Does Spicy Food Last Longer in The Fridge? The Answer Might Surprise You

  • By: Emma
  • Date: August 13, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

If you love spicy foods and all things spicy, then it’s a safe bet that you are no stranger to the punch of chili or the tang of lime. If not from trying it at home, then at least from dining out in restaurants specializing in spicier flavors.

Like many others, are you interested in knowing how spices affect your food? Does Spicy Food Last Longer in The Fridge?

This article has all the answers and information you need about how long spicy foods last in your refrigerator.

Table of Contents

Does Spicy Food Last Longer in The Fridge?

Yes, spicy food lasts longer in the fridge because the spice concentration acts as a natural preservative and inhibits the microbial growth in the food by up to 60%. Spicy foods can be stored in the fridge for 3-7 days. Spicy meat can last up to 7-15 days, while spicy vegetables can last for 3-8 days in a fridge.

Does Spicy Food Last Longer in The Fridge? Evidence from scientific literature

Studies have shown that spice extracts on food items inhibit microbial growth and enhance the shelf life of the food.

A study published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology tested various concentrations of spices on chicken meat to assess microbial growth and storage time.

The results showed that adding spice to meat improved its microbial quality and enhanced the shelf life of fresh chicken by up to 15 days.

Spice concentration (%)Total Viable Counts (log10 CFU/g)Storage time (days)
Table 1: Effect of spice concentration on microbial growth and storage time of chicken in the fridge. Source: Babuskin, S., Babu, P. A. S., Sasikala, M., Sabina, K., Archana, G., Sivarajan, M., & Sukumar, M. (2014). Antimicrobial and antioxidant effects of spice extracts on the shelf-life extension of raw chicken meat. International journal of food microbiology171, 32-40.

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Does spicy food get spicier in the fridge?

Yes, spicier foods do last longer in the fridge. This is because cold temperatures cause the chemical reactions that produce heat to slow down, so your spicy dishes taste fresh and more natural than those left out on the counter.

But, this can also be a downside to your food if you need it fast. If you are only planning to make a small portion of your favorite chili or salsa dish and serve it up at home, then you may want to leave it out on the counter for a little bit so that it’s not as spicy when you serve it up.

If you want your food to be spicier after it’s been in the fridge for some time, just toss those ingredients back in there for about 10 minutes or so before serving up your meal. This will re-activate their spices and bring them back to life.

Does Spicy Food Last Longer in The Fridge?

Which spices act as a natural preservative to increase the shelf life of meat?

When you think about spices, what comes to mind is the way they enhance flavors and add depth to dishes.

Spices are good at preserving meats because they can prevent bacteria from growing on the surface of the meat.

Some spices that help increase shelf life for meat include cinnamon, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, cloves, and celery seeds.

Read: Does Frozen Meat Weigh More? A Science-Backed Answer

Does freezing food make it less spicy?

One of the most common misconceptions about leaving food in your refrigerator is that it will diminish its heat. While freezing foods can reduce heat and some types of food, it doesn’t impact spices.

There are exceptions, however, and those include anything that includes salt, such as bread and pasta. Salt doesn’t freeze well, so you should avoid freezing those items if you have a hankering for their spiciness.

Can I keep salsa in the fridge? Salsa is one of the more common questions asked about how long spicy foods last in your refrigerator, precisely because it seems like a salsa would be at risk of spoiling more quickly than other dishes.

The answer to this question is a bit more complicated than expected. You can keep salsa in your refrigerator for quite some time without losing its nutritional value or flavor so long as it has been prepared with certain ingredients, such as tomatoes or onions.

Salsas made from watery vegetables, such as corn and cucumbers, may not last as long as salsas made with fruits because they tend to spoil faster because of their water content.

But there are all kinds of salsas that you can make that will stay fresh for a more extended period of time in your refrigerator if appropriately prepared with tomatoes and onions.

Read: What happens when cooking oil gets too hot? And How Should You Handle It?

Can bacteria grow in spicy food?

Spice is one of those ingredients that can make a dish come alive, but it also can scare away the ones who aren’t sure about trying it with your meal.

And it’s not just the heat from the spices that makes many people cringe when they see it on a menu, either. It can also be the idea of putting something that isn’t very fresh in their refrigerator.

If you cook something like chili or ketchup and then keep it in your fridge for more than two days, bacteria could grow inside of it and cause health problems within your refrigerator.

When you think about spiciness, you probably envision a spicy dish that has been sitting out on the table for hours or even days before it arrives at your house. But if you cook something right before eating it, you may have more time to enjoy flavors such as chili or salsa.

The key is to use natural ingredients that don’t contain preservatives when possible and consider how long spicy food will last in your fridge. Spicy food made with fresh peppers should last 3-5 days without refrigeration.

Does chili preserve food?

Chili peppers, when fresh, have a high amount of Vitamin C and other antioxidants that can help preserve food. But it is only the fresh chili peppers that will do this. The longer chili peppers are exposed to air and heat, the more they oxidize and lose their vitamins and antioxidants.

The heat on the surface of the peppers will also cause them to dry out as moisture is released into the atmosphere. While not all chili peppers are used in cooking, those will inevitably be heated at some point in their journey to you.

This is why you should store your homemade salsa or other spicy sauces in a sealed container or an ice pack if you don’t want them to go bad.

Does Putting Hot Sauce in The Fridge Make It Less Spicy?

Preserving your favorite spicy foods is no easy task.

Whether you’re prepping for a dinner party or just trying to keep your salsa fresh, the last thing you want to do is throw it in the garbage because it has become too old.

One of the best ways to extend the life of your favorite spicy foods is to place them in the refrigerator. Putting hot sauce on ice will help keep it cool and prevent it from going bad and breaking apart.

If you are looking for an even better way to preserve your spicier dishes, consider putting them in a sealed container with a tight-fitting lid. This helps contain all those beautiful flavors within so that they don’t seep into other food items or make their way into the air and in your hands.

There are some drawbacks to storing food in the refrigerator, though.

You may find that something perfectly fine before may spoil when placed in the refrigerator because cold temperatures slow down everything from growth to decay.

It’s essential for people who love spicy foods like tacos or chili peppers, but not as much for those who prefer milder flavors like ketchup or tomato paste.

Can Spices Get Moldy?

A common misconception about spicy foods is that they can get moldy. While it is true that the higher the heat, the more likely you will see mold or mildew growth, it’s not a huge concern.

If left in the air too long, it may cause some mildew or mold, but other than that, there’s no need for concern about your salsa getting spoiled.

One way to avoid this issue is by storing your spices in jars. This will prevent moisture from seeping into them and cause mold or mildew to develop.


So, does Spicy Food Last Longer in The Fridge? In most cases, Yes. Some say that spices last for more than two months in the fridge, while others say it depends on the type of food you put in, the texture, and how much bacteria can grow. It’s best to experiment and see what happens.