Can You Leave Cooked Turkey Out Overnight?
You cannot leave the cooked turkey out overnight as its room-temperature surroundings will make bacteria grow faster than it usually does, leading to food-borne illnesses. You can leave it out of the refrigerator for a maximum of two hours (or one if it’s too hot). It is best to refrigerate turkey as soon as it’s cooked.
According to the USDA, you can safely leave a cooked turkey at room temperature for two hours—or an hour if the temperature exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit—before serving. Never leave turkey or any perishable food outside for more than two hours (an hour at 90 degrees and above) at any time of the year.
Since the USDA recommends not standing raw, frozen, or cooked turkeys for more than two hours, we recommend removing the turkey half an hour before cooking.
It doesn’t matter if it’s cooked, frozen, or raw; a turkey should not be outside for more than two hours. A cooked turkey that has not been used for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour above 90 degrees Fahrenheit) should be discarded. If the turkey stays at room temperature longer, it should be discarded, as bacteria may be present in the meat without any visible signs.
After holding at room temperature for two hours or more, harmful bacteria begin to form in the cooked turkey. After being outdoors in temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit for two or more hours, harmful bacteria begin to develop in the turkey. Any meat left too long at 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit can quickly develop bacteria.
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What happens if food is left outside
If food is left without refrigeration for a long time, some bacteria, such as staphylococcus aureus, can form heat-resistant toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking. Some bacteria are also capable of producing toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking. If not cooked properly, bacteria can be introduced into your turkey through cross-contamination from other raw foods or people.
Knowing that bad bacteria can grow on your turkey or any other meat if left for more than two hours is enough for anyone to notice. The sooner your leftover turkey gets out of the “danger zone”, the lower the chance of bacteria breeding and subsequent food poisoning.
In the same way that cooking a turkey at the correct internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit or higher kills bacteria in raw meat, we need to be aware of the growth of bacteria on meat after it has been allowed to rest.
Bacteria grow rapidly between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit; discard cooked ground turkey if left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. The reason is that bacteria can multiply rapidly when cooked turkey is stored between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. To prevent foodborne illness, put your cooked turkey in the refrigerator as soon as possible.
|Type of Meat||Shelf Life|
|Thawed Turkey||2 days (in refrigerator)|
|Frozen Raw Turkey||4 months|
|Fresh Raw Turkey||1-2 days (in refrigerator)|
|Cooked Turkey||3-4 days (in refrigerator)|
|Ground Turkey and Chicken||2-3 days (in refrigerator)|
What is the shelf-life of turkey?
Refrigeration extends the shelf life of a cooked turkey and makes it safe to eat. A thawed turkey can be left in the refrigerator for up to two days before cooking. If a frozen raw turkey is thawed in the refrigerator, the thawed turkey can be kept in the refrigerator for 1-2 days before it needs to be cooked or refrozen.
If stored properly, a turkey will last up to 4 days in the refrigerator and at least 4 months in the refrigerator. Ground turkey and chicken usually only last two to three days in the refrigerator. Leftover turkey usually lasts 3-4 days if stored properly in the refrigerator.
Once cooked, you should place the rest of the turkey in the refrigerator for a few hours and keep it chilled.
Fresh raw turkey can be kept in the refrigerator for 1-2 days if handled properly, and cold cuts can keep up to 5 days. If necessary, a properly thawed turkey in the refrigerator can be re-frozen. A cooked or raw turkey can be safely refrozen if you refreeze it within three days of thawing.
Refreezing a turkey should only be done if the turkey is handled correctly at each step of the process. The USDA recommends that you never thaw frozen turkeys on the counter or in hot water, or leave them at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
If a turkey, stuffing, or sauce is left at room temperature (40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit) for more than 2 hours, the turkey should no longer be eaten. After about two hours at room temperature, the risk of contamination with something like Salmonella from the meat increases significantly, and the meat is no longer safe to eat under current food hygiene regulations.
Cooked meat may not be as dangerous as raw meat, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get sick from eating turkey left overnight, but the USDA says this unsafe cooked meat needs to be refrigerated.
Cooked meat left overnight should be discarded, but you may not have to wait that long. If food is left outdoors where the temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, it should be refrigerated or discarded within 1 hour.
If the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, do not leave food for more than 1 hour. Food that remains in the “danger zone” at 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit (4-60 degrees Celsius) for more than 2 hours should be discarded.
To avoid disappointment, be sure to refrigerate any leftovers for 2 hours, or 1 hour if the outside temperature is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember, if you are reheating a leftover turkey, make sure it is completely hot.
A cooked turkey should not be left out of the refrigerator for more than two hours because food bacteria will grow in meat stored at 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. support it, it’s edible. Because food microbes begin to form in meat stored at 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s not a good idea to leave a cooked turkey out of the refrigerator for more than two hours at a time.
Whether you’re butchering a freshly roasted bird for the first time or using Thanksgiving leftovers to make a delicious appetizer, a boiled, raw, or frozen turkey should never be left in place for more than two hours.
By the way, if you are interested in Can You Eat Meat After The Use By Date If Cooked, then check out my another article.
Even when properly cooked, the bird poses some danger, especially when it comes to a turkey that hasn’t bred for hours on Thanksgiving. The defrosting process in the microwave can create hot spots in the areas of the turkey that will encourage bacterial growth, requiring immediate cooking of the turkey.
With any of these methods, the outer layer of a frozen turkey can stay at a bacteria-breeding temperature of 40 to 140 degrees F for too long to be safe.
What happens if you eat turkey left out overnight?
If the turkey is left at room temperature for a long time, then it is advised to toss it away, as the bacteria can be grown in the meat with no apparent indications. Turkey might seem, smell, and taste okay and still fall you into the food poisoning trap.
How long can you leave a turkey out after cooked?
First and foremost, there is safety. According to the USDA, the turkey should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours in temperatures over 90°F, or for more than 1 hour in temps below 90°F.
How do you store cooked turkey overnight?
Arrange turkey slices and pieces on a baking sheet, pressing the cut edges of the breast slices together to prevent drying. Cover the turkey with plastic wrap, pressing it firmly to remove any air pockets. Use a lid or aluminium foil to cover the entire pan. Refrigerate it for up to three days before serving.