Whether it is steel-cut oats, rolled oats, quick oats, or oat groats, you have certainly consumed this type of cereal grain at least once in your lifetime.
They are considered a food staple and are the main ingredient of the popular dishes oatmeal and granola. That oatmeal is certainly the reason why you probably had a chance to eat these grains.
Probably the most valuable characteristic of these grains is their nutritional value. They are really healthy, which is the reason why they are mostly consumed by health enthusiasts and people who are on some kind of healthy diet.
There is also a gluten-free version for those who have gluten intolerance.
Many people cook their oatmeal for breakfast and, to be honest, that can be a long procedure. So, some of you may consider cooking your oatmeal, whether it is steel-cut oatmeal or that with rolled oats, a day before and refrigerating it to use the next day.
But how long does oatmeal last in the fridge? Well, cooked oats can last for about 4-6 days in the fridge if it is stored properly, which will preserve its best quality.
Read on to find out more information about how long cooked oats can last in the fridge and how to store your oatmeal properly.
How Long Does Oatmeal Last In The Fridge?
How long does oatmeal last in the fridge? Cooked oatmeal can last for about 4-6 days in the fridge if stored properly.
So, if you made some extra oatmeal for the breakfast or you made some of it the night before for the next morning, it is highly recommendable to store it in the fridge.
The reason for this is that you can prolong oatmeal shelf life for a couple of days that way without the fear that you will get some kind of food-borne illness or any type of food poisoning.
The cooler temperature of the fridge will prevent it from spoiling. Also, if you have any leftover cooked oatmeal, it is a good idea to refrigerate it. This is the case with your cooked oatmeal, but what is with dry oats?
Well, I have to say that there is no real need to refrigerate unopened dry oatmeal in its original packaging. You just have to store it in a clean, cool, and dry place or some kind of dry area and it will be safe due to its long shelf life, i.e. 2 to 10 years.
If you open it, it is recommended that you use it within one year. It is also good to tightly cover it and store it in a glass container or resealable plastic bag. You can also store it in the freezer for one year using a freezer bag.
But, to emphasize once again, the refrigerator is not the place for it.
How To Properly Refrigerate Cooked Oatmeal?
How you store oatmeal is very important. As I already said earlier in the text, refrigerating dry uncooked oats or uncooked oatmeal is not something that you really have to do. But, refrigerating cooked oatmeal that you won’t consume immediately is a must.
First things first, before you put your cooked oatmeal in the fridge, you must cool it down. It is never good to put any kind of hot food in a cool place because of moisture that can cause spoilage.
And, finally, when your oatmeal has cooled, there are also the packaging guidelines to consider. You cannot just put the batch of cooked oatmeal in the fridge as it is, but you must package it properly. So, it is best to store it in an airtight container because this will keep all the harmful bacteria away.
Putting your oatmeal into a storage container and refrigerating it will prevent you from wasting food and that is a great thing.
Can You Reheat Cooked Oatmeal?
Yes, you can reheat your oatmeal if you have stored it properly and kept it refrigerated for the right time in a sealed container. It can change the texture a bit, but it is not something severe. There are several ways to safely reheat cooked oatmeal while maintaining texture and flavor.
1. Reheat Cooked Oatmeal In The Microwave
There is, of course, the good old microwave, a kitchen appliance that can be used for so many processes including reheating foods and defrosting others like defrosting chicken, etc.
After you pull out your cooked oatmeal from the fridge, you can add a bit of liquid and then put it in a microwave-safe container.
You must microwave it in 30-second increments and stir it between each one. Be really careful and watch your oatmeal because, if it is microwaved for too long, it can become gooey.
2. Reheat Cooked Oatmeal On The Stovetop
This method is the most popular one when it comes to reheating oatmeal. It is the most simple method and you also have a lot of control over the process.
All you have to do is to place your oatmeal in a pan and place that pan on the stovetop. You must also add a little milk or water to it and then you can heat it slowly while stirring it carefully.
This way you will prevent the oatmeal from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
If you want, you can add some extra ingredients to your oatmeal to get your desired flavor.
3. Reheat Cooked Oatmeal In The Oven
If you have the time, then you can also reheat your oatmeal in the oven. It is a very simple method, but it can take some time.
All you have to do is to put your oatmeal in a casserole dish and spread it evenly. You can also add some additional toppings to the oats.
The texture won’t be the same, but some people like it this way and I can’t blame them really.
How Long Can Oatmeal Stay At Room Temperature?
Well, the answer to this question really depends on the type of oatmeal. There is a big difference between cooked oatmeal and dry oats when it comes to their storage at room temperature.
Unopened dry oats can stay at room temperature for a really long time, i.e. 2-10 years. When it comes to an opened package of dry oats, if stored properly in a cold, dry place, they can be preserved for between 1 to 2 years.
But, when we are talking about cooked oatmeal, there is a big difference. It is not really recommended to leave cooked oatmeal at room temperature for more than 2 hours, since room temperature is most often above 40 degrees F.
And that is a so-called danger zone for this type of cooked food that can lead to spoilage because of harmful bacteria growth.
All in all, you have to pay attention to cool your cooked oatmeal before you store it in the fridge, but you also have to pay attention not to leave your oatmeal at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
How Can You Tell If Oatmeal Has Gone Bad?
There are several ways to tell if your oatmeal has gone bad. First, can your dry oatmeal go bad? Yes, it certainly can.
If you do not store it properly, its expiration date doesn’t really matter anymore. That is the case when you leave your dry oats in damaged packaging or when it is exposed to direct sunlight, heat, moisture, or humidity.
When it comes to cooked oatmeal, I already emphasized that leaving it at room temperature for more than 2 hours can be fatal. But what are the signs of spoilage when it comes to that same oatmeal?
You first have to pay attention to the smell and taste. If your oatmeal, both cooked or dry, has gone bad, it will certainly smell bad. You really have to pay attention to any changes in smell or an ongoing off smell.
If you try to eat cooked oatmeal that has gone bad, you will notice the rancid taste and that is the biggest sign of spoilage.
Also, there is the presence of mold. If you notice any mold on your oatmeal, that is a clear sign that the oatmeal has gone bad and that you have to throw it away.
And, there are also color changes. The discoloration is a big sign of spoilage. If you see any dark spots on your oatmeal that weren’t there previously, then that oatmeal isn’t good for consumption.
Now that the question of how long does oatmeal last in the fridge is answered and that you know that it can last for a couple of days, i.e. 4-6 days in the fridge, you are free to make your overnight oats and refrigerate it for the next day.
You just need to pay attention that you cool your oatmeal before you put it in the fridge so that moisture can’t ruin it. You also have to pay attention to ensure that the oatmeal doesn’t stay on the countertop for too long, i.e. longer than 2 hours, because that will cause the oatmeal to go bad.