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Left Lasagna Out All Night – Can You Still Eat It?

Left Lasagna Out All Night – Can You Still Eat It?

So you left lasagna out all night and are asking if you can still eat it?

Leaving cooked food on the kitchen counter is an easy mistake to make.

This is especially true when you have hot food that you need to cool before refrigerating.

Can you refrigerate your lasagna the following day, after being out all night?

Well, if you were cooling it in the garage, and the garage has a constant temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re probably okay.

However, if you left it on the counter in your 70 degrees Fahrenheit home, well, that is a big no.

There are safety rules for handling food properly used by restaurants and companies that process food. Knowing a few of them can keep you and your family safe.

Continue reading to learn if you can eat lasagna left out all night.

Left Lasagna Out All Night. Can You Still Eat It?

The safe answer is that you should not eat it. You should throw any food away that has been left at room temperature for over two hours. After that time, bacteria growth becomes so high that eating the food may cause food poisoning. The two-hour rule applies to foods not preserved with large quantities of acid or sugar. Even items that are preserved will last longer under refrigeration.

Left Lasagna Out All Night - Can You Still Eat It?
Left Lasagna Out All Night – Can You Still Eat It?

How long can you leave lasagna unrefrigerated?

There is a misdirection about foods high in acid, claiming the acid of tomatoes or vinegar will keep food from going bad. However, that is not true.

Lasagna may have tomatoes as an ingredient, which are very acidic; however, the other ingredients are the problem.

Often made with beef, pork, or both, lasagna also has cheese and pasta.

The combination of these ingredients is a veritable petri dish of bacterial growth when allowed to stay at room temperature for over two hours.

The most common rule regarding the length of time to leave food at room temperature is two hours.

Two hours is more than enough time to cool food to room temperature.

Now, if the room happens to be 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less, then you can leave it there for up to four days. But really, who keeps their house at forty degrees?

When to refrigerate leftover lasagna

Although hot foods can be put into the refrigerator immediately, it is better to cool them first.

When hot foods are placed in the fridge, they may not cool evenly or quickly enough.

In addition, the heat from the food can raise the refrigerator’s temperature.

The temperature danger zone for food is 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. At these temperatures, bacteria can grow rapidly.

It would be best not to put your lasagna in the refrigerator when it is still hot for several reasons.

First, it will not only cool properly. The dish’s heat in the cold refrigerator will cause condensation that can make your lasagna mushy and watery.

So, leave your lasagna out to cool at least an hour before wrapping it for refrigeration, for freezing, because lasagna freezes as well as it refrigerates.

Lasagna that has been left out for more than two hours should not be eaten anymore
Lasagna that has been left out for more than two hours should not be eaten anymore

Some foods don’t require refrigeration but last longer with it.

They can, and many foods don’t need to be refrigerated.

They include butter, cake, avocados, bread, melons, citrus fruit, jelly, potatoes, and bananas. Nowhere on this list is tomato sauce, beef, cheese, or pasta.

Each ingredient in lasagna requires refrigeration.

Pasta does fine at room temperature and will not go bad until you cook it, and then it can grow bacteria.

And tomato sauce, even though it is acidic, will grow bacteria and mold if left at room temperature long enough.

You can leave many kinds of cheese out at room temperature and be safe. For example,

Parmesan is a dry cheese, and some cheddar cheeses have a better flavor at room temperature.

However, how long cheese will keep at room temperature does not matter any longer when added to lasagna.

Reheating leftover lasagna and other foods

If I reheat lasagna left out all night to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, can I eat it? Of course, you could, and 165 degrees Fahrenheit is the suggested reheat temperature for all leftover foods.

However, no matter how good the lasagna was before you left it out all night, it would be a health risk to eat it, even if you reheat it to the proper temperature.

Any food you cook is subject to bacterial growth, even if you cool, refrigerate, and reheat your food properly. 

Reheating leftovers to 165 degrees Fahrenheit the heat will kill bacteria that have begun to grow.

Food that has been left out at room temperature for too long may have bacterial growth that even sustained high heat has a hard time killing.

So, to be safe, refrigerate your lasagna as soon as it is cool enough to touch, and it will be safe to eat tomorrow.

Frequently Asked Questions About Leaving Lasagna Out All Night

Can I eat leftover lasagna if I reheat it properly?

You should not risk eating lasagna that you have left out all night, even if you reheat it properly. If you need help remembering to refrigerate it, set a timer.

Can any food that is unrefrigerated all night be eaten safely?

You cannot safely eat food that has been unrefrigerated all night. Throw away any food that has been left at room temperature for over two hours.

Conclusion About Left Lasagna Out All Night

Food is expensive, and lasagna is more so than some dishes.

Moreover, while tempting, eating it after you have left it unrefrigerated all night may cause you harm.

A case of food poisoning can debilitate you for days.

So, tempting, as it might be to eat your leftover lasagna, don’t because you may regret the temptation.

Knowledge about handling food safely will help keep you, your family, and your friends from getting food poisoning from the food you cook and serve.

Steps to keep food safe are relatively simple and can save you money. In addition, if your food is stored correctly after you cook it, you will have less waste.

Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)

Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking and have made it my mission to answer as many open questions related to cooking and food as possible. I am by no means a professional cook. But cooking is a hobby that I have loved for the past 20 years and I am getting better by the day.