How long can cooked meat sit out?

In this brief blog, we will answer the question,”How long can cooked meat sit out?” We will look at how to keep your food safe. We will discuss some foods that can be left out overnight.

How long can cooked meat sit out?

It is recommended that you do not leave any perishable foods such as meat at room temperature for more than 2 hours as per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations.

If the temperature outside or inside your house is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or above then you should reduce the time in half, that is to an hour.

When the temperature of cooked food ranges between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit this is referred to as the ‘Danger zone’ because it provides an optimum temperature for the growth of harmful bacteria.

This can present the risk of food borne infections from harmful bacteria such as E.coli, Salmonella, Clostridium.

How do you keep your food safe?

To ensure that your food is safe for consumption and does not pose a food safety risk, ensure that you follow the following tips:

Ensure that you keep cold food cold

Ensure that you keep your foods cold in a refrigerator at a temperature of below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If you do not have access to a refrigerator, you can fill a large bowl with ice and place a linen or towel over it.

You can then use a smaller bowl and put your fruits into the ice. Ensure that you use a bowl that is small enough  for the walls of the salad bowl to be covered by the ice.

Ensure that you keep the hot foods hot

Ensure that you keep any type of meat such as pulled pork, meatballs and hot dips at temperatures of above 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The best way to do this is to set up any foods near places where you can plug in some slow cookers and ensure that you keep the food at the right temperatures.

What are the foods that can be left out overnight?

There are some types of foods that do not require to be stored in the fridge or are not harmful to health when left out for a while. Let us take a look at some of those foods.


Bread does not require to be refrigerated at all although some people tend to think doing so makes it last longer. When you refrigerate bread it becomes stale because the cold temperatures tend to make it dry out.

Bread can last about 7 days on the kitchen counter. If you require it to last much longer, you can opt to freeze it.

Pasteurized and salted butter

Most dairy products require to be stored at temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below to avoid spoilage however this is not the case for salted butter due to its high fat content. 

Refrigerating salted and pasteurized butter is not needed however if done, it helps it last longer. Butter can be left out for some days upto a maximum of 10 days.

You should however note that any homemade or unpasteurized butter should always be kept in the fridge.

Certain types of pies

Fruit pies can be left at the kitchen counter at ambient room temperatures for about 2 days before placing them in the fridge. Just ensure that you have covered them when at room temperatures in the kitchen counter.

However, you should ensure to always refrigerate any pies that have custard or cream fillings and any pies that contain eggs which include pecan pie. They can be reheated to be warmed up before they are served but always ensure that you store them in the fridge.

Certain types of condiments 

Condiments such as soy sauce, honey and vinegar based hot sauces do not require to be refrigerated at all. Others such as ketchup and mustard can be refrigerated but they won’t get spoiled if they are left out overnight or even left out open.

You can read about more foods by clicking this link here.


In this brief blog, we have answered the question,”How long can cooked meat sit out?” We have looked at how to keep your food safe. We have discussed some foods that can be left out overnight.


What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Leave a Comment