How Long Do Ribs Last in the Fridge? (And How To Tell If They’re Bad)

If you’re wondering how long ribs can last in the fridge before going bad, you’re in the right place!

In this guide, you’ll learn: 

  • How long ribs last in the fridge – raw or cooked
  • How to tell if they’re spoiled
  • And much more!

NOTE: This article was reviewed by Melissa Macher, Registered Dietician and Food Scientist for safety and accuracy.

How Long Do Ribs Last in the Fridge?

Generally, ribs last in the refrigerator for about three to five days.

However, the exact amount of days that ribs last in a refrigerator depends if it is raw or cooked, but there’s not much difference.

How Long Do Cooked Ribs Last in the Fridge?

Everyone’s done eating and there are leftover ribs that you want to store in the fridge. Or maybe you cooked the ribs ahead of time so you can just reheat them when you decide to eat them. Either way, it’s important to know how to properly store cooked ribs and how long they last inside your refrigerator.

The best way to keep cooked pork ribs safe and fresh for as long as possible is to refrigerate them in shallow, airtight containers or to wrap them tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Cooked pork ribs can be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days if stored properly.

Read More >> 321 Ribs – How to Smoke Ribs

How Long Do Raw Ribs Last in the Fridge?

Raw ribs should be stored for a similar amount of time as cooked ribs, depending on storage conditions. If pork ribs have been properly stored, they can remain safe to use for 3 to 5 days after the “sell by” date if they have been refrigerated.

For optimum shelf life, raw pork ribs should be kept in the original packaging when refrigerated. Once the package is opened, the pork ribs will lose their freshness.

Well, you may also be wondering…

What if your ribs are left at room temperature?

If left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, bacteria will grow rapidly in temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F.

Read More >> Spare Ribs vs Baby Back Ribs

How Long Do Cooked Ribs Last in the Freezer?

What is the shelf life of cooked pork ribs in the freezer? As long as they are stored correctly, they will maintain their best quality for two to three months but will remain safe long afterward.

The freezer time shown pertains to best quality only – pork ribs that have been kept to a constant freezing temperature of 0°F will remain safe for indefinite amounts of time.

How long do cooked pork ribs last after being frozen then thawed?

The thawed pork ribs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three to four days before cooking, whereas the pork ribs that were thawed in the microwave or with cold water should be eaten immediately.

Is it possible to store cooked pork ribs at room temperature for several days?

Temperatures between 40-140°F are ideal for bacteria growth; pork ribs should be discarded after two hours at room temperature if they have been uncooked.

Read More >> Best Dry Rub for Ribs

How Long Do Raw Ribs Last in the Freezer?

Raw pork ribs can be frozen to extend their shelf life. When freezing, place the pork ribs in the freezer before the number of days designated for refrigerator storage has passed.

Pork ribs will last longer in the freezer if they are wrapped in heavy-duty aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper.

Alternatively, you can pack them inside a heavy-duty freezer bag to prevent freezer burn.

Can raw pork ribs be frozen for a long time?

Ideally, they will remain good for about 4 to 6 months, after which they will remain safe, but may not taste as good.

After being frozen then thawed, how long do raw pork ribs last?

After defrosting in the fridge, pork ribs can be stored for up to five more days in the refrigerator, however, pork ribs that were thawed in the microwave or cold water need to be cooked immediately.

When pork ribs are cooked and then kept in the freezer, how long will they last?

Ribs cooked in the oven will keep for three to four days in the fridge and four months in the freezer.

Read More >> How to Reheat Ribs


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How to Avoid Ribs From Spoiling?

You wouldn’t want to have your ribs spoiled and wasted. So we’ll be giving you a couple of tips on how to properly store ribs to keep them from spoiling:

  • Rather than storing ribs in the door of the fridge, it is best to put them on the shelf, as there is a lot of temperature change at the door.
  • The best way to store raw ribs in the refrigerator is on the lowest shelf to avoid any possible contamination.
  • Ribs should be refrigerated as soon as possible at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In general, bacterial growth is accelerated between the temperatures of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is always advisable to store your ribs at a lower temperature.
  • Before you place the ribs in heavy-duty airtight freezer containers, wrap them in aluminum foil or a freezer bag.

Read More >> Best Wood for Smoking Ribs

How To Determine if Ribs are Spoiled?

We all don’t want any food, let alone ribs, going to waste. However, there may be unavoidable instances where meat gets spoiled. So how will you know if your ribs are already spoiled? Here are some determining factors:

  • Whenever you find mold on your cooked or uncooked ribs, it means that your ribs have gone bad, which means that you should discard them.
  • You should discard your ribs if the color of the ribs has changed from pink to greenish-gray or brown. The color change indicates that the ribs have gone bad and should be discarded.
  • Whenever you feel slimy or gooey on the ribs, it means the ribs have gone bad. It is best to throw the ribs away.
  • Take a sniff test of your ribs to detect whether they smell sour or ammonia-like. If they do, then it means that they have gone bad.

Read More >> How to Cook Ribs on the Grill

Final Thoughts on Storing Ribs

The shelf life of ribs is pretty straightforward. However, if you want to store them for a longer period, it’s best to store them in your freezer. This way you’d be able to avoid your ribs from spoiling and going to waste.

In the end, familiarizing yourself with the shelf life of different foods doesn’t have to be daunting. It’ll be worth every penny of food you buy and nothing goes to waste.

Read Also >> How Long Does Bacon Last in the Fridge?

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Shawn Hill

Hey, I'm Shawn and I love this site. With a wife and 7 kids, I get most of my grilling practice from feeding my own family. I'm here to help you learn more about grilling, smoking, and backyard BBQ! With almost a decade of manning the grill and helping over 25,000 aspiring grill masters, you're in great hands! I've tried just about every type of grill, accessory, and gadget you can imagine. Because of that, I am here to help guide you to the best of the best and help you save time and money by avoiding the junk.

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