made At Home
If you’ve made baked beans at home, you can store them in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days. The recipe you use doesn’t really matter, they all have roughly the same shelf-life. Just put them in an air-tight container or use a container with a well-fitting lid.
Let the baked beans cool down before you put them in the fridge, but put them in within about 2 hours. If you need a longer shelf-life, freezing them is the best option. Just defrost and eat whenever you want.
Baked beans, when made at home, have the same storage process as an opened can of baked beans, so you can go ahead and follow the same storage procedure.
Baked beans made at home and opened jars or cans of baked beans stay good for 3-4 days in the fridge. If you are looking for longer shelf life, consider freezing them. They store well and last for much longer in the freezer.
As for unopened baked beans, they stay good for 1 to 3 years, depending on the time period mentioned on the label.
They can last longer than that if you store them properly. If you are apprehensive, just inspect the can and the beans for signs of spoilage before you use them.