Taco, Nachos, Burritos, Quesadillas are a delicious and popular food, offered by many fast food chains including the famous Taco Bell.
But it’s important to know how long they can safely sit out before they become unsafe to eat.
In this article, we will discuss how long Taco Bell foods can sit out, and the science behind why they can’t sit out for too long.
We’ll also discuss how to reheat Tacos that have been stored in the refrigerator for some time.
Do Taco Bell Foods like Burritos, Nachos, Tacos And Quesadillas Need To Be Refrigerated?
A lot of people are unsure how to properly store their beloved Taco Bell meals like burritos, nachos, tacos, and quesadillas.
The truth is, akin to any other fast-food fare, these treats need refrigeration if they’re not eaten within two hours of purchase.
Your Taco Bell goodies can savor their freshness for up to four days when stored in the fridge.
To seal the deals with these edibles, place them in an airtight container or wrap them securely in aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
For those seeking longevity, freezing your Taco Bell favorites could extend their shelf life to a whopping three months.
However, much like all other foods that have been stored for some time, certain ingredients won’t hold up as well.
For instance, lettuce, tomato, sour cream and guacamole might turn soggy or lose their freshness over time and affect the overall taste and texture of the meal upon reheating.
If we’re going to follow the most ideal advice, it’s to enjoy your Taco Bell foods hot from the restaurant counter, ideally within 15 minutes of receiving them.
But if that’s not possible right away – don’t worry; you now know how to properly store them.
Can I Eat A Taco Bell That Was Left Out Overnight?
Help! “I left my Taco Bell out all night, can I still eat it?”
To put it simply and rather bluntly, the answer is no.
Taco Bell meals, like many fast food options, contain perishable ingredients – think of the beef in your burrito or the chicken in your quesadilla.
According to USDA guidelines, any perishable food left out of the fridge for more than two hours should be promptly discarded.
This is because at room temperature, bacteria flourish at an incredible yet alarming rate.
You might think reheating can save the day, but don’t be so sure.
Even a piping hot oven or microwave won’t necessarily eradicate bacteria that have had ample time to multiply on your food left sitting at room temperature for hours on end.
Why are these foods classified as perishable?
Well, it’s primarily due to their meat content which is considered a perishable ingredient that requires refrigeration or freezing within two hours of cooking or purchasing.
Is It Safe To Eat a 2 Day Old Taco Bell?
Left out on the kitchen counter? Definitely not!
Stored in the icebox? Absolutely!
However, always remember to inspect your Taco Bell delicacy for any signs of spoilage before diving into it.
Bear in mind that cooked meats and poultry can be stored in your refrigerator for up to four days without posing any risk – those are the primary ingredients of most items on the menu at Taco Bell.
However, don’t get too comfortable!
Other ingredients like fresh lettuce, tangy salsa and creamy cheese may turn bad faster than the meat.
Prioritize food safety by checking the appearance and aroma of your food before serving.
Foul or unusual smells are usually an indicator that it’s best left uneaten.
In order to keep your Taco Bell leftovers as fresh as possible, store them in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in aluminum foil or cling film.
This not only prevents loss of moisture adding to its longevity but also inhibits the growth of bacteria.
For those who want to enjoy their Mexican-inspired fast food icons later down the line, certain items such as taco meat, hard shells, nachos, cheese sauce, and refried beans can even be frozen for up to three months.
How To Reheat Taco Bell
There are several ways to reheat Taco Bell, depending on what you’re working with and your desired results.
Revive Your Leftovers with an Oven
The oven is often a go-to for reheating numerous types of food due its ability to maintain the integrity of flavors and textures.
Preheat your oven to 350°F and securely wrap your Taco Bell in aluminum foil.
Place it in an oven-safe dish and bake for between 10-15 minutes until it’s steamingly satisfying once more.
The Quick Fix: Microwave
Sometimes we just want our food hot and we want it now!
The microwave may not deliver gourmet results but it sure is fast.
However, be prepared for a potential compromise in texture – especially if overheated – as your food could turn out slightly soggy or rubbery.
With that risk known, simply place your food items on a microwave-safe plate, cover with a damp paper towel to add moisture and microwave for between 30-45 seconds or until sufficiently warm.
If you have the time, using the stove can give you more control over heat distribution leading to improved crispiness.
The key here is non-stick cookware – no one wants half their quesadilla left behind on the pan!
Add a touch of oil before placing your Taco Bell item in the pan and warming over medium-high heat.
Ensure even heating by occasionally flipping or stirring.
Grill For Added Flavor
For those adventurous spirits out there, why not try reheating on the grill?
Particularly suited for tacos and burritos, this method infuses your food with that smoky charred edge that can really enhance flavor.
Wrap up each item snugly in aluminum foil then place on a heated grill. Cover with lid and allow 5-8 minutes cooking time or until good and hot.
How Long Are Taco Bell Packets Good For?
Similar to other packaged condiments, Taco Bell sauce packets have a rather lengthy shelf life when stored properly, largely depending on whether they’ve been unopened or opened.
Unopened packets of that signature Taco Bell sauce (whether it’s “Fire,” “Hot,” “Mild” or even “Verde”), if kept in a cool, dark and dry place, can continue adding a zesty kick to your homemade tacos for up to two years.
Some food safety experts even argue that these packets could last as long as five years without any degradation in flavor and quality.
Though they’ll hold at room temperature just fine, refrigeration might help retain their peak taste and texture.
However, once opened, the game changes.
Opened Taco Bell sauce packets really should be used immediately for best quality.
Stored at room temperature, they might start to lose their oomph within just a few days; in the fridge, they could stretch to about one or two weeks before degradation sets in.
Staying on top of food safety is crucial.
To ensure your leftover Taco Bell sauce packets are still safe for consumption, look out for signs of spoilage such as discoloration, off-odors or peculiar tastes and textures. Spot any of these red flags? Better skip the risk and toss them out.