Grilled vegetables are the perfect side dish to have at any decent cookout. They’re undemanding to make, pack a ton of nutrients, and taste damn good.
You can even prep the veg ahead of time so that they’re ready to go on the grill as soon as it gets up to heat. But how long can they sit out for after they’re done cooking?
Grilled vegetables should be covered from the sun and should never be left out for longer than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature outside is 90°F or higher). Otherwise, they can quickly become unsafe to eat.
According to the USDA, leaving grilled vegetables out for too long can cause the bacteria inside them to grow to dangerous levels so fast that they become unsafe to eat.
At the temperature range between 40°F and 140°F, which the federal department fittingly calls “the danger zone,” the bacteria in grilled vegetables can roughly double in count every 20 minutes.
As you can probably imagine, that growth happens even faster at warmer outside temperatures in the heat of summer. So work up your appetite—and eat those veg right up soon after they’re done grilling.
This is food safety 101, fellas, and it’s nothing to joke about.
The CDC says that 48 million Americans get food poisoning every year, of which 128,000 get hospitalized, and 3,000 die.
If you left grilled vegetables to sit out for too long and you’re unsure about their safety, err on the safe side and throw them in the bin. When it comes to your, your family’s, and your friends’ or neighbors’ safety, you don’t want to take your chances.
And don’t give them to your dog, or it might get sick too. The same bacteria that can give you food poisoning don’t play along well with your dog’s well-being (no matter how tough and resilient it is).
How Long Do Grilled Veg Last in the Fridge?
Grilled more vegetables than you and the people at the table can eat?
Refrigerate the leftovers and use them up over the following few days. Not everyone will agree with me here, I know, but cold grilled vegetables make for all kinds of great summer dishes. Add them to salads, fritters, squash, omelets, cream soups… the possibilities are endless!
To refrigerate grilled vegetables, let them cool down completely, seal them in a plastic bag or a food storage container with the lid shut, and throw them in the fridge, where they’ll stay good for 3-4 days.
According to the FDA Food Code, which sets the ground rules for food safety in the United States, any vegetables that have been sitting in your fridge for 5 days or more should be thrown away. (Don’t postpone this; others in your household can make the mistake of trying them.)
Can You Freeze Grilled Vegetables?
As a general rule of thumb, vegetables that grill well—such as large mushrooms, bell peppers, asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, carrots, onions, and corn—also freeze well.
To freeze grilled vegetables, cool them to room temperature, then transfer them to a freezer bag and place them in your freezer, where they’ll keep their best quality for 4 months.
The thing that not everyone realizes about freezing food is that it stays safe to eat indefinitely. However, it eventually dries out, and its aroma, flavor, and texture become less and less appealing over time.
To defrost grilled vegetables, put them in a bowl (to catch drips) and move them to your fridge the night before you plan to eat them. Another, faster method is to seal them in a zipper bag and submerge them in warm water, changing the water every 10-15 minutes till they’ve warmed up.
How to Reheat Grilled Vegetables
Browned, caramelized, and seasoned to perfection, grilled vegetables taste great even when they’re cold.
Those of you who prefer theirs warm should avoid the microwave; it will ruin them. For the best texture, reheat them in the oven or the air-fryer instead.
If you plan to use them up to make a soup, stew, or any other recipe that calls for plenty of cooking liquid, skip the reheating altogether and cook them up along with the rest of your ingredients.
In the Oven
Grilled vegetables get really soggy when refrigerated, even more when frozen and then thawed. So the best way to reheat them is in your oven, with the convection fan on, where they will crisp up.
To reheat grilled vegetables, spread them out on a sheet pan, drizzle them with a little olive oil, season them with salt and pepper, and bake them in a 400°F oven for 5-6 minutes till they’ve turned firm enough and somewhat crunchy.
In the Air-Fryer
An air-fryer, which is basically a tiny oven with a powerful fan, is just as good at preserving the texture of most foods when reheating them.
You can reheat grilled vegetables by putting them in a 350-400°F air-fryer for 3-4 minutes. Make sure not to overcrowd the drawer, though, as the appliance won’t be as effective.
|Dish||Storage Method||Shelf Life|
|Grilled vegetables||Room temperature||1-2 hours|
|Grilled vegetables||Refrigerated||3-4 days|
|Grilled vegetables||Frozen||4 months|
Well, what do you know! We’ve come to the end of my advice-giving for the day. Thanks for reading this far, fellers. And, if you take away one thing from this article, let it be the following:
Grilled vegetables will last for 1-2 hours when left out, for 3-4 days when refrigerated, and will keep their best quality for 4 months when frozen. Reheat them in your oven or air-fryer for best results or use them up, hot or cold, in your favorite recipe.