A salad made with fresh lettuce and mixed veggies

How to keep lettuce fresh

Whether you’re whipping up a quick dinner salad or prepping your kids' lunch sandwiches, fresh lettuce is a delicious and healthy addition to any meal. Learn how to properly prep and store lettuce to help extend the shelf life of your produce, and keep it fresh for days to come.

Read on for more information about how to store different types of lettuce and tips for proper refrigerator storage.

A woman and girl cutting fresh vegetables A woman and girl cutting fresh vegetables
Supplies & tools
  • Refrigerator, like options from Whirlpool® brand

  • Sink or large bowl

  • Cold water

  • Paper towels

  • Colander

  • Plastic bags

  • Plastic containers 

  • Clean kitchen towel

  • Knife or scissors

  • Salad spinner (optional)

Which containers are best for keeping lettuce fresh?

Depending on what you have on hand in your kitchen, there are several containers suitable for storing lettuce and other fresh ingredients in the fridge.

Consider using one of the following container types to store a wide selection of lettuce varieties, whether freshly chopped, whole or shredded:

  • plastic bags

  • air-tight storage containers
  • glass containers lined with paper towels
  • silicone storage bags
  • clean kitchen towel
A salad topped with fresh fruit A salad topped with fresh fruit

How to keep different types of lettuce fresh

Ideally, lettuce should be kept according to the specific storage needs of the different varieties. Use the following table as a guide for keeping lettuce fresh according to its type:

Type of lettuce How to store
Romaine Store in a loosely closed plastic bag if unwashed. Store in a tightly sealed plastic bag if washed.
Iceberg Store in a perforated plastic bag.
Chopped/shredded Store tightly wrapped in a paper towel or a lint-free dish towel.
Mixed greens, green leaf or red leaf lettuce Store in an air-tight container or the original store packing. If freshly shredded or chopped, store tightly wrapped in a clean kitchen towel.
Garden or home-grown hydroponic lettuce Wrap in plastic wrap or a food-safe plastic liner.

How to store prepared vs. whole-leaf lettuce 

When it comes to storing prepared vs. whole-leaf lettuce, you may need to keep them differently in the fridge for the ideal taste and texture.

Prepared or bagged lettuce usually comes prewashed and chopped into bite-sized pieces, making it a great option for busy family mealtimes. To store bagged lettuce, open the packaging and insert a paper towel inside to absorb excess moisture, placing the bag in the fridge—preferably the crisper drawer. Replace the paper towel daily to help maintain the freshness of the lettuce. 

For whole-leaf lettuce, you can easily wrap the head in a food-safe liner and store in a refrigerator crisper drawer for optimal freshness.

Fresh ingredients stored in the fridge Fresh ingredients stored in the fridge

Additional lettuce storage tips

Can you store all leafy greens the same? 

Lettuce comes in a variety of types with different storage needs. Lettuce with a higher water content like iceberg needs a humid environment while bagged lettuce needs to breathe.

Particularly delicate or tender greens, like arugula or baby spinach, can be stored in a protective plastic salad container between layers of paper towels to preserve its taste and freshness.

How to keep lettuce crisp

You can maintain the crisp texture of lettuce by using refrigerator crisper drawers and a high humidity setting to help prevent browning and wilting. Similar to temperature-controlled compartments, refrigerator crisper drawers can help you better control airflow and preserve the flavor and color of the lettuce.

How to keep lettuce fresh for meal prep

By rinsing lettuce leaves with cold water and then patting them dry, you can help extend their shelf life in the fridge. If needed, wash the lettuce in advance to get a head start on meal prep for lunches or quick weeknight meals.

How to keep lettuce fresh while camping 

Keep lettuce fresh while camping or traveling without access to a refrigerator by storing it in a dark and cool place, such as a picnic cooler or inside your tent. If you're on the road, ensure they remain cool by storing them with ice packs.

A Whirlpool® stainless steel refrigerator in a modern kitchen A Whirlpool® stainless steel refrigerator in a modern kitchen

Explore Whirlpool® refrigerators for keeping your family’s favorite foods fresh 

With features like Adjustable Gallon Door Bins, Spillproof Glass Shelves and Humidity-Controlled Crisper Drawers, select Whirlpool® refrigerators are designed to help busy home chefs keep their family's favorite foods and fresh ingredients tasting great. Check out this refrigerator buying guide and browse the full collection of fridges by Whirlpool brand to find the one that's right for your home.

Learn more about Whirlpool® refrigerators

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