How Long Can Spaghetti Last Sit Out?
Spaghetti is always a fan favorite. It’s easy to prepare and fun to eat!
Yet, have you ever cooked spaghetti only to leave the pot on the counter or stovetop for hours? It’s happened more times than I care to admit.
I always thought that plain pasta could stay good for at least a couple of more days, if not more. Sadly, I was wrong.
Today, I’m going to tackle a common question: how long can spaghetti sit out? So, let’s get started.
How Long Can Spaghetti Sit Out?
According to the USDA, cooked foods should remain at room temperature for no longer than two hours as long as room temperature is below 90℉. If it’s any higher, or you live in a hot and humid climate, the food won’t last more than 60 minutes outside the refrigerator.
This same rule applies to spaghetti as well, even if it’s plain with no additives like sauce or meat.
I should mention that you won’t get sick if you leave uncooked spaghetti out. Still, it’d be best if you kept it stored in an airtight bag or container in your pantry to ensure it retains its texture.
Why Does Cooked Spaghetti Go Bad if It Sits Out?
The reason is that the longer it stays out of the refrigerator, the higher the chance it develops various foodborne illnesses.
Not only that, but cooked foods, including spaghetti, can harbor foodborne bacterial growth, such as Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus. Spores from these food pathogens germinate and spread quickly once the pasta starts to cool down.
So, if you have cooked spaghetti that’s been sitting at room temperature for over two hours, then it’s time to throw it out.
Some people feel bad about throwing away food, and think if they reheat the spaghetti, it can kill the bacteria. Unfortunately, foodborne pathogens are heat-resistant, so reheating won’t do you any good.
In fact, you might end up making it worse. Remember, spaghetti is a dense, starchy food. This makes it harder to eliminate the built-up toxins produced by the bacteria.
What Is the Danger Zone?
We now know you can’t let spaghetti sit out for longer than two hours. We also know that reheating it will only make things worse.
Now, it’s time to talk about the why.
What exactly happens in that pot of cooked spaghetti after two hours of sitting at room temperature that makes it so dangerous?
Bacteria seem to love warm and damp areas, especially when temperatures range between 40℉ and 140℉. This is what the experts refer to as the ‘danger zone.’
Somehow, these airborne, single-celled organisms find their way to the spaghetti once it’s cooled down. Yet, they’re microscopic, so you have no way of knowing they’re there.
This is when they begin to double in numbers, and the real damage starts. It’s believed that foodborne bacteria can multiply every 20 minutes, which is quite impressive if you stop and think about it.
Yet, impressive, or not, it still makes your food highly unsafe to eat.
Why Does Spaghetti Spoil In Summer
You might be wondering why summer, spaghetti spoils so quickly?
So, of course, this is because there is warmer weather and more humid air that we’re having.
As it turns out, if the ambient air or temperature of the room is over 90°F, then the standard two-hour food safety rule is much shorter – maybe just 60 minutes.
You ought to be cautious, especially if you’re having a party outside and you’re going to serve spaghetti. It’s possible that you’ll poison your guests without realizing it if you leave the spaghetti dish sitting in the hot sun or humid conditions.
How Long Does Leftover Spaghetti Last?
Spaghetti that was cooked and leftover can be stored for later use, as long as you store the spaghetti in the correct way. The same is true for any pasta sauce that is leftover.
When you make homemade spaghetti from scratch, the only thing you must do is boil it.
As long as you are making the right pasta sauce, it can be very simple to store also. In fact, it is a good idea because It’s just as easy to make a big batch of yummy spaghetti and nice sauce as it is to make a small one. As a bonus, it can be used to store leftovers.
If you really want to preserve it for a long time, you can put it in the fridge or freeze it.
How Long Does Leftover Spaghetti Last in Your Fridge?
Food safety rules plus the quality of pasta used will decide how long excess spaghetti may be safe to eat when it is kept in the fridge, but both of these things are important.
While leftover spaghetti may taste good to some people, it could still be afflicted with bacteria. Same for the sauce or even meatballs
The USDA recommends eating leftover food within three to a maximum of four days of cooking or putting them in the fridge.
If you follow this rule, there’s no need to worry.