Can I Leave Cooked Meat Out Overnight?


Quick Answer

Cooked meat should never be left out overnight. It should be chilled as quickly as possible after cooking if it is not to be consumed right away.

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Full Answer

While no meat — raw or cooked — should be left out for long periods at room temperature, it is more important to chill cooked meat as soon as possible, as it is even more vulnerable to bacterial invasion than raw meat.

Though cooking kills most bacteria on raw meat, harmful microbes are quickly reintroduced onto the surface of cooked meat. This reinforces how important it is to speedily refrigerate all meats, raw and cooked, to avoid food-borne illness.

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