If I had some chicken and pasta on a ceramic plate and wanted to save the rest for later, when I put it in the fridge, is it fine to just cover it with a paper plate or should you use saran wrap?

Ideally, the paper plate is much more convenient and quicker to use, but I have concerns that the smell and taste may leak to other foods in the fridge.

How safe is it to use a paper plate to cover foods like this. If so, for how long? Usually I eat the food within the next day or two but am wondering how quick the process may be.

  • 1
    Works for me. It could only leak to other open food. Chicken and pasta is not highly aromatic. When you pull it out of the fridge can you even smell it?
    – paparazzo
    Jul 2, 2016 at 12:48

2 Answers 2


Ideally you should get airtight containers, but failing that, plastic wrap is indeed a lot better than just covering with a plate.

As you say, you'll tend to get more smells mixing around in the fridge if things aren't airtight, and it's something that can kind of build up over time, with the interior of the fridge just taking on a mix of all the smells. (Fridges can eventually smell weird even if you're not doing this.)

It's also not generally as good for the food; it'll dry out faster. Might not be an issue for everything, but sometimes it can be pretty obvious. It may also get contaminated a little more easily and spoil faster, but that's a little random, hard to say anything specific about time periods.

  • Not to mention possible spills or some plates getting mushy.
    – Stephie
    Jul 2, 2016 at 7:16

Yes it is okay, you have a greater risk of cross contamination, but if you're careful you can negate those risks.

As to how long foods can stay, it depends on the food item and the temperature of the food being placed into the fridge, also the temperature of the fridge. Most people give a rough 2-3 days, with the onus of checking the food appears safe when you take it out the fridge.
For example, raw fruit and vegetables that have been washed and/or cut can spoil/grow mold quickly.

Please check "Food Safety" information where you live, there are 'best practices' that can be followed.

  • We have a generic post for shelf-life: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/21068/…. No need to send OP elsewhere.
    – Stephie
    Jul 2, 2016 at 12:01
  • Okay thanks, I see - keep it in the SE community. Presumably the post for shelf-life is regularly maintained to keep it current with food standards for the majority of the community?
    – Food Lover
    Jul 2, 2016 at 17:03
  • It's less about keeping it in the comunity, more about "we have it at hand, no need to search the web". And yes, every now and then it gets updated. If you notice something is outdated, feel free to suggest an edit.
    – Stephie
    Jul 2, 2016 at 17:16

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