Spaghetti bolognese

How Long Does Bolognese Last in the Fridge?

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In 2014, spaghetti bolognese used to be the third most popular dish among Germans and is currently the second most popular food in Great Britain. The overwhelming popularity of the cuisine is due to its simple recipe and long shelf life. Once prepared, you can store Bolognese for days, even months (sauce only), if stored correctly.

Bolognese sauce placed in airtight containers lasts for 3-4 days inside a refrigerator. Placing them in the freezer keeps them good for up to 3-4 months. However, dishes like pasta bolognese, chuck roast bolognese, or any other dish are only good for 3-4 days. Discard anything older than 5 days.

Let’s take a look at a few tips on how you can increase the shelf life of your bolognese, along with some recipes that’ll help you cook a nice dish.

How to increase the shelf life of bolognese?

You can safely store bolognese in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Always use an airtight container; otherwise, the dish will start to smell, even in the freezer. It’s not possible to increase the shelf life beyond 5 days.

Since bolognese contains beef, which is a highly perishable item, it’s impossible to store it beyond 5 days, and in some cases, even that is a bit extreme. A well-prepared bolognese contains little to no sauce. It has barely any liquid in it and, as such, cannot be stored for a long time.

How to increase the shelf life of bolognese sauce?

The shelf life of bolognese sauce depends on the storage conditions. For maximum storage time, refrigerate the sauce within 2 hours of cooking, and make sure to use airtight containers. Heavy-duty freezers can store bolognese sauce for up to 4-6 months.

Some people prefer to store it in zipper bags, which is a bad idea. Zipper bags may be cost-efficient but they get easily damaged. I once cooked a batch, and while placing it inside the fridge, the bag tore itself on a sharp edge. The next morning, I opened the fridge to a gooey mess. The sauce leaked from the bag and accumulated at the bottom of the refrigerator.

So as a principal, I always use an airtight plastic container when storing such dishes, like the Rubbermaid containers. These are some of the best airtight containers on the market.

That said, freezing does affect the overall taste of the sauce. While the cold temperature prevents bacterial growth, if you store it for a long time (2-3 months), the sauce won’t taste the same as it did when you first cooked it.

How to properly thaw frozen bolognese or bolognese sauce?

Bolognese or bolognese sauce that’s been kept in the freezer can be thawed in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, after which you have to reheat it. In case you’re using cold water or a microwave, reheat the sauce immediately until the internal temperature hits 161 to 165 F.

However, I always thaw bolognese sauce or any food items inside the refrigerator. That’s because freezing food doesn’t kill the bacteria right away. It only stops the microbes from uncontrollably multiplying inside your food. 

In reality, frozen food contains bacteria that will start multiplying as soon as it hits room temperature. Bacteria have a harder time multiplying in low moisture foods such as cookies and bread. Although a well-cooked bolognese doesn’t contain any sauce, there is still enough moisture for bacteria to thrive if it hits room temperature.

So unless you’re planning to eat the entire thing, it’s better to thaw the bolognese sauce inside a refrigerator so that you can refreeze it once you’ve had your fill.

How to reheat bolognese properly?

The best way to reheat bolognese is with a saucepan on a stove. Microwaves and ovens are decent alternatives, but it’s difficult to stir the dish and add the necessary ingredients to freshen it up when you cannot see it directly. Follow these steps to reheat your bolognese.

1. Place the bolognese in a microwave-safe container and do not seal the lid. I have the BLACK+DECKER EM720CB7 microwave, which does a pretty good job of thoroughly heating the food. 

2. Pick the defrost mode and leave the bowl for 2 minutes. Stir the bolognese and repeat until it’s loosened up. Make sure it’s not piping hot.

3. Pour it into a heavy-bottom saucepan and reheat over medium flame.

4. Stir gently and keep adding trace amounts of water, chicken broth, or skim milk, and finally your pasta. Add some spices or fresh cheese for a better flavor.

5. Lower the heat once it starts to boil. Keep stirring and let the dish simmer for about ten minutes.

The dish is now ready to serve. I do not like defrosting at room temperature, so I use a microwave instead. However, reheating in a microwave is not efficient, so once defrosted, I transfer the bolognese to a stove for a more thorough job.

Is it safe to refreeze bolognese or bolognese sauce that’s already been frozen, thawed, and cooked?

Yes, previously frozen, thawed, and cooked bolognese can be refrozen as long as it’s not left at room temperature for more than two hours. Otherwise, the microbes in the sauce will start to multiply. Either thaw it in the refrigerator or inside a microwave.

Most food can be refrozen after it’s thawed and cooked, but in the case of bolognese, you cannot keep it for more than 5 days. However, I have tried five-day-old bolognese before, and it had lost most of its flavor. Furthermore, if you aren’t using a decent refrigerator, the bolognese will start to smell.

Simply put, you can refreeze thawed and already cooked bolognese as long as you’re eating it within 3-5 days. In the case of bolognese sauce, the time limit is 4-6 months. You can keep the sauce for longer, but by that time, it will have lost most of its flavor.


Bolognese is one of the easiest and tastiest dishes you can cook in a short amount of time. However, cooking when you’re tired or have just returned from work can be tedious. Hopefully, this article helps you preserve your bolognese for those tiresome days when you’re hungry but too exhausted to pick up a knife.

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