Chipotle is one of the most popular fast-food chains today. Inspired by the Chipotle chili pepper found in tons of traditional Mexican recipes, the chain has branched out to its famous line of burritos, Chipotle burrito bowls, tacos, and more.
Chipotle is committed to creating a safe, hygienic working and dining environment in its restaurants
We can all take comfort in knowing that Chipotle is dedicated to quality and food safety, serving only fresh, non-GMO ingredients. But when you can’t finish that jam-packed Chipotle bowl or insanely large burrito, how long does Chipotle last in the Fridge?
That’s what we’re here to find out.
When it comes to refrigerating leftover Chipotle, the consensus is that it will remain good for a day or two. But we take food safety very seriously, so it’s crucial to break things down more specifically.
How long will your burrito stay fresh?
We’re going to take a look at some of Chipotle’s most popular menu items and their ingredients to determine what’s safe and what’s not, including:
Let’s take a closer look.
Before we can understand how long we can refrigerate a Chipotle chicken burrito bowl, burrito, or another menu item, we must know what’s in them. Chipotle offers a long list of options, including:
We should make it crystal clear up-front that you should store any leftovers from Chipotle in your refrigerator set to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Doing so will help slow bacterial growth, which thrives between temperatures of 40 and 140 degrees. By refrigerating your food and inhibiting the growth of bacteria, you greatly reduce your chances of getting food poisoning.
Proper refrigeration is critical in fighting off pathogenic bacteria, which is the type that causes foodborne illnesses. Pathogenic bacteria typically do not impact the taste or appearance of food, but they can make you very sick.
That said, bacteria can and will still grow on your food. We’ve all opened a mystery container to the unpleasant surprise of mold, and that spoilage is bacteria. Spoilage bacteria will still grow in your refrigerator, but it takes some time.
Spoilage bacteria probably won’t make you sick, but your food won’t taste good, either.
So, what does all of this mean for your Chipotle leftovers? It’s best to look at each ingredient group individually.
It may come as a shock to you, but rice is one of our top concerns when it comes to storing leftovers. Rice is one of the most shelf-stable foods; it can last for years when it’s dry. But once it gets cooked, it contains tons of moisture, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria.
Factor in the time it sat out while you ate and transported it home, it quickly runs out of time.
Cooked rice can be a breeding ground for bacteria
It’s usually safe to store leftover rice anywhere from three to six days in a sealed container. If you store your leftovers in an unsealed Chipotle to-go box, we don’t recommend eating them after two days.
The meat products in your taco or bowl may look or smell fine in your fridge after a week, but the USDA doesn’t recommend eating them after such a long time frame.
Cooked meats, including steak and pork, should only be refrigerated for three to five days. Both chicken breast and chicken thighs are safe to store and eat for three or four days.
After this recommended period, these meat products may begin to grow pathogenic bacteria, the unseen bacteria that cause foodborne illness. It may take much longer to see physical signs of spoilage on cooked meats, so it’s important to follow these guidelines.
Chipotle offers different kinds of cooked vegetables that you can add to your tacos, salads, burritos, and bowls, including onions, canned Chipotle peppers, and corn.
Not only will cooked vegetables start to go bad after about two days, but they’ll also quickly lose both their nutritional value and flavor. Even if they were safe, you wouldn’t want to eat them after a day or two.
Cooked vegetables are best eaten the next day or not at all. Otherwise, you’re dealing with a mushy, tasteless meal.
As far as raw vegetables go, they will vary depending on the type. When it comes to Chipotle, everything is typically mixed; once one item goes bad, the whole thing is bad.
For instance, raw cut tomatoes are best stored in the fridge for just two days. And they stay best for two days when you keep them in a sealed container - not a to-go package. Cilantro can last a few days also, but again, the leftovers will only last as long as the ingredient that goes bad first since the ingredients are all mixed together.
Chopped or cut lettuce will probably last anywhere from three to five days, and beans generally have the same lifespan.
Dairy products need to be refrigerated; otherwise, they’ll quickly mold or sour. But every dairy product is slightly different. Milk, for instance, lasts about a week in the fridge.
We’re looking at ingredients like cheese and sour cream. Usually, you can hold on to sour cream for anywhere from one to three weeks, and cheeses can last as long as four weeks.
However, we need to remember that the dairy products in your Chipotle meal spent a lot of time out of the fridge throughout the meal prep process and the time afterward. They’re also in contact with a lot of water and other food products.
To be safe, we wouldn’t eat them past a couple of days.
Store-bought guacamole tends to last longer in the fridge than homemade guac, but let’s keep in mind that Chipotle makes its guac fresh throughout the day. So, it’s likely that it will only stay good in the fridge for a couple of days.
Guacamole (largely comprised of avocados) oxidizes quickly and doesn’t reheat well
Additionaly, you’ll likely not want to include the guacamole, chipotle mayo, and other cold ingredients when you reheat your chipotle bowl or reheat your chipotle burrito.
Before your guac goes rotten, it will turn brown. That doesn’t mean it’s not good, but the avocado in it probably won’t taste as great as it did when it was fresh.
Don't wait too long to reheat chipotle burrito bowls or any other food. Food quality decreases each time you reheat you chipotle burrito leftovers in the microwave. The fresh ingredients become less fresh and flavorful.
There's also a bacteria risk that comes with reheating food. Repeated reheating of the same leftover Chipotle burrito can increase the growth of bacteria unless you heat at sufficiently high temperatures (165 degrees or above) for a long enough amount of time. The best bet is to only reheat the food that you plan on eating.
Yes, to keep ingredients fresh and safe to eat Chipotle has refrigerators. Chipotle prides itself on having fresh ingredients. What Chipotle doesn’t have in any of its restaurants according to their values page is freezers. They also don’t have any can openers - which of course means that their ingredients are all fresh and never from a can.