Sandwiches are quick and delicious. You can assemble them to meet anyone’s food preferences and serve them for any meal of the day.
Sometimes it seems to be a great idea to make many sandwiches at once and not think about what you will have for lunch for the next few days.
But how long does a sandwich last in the fridge? In general, sandwiches last 3-5 days in the fridge provided that all ingredients are fresh. The shelf life of a sandwich is determined by the ingredient with the shortest shelf in it.
Continue reading to learn about the shelf life of sandwiches, what sandwiches last longer, how to store sandwiches in the fridge, and more.
You will also learn tips to make your sandwiches last longer in case you like preparing them in advance!
How Long Does a Sandwich Last in the Fridge?
Sandwiches can come with a variety of fillings. Depending on what you have in your sandwiches, their shelf life in the fridge may be different.
In general, though, sandwiches last in the fridge for 3-5 days.
To determine how long a particular sandwich will last in the fridge you need to consider the shelf life of its ingredients separately.
The ingredient with the shortest shelf life will ultimately decide how long your sandwich will remain safe for consumption.
Use fresh products to provide the longest shelf life for your sandwiches. If you are planning to keep the sandwiches in the fridge for a few days avoid using products with a close expiration date.
What Sandwiches Last Longer in the Fridge?
As mentioned above, sandwiches can last from 3-5 days in the fridge.
The sandwiches that last the longest are the ones with dry and less perishable ingredients, such as shredded cabbage and carrots, hard cheeses, tough greens like kale, etc.
Meat and chicken sandwiches can last an average of 4 days in the fridge too. However, meat sandwiches may be more perishable compared to sandwiches that contain dry foods and long-lasting veggies and greens.
If you want your meat sandwiches to last longer, try not to add too many watery ingredients and sauces to the sandwich. Also, don’t add them directly to the meat.
How to Store Sandwiches in the Fridge
To be able to enjoy your sandwiches later, it is not enough to just put them in the fridge. You should pack them properly first.
Here’s how to store sandwiches in the fridge for the longest shelf life.
- First, wrap the sandwich with parchment paper or cling wrap. Doing this will keep the ingredients intact.
- Then, put the wrapped sandwich into an airtight container or bag. When using a zip-top bag make sure to push out the excess air. If you are storing the sandwiches in a bag, don’t put anything heavy on them.
- Label the sandwiches with the date in case you are making many of them in advance. The label will help you grab and first eat the ones that are closer to the 5-day mark.
How Long Can a Sandwich Be Left Out?
Many people think that sandwiches can sit out longer than other dishes. But the rule of two hours is true for them too.
You shouldn’t leave your sandwiches out for longer than 2 hours to avoid the risk of contamination. If the temperature of the room is higher than 90°F, it’s best to not leave sandwiches out for longer than 1 hour.
It is in very rare cases that you can leave sandwiches out for a long time. This is when all the ingredients in the sandwich don’t need refrigeration.
Is It a Good Idea to Make Sandwiches in Advance?
While sandwiches can last in the fridge for up to 5 days, it is not the best idea to make them in advance. Two days is the maximum recommended time for making sandwiches in advance.
As a general rule, the texture of sandwiches is best when they are fresh—the bread is fresh, the sauces are not absorbed into the bread, and the veggies and the lettuce are still crispy and juicy.
If you are very short of time and even the smallest preparation will make your life easier, we would recommend assembling a few sandwiches using only the dry ingredients.
You can add watery and wet ingredients on the day of eating the sandwich, such as sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, and various condiments and dressings.
3 Tips to Make Your Sandwiches Last Longer
In case you do decide to make sandwiches in advance, here are a few tips to help you make them last longer while they are sitting in the fridge.
1. Choose Crusty and Fresh Bread
The bread you choose for your sandwich plays a key role in providing a longer shelf life for it.
If you know you will be keeping your sandwiches in the fridge for a few days for a grab-and-go lunch, make sure to use dry and crusty types of bread.
Baguettes, for example, are perfect for sandwiches that will be sitting in the fridge for a few days.
If you choose to use regular sliced sandwich bread, we recommend that you take your time to toast the bread slices. Toasting the bread will make it dryer and prevent it from getting soggy too soon.
Another important factor is the freshness of the bread. The fresher the bread you use for your sandwiches, the better.
2. Avoid Using Watery Ingredients
We all love sandwiches that contain layers of different ingredients, including juicy ones. But when you are making a sandwich that will be sitting in the fridge for a few days avoid using too many watery ingredients.
Consider adding the watery ingredients, such as tomatoes, right before eating the sandwich and not when you are making it.
As for the condiments, put them in between the sandwich ingredients. If the condiments get in contact with the bread, they will make it soggy rather quickly.
3. Dry the Greens Properly
No sandwich is ever complete without greens. But the water from the leafy greens is one of the things that make sandwiches soggy.
To eliminate this problem, take your time to thoroughly dry the lettuce, arugula leaves, or any leafy greens you are using in your sandwich.
Also, use your greens wisely when assembling the sandwiches. Place a lettuce leaf between the bread and other fillings to protect it from getting soggy.
How Can You Tell if a Sandwich Has Gone Bad?
As mentioned above, sandwiches stored in the fridge are typically good for around 4 days. But it is always good to practice food safety. So check the sandwiches before you eat them no matter how long they have been in the fridge.
Like in the case of other foods, you should first sniff the sandwiches. While the smells of different ingredients in a sandwich may already be combined, the sandwich should never have an unpleasant smell.
Secondly, have a look inside the sandwich and inspect the layers. Even if only one of the sandwich ingredients has gone bad, discard the entire sandwich.
It is not safe to remove the bad ingredient and eat the rest of the sandwich as the bacteria may have already spread through other ingredients.
Lastly, if the sandwich looks and smells good and it hasn’t been in the fridge for too many days, give it a taste test. If it tastes good, go ahead and eat it.
Does a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Need to Be Refrigerated?
Peanut butter and jelly are two ingredients that don’t require refrigeration. This means that you can get away without refrigerating your peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
The sugar content in both ingredients is typically high enough to protect them against microbes.
With this said, we recommend erring on the safe side and refrigerating your peanut butter and jelly sandwich if you won’t be eating it soon.
If you store them properly, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches may last up to 7 days in the fridge so long as the bread you have used to make them is fresh.
In case you need peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to last longer, make a few of them and store them in the freezer.
Now that we’ve gone over how long a sandwich lasts in the fridge, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
How Long Does a Sub Last in the Fridge?
A sub, which stands short for a submarine sandwich, will keep well in the fridge for up to 2 days as it contains a combination of such ingredients as lettuce, meat, cheese, tomatoes, and other veggies, as well as dressing.
A sub sandwich will remain safe for consumption past the two-day mark but the overall texture of the sandwich won’t be enjoyable.
How Long Does Sandwich Deli Meat Last?
Once you open a package of deli lunch meat, you should use it within 3-5 days.
Thus, sandwiches that contain deli meat can last in the fridge for 3-5 days unless they contain ingredients that have a shorter shelf life.
If you’re looking for some new sandwich ideas, check out this video from the folks over at Tasty!