How Long Can Lasagna Sit Out After Being Cooked?


Lasagna is a great pasta dish to cook not only because it is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes with all of its layers but also because of how delicious it is. You are going to have a great time biting through those layers of cheese, meat, pasta, and tomato sauce during dinner after a long day at work.

No wonder Garfield loves this stuff. But if you were too careless after you ate your lasagna and just forgot the leftover batch sitting on the table for a long period of time, you may be wondering how long lasagna can sit out after it was cooked.

The temperature of the room in which you left it in determines how long lasagna can sit out after being cooked. Food that is not preserved and has a lot of sugar and acid in it. Lasagna should not be left to sit out in the open uncovered for two hours in a room that is at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

That said, while lasagna does indeed taste amazing, you have to be knowledgeable enough to know more about how to keep it if you want a batch of lasagna to last longer than it should after cooking it. Keep in mind that food safety basics and tips still apply to lasagna. And if you want to learn more, you can simply read on.

Related read: A Temperature Guide for Baking, Serving & Reheating Lasagna

How long can lasagna sit out after being cooked?

When you try to determine how long lasagna can sit out after being cooked, you have to look at the anatomy of a basic lasagna and what its ingredients are. In most cases, lasagna is made up of four basic ingredients: pasta, tomato sauce, meat, and cheese.

Why is it important to know lasagna’s ingredients?

At this point, you may be wondering what’s the point of knowing what you usually put in a lasagna. Well, you have to understand that food is usually just the sum of its different parts. And, in case you didn’t know, different ingredients require you to store them differently or to treat them differently if you don’t want them to go bad.

In this case, you have to look at the basic ingredients that make up a lasagna if you want to know how long it can sit out in the open after it was cooked.

This way, it will be easier for you to determine how long you should keep lasagna out and what are the basic steps you need to take to make sure that your lasagna will be able to last longer than it should.

As to the pasta, most types of pasta can actually last quite long depending on how they were made. Pasta, without sauce, will last longer than most types of food but always keep in mind that bacteria can still grow rather rapidly in pasta even though it doesn’t spoil as fast as other kinds of food do.

However, you should also keep in mind here that the lasagna sheets are already drenched in sauce, meat, and cheese and are not merely out there on their own. As such, you should already base the entire dish’s life on the life of the other ingredients you can find on a typical lasagna.

Because most lasagna dishes are tomato-based, you should know that the acid in tomatoes can quickly spoil most any type of food and will allow bacteria to grow rapidly depending on the temperature.

Things will get worse when you factor in how meat and cheese also quickly spoil when left out in the open.

That said, while lasagna sheets do indeed last quite longer than most food, the fact that they are out there together with the tomato sauce, meat, and cheese will also synchronize their lifespan with that of the other ingredients on a usual lasagna.

Read more: What Causes Watery Lasagna and How To Fix It!

Bacteria grows quickly in temperatures at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit

If you happen to live in a region with temperatures that aren’t exactly freezing, you have to understand that bacteria can grow rapidly on your food when you leave it out of the refrigerator for a long period of time.

The danger zone for bacteria is somewhere between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. When food is exposed out in the open and is left to the mercy of the environment and the temperature around it, bacteria will grow at a very quick pace and can double in numbers in only 20 minutes.

That said, if you left your food out and you didn’t even cover your lasagna well enough when you left it out in the open, expect it to go bad in about two hours or even shorter than that depending on the environment.

However, generally speaking, two hours should be the average number when you are talking about how long lasagna can last after leaving it to sit out. At times, it may only take an hour or so for bacteria to be abundant enough that the food becomes too dangerous to eat.

In such cases, it is always wise for you to try to smell your lasagna first so that you can judge whether it has already gone bad or not. Sometimes the smell won’t indicate how bad it has gone.

Just be safe and throw your lasagna out the moment it reaches the two-hour mark or when you are confident enough to know that it has already gone bad even if it wasn’t even out in the open for two hours.

The warmer the temperatures, the more dangerous it is for you to leave your lasagna to sit out. So, if it is a warm day and the temperatures have risen to over 90 degrees, make sure to never leave your lasagna or any other food out for more than an hour. Keep it refrigerated and make sure that you store it properly.

Read more: 8 Dessert Ideas To Serve After Lasagna

How do you store cooked lasagna in the fridge?

When you cook lasagna, the key here is to make sure that you refrigerate it immediately somewhere between one and two hours after you cooked it. Doing so will halt the increase of bacteria multiplying in the lasagna and will prevent your food from going bad quickly.

So, when you are about to place your lasagna in the refrigerator, keep in mind that you still have to store it properly for it to not go bad while in the fridge.

The best way for you to maximize the lifespan of your lasagna is to keep it in airtight containers that will prevent any bacteria in your refrigerator from mixing in with your lasagna.

That way, it will be able to wake up the next day and open your fridge to see that your lasagna hasn’t gone bad yet and can still be eaten.

How long can you leave cooked lasagna in the fridge?

How long your lasagna can last in the fridge actually depends on certain factors such as the size of the container and the storage conditions of the lasagna. But, generally speaking, and regardless of how abundant the lasagna that you kept in the refrigerator is, the key here is to make sure that you stored it properly in an airtight container.

As long as all of the conditions of proper storing are fulfilled, you may be able to keep cooked lasagna in the fridge for as long as five days but it might be best to only keep it in the refrigerator for about three days if you want to minimize the buildup of bacteria in your lasagna.

Can you reheat lasagna?

If you are thinking about reheating your lasagna, it really depends on whether or not you were able to store it properly. 

Lasagna that was kept to sit out in the open for one to two hours may already be in the danger zone and should not be reheated. Putting your lasagna in the oven or in the microwave will not save it because of how some of the bacteria will still be able to survive after you reheat your food.

Meanwhile, a lasagna that was kept in the refrigerator well enough can be reheated. But when you are reheating your lasagna and you cannot eat the entire portion, make sure to store it in the fridge once again about an hour later to prevent the rise of bacteria.

Related read: A Temperature Guide for Baking, Serving & Reheating Lasagna

How many times can you reheat lasagna?

You can actually reheat lasagna as many times as possible. But what you should keep in mind is to reheat only the portion that you can finish.

If you happen to have a large batch of lasagna, only get what you can eat and make sure to promptly return the rest of the lasagna back to the fridge.

As long as you do this and you are not openly exposing the entire batch out in the open for long periods of time, you can reheat your lasagna as many times as possible but make sure that you only store it in the fridge for three to five days or else it will spoil if you left it in the fridge longer than that.

Read more: Baking Two Lasagnas At Once: A Cooking Guide With Tips

Sources:

https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/17516

Eric M Wilkens

Content writer and recreational cook. I also enjoy craft beer, comedy and the outdoors.

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