can you eat lunchables not refrigerated

Can you eat Lunchables not refrigerated? This question baffles so many people who just love how Lunchables make it easier to manage meals with their busy schedules.

Kraft Heinz has simplified dinner preparation with its stackable snacks, sandwiches that kids will really eat, and sweet sweets for after soccer practice.

But many parents may worry about how long a Lunchable may remain unrefrigerated.  So, how long can Lunchables stay out of the fridge?

According to Kraft Heinz, your Lunchable meals with meat can stay good at room temperature for up to 3-4 hours, after which you should not eat them.

Tip: Do not leave Lunchables at room temperature if you do not plan to eat them quickly after thawing. 

Can You Eat Lunchables Not Refrigerated or Is It Bad?

eat your lunchable not refrigerated

Originally produced by Kraft Heinz in Chicago, Lunchables are a popular brand of packaged snacks.

It is a full meal for the kids, and for the parents, it is a nice evening snack.

Because of their convenience, Lunchables are so popular and can be found in nearly every shop in the United States. 

What Happens If You Leave Lunchables Unrefrigerated?

In most cases, you do not have to worry about anything for eating Lunchables unrefrigerated.

There is little danger in storing food products for an extended period of time.

Do not worry if you forget about your Lunchables for a while; they will still taste great.

They are still perfectly usable long after their “best by” date has passed.

You should immediately move your Lunchables to the refrigerator if you are concerned about their quality after being left out for too long. 

leaving lunchables not refrigerated

Do Lunchables Stay Eatable When Not Refrigerated?

In most cases, they are good to eat even when not refrigerated.

Of course, you may want to avoid leaving them unrefrigerated for longer than 3 hours.

Yet it would still not pose any serious health risk if you leave them longer.

You do not always have to keep your Lunchables in the fridge. It has a long shelf life and may even be stored at room temperature. 

Should You Eat Lunchables with Meat if Not Refrigerated?

However, it is important to note that several varieties of Lunchables are on the market.

You should never keep Lunchables on your counter if they include a meat product.

Meat spoils easily when exposed to high temperatures; therefore, Lunchables containing meat will not last long if kept in a hotter environment.

lunchables with meat

Lunchables with meat have to go in the refrigerator because they can survive in temperatures under 10C.

Put them in the fridge if you want to make sure they last as long as possible.

In addition, you need to use airtight containers if you plan on keeping them in the fridge.

With this, the Lunchables will not absorb the odors of other foods in the refrigerator. 

When Should You Avoid Eating Lunchables Not Refrigerated?

Even if your stored Lunchable meals are past their “best by” date, you may still be able to use them.

The same holds true for meals left unrefrigerated.

However, you need to use common sense here and look for any noticeable signs of spoilage.

Bacteria, mold, and yeast growth on foods that have passed their prime are common warning signals.

Before it becomes dangerous to consume, spoiled food will typically develop an unappealing appearance, smell, and flavor.

Tip: Do not leave Lunchables containing meat to sit out for longer than a few hours, or it may become unsafe to eat. 

How Long Can Lunchables Survive Out of the Refrigerator?

lunchables survive out of refrigerator

You may already be enjoying those meals, but it is common to forget about refrigerating them sometimes.

According to the manufacturer, you should not worry about anything if your Lunchable meal stays out for less than three hours.

However, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration also advises that perishable goods not be left out at room temperature for longer than two hours.

So, what should you believe?

No matter which suggestion you go with, it is best to carry those meals in an insulated lunch bag to keep them fresh throughout the day.   


The company urges you to not freeze those meals.

And if you really want to, you should exclude the beverage in the pack, as it might explode when frozen. 

lunchables left out

Can Lunchables be Left Out?

They can, although you should not.

Lunchables are packaged in sealed containers with a label mentioning the date they were produced.

How long the Lunchables will keep for may be determined by checking the date they were produced.

Generally speaking, the shelf life of packaged foods is quite good.

Because of their extended shelf life, supermarkets seldom stock Lunchables in the refrigerated sections of the store.

shelf of lunchables

So, yes, they can be left out.

But, it is better to play it safe and put them in the fridge, especially if you have an opened package of Lunchables. 

How Long will Lunchables Survive in the Car?

Considering the Lunchables’ long storage life and other factors, carrying them with you in the car is probably safe.

Lunchables may keep fresh for months in transit when properly packaged, so no special handling is required.

If you are driving between cities, you can even bring Lunchables with you.

Tip: Think twice before freezing items like bread, meats, crackers, and salsa or else their texture may change considerably. 

Should You Consider Freezing Lunchables to Extend Shelf Life?

freeze lunchables to extend shelf life

You can feed your kids a whole dinner with a few Lunchables, or just nibble on them as an inexpensive and easy option.

You may be wondering if you can store your old Lunchables in the freezer and enjoy them later.

In most cases, you should avoid freezing Lunchables. But, if you really have to, you should ensure that you thaw them properly.

The Lunchables packaging tells you to keep them refrigerated, rather than freezing them.

This advice is more of a precaution than a safety concern since the product’s flavor will not be the same after freezing.

Is Freezing Lunchables Safe?

It depends on the type of Lunchable meal you have ordered.

Based on their ingredients, different Lunchable meals may react differently to freezing. 


The Problem with Crackers

In most cases, these meals come with crackers, which create problems when you decide to freeze the entire box.

Not ideal since the crackers’ texture will not be the same after being thawed from the freezer!

Some people will be put off by how squishy and soggy they are after being frozen.

So, if you put them in their original packaging, you risk the crackers becoming mushy. 

What to Do?

You may simply take the crackers out of your Lunchables packet before freezing the rest.

The Problem with Drinks


Some Lunchables variations include a drink, which is a fantastic added bonus but can cause issues when freezing.

This is because frozen water expands by around 9% when it thaws out.

This growth might cause a sealed container to rupture in the freezer, leaving frozen juice fragments everywhere.

Because of this, you should store the Lunchables in the refrigerator without the beverage. 

What to Consider When Freezing Lunchables?

Food loses its taste and texture after being frozen for a period.

The time frame for various foods will vary, and the meat within the package is the deciding factor.

The quality of the meat in Lunchables declines after roughly two months.

Even if the meals stay eatable after this, you probably would not want to eat them anyway. 


If you want to prevent the growth of bacteria after the meat has been thawed, do it in the fridge.

Alternatively, you can place them in a dish of room temperature water to speed up the defrosting process.

crackers cheese lunchables
Tip: Prepare the meal a full day before your kid is scheduled to eat it by storing it in the refrigerator and utilizing it no later than 3-4 days after defrosting. 


As stated on the product’s website, it is meant to offer a handy solution for busy moms to sometimes treat their kids to their favorite dishes.

But, it is naturally confusing when thinking, “Can you eat Lunchables not refrigerated?”

In most cases, you can. It has a long shelf life, but things change when meat is in the package.

Just look for the visible signs of spoilage to ensure you do not end up becoming sick.